Minorities in Education: Help or Hinderance?

The great nation of the United States of America is a nation surrounded by multiple ethnic and religious backgrounds. It has citizens from all over the world including Russia, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, African, India, Thailand, China, and even smaller islands like Cuba, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. All the people coming into

America come with dreams of a better life for them and their families. They come from different cultures, speak many languages and worship many different deities. Most of these immigrants are minorities in our society, not being of an upper-middle class white background. So for generations, these independent people will be labeled a minority because of their heritage and lack of financial backing. So where did we get the term minority?

It’s based on being of the lesser group, whether it means that they are poor and cannot afford to live in expensive houses, or their origins of speech have not adapted to American English. The entire world is a form of minorities and other peoples’ view of them. African Americans are sometimes labeled as ignorant of the world around them, and constantly berated for this skin color. They are termed by slanders such as “ghetto” and usually coincide with phrases “can’t get a job”, “will never go anywhere in life” and racially poignant terms as “porch monkey”, which says that the general public views them as a whole to be lazy and stupid. Also people of Hispanic descent, they are viewed in terms such as the maid or someone who cannot speak English; which is exemplified by Hollywood movies portraying young Latin American woman as sexy, but too stupid and low to marry. When did America stoop so low as to label whether someone is worthless or not based on the color of their skin or ethnic background?

Most people are raised surrounded by these bias views and we don’t know where they start. At what point do our children become influenced by racial profiling? All children must be educated, so should it start here, the loving of everyone regardless of their differences? Putting minorities in education would prepare our children to face others without the blindness race, cultural, or religious backgrounds.

Some believe that bringing minorities to teach other minorities brings a better understanding to the students. Students who are surrounded by multicultural teachers are more likely to respect the ethnic background out of respect for the teacher. Whites are primarily the majority in America. If all white students were taught by different types of minorities, there would be less hate breed through interaction with teachers. People generally are thought to fear what they don’t know. This may be the case in racial prejudices.

We as a majority do not understand the language and pride associated with these vastly different minorities. It is not general knowledge that middle eastern women hide there faces with a veil from everyone except family because of their religious beliefs. It is not because they are controlled by the masculine driven lives they live, but because women are viewed as treasures and should be treated with great care. It is also not known that Africans wear bright colors to signify life, darkness means danger and death to them so they wear bright ceremonial robes for special occasions. How much do we not know of different cultures? Children who are taught other cultures and history are more likely to be accepting of them instead of hate them out of ignorance of their kind.

In addition there should be white teachers in the minorities’ school along with the other minorities’ teachers. If withholding the minorities from whites in the education, it may well breed away indifferences between the minorities, but would only increase the hate towards the white race. Racial slandering is not all towards minorities. White people are automatically termed as racists because of such organizations like the Klu Klux Klan. Minorities need to realize that not all white people are bad and hurtful.

Just as history has told us that if not learned, it may be repeated, so also must it say that if we learn our history, we must overcome it. Multicultural education should be placed in all areas of the nation…from the poorest district to the richest. Multicultural means we should have Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Japanese, Chinese, and even purple people eaters if they want. To learn to accept has to be instilled from all sources, but the main should be where children spend the most time awake. At school.

Some say that it is too late when these children get to the school years to change what has been bred into them throughout their already young lives.. It is still hard to believe that children will not be affected at all by the influence of minorities in their classroom. However, if there are too many could it be a problem. Most would say that it would enable more hatred if African American students were to only have African American teachers, and the same with Hispanics, and all other minorities. This is a false statement provided by people who are scared to let any one culture have a large enough force to defend itself from the unfairness of equalities heaved on them at times. “True diversity means that we all take responsibility and learn from each other. This requires human trust, humility, time and the ability to honestly listen, setting aside the fear, the anger and the need to prove oneself right” (Gordon) Students should be taught in a way in which they will benefit regardless of the restrictions placed on them from lack of money, or family background. “for African Americans, education has been about access to knowledge legally deprived of them. It was about cracking the secret code of reading, of learning what the white man knew and kept hidden from them. It was about ‘the uplift of the race;’ it was about liberation and in some ways salvation…” (Gordon)

There is such a vast number of reasons that minorities are good for education positions. Many of minority’s backgrounds would be lifted out of the mainstream of racial slanders and be thought of as educated instead of ignorant. Formal education is such short period of ones life that it might seem insignificant. We learn the alphabet and reading. We learn the history of the world and mathematics, but we would be better served learning through experiences. If students of all background were to learn together from teachers of even more different backgrounds, there would be fewer prejudices in the world, and a greater understanding and acceptance of people as a whole. “immigrants come to this country not only with a strong respect for education, but also with an assumption that educational opportunities are greater here than ‘back home’” (Gordon)