Undereducating Black Girls

Submitted By:
Kalimah Fergus Ayele, EdM Candidate, Klingenstein Center, Teachers College Columbia University, New York, NY

Pushout by Monique W. Morris
The New Press, January 16, 2018

In many of America's schools, the impact of discrimination towards Black girls goes further than micro-aggressions and stereotype threat. Their very lives are at stake because the larger perception of Black girls prevents them from being seen as children in need of support in a challenging learning environment. Researcher Monique W. Morris' book Pushout gives voice to the voiceless victims of the convergence of racism, sexism, and classism in America. According to Morris, educators in many schools respond negatively when marginalized students speak up for themselves or for their larger community. Rather than being seen as potential leaders who can be groomed and equipped with the necessary skills to become champions for a cause, they are seen as trouble-makers who aren't worth the investment of time and resources. There's a common misconception that the damage done to disadvantaged communities is somehow localized, but over time, it's becoming more and more apparent that the destruction is welded on society as a whole. For example, we can only imagine what our society would be like without the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou – two figures whose early life experiences mirrored those of the sexual abuse and neglect outlined in Morris' Pushout.