The New York Times’ recent analysis on the racial demographics of American college student bodies illustrate the reality of our country’s educational system, that is, one which propels white bodies forward while sabotaging black and brown bodies. This article, published on August 24, makes it clear that the Trump administration’s proposed educational budget cuts and initiatives to investigate affirmative action decisions are completely unfounded. Given the current situation, implementing programs to develop educational facilities and hire trained teaching faculty in underserved communities seems of paramount importance, but instead Trump’s budget proposal encourages a discombobulated Robin Hood trope; officials want to cut funding from poor schools in order to increase funding for already well-funded schools, thereby reinforcing the institutionalized racism that exists in our country’s school systems.
The government taking this action would be counterproductive to say the least; residents of poor and underserved communities are entitled to quality education from grade school to undergraduate and beyond, but the success of so many brilliant young individuals continues to be stymied when their access to elite colleges and universities is hindered by lackluster educational facilities and faculty at the K-12 level. Medicaid cuts have also been suggested in Trump’s budget, which would force impoverished and special-needs students to relinquish services essential to their learning such as vision screening and speech therapy. Even for students from these underserved communities who graduate from high school and gain acceptance into college, there are still obstacles to college enrollment such as student loan cost. The Trump administration is clearly not prioritizing these students and instead seeks to cut all federal student loan subsidies. It takes no expert to see that these students and their communities continue to be neglected, so it truly comes as no surprise that the situation has worsened and that blacks and hispanics are even more underrepresented now than they were 35 years ago on college campuses. Let this New York Times analysis serve as yet another undeniable testament to the injustices that blacks and hispanics face in this country, but also let it serve as a call to action; our government needs to do better.
More funds need to be allocated to the improvement of impoverished schools, and federal loan subsidies and affirmative action should remain in place because of the support they provide to students from underrepresented communities. In order to catalyze change in this country’s educational system, we need sustained initiatives that are targeted at underserved communities. For example, more Advanced Placement classes should be offered and taught by appropriately trained teachers; Advanced Placement courses can look impressive to college admission boards, and prepare enrolled students for college-level classes.
As individuals, we can all do our own part to expose the toxic rhetoric and topple the harmful power structures that perpetuate the trends outlined herein; whether it be by educating a peer or family member, engaging in a demonstration or writing to a local government official, we should all strive to positively contribute to narratives that empower and uplift oppressed people.
Contact Kasey Halsey at [email protected]