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Breaking Down Beliefs of Racial Hierarchy

By Dr. Gail C. Christopher
America’s Wire Writers Group

WASHINGTON, DC - Fifty years ago, the Civil Rights Movement led to a series of laws banning public discrimination.  African Americans were no longer barred from certain restaurants, some schools were integrated and fair housing laws created more living options.  But today, it’s clear that court rulings and legislation didn’t change the root cause of conscious and unconscious bias – the widespread belief in racial hierarchy still exists. 

As a nation, we didn’t understand the power of this belief, this misguided notion that some people are either superior or inferior because of the color of their skin.

This bias manifests in many ways. Unarmed men and women are killed by police and civilians, the justice system seems tilted toward whites, and there remains unequal treatment for children and adults when it comes to health, education, housing and employment.  David R. Williams, a sociology professor at Harvard University, cites studies showing that when whites, blacks and Hispanics visited hospital emergency rooms with the same ailment, white patients received pain medication more frequently than people of color.

Does that make the physicians racist?

That may not be the case. With the advancements in neuroscience, we now know much more about the power of the mind. We understand that unconscious beliefs are deeply held, that centuries of this belief system have unconsciously shaped how some of us respond.  But now, 21st century technology – YouTube, cell phones, dashboard cameras, body cameras – are leveraged to shape new beliefs about our humanity. They are capturing and exposing vivid samples of people of color abused and dehumanized. We must move beyond the absurd notion that some people have more value than others.

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ADDRESSING THE WORD GAP BETWEEN WEALTHY AND POOR CHILDREN: BUILDING A CHILD’S BRAIN

By Dr. Dana Suskind

More than 20 years ago, studies began appearing demonstrating that there is a vast vocabulary difference between children of different socioeconomic backgrounds.   In fact, a study by University of Kansas researchers Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley even determined that at age three there is an incredible 30 million word gap between wealthy and poor children.

Clearly, with a higher percentage of poor children among minority families, initiatives must be directed to help all children, but particularly in communities of color. All parents can adapt measures that reduce the gap and encourage vocabulary development in their children.

 Seven years ago, I launched the Thirty Million Initiative to counsel and partner with parents on what they can do to improve learning and development opportunities for their children.  My recent book, Thirty Million Words: Building a Child's Brain, explores the powerful science connecting parent talk to building a child’s brain and encourages parents to help their children reach their full potential.

It’s heartening to see the impact of parents who are adopting some of our recommendations.

Shurand Adams, 27, of Calumet City, Ill., has been working with her' daughter, Teshyia, who is now five years old and just started kindergarten.   From 2010 to 2012, the African American mother participated in a pilot study with other parents.  Child development experts visited their homes and explained the science of children’s brain development. They discussed techniques that could be used in helping their children learn, such as the "Three Ts," which encourage parents to "tune in, talk more and take turns.”

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Obama Administration Commits to School Diversity Across U.S. with “Stronger Together” Initiative

By Gina Chirichigno and Philip Tegeler

Addressing a crowded room of magnet school educators and supporters last week, Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John King explained his personal commitment to school diversity and the importance of reducing racial isolation in schools.

“I was a kid who benefited from intentional school diversity, and I'm a parent who prioritizes that in how I think about the education of my children,” he said, describing his experiences at two intentionally diverse schools in New York City (P.S. 276 in Canarsie and Mark Twain Junior High in Coney Island). “Teachers at those two schools saved my life,” he declared. “They are the reason I am standing here today.”  

King’s children both attend diverse public schools in Montgomery County, MD, which, as he noted, has been working to implement intentional strategies to integrate both housing and education for decades. Now, he wants to encourage other communities to adopt that approach.

Thanks in large part to Secretary King, the Obama administration has now made a meaningful commitment to reducing racial and socioeconomic isolation in our nation’s schools, by proposing a  $120 million request in the 2017 budget to fund the “Stronger Together” initiative. The new competitive funding program would offer planning and implementation grants for voluntary, community-developed socioeconomic integration plans. The proposed 2017 budget also includes an increase in funding for the Magnet Schools Assistance program, another school integration program. 

 
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America's Wire Staff

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Michael K. Frisby
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Staff Writer
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Kimberly N. Alleyne
Editor

Welcome

America's Wire

The news media in the United States have been a guardian of the public’s interest. Our nation’s history is filled with episodes during which enterprising reporting, often by the bravest of journalists, has altered the course of public policy for America, and at times, changed our society.

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Highlights

 

Nebraska School Program Brings Diversity

Fifth graders in Omaha school.

 

Literature Bridges Racial Divide

Paul Young
Bestselling Author

 

Supreme Ct. Pressed to Deprive
Justice for Torture Victims

Tortured plantiffs won $21 million judgement.

 

Children of Color Disadvantaged
By Structural Bias in America

Dr. Gail C. Christopher
W.K. Kellog Foundation

 

Experts Dispute Study Claiming End
to Racial Segregation in U.S. Cities

Philip Tegeler
Poverty and Race
Research Action Council

 

Educators Alarmed: Black, Latino
Students Performing Poorly

Amy Wilikins
Vice President
Education Trust

 

White-Minorities Age Gap May
Increase Racial Divide in U.S.

Manuel Pastor
Professor
University Southern California

 

Latinos Praise Fed
Hate Crime Investigation

Commentary
By Marisa Tevino

 

Slavery Documentary Spurs Racial Healing; Helps Blacks & Whites

DeWolf family visits river in Ghana,where captured Africans bathed.

 

Maternal Deaths Increase For
African-American Women

Dr. Kerry Lewis

Howard University

 

California AG with New Ideas on How to Fight Crime

Kamala Harris

California Attorney General

 

People of Color Needed for Important Genetic Research

Carlos D. Bustamante

Stanford University geneticist

 

Civil Rights Commission Questioned: Does it have a purpose?

Wade Henderson

President

Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

 

Black Female Lawyers Leaving
Private Practice for Corporate Work

Laurie Robinson

CEO/Founder

Corporate Counsel Women of Color

Media Outlets

 

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