University of Georgia Professor: White Teachers ‘Unknowingly Perpetuate’ Racism in Minority Schools

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 26: Black Lives Matter protesters march through downtown Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on July 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.The convention officially began on Monday and is expected to attract thousands of protesters, members of the media and Democratic delegates to the City of …
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ALANA MASTRANGELO

An associate professor at the University of Georgia is claiming that white women are unknowingly creating a “dangerous situation” and perpetuating racism against “black and brown children” by becoming teachers in schools where most of the students are minorities.

University of Georgia professor Bettina L. Love suggested in an op-ed published Monday in Education Week that white women are unknowingly creating a “dangerous situation” by taking jobs in schools “filled with Black and Brown children,” as white teachers allegedly lack “knowledge, care, and love” for non-white culture.

“For Black and Brown children in the United States, a major part of their schooling experience is associated with White female teachers who have no understanding of their culture,” writes Love in her op-ed, before recalling her own experiences with white teachers from back when she was a young student.

“White teachers,” said the professor, “at their core, were good people, but unknowingly were murdering my spirit with their lack of knowledge, care, and love of my culture.”

“Now my job is teaching future educators about what it takes to teach beautiful Black children,” continued Love, adding that in her pursuit of educating future educators, she always seems to run into ignorant white women trying to communicate to her that they are not racist against minorities.

“But how can you love or care for someone you know so little about?” asks the associate professor in her piece.

Love goes on to cite a personal anecdote of her own, recalling a time when she lectured one of her white students after the student had misspoken, by referring to South Africans as “African-Americans” in a paper she wrote about her experiences traveling to South Africa for a missionary trip.

“Yes, she knew the difference [between South Africans and African-Americans],” admitted the professor in her op-ed, but stating that nonetheless, the student’s interactions with African-Americans were “clearly limited.”

The professor went on to argue that the supposed racism being perpetrated by unknowing white teachers is a function that will “erase the history and contributions of people of color,” as well as a “superpredator” of minority students in schools.

“This ignorance is not just a painful sign of a blatant lack of information,” states Love, “it is a dangerous situation as these teachers go on to take jobs in schools filled with Black and Brown children.”

Love suggests that one solution would be requiring future white teachers to “take classes such as African studies, African-American studies, Latinx studies, Caribbean studies, Chicana/o studies, Asian and Southeast Asian studies, and Native American studies.”

Additionally, the professor says that there needs to be a push to recruit minority high school students to enter into the field of teaching, as well as “pay for their college education,” in order to “confront issues of racism.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.

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