Student performance – the Implications of Racial Bias
Racial bias has the potential to make a pupil not learn as well as he or she might.
Disparate impact is a legal term used to describe implicit bias which means how you view people on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and much more. According to one survey, the mere act of being certain about a person’s identity can make a person either less empathetic or more aggressive toward that person. An example would be someone who is more likely to not play fair because they assume people are smart because they look the same.
A driver who is fairly good at remembering traffic regulations might be less willing to talk a friend out of making a wrong turn because of their choice of car. The same way, a pupil or a teacher who views white, light-skinned children as friendly and children of colour negatively are less likely to treat them well.
Disparate impact is commonly used in the context of discrimination as well as where the presence of power imbalances. From this understanding of discrimination, it seems clear that it is not the victim’s fault. It is because they do not fit the stereotype and for that reason, they are perceived as aggressive or lazy and are given harsher treatment.
Today, discrimination is also part of a broader problem of the lack of empathy in the modern world, particularly for those in vulnerable groups.
More than 90% of people believe bullying in school is a problem, but only a tiny percentage of teachers report incidents to support.
However, bullying does affect students in significant ways. One study found that, for example, bullying boys made the girl they bullied, feel worse, that she felt more intense sadness, and that she felt hopeless that there was nothing she could do to stop bullying.
A significant number of pupils have also reported feelings of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem as a result of bullying.
Looking at school budgets, many school budgets are based on enrolment figures. This means that finding the resources to educate pupils is one of the most expensive issues a school will face. As a result, most schools are in a battle to retain students and will be therefore susceptible to the pressures of increasing white or middle class students.
We need to be willing to admit that the individual acts of the people involved, even if that may involve racial bias, must be of equal importance. If we allow people to make judgments about others in a biased way, their feelings of a greater level of insecurity will be compounded by feeling not as different as they might be. It is about time schools got involved in dealing with discriminatory behavior and if at the same time, we close down funding gaps for students and parents and demonstrate that it’s not their fault they are in disadvantaged circumstances.
By Korean School Channels