Recognizing Racism in the Administrator's Office
Are employment decisions at your school "color-blind" -- or are they colored by racism? Are you sure? Sociologist David T. Wellman offers criteria to help you recognize -- and eliminate -- unintended racism in your district's employment decisions.
In the United States today, minority students make up nearly 40 percent of school enrollment. Despite reports of rigorous minority recruitment efforts, however, more than 90 percent of U.S. teachers are white. "We just can't find enough qualified minority teachers" is a common lament among school administrators.
Is the shortage of minority teachers real -- or is it a result of hidden, and unintended, racism. According to California sociologist David T. Wellman, although the civil rights movement raised people's consciousness of societal racism, it didn't necessarily raise the individual's consciousness of personal racism. "There was -- is -- a discrepancy between what white Americans say in the post-civil rights movement era and what they do," Wellman, who is white, recently told the Los Angeles Times. "There's this disjunction. You need somebody who can help you interpret the codes that have developed to make it look like there's no discrepancy."
Wellman teaches community studies at the University of California Santa Cruz and is an expert on the issue of employment discrimination. He developed his "decoder" to help employers, employees, and prospective employees recognize and overcome hidden racism.
Article by Linda Starr
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