Study: Black Teachers are Just as Likely as White Teachers to Disproportionately Punish Black Students

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Implicit bias makes teachers of all races more likely to punish black students than white students for the same misbehavior, according to a new Stanford University study, the Huffington Post reports.

In an experiment, teachers of all races exhibited unconscious bias against students with “black-sounding names.” Researchers showed teachers the school records of misbehaving students. The researchers attached stereotypical names (such as DeShawn and Jake) to each record.


The result showed that all teachers were more likely to label DeShawn as a troublemaker than they were willing to label Jake. They also unconsciously recommended harsher punishment for the students with black-sounding names. Surprisingly, like their white counterparts, black teachers would also punish black students disproportionately.

“I think that it attests to the pervasiveness of stereotype effects,” lead author of the study, Jason Okonofua, told the Huffington Post. “Research has demonstrated that exposure to media influences the stereotypical associations we all make in our daily lives. Thus, all teachers, regardless of race, are more likely to think a black child, as compared to a white child, is a troublemaker.”

This suggests that the consequences of implicit bias are just as destructive to black lives as conscious racism is.

What are the solutions? Start with awareness of implicit bias and make a conscious effort to change. Research says our brains are not “hardwired” for bias.


Read more at the Huffington Post

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