By: Serena Crawford
Young black girls have to work much harder in school than their white counterparts. They must walk on eggshells in order to remain in the classroom and to avoid detention or suspension. Many teachers punish black girl unfairly and punish them often for infractions that most of the time aren’t even infractions. This all stems from stereotypes about black women that ends up falling on the shoulders of young girls.
Black women are commonly stereotyped as being loud and aggressive. So when the young girls are in school that stereotype has teachers on the lookout and if they see anything that they think is even remotely aggressive they jump into action and the young girl is punished. Freelance writer Ashley Ford stated that when she was a child she was put into detention because the teacher said that she sneezed too loudly. She states that black women speak emphatically but that is part of the culture. It is not them being aggressive, it is not them giving someone else an attitude. It is just the way that they were raised. There is nothing rude or disrespectful about it and yet black women and black girls are being punished for it.
A report recently came out from San Francisco that stated that black women make up 5.8% of the female population and yet 45% of the women that are incarcerated are black. This all trickles back down to the young black girls in school who continue to be punished often for things they shouldn’t be so severely punished for. The New York Times released a report last year that showed just how big the difference was for black girls in public schools. They reported that 12% of black girls in elementary schools were suspended per year as opposed to 2%. They told stories of black girls who committed minor infractions that their white counterparts were merely given detention for but the black girls were suspended, or had the police called, or had to pay a fine.
Once these girls are punished so severely the preschool to prison pipeline is activated. If they are continuously punished for minor infractions or no infraction at all they will begin to feel like there is nothing they can do that is right so they may as well act up if they are going to be punished no matter what they do.