Essay: Impact of racial stereotypes/racism on, self-esteem amongst African-American students regarding standardized testing

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  • Impact of racial stereotypes/racism on, self-esteem amongst African-American students regarding standardized testing
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How do racial stereotypes/racism effect self -esteem among African-American students through standardized testing throughout the school year and how racism affects the social consciousness as of society when it comes to immigrants and deportation

The focus of these proposed studies is to attempt to 1) identify racism and its effects on education and the social sphere for minorities, and 2) understanding the rate of deportation of Caribbean blacks by way of structural and institutionalized racism and the effect it has on these migrant populations. The goal is to identify the racial stereotypes and observe how they can affect self-esteem and our social consciousness. This study will specifically focus on visible minorities and the effects stereotypes play within the educational system through the process of disidentification and structural racism.
Disidentification is the process in which African Americans who are aiming become high achievers learn to adopt what is referred to as a “raceless identity.” By adopting to this identity, they adopt more contemporary ways of acting and thinking in order to overcome the racial stigma associated with being African American.
The objective is to analyze, identify as well as attempt to shape our knowledge of why African American boys/ girls seem to not do as well as their Caucasian counterparts. According to (Gecas & Scwalbe,1983) and (Cooley,1956; Mead 1934) self-concept reflects others’ appraisals of oneself. Roughly translated, the academic out comes of the individuals being studied (being the African Americans) would have a better outcome if they were praised or given positive feedback. In another study we look to identify how minorities are being targeted and criminalized due to structures put in place by the government legally to act as barriers for these peoples.
Subsequently, in 2009 researchers from Yale University and Rush University found that race may play a part in the academic success of minority children. The study showed that between the ages of 5 and 11, children are already aware of the stereotypes that are associated with their ethnic group (McKown and Scrambler,2009). This essentially affects their everyday interactions with one another and also how they score in their studies. Conflict theorists assert that students have different experiences in the school system depending on their social class, ethnic background and the neighbourhood in which they live. Some reasoning behind the low self-esteem, according to Jean S. Phinney who wrote the article, “Ethnic Identity and Self-Esteem: A review and integration”, stated that a person with a low ethnic identity and little integration in proportion to their population would experience low self-esteem. (Phinney, 1991) points out that stigmatized group, often attempt to protect their self-esteem by making comparisons with their own group, suggesting that blacks would do better amongst their own rather than being integrated with students of other nationalities.

As a result, much of what happens in school amounts to teaching a hidden curriculum in which children learn to value competition, materialism, work over play, obedience to authority, and attentiveness. Thus, schools do not socialize children for their own well-being but rather for their later roles in the workforce, where it is important to be well behaved and ‘know your place’ (Davies & Guppy 2013 in Lothian Murray, Linden, and Kendall 2017, pg. 94). So, the question here one could ask is, “well, if they are unaware of the said stereotypes, could they do better?”, The query here has yet to be discovered, but research has already proven that once these children have been made aware of the stereotype, doing poorly on any test fulfills the theory.

In the second study we would attempt to look at the stunning rate at which minorities are being sent back to their native countries for little to no crime related offences and how rarely we focus on immigrant populations. The idea is to dive into the role the law makers play in deportation without the proper procedures being honored for working documented and undocumented citizens.

This body of work is especially important because attempts at identifying the larger issue at hand, which is the racism that is persistent in our current culture and how it effects our social consciousness. The study will work to address the question:
• Why do black children in segregated schools have higher self-esteem have higher self-esteem than ones in integrated schools?
• Why is it that minorities seem to fall victim to self-fulfilling stereotypical prophecies?
• Is the stereotype the true cause of the self -esteem and what actions or programs can be put in place to combat the failing grades and the lack luster performance?
• Why are minority persons set up to fail?
• Would having more teacher/student interaction, counteract the stereotypes of minorities test scores and can this new implementation truly make a difference?

Studying the social sciences, we understand that the construct of race does not actually exist. Human beings are a race of people who inhabit this planet we share called Earth, a little history for those late to the party. The concept of race is a population that is distinct in some way from others based on real or imagined physical differences. Ethnicity, on the other hand, while related to race, are social traits that are shared by a human population. As sociologists we believe that Ethnicity means to be referred to as shared cultural practices, possible beliefs or perspectives that set apart groups of people from another.
The intended audience for this study is everyone interested. Those who are of the minority represented may have particular interest, but everyone is (being all ethnic groups) are the intention as this study affects all groups.

Literature review

The is idea that racism or the act of being racist seems prehistoric in the age of social and cultural unity and inclusion especially among the millennials. But, the fact is, it is still a very visible and quite disturbing aspect of our society. It affects our children in schools, teachers. It is present in our workplaces and also in our favourite past times, like in professional sports. In these series of investigations, quantitative approaches were used to examine racism within the schools and in society as well as the effects it had on the people within the study as well as how it has impacted their lives.

This study research takes investigates how self-esteem and academic achievement may or may not be linked. Specifically focussing on how African Americans in 8 – 10th grade seem to be less successful in their academic studies vs. their white counter parts. Steele attempts to associate the low grades from nation -wide testing among African American students and compared it to their white student counterparts while incorporating positive and negative reinforcement to determine whether the grades would increase or decrease. The results showed that though, the African Americans boys were given substantial reinforcement, their test scores never improved, while their white compatriots steadily improved. Steele proposed that the African American boys seemed to detach their self-esteem from academic outcomes, thus allowing them to protect themselves from failure outcomes on standardized testing.

Data for the studies were accumulated from the NELS (National Education Longitudinal study). NELS was initiated in 1988, by the National Center for Educational Statistics. This data was drawn from 1,052 school in the United states from 25000+ eight graders mainly of Caucasian and African- American decent (only for the purpose of the study). The Variables used where Sex, Race, Socioeconomic status, Grade point average, Academic achievement and Global Self-Esteem. Steele Two forms of data collection. One method being a two -stage stratified design. One stage was the schools and the students within it were the second. It was stated that the side effect of using this method of sampling was that it caused the sample data to be inflated “to equal the exact population of roughly 3 million students”. In doing so, the data became slightly distorted in narrowing down specific statistics.

The results determined that African-American students in the 8th grade did not have lower self-esteem than white students and seemed so show a strong correlation of academic success between both sexes. But, the study showed that students in grade 10 who were African American did show to disidentify with their culture and did significantly poorer. The results identified that the minority students cared less about themselves and felt as if they were not of any worth nor satisfied with themselves as a result of seeing the academic environment as “discriminatory and lacking in rewards” (J.W Osborne, p.453) This work is relative to my topic because it identifies the decline in studies as a result of discriminatory classroom practice by the teachers.

Another study by Osborne identified included a sample of Hispanic boys and girls to try to determine if the same issues that were present among the African- Americans were present amongst the Hispanics. This time the study consisted of males and females of the Caucasian, African-American and Hispanic demographic. The questions here throughout the study were: do Hispanic females and males disidentify with academics at the same rate together under the same circumstances? Hispanics were seen to disidentify with their studies as well mainly because many of them found that reading was hard to do as they spoke other languages.
Though, they (Hispanics) do show the same similarities, Steele (1992) found that their self-esteem was still relatively intact as opposed to the African-Americans and white students they were being tested against. The idea of race identification plays apart in this study as Ogbu (1988) theorizes that the “caste-like” system that has developed in the school, social environment has created and instilled an air of distrust amongst African -Americans and they feel the need to reject the path of gaining education because it forces them to “act white” (J.W. Osborne, p.735). Steele (1992) has also stated that forcing African-Americans to assimilate into an institution has “made them invisible”. (J.W. Osborne, p.735). These results show that there is a strong disassociation from academics due to a deteriorating trust and self-esteem issues in the classroom amongst blacks and their educators. The fact that the youth that have been tested all across the United States seemed to feel the classroom environment does not favor their “race” has become a growing trend and disproves the stigma of African-Americans being less intelligent than white people, but more of a growing trend or idea that the classroom setting is more of an institutionalized center of discriminatory practice.

Looking on a macroscale, racist practises have affected government and immigration. Specifically, looking at the article “Structural Racism, criminalization and pathways to Deportation for Dominican and Jamaican Men in the United States”, by Tanya Golash-Boza, Boza focuses on males of Caribbean decent from Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. The study found that Nearly 60 percent of black male high school drop outs had been incarcerated at some point in their lives (Golash-Boza T., p.137). Being imprisoned seemed to be an expected life outcome for many black men. As we have known, mass incarceration of black men has had enormous effects on the black community in the united states. This is particularly significant because Golash-Boza states that white men were seven times less likely to be apprehended and incarcerated through a process known now as structural racism. In 1996 congress passed two laws that changed the rights of foreign-born people in the united states. The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA). These laws allowed minor crimes, like writing a bad check or minor illegal drug possessions. Once convicted of any of these crimes under these laws, non-citizens were immediately deported with no judicial review. She found that after these bills were made law, blacks of the Caribbean demographic were subject to heavier policing after being placed in neighbourhood areas where there was little to no ability to succeed.

According to a 2017 Reuters news article, “America’s mass deportation system is rooted in racism”, by Kelly Lytle Hernandez, an associate professor in African American studies at the university of California, Los Angeles, states that Donald Trump’s Immigration legislation that recently failed, was about control. She states that if the U.S. Supreme court had passed these racist laws, it could “grant unrestrained power to Congress and the president over immigration control which would lead to more than 50 million people being deported or barred from entering the U.S” (Lytle Hernandez, K, 2017). This discriminatory laws and subtle practices that are being enacted in the schools have profound effects on the society at large and our overall social sphere. They should be studied to understand the full underlying cause and further damaging effects of such practises.

Methodology
To answer the proposed research question, qualitative methods and quantitative methods would be the most effective means to obtain the best answers. Based on the literature and research findings by (Osborne 1997; Steele1992 & Golash-Boza T, 2017) Literature on related topics suggests that qualitative methods and quantitative methods would be most fitting. A “covert” ethnographic, quantitative study would be useful in obtaining honest opinions from the sample variables (African -Americans and their perspective) as well as interviews focus groups and observation of test results over a period of 9 months, equivalent to the school year. This research would involve a random sampling strategy of African-Americans, Caucasians and Hispanics or any other colored demographic as the specific focus is the African-American success/fail rate in standardized testing. This would provide a trustworthy sample as the data would be documented over a course of the 9 consecutive months. The sample would be unbiased in the findings as they would be completely controlled and very specific. This could assist the researchers with insight in regards to trying to understand the participants perspectives on why they (the African-American students) continue to receive failing grades.

In the other study, a qualitative study would be used to try and get an understanding of the rate of deportations in regards to one demographic currently being targeted (the Dominicans and Jamaicans) by discriminatory deportation practises in comparison to the white community of similar circumstances. This would aid in understanding underlying reasons, particular mandates or motivations for why they are being deported as well as try to develop a hypothesis as to why and how this process able to continue. In this study, non-random sampling would be necessary, but mainly of people around the same age who are immigrants, facing deportation, who have minor or major felony charges, who are either black Caribbean, and white European. Essentially the researcher would be looking to gain rapport with the participants through accessing some sort of “Gatekeeper”. The aim here in this type of ethnographic study is to be able to gain access to be close and personal enough with the participants to have them be intimate with their thoughts and feel comfortable enough to share their feelings and experiences with the researcher.

The sample for the first study will be selected by the schools in the area, particularly inner-city schools, as they have a wide array of race demographics who come from similar economic situations. Students will have the no idea that they will be observed over the course of the school year, so there will be no ethical concerns, as we will not be collecting personal data. Only data pertaining to their age, race, gender and academic progress will be collected.

For the second study, consent to publish as well as email and phone number information will we obtained as to keep track of the study participants. The study will be ongoing for as long as we have access to them. Once participants respond and confirm their consent to take part in the study, the researcher will begin to maintain regular correspondence between the themselves and participants. The ethnographic process involves some degree of face-to-face interaction. As such, ethical concerns regarding safety and researchers getting too close to the participants may occur considering that these participants may have some degree of criminality as to why some reasons to why they are being deported thus, the researcher and participant should maintain reasonable contact, but most correspondence should be maintained over the phone and through the email contacts provided.

An analysis of the results of the first experiment will be compared, analyzed and synthesized into data that can be presented. This will allow researchers to present the findings to the school board and psychologists to work on an effective plan to combat adolescent self-esteem issues plaguing these students or if the bigger issue of racism or discriminatory practices are what is causing the inability to be successful amongst African-American students. As for the second study, data collection obtained by overt, qualitative methods and ethnography practices, will hope to show the rates in which these people (Dominicans and Jamaicans along with Europeans) and the rate in which they face deportation.

Annotated bibliography

Osborne, J. W. (1995). Academics, Self-Esteem, and Race: A Look at the Underlying Assumptions of the Disidentification Hypothesis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21(5), 449–455. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167295215003

Jason W. Osborne, a PhD professor now at Clemson University, analyzes data obtained on self-esteem and African-American children. The research takes a look at how self-esteem and academic achievement may or may not be linked. Specifically focussing on how African Americans in 8 – 10th grade seem to be less successful in their academic studies vs. their white counter parts. The results showed that though, the African Americans boys were given substantial reinforcement, their test scores never improved, while their white compatriots steadily improved. After the findings it had been proposed that the African American boys seemed to detach their self-esteem from academic outcomes, thus allowing them to protect themselves from the fact that they will receive bad marks. The results identified that the minority students cared less about themselves and felt as if they were not of any worth nor satisfied with themselves as a result of seeing the academic environment as “discriminatory and lacking in rewards” (J.W Osborne, p.453). Osbornes work seemed strong and very informative especially by way of his data collection method and sample size. This work is relative to my topic because it identifies the decline in studies as a result of discriminatory classroom practice by the teachers.

Osborne, Jason. (1997). Race and academic disidentification. Journal of Educational Psychology. 89. 728-735.10.1037/0022-0663.89.4.728.

This is a brief, yet more in depth look at his previous study with the inclusion of a third party (Hispanics). Jason Osborne is a PhD researcher who is trying to understand the correlation, if any, between self-esteem and academic performance. This study tested males and females of the Caucasian, African-American and Hispanic demographic. The findings reconfirmed the idea that the African-American students disidentification to academics was a group level response to the present stigmas they were aware of. (J.W. Osborne, p.729) Hispanics were also seen to disidentify with their studies as well mainly because they spoke other languages. The idea of race identification plays apart in this study as Ogbu (1988) theorizes that the “caste-like” system that has developed in the school cause African -Americans to reject the path of gaining education (J.W. Osborne, p.735). The study is strong by Osborne again, but is biased as it only focuses on visible minorities. Although, this mainly was the focus, studying stigmas, other nationalities other than American blacks could have been used. Osborne still provides valuable material that can be retested for future studies.

Golash-Boza, T. (2017). Structural racism, criminalization, and pathways to
Deportation for Dominican and Jamaican men in the united states. Social
Justice,44(2), 137-161.Retrieved from http://ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/login?
url=http://search-proquest-
com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/2036980153? accountid-15182

Tanya Golash-Boza is an accomplished associate professor of Sociology at the University of California Merced. She graduated from UNC Chapel Hill will a PhD in Sociology. She researched the rate at which Dominican and Jamaican men are incarcerated and deported in comparison to white people who commit similar felonies. She found that Black men were more likely to be put in prison than white people through over policed environments and being given no access to succeed. Golash-Boza’s work seems sound as her work is taken from research and data obtained by herself and researchers. Her personal interaction with the individuals gives her work more merit as it is personal accounts of these men, as her sample of people ranged roughly of about 30+ men of various crimes and education levels. Her work offers a very dark but informative view of the current states of America’s immigration and deportation law.

Hernandez, K. L. (2019, January 02). America’s mass deportation system is rooted in racism. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/americas-mass-deportation-system-is-rooted-in-racism-73426

This news article by Kelly Lytle Hernandez, focuses talks on the effects of the immigration bill proposed by the Trump administration as well as a definition on immigration control. Hernandez is an accomplished author and associate professor at the university of California who is also funded by the John Randolph and Dora Haynes foundation on behalf of the UCLA Social Sciences Division. The article also talks about the different laws that the U.S congress put in place to ban Chinese immigrant and Chinese- American born citizens from registering with the federal government. These banned Chinese people were imprisoned and then deported in May of 1893 who did verify their lawful presence in the country.

Phinney, J. S. (1991). Ethnic Identity and Self-Esteem: A Review and Integration. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 13(2), 193–208. https://doi.org/10.1177/07399863910132005

Jean S. Phinney is a researcher from the California State University. His article explores the relationship between ethnic identity and self-esteem. It attempts to identify elements of ethnic identity and tries to link research of each component to self-esteem. The research found that there was a weak link between the two parts (self-esteem and ethnic identity). The Phinney touches on things like negative stereotypes, group acceptance versus rejection of one’s group membership, stigmatization and culture commitment. I feel the work that had been done was solid in creating awareness, but the research within the body of work was weak considering they could not make solid connections between identity and self-esteem.

SOCI 2030 6.00A: Sociological research methods

Second Assignment, Research Proposal
Prof: Lorna Erwin
Tutorial 2: Carmen Grillo
Brandon Morrison
214505945
WZ

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