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Racism in Education

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Inverting Racism’s Distortions is written by co-authors Sarah and Rabbi Miriam Margles and discusses the causes and outcomes of racism.  The article starts off as many do, with a vague introduction about the topic.  The authors focus specifically on racism in Canada, in the white community and inside the classrooms.  According to the Margles, racism is a “social and political construction” which denies humans rights and resources (Margles 2).  Breaking racism down into three main types, the authors label them as institutionalized oppression, interpersonal oppression, and internalized oppression.  Example of institutionalized oppression is designing educational curricula with subtle racism.  Interpersonal oppression involves absorbing racist attitudes while internalized oppression refers to beliefs and attitudes that are inherited over time.  Furthermore, the authors make an interesting point that instead of attacking the problem face on, society has learned to build up coping mechanisms and simply accept the racism.  Towards the end of the article, the authors provide a three-step plan for confronting racism in the classroom: 1) understanding the root cause and dynamics 2) inverting racist messages and 3) building tools to eradicate the messages (Margles). 

Without a doubt, this article is highly timely, written in 2010.  Moreover, the topic of racism is one that is still a growing battle for the international communities and new research and insight is imperative to combat its effects.  However, the article lacked an attractive flow as it jumped from one point to a completely different one.  Firstly, the authors failed to provide a goal in the introduction- they failed to mention the specifics they would be covering.  Secondly, after discussing the three types of racism, the authors jump to racism in the classroom, and provide a lengthy discussion solely on teachers.  The third problem is that throughout the article, the authors express a wish to solve the growing dilemma, often by using terms like, “we must work to contradict the messages of racism” without expanding on the how ( Margles 5).  Furthermore, the article ends abruptly, without a summarized or even concise solution.  This highly contrasted the precise and strong introductory sentences, “No one is born racist.  Racism is taught” (Margles 1). 

Even though there is some new insight on racism, I feel that I have read the information before and as a whole, the article did little to change my perspective entirely. For this reason, I would think twice about publishing it.  Yes, it is publishing worthy but the information is redundant and shifts topics too often.   Moreover, there is minimal research shown and at times, the references do not make sense as they lose the reader’s attention.  It is almost as if a student wrote the article and randomly inserted quotations here and there to strengthen their case.   Also, the article’s title is misleading and should be more like “A Teacher’s Power to Fighting Racism.” The precise goal or aim of the authors is vague.  Of course the article is about racism, but I am still asking the question, “Okay, what now?  So what have you shown me that I can utilize in my life?”

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