March 4, 2012
Racial Profiling and Male African Americans
What comes to your mind when you think of an interaction an authoritative figure (police, teacher, principal)? In the African American community it is usually fear and anxiety of the motive of the authoritative figure, especially if you are a male. The intersection of race and gender for the African American male provides a basis for premature judgment by many authoritative figures in their lives. African American males deserve the same equality to succeed in life as any other human being without the threat of the damned if you do, damned if you don’t moniker that defines the functional ability of African American males. Attention to the American judicial system produces daily evidence that African American males are disproportionately represented, convicted, and sentenced when compared to any other ethnic or gender group separate or combined. This includes interactions with authority from grade school to prison and any other interaction with society even amongst their own people. For African American males profiling is just an extension of the background injustice of being nonwhite in America. By definition racial and gender profiling involves targeting people of specific race and or gender groups for a given purpose, usually negative, on the basis of their identity group. Stereotypical profiling is not new to America nor is its presence fading, what it does is evolve to hide its face among normal operation. There varying opinions as to the validity of profiling according to race and gender but to be honest with Americans, the sentiment of racism in America influences many functions within. Social divide is not something that can be stomped out like a small fire or swept under the rug like dust. It is alive and well, although well ignored. Social divide is a determining factor in any profile that involves race or gender. To do this objectively undermines the complete definition. As a country even the president is continually profiled as an African American male, oh wait a mixed race (aren’t all Americans mixed race according to history unless they immigrated) African American male. The plight of African American male (AAM) equality begins in grade school as they face major educational challenges at the hands of perception and profiling. The first social interaction for many black males is based on the non-indigenous culture and expectations that many administrators, African American or Caucasian, are not equipped to address. This lack of understanding often leads to the alienation of particular groups of children specifically AAM’s that results in a self-fulfilling prophecy of academic and social problems. Historically the educational experience of AAM’s has led to poor performance and extreme poor self-imagery that hinders their development. According to Leake &Leake (1992) and Polite (1993), schools are not only failing to meet the particular social and developmental needs of African American males, but are academically abusing them. An analysis of the education of African American males show disproportionate at every level, including expulsion, knowledge below grade level, and insufficient educational accountability within the educational structure due to the differing expectations. African American male students are disproportionately assigned to the "sports curriculum" or special education classes, their academic skills suppressed and failures ignored as they are passed through the education system without merit to enhance the school ratings. Even though public school systems are well aware of the status of African-American male students, they are ignored, neglected, labeled, stereotyped, and written off as dysfunctional (Weatherspoon, 2006). Schools teach more than academic education for the AAM they are teaching a pattern of social behavior tattered with...