We’ve known for years that Black boys and men are punished more severely than other races for the same offenses. A recent story from The New York Times confirms the same for Black female students.
Throughout the country, elementary- and middle school-aged Black girls are suspended at a rate of 12 percent, compared to their White counterparts, who were suspended only 2 percent of the time.
“When a darker-skinned African-American female acts up, there’s a certain concern about their boyish aggressiveness,” said Villanova sociology professor Dr. Lance Hannon. Additionally, Texas A&M professor Dr. Jamilia Blake says that in society’s eyes, Black girls are viewed as “unsophisticated, hypersexualized and defiant.”
Georgia Legal Services has filed a complaint to the Justice Department on Mikia’s behalf. The school district told the Times that it was unable to offer a comment, but it is examining its disciplinary procedures.
“The message we send when we suspend or expel any student is that that student is not worthy of being in the school,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, Department of Education’s assistant secretary for civil rights. “That is a pretty ugly message to internalize and very, very difficult to get past as part of an educational career.”