#Justice: The Dehumanization of Black Children

All of my life I have been surrounded by the faces of brown children. I love them. In many cases, they are no different than any other children. They like to eat, make messes, and play. As they grow, particularly if they are in safe, nourishing, and healthy environments, they also begin to dream. I recall dreaming of being a teacher, a doctor, an engineer, and maybe even a fashion designer. I really wanted to be a fashion designer! No one killed those dreams in me. I had much hope concerning my adult life. Everywhere I turned, family members, friends, mentors, coaches, teachers, and counselors told me that I had so much to look forward to and a bright future ahead.

Shutterstock Image
Shutterstock Image

…such is not the case with so many brown children in America, and such is not the case particularly concerning our brown boys. I breaks my heart whenever I hear the statistics of high school drop outs, prison, low college enrollment, and violence all of which are attached to young Black boys. As a Black woman who has been surrounded by and intimately involved in the lives of Black folks, I know there are systemic injustices that allow these statistics to escalate. For every person like me who raises the issue, there are too many non-Blacks (and even some Blacks) who claim that the problems do not exist, that we are trying to play the “race card,” or we don’t want people to take responsibility for their actions. After reading this article today, I am reminded that it is us who are failing the Black children of America and we must do something about it! Read the below article by Sonali Kolhatkar and be enlightened:

Studies Confirm the Dehumanization of Black Children and the ‘Preschool-to-Prison Pipeline

Although African-Americans constitute only 13 percent of all Americansnearly half of all prison inmates in the U.S. are black. This startling statistic has led the United Nations Human Rights Committee to publicly criticize the U.S. for its treatment of African-Americans. A number of recent studies and reports paint a damning picture of how American society dehumanizes blacks starting from early childhood.

Racial justice activists and prison abolition groups have long argued that the “school-to-prison” pipeline funnels young black kids into the criminal justice system, with higher rates of school suspension and arrest compared with nonblack kids for the same infractions. More than 20 years ago, Smith College professor Ann Arnett Ferguson wrote a groundbreaking book based on her three-year study of how black boys in particular are perceived differently starting in school. In “Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity,” Ferguson laid out the ways in which educators and administrators funneled black male students into the juvenile justice system based on perceived differences between them and other students.

Today this trend continues with record numbers of suspensions as a result of “zero-tolerance” school policies and the increasing presence of campus police officers who arrest students for insubordination, fights and other types of behavior that might be considered normal “acting out” in school-aged children. In fact, black youth are far more likely to be suspended from school than any other race. They also face disproportionate expulsion and arrest rates, and once children enter the juvenile justice system they are far more likely to be incarcerated as adults. Continue reading here.

 

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