“My daughter punched her daughter”: A reader report on white privilege in elementary school

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Dr. Rebecca Hains

In the past year, white families have become increasingly aware of the fact that people of color continue to be mistreated in U.S. society. The shootings of black men and youth like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Brown, coupled with campaigns such as #BlackLivesMatter, triggered deeper attention to other pervasive and insidious forms of structural inequality.

For example, children of color are frequently mistreated in school. In incidents that teachers and school authorities might characterize as misbehavior, children of color are rarely given the benefit of the doubt that white children often receive. This is reminiscent of the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who had a toy gun—an air rifle—in his waistband when police killed him. I find it almost impossible to imagine that a white child in the same setting would have been fatally wounded by police within two seconds, then denied any form of medical aid while his devastated sister looked on.

The fact…

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