The Government Lies

Research Paper #1

American Ideals and Education: How it’s a Racist Capitalist

The United States is a country that succeeds on capitalism. The problems with capitalism are overlooked and society is indoctrinated to think it’s the only way of life. I would like to analyze capitalism as a whole but the guidelines of the paper restrict me from doing that. I will analyze some problems that exist that help capitalism succeed. The problem that I am analyzing is education and racial profiling and how it is used to keep white privilege, U.S. imperialism and capitalism (Socio-economic theory) prominent through media and the education system. In Ethnic Studies classes we discussed about hegemony and how the United States has mastered hegemony to indoctrinate the world with our capitalistic and imperialistic ideals. Being a bi-racial person or a minority, in the United States, we need to learn for ourselves about our true history. The education system in the United States has evident biases towards U.S. Imperialism and Capitalism. Some problems capitalism needs to prosper are not beneficial for the well being of society.

The education system is a system set up to form every individual into a group thinker and a believer of whatever America wants you to believe. The education system is used to make us all obedient and prepare most of us for a job that will benefit the ruling class. Education is also used to educate the future ruling classes by the present ruling classes. The wealthy educate and network with the wealthy. The beginning of primary education, what some call “youth concentration camps,” does not encourage individual thought, but encourages us to be naive and submissive to what a teacher tells us. The whole structure of primary school is to train students to obey authority. School is like any other hierarchical structured organization, with hundreds or thousands of students and making them subordinate to a much smaller number of faculty and administration. Children are nothing more than a raw material that is subjugated by rank or grade and is processed to become respectable citizens. A respectable citizen is seen as someone who does not question hegemony and the socio-economic system which America strives on. Children who are taught to obey authority at a young age will be more disposed to obey authority as adults. America’s school system is perfect in accomplishing the goal of socio-economic theory to prevail in many ways because it prepares student to obey the will of few teachers and administrators, as adult workers obey the will of a few bosses and bourgeoisie. The school structure promotes emotional and intellectual dependency. Students are dependent on the teacher to decide what is to be learned and how it is to be learned. Students do not question things themselves or take control over their own intellectual development instead their opinions are biased towards what the teacher thinks. Students are thus trained to allow others to do their thinking for them, which is well suited to a society in which a small minority (wealthy) dominates the majority. Education is used not only to socially structure American children, but it also is used to form the sense of American patriotism. This is clearly obvious when you look at how history is taught.

History is warped and biased towards reinforcing the dominant socio-economic order. Racism and anti-racism are often ignored, and the origins, evolution, and causes of racism are hardly ever analyzed. When discussing historical figures like Albert Einstien, Martin Luther King Jr., and Helen Keller their socialist beliefs are often ignored, as are the white supremacist thoughts of Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill. Students aren’t taught about the many atrocities that American foreign policy has done throughout history, such as the CIA in Zaire, Iran, Guatemala, Chile, and many other places. United States foreign policy is always seen as an international good guy throughout our readings in primary school. The positive things done by the government are exploited and blown up, while the negatives are played down and not paid much attention too. The class structure is something that has been downplayed throughout history where the entire society is viewed as middle class, giving no analysis of a real class structure at all. Overall primary education history books portray an image of a great nation that overcomes obstacles by distorting history in such a way that fosters a loyalty to the government and to the dominant socio-economic system. In order to change all this we would have to change the laws which have been established to control what primary schools can teach in their curriculum. For example Texas education law states, “Textbook content shall promote citizenship and understanding of the essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, emphasize patriotism and respect for recognized authority, and promote respect for individual rights.” Textbooks “shall not encourage life styles deviating from generally accepted standards of society nor should they include selections which serves to undermine authority, or which would cause embarrassing situations of interference in the learning atmosphere of the classroom”(Delfattor 139). Thus, Texas’s textbook laws explicitly state that textbooks should not teach children to think for themselves and form their own opinions but that they should believe in the dominant socio-economic system. Most states have similar guidelines, although not all are as explicit and there are significant variations. We see how the education structure can be a messenger of capitalism and patriotism. The racial constructions that are built in the United States are another point I would like to analyze.

In past classes, I have read about the colonization of Africa and how the Natives were forced to accept white religion, white law, and patriarchy. I also read about the sociological and psychological trauma that can arise from colonization, such as a man killing himself because of the new laws and religion that were imposed on him. The colonization process also imposed racial-social constructs, such as the lighter skinned you are the better and those type of colonizing constructs are still affecting things today. I have analyzed the structure of education and now I want to analyze education and prison and how race affects both and how the numbers show this bias of white privilege.

How are the young African American men and women targeted for educational achievement? The United States has a target on the 18-25 year-old age group when it comes to crime but how about helping that same group accomplish educational achievement. Education is free up until you got to college and then you have to pay for it. That alone puts minorities at a disadvantage because we have seen throughout economic history that minorities make less money than whites doing the same jobs. You must then score well on the SAT or ACT to be accepted into college which is also another obstacle that has been thrown in the way for minority students to strive academically. On the SAT about 75 thousand students out of 125 thousand scored above a 700 in math and about 60 thousand scored over 700 in English, out of these numbers only about 2 percent are African American, making there chances of getting into top colleges more difficult. “According to the American Council on Education, the graduation rate of black men is the lowest of any population. Only 35 percent of black men who enrolled in NCAA division I schools graduate within six years, 59 percent white graduates, 46 percent Hispanic male graduates, 41 percent American Indian male graduates, and 45 percent African American female graduates” (SP Times). “If this current trend of African American male college dropouts continues than by 2097 all bachelors’ degrees received by African Americans will be by the women, as of today 1.9 million black women have degrees and only 1.2 million black men have degrees. When these numbers get crunched can we say that race matters in the outcome of African Americans in education? I say yes. Many schools would let African American’s learn Algebra but not let them learn any higher than that in fear that classes like Calculus would ruin their athletic teams. “Only 15 percent of African American students have taken Calculus and the majority of them were female and only 65 percent of black students have taken English Composition courses” (Journal of Blacks in Higher Education).

High Schools that racially bias there education for the benefit of the school is what we are seeing in some instances. The high school can make money off athletic events so there great athletes will be given easy classes to ensure they stay eligible to play in these events. These instances are not preparing that person for a future it’s denying him a future. Education is something that should be offered equally and should prepare everyone to at least have the opportunity to go to and be educated for college. The classes being altered to make that easy schedule is often seen with the Minority students, the white athletes still take some of those challenging courses, but the black athlete is curved away from taking these courses like calculus and other advanced type classes. It is also hard to fully understand what some of the African American students go through just to get to school and some inner-city schools are in so bad of shape learning has to be hard in those environments. Witnessing friends be killed or poor lighted class rooms these things also affect how you are educated. That is why affirmative action is necessary because it takes into account all of this as well as there academic achievement. Cornell West’s thoughts on Affirmative Action, “Even if affirmative action fails significantly to reduce black poverty or contributes to the persistence of racist perceptions in the workplace, without affirmative action, black access to America’s prosperity would be even more difficult to obtain and racism in the workplace would persist anyway”(West 95). Now we see this before they get to college well some African American men are making it to college but are dropping out, solutions need to be made on how to retain these men and get them college degrees. African American women have caught up to and surpassed the men in receiving a college degree as was shown in the numbers I stated earlier. Means need to be found on how we can get African Americans and male in general to graduate at better rate than we have seen. One way that would help is a strong faculty of black intellectuals that can educate the black students and show them that African Americans are intelligent and are not just athletes. Media needs to play a more positive role as well because you see all this advertisements for athletes and rappers but you don’t see advertisements that make you want to go to college. The portrayal of success for a Black man is in sports or music, but needs to be in college. This country has made progress in making college accessible to African American high school graduates, but now they need to work on assisting African American undergraduates and helping them graduate with their desired degrees. They need to build that sense of hope for all people and not just worry about economic perks and getting the black man through high school get him into college but get him a degree. In doing this paper I learned that African American women are raising the bar and doing a better job of finding the way to the finish line and getting that degree.

The days of segregation and unequal rights are in the past, or at least that’s what the government wants to portray. However the African American men are more likely to educate themselves in prison than they are to graduate college, and African American women are daily increasing their prison population. The police now do the segregating by racial profiling and putting African Americans in prison instead of educating them and encouraging them to go to college.

When you analyze the United States prison population you see the leader statistically is African Americans.” Among the more than 2 million prisoners, an estimated 577,300 were black men between 20 and 39” (2003 Jail Fact Sheet). The percentage of black men in prison was more than double the percentage of white men in prison. “Since 1995 the number of women in prison has grown nearly twice as fast as the number of men in prison.” (2003 Jail fact sheet). Black women are 4.5 times more likely to be imprisoned than white women. Most of the people that are in jail are in there for drug related activity. Drug related crimes make up the highest percentage of criminals in prison. The drug war is what has put many of the black women in jail. According to the federal Household Survey, “most illicit drug users are white. There were an estimated 9.9 million whites (72 percent of all users), 2 million blacks (15 percent), and 1.4 million Hispanics (10 percent) who were current illicit drug users in 1998.” “And yet, blacks constitute 37 percent of those arrested for drug violations, over 42 percent of those in federal prisons for drug violations. African Americans comprise almost 58 percent of those in state prisons for drug felonies; Hispanics account for 21 percent” (Household Survey on Drug Abuse).

This statistical information shows how the justice system is unjust. Cornell West tried to get people to understand that race matters and that you can overcome that by reanalyzing your whole way of life. However people that grow up on the streets and see that its all about money and staying alive its hard to educate these people in a way that most whites are being educated. However the race is a difference and anyone that says other wise is being naïve. According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, only 33 percent of convicted white defendants received prison sentences, while 51 percent of convicted African Americans received prison sentences. How can people see these numbers and say that there are no racial biases in the Justice system. They call the justice system blind, but justice sure isn’t color blind.

The United States has continued to use the lighter the better racial construct and the un-education of minorities to keep white privilege. Class is more dangerous than racism to the government based on the current economic problems in America. Class will not properly be fought until you can educate poor white and minorities that we have more in common with each other than with the few wealthy that have power. In the United States today we are building more prisons than we are schools, does this portray the lack of money available for the majority that we are committing more crimes today? Or is there an agenda that we not know about until all of the minorities are in jail? These are just questions that I think we need to be aware of. No question should be disregarded based on our country wouldn’t do that, because our government has ruined and exploited many lives and many beautiful environments. Racism should not exist and a newly constructed education system and the increase in minority retention efforts in college will hopefully be two baby steps forward in a mile journey.

Works Cited

Critical Resistance: 2003 Prison and Jail Fact Sheet

Delfattor, Joan. What Johnny shouldn’t read

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education 97

.(www.sptimes.com/2004/01/01/Columns/On_Campus_grim_stati.shtml

West, Cornell. Race Matters. Beacon Press: Boston 1993

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Propaganda is all around you question everything and formulate your own views and morals.

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