by David Safier
"I wonder what you all would be saying if the policeman were black and the student were white—-such transgressions of societal expectations were cause for lynching and hanging at one time in South Carolina."I had to look away after the tenth time I saw the video clip on the news. I listened to the discussion without watching the screen. It was just too painful to see over and over. But to be perfectly honest, I think the scene would have sparked a higher level of visceral outrage in me if it was a black officer slamming a white girl to the ground. I'm not proud of that. It shows an ingrained prejudice on my part. But much as I try to fight against the worst parts of my acculturation, if I pretend my prejudices don't exist—if I say, in the words of the right wing character Stephen Colbert played on his Comedy Central show, "I don't see color"—that makes me a party to the myth that we don't live in a society whose racism is widespread on both personal and institutional levels.
Data released by the Department of Education for the 2011–2012 school year reveal that while Black males were suspended more than three times as often as their white counterparts, Black girls were suspended six times as often.The Black Girls Matter study looks at statistics on discipline, suspensions and expulsions in Boston and New York schools. Here are some of the findings for Boston schools.
• Black girls are disciplined at rate about six times higher than white girls (Black girls make up 28 percent of the schools' females and 61 percent of the girls disciplined. White girls make up 15 percent of the females and 5 percent of the girls disciplined.)Though the numbers are a bit different in New York, they're similar.
• Black boys are disciplined at a rate between four and five times higher than white boys.
• Black girls are suspended at rate a bit more than six times higher than white girls.
• Black boys are suspended at a rate about three times higher than white boys.
• No white girls were expelled, so it's impossible to make a comparison. (The study doesn't state the number of black girls expelled, but a bit of extrapolation puts that number at about 10.)
• Black boys are expelled at a rate a little under three times higher than white boys.