Discrimination in schools affects performance of black students

black Brazilians
Luiana: Black students see themselves in inferior position

When comparing the school trajectory of blacks and whites, disparities not only focus on access to university but at all stages of education. Blacks are a majority in number of illiterates in the country – totaling 9 million of the total 14 million – and are more behind in studies than the rest of the population.

For the coordinator of the Center for Afro-Brazilian Studies at the University of Brasília (UNB), Nelson Inocêncio, the difference in yield reflects a school and an education system that does not welcome the black population.

“School says that the other group [whites] is the great reference for humanity. It was the group that built (things), it represents civilization. And my group [blacks] doesn’t represent anything. This is placed in a persistent way in the books, and the lessons, and students will get very negative reactions towards the process. He wonders: to the extent that the school doesn’t recognize me, what sense does it make that I be in school?” he says.

Paixão: additional obstacles for Black students

In 2007, about 85.2% of whites aged 15 to 17 were in school, and 58.7% were in their appropriate grade. Among blacks and browns in this age group, 79.8% went to school, but only 39.4% were in the correct grade.

The same conclusion was found in the Annual Report on Racial Inequality in Brazil, of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Coordinated by Professor Marcelo Paixão, the study compares, among other things, the performance of black and white students in Sistema de Avaliação da Educação Básica (Evaluation System of Basic Education or Saeb). In 2003, the grades in Math and Portuguese for whites were, on average, 7.5% higher than that of blacks and browns.

“This suggests that black and brown children and adolescents encounter additional obstacles in the development of studies, represented by racial discrimination present in school spaces,” says the survey. According to the researcher, this bias manifests itself in different forms, ranging from discriminatory attitude of the teachers and colleagues to textbooks that reinforce the invisibility of blacks, divulged through content that is “anthropocentric and under receptive to the perspective of diversity.”

Luiana: Difference of treatment

Luiana Maia, 19, a student of History at the University of Brasília (UNB) admitted through the quota system, says the treatment of professors toward black students is different from that accorded to whites. “He already has that conception, though unconscious, of what is black. The black girl’s hair, for example, is viewed differently when she arrives at school with it standing up (natural). The professor even asks that she tie it up, saying to be careful (not to get) lice. With the white girl it’s not like this,” she recalls.

For her, the course material is also not suitable. “The black students do not feel represented by the books they use. They only see themselves in shackles and the whip. The student is only sees him/herself in the inferior position, comes home dejected, (and) that impacts the performance”, she compares.

Humberto Borges, 18, a student of Language and Literature who also entered the UnB through the quota system, says that as a teenager he always represented the Big Bad Wolf in the year-end school play.

“Until the last year when another black student came to my class and when we went to put the play together, the teacher asked: and now, who will be the Big Bad Wolf? Humberto or what’s his name? Only then did I realize the subtlety,” he says.

Humberto Borges: recognized the subtleties of racism

For Secretary of Continuing Education, Literacy and Diversity of the Ministry of Education, André Lázaro, public school reproduces forms of exclusion that directly affect the student’s self-esteem and their performance.

“The challenge today is to train everybody, whatever the condition of their arrival. The public school today, albeit unconsciously or mechanical, produces very painful forms of exclusion. To learn you have to have confidence that you can learn,” he says.

Source: Educacionista

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About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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