Within the President’s 2020 education budget request, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos gave testimony to a House appropriations subcommittee last week in Washington DC. Within a short back and forth between Devos and Katherine Clark, United States Representative for Massachusetts's 5th congressional district, DeVos unapologetically stood behind non-black research used within a recent report justifying the removal of Obama-era school discipline guidance. The Obama guidance was beseeched to not only inhibit the national disproportionate Black v. White suspension rate, but it also attempted to curtail the school-to-prison pipeline countless education researchers, such as myself, have studied.
The report DeVos submitted is nothing but a product that essentially is a reproduction of systemic racism. In order for a reproduction of systemic racism to transpire, and “subsequent measures of control to be not only in place but legitimized, an entrenchment of inferiority directed toward the marginalized is needed.” The use of systemic reproduction of racism is what created and maintains the establishment of two separate worlds—one White and one deemed Black.
DeVos and the research she used as the foundation for her misguided justification for the removal of said guidance dates back much further than DeVos can count. During the late 19th and early 20th century, White so-called intellectuals William Shockley to Charles Murray have attempted to depict Blacks as less intelligent, more violent, immoral, sexual monsters, and on and on. DeVos and her findings are nothing but 21st-century scientific racism.
Terence Fitzgerald Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work
Clinical Associate Professor focused on policy, family and children, social inequality, and institutional racism.