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Sage Against The Machine.
Libertarian Humanist.

Racism in Akron Schools

January 20, 2023

I LOVE thinking about the hardest problems in society. I believe the race war between Blacks and Whites is a foundational struggle that is so embedded in American society that it is almost our one great sacred struggle between good and evil. I am nearly obsessed with the Black/White American problem.

If we can overcome this racial war that has plagued our country since the beginning, we will have transcended into one of the most enlightened communities humanity has ever seen.

The Beacon Journal has been putting out some amazing articles on issues in Akron schools:

Look at some of these stats:

  • Of 1,392 students caught fighting this year, 1,054 are Black, 163 are white and 122 are multiracial. Black children are 46% of all students and 76% of students caught fighting.
  • About 87 percent of the district’s educators are white.
  • The U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights found in 2014 that black students are three times more likely than their white peers to be suspended and expelled from school.

I feel like there are 2 general camps of thought and they are mainly divided by political lines:

  • Conservatives believe it's a cultural issue. That Black families need more fathers and more "traditional" values.
  • Liberals believe it's a systemic issue. Childhood and societal trauma are driving these issues.

I think both sides are partly right.

MOST Black families are painfully aware of this stigma that they are the ones to blame. So, I think they work extremely hard at building structure and traditional values at the heart of their family. But I also know Black families that use daycare as a form of parenting. The parents (mostly single moms) drop their kid off first thing in the morning and leave them in daycare until the latest possible moment. Drugs are often involved in these scenarios.

I am of the Liberal mindset. But I try to stay aware of my natural biases to blame everything on a broken system. There eventually needs to be personal accountability. BUT, when Black men are being locked up for years on stupid drug charges, how the HELL do you expect to get more men in Black families?

There's a great quote in one of the articles from Joshua Grundy, 19.

Grundy leads a youth mentoring program in Akron called Mendia.

“I feel like it’s kind of expected out of us. … Then the teacher will spend more time with the kid who she thinks is gonna do good. It’s only gonna push a student back as far as self-esteem goes,” Grundy said. “Since the black males in this society are already labeled, once they walk in some place where they’re new … they’re already labeled before they get to that direction they want to go.”

I come back to this stat: About 87 percent of the district’s educators are white.

We MUST accept that there is cultural and racial bias. We are afraid to talk about it. I think it's this fear that keeps this issue stuck in a perpetual loop.

"I'M NOT RACIST," says every fragile white person I've ever met. Oh yes you are. So am I. And it's natural. And it does not make you bad.

It is impossible to not slip into generalizing thinking. Meth users, opiate users, alcoholics, obese people, Black people, White people, rich people, poor people. You would have to be asleep if images don't flash in your mind with every one of those groups of people. ALL of those generalizings are wrong. Yes, there are assholes. But you can't use their social grouping to determine it. You have to judge everyone individually.

I have been blessed to be able to work closely with that entire cross section of humans. I can tell you without a doubt, with 100% certainty that lazy people, and bad people are spread evenly throughout ALL cross sections of society. I can't find any group of people (and believe you me, I look) that has any greater propensity to acting one way or the other. People are people. Period.

Compassion / hatred. Criminal / law abiding. Addicted / sober. I see these traits spread like sprinkles evenly over all people.

What is not equal is who has more power and who has less power. I don't believe for a second that if Black people were in power and White people were oppressed that it would be any different than it is today, if everything has been reversed for the last 400 years. People are people.

The power imbalance is the difference.

About 87 percent of the district’s educators are white.
There are now 72 Black officers in Akron representing less than 16% of the force in a city where 30% of residents are Black. Akron police force struggles to reflect city's diversity

White people MUST realize that there is a power imbalance in America and in our cities, like Akron. It creates a very human, but very oppressive, community.

Just look at the Redlining that is still affecting our property values and home ownership in Akron. That was all a power imbalance. (And again, I am in no way saying it would be different if the racial history of America had been reversed. People are people.)

My friend Reverend Ray Greene Jr. sums it up perfectly:
Greene from My Brother’s Keeper said teachers establishing relationships with students and letting kids know they care is the key to reducing discipline and misbehavior. But there is room for improvement from all parties.

“The community needs to be more involved in the school system, and teachers need to be more involved in the community,” Greene said. “This is everybody’s problem.”

The way forward is through connection.

I'm telling you, it is incredibly difficult to be afraid of and to hate someone you have actually met. I'm talking about murderers, rapists and pedophiles. Even racists. I am friends with them all. And what makes them a good person or bad person is personal choice, not the grouping we've artificially stuck them in.

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