Oppression in Schools
In relation to this essay, the term oppression can be defined as exerting authority or domineering in an unjust conduct. Oppression as a concept might be thought as something of the past, but various books and article reveal different forms of oppression in diverse schools in America. The assorted forms of oppression in grade schools, high schools and colleges will be clarified in the essay.
Oppression can be in the form of poverty as a result of the economic restrictions and tendencies of capitalism (Anyon 98). Poverty as a theme in the “Indian Education” book by Alexie, reveals how poverty was persistent in India such that a young Indian boy quotes, “My school and my tribe are so poor that we still study from the same books our parents studied from.” Also in another part of the book, it has been quoted that, “Poverty does not teach or give you lessons on perseverance. Poverty only teaches someone to be poor.” Hence, poverty is perceived in pessimistic viewpoint despite the fact that many people have risen from poverty to riches. For example, the famous actress Halle Berry came from a poor background such that, in her early twenties she stayed in a homeless shelter. However, she managed to work hard in her career, and she excelled (Daniels 34).
Oppression in the form of racism is evident in the same book where a teacher narrates his perception of Indians by quoting “During my early years of teaching in this school, we beat the rowdy students up to the point of almost killing them.” This shows how much the school perpetuated oppression of people of a certain race till to the point of almost taking their life. Whether the teacher claimed that he did not mean it literally or not, the statement proves an inward perception of prejudiced race (Daniels 65).
Racism as a form of oppression is also shown in Kozel’s book, “Still separate, Still equal” where in an extract, the author describes how Mexican girls were at times raped or kidnapped, but nothing much was done about the situation. When the same case happened to white girls, people showed more concern. The excerpt stated that, “More than two hundred Mexican girls have vanished lately but nobody seems to show much concern. However, when white girls disappear, the situation is enough to cause alarm in the whole planet.” This shows the double standards applied in the justice systems of countries where people of a certain race are showed more justice. This is despite this been the twenty first century where democracy is said to prevail in the world (Anyon 65).
The education system and low economy can be a source of oppression especially to the under privileged as found in Anyon’s journal as quoted “ The working class schools comprises of students whose parents do unskilled or semi skilled jobs such as been security guards, bar maids or sales clerks. Most of these families live below the federal poverty level.” On the other hand, “in the capitalist school/ elite executive school most of the parents of these students work in the top positions in companies the country in the form of presidents and vice presidents. In such schools there are no poor people since the fees structure is too high for them” This shows that economic strains can be a cause of distress for the poor, but the rich are hardly affected and most of them even if they are affected, it is within a small margin. Economic strain can continue to be source oppression if the poor continue to be poorer (because of poor educational background due to economic limitation) such that they can hardly meet the basic needs such as food, shelter and clothes.
In another editorial by Daniels, College lecturers: Is anybody listening? he notes that, large classrooms hardly ever encourage interacting between students since the lectures teach but the students do not understand, and students hardly ever have time to ask questions or discuss amongst themselves (Kozol 76). This leads to students reading for themselves and with such an environment, neither the lecturer nor the student achieve their learning objectives. The author notes that, for teachers to achieve teaching objectives, they must interact and communicate with the students. The lectures must ask questions or come up with ways to encourage students to open up if they are passive such as organize for class discussions and presentations. Through such an interaction students knowledge and understanding can be increased and improved. This is because some students are generally shy thus even if they do not understand in class, they will hardly ask the lecturer and are more comfortable consulting their friends than their lecturers.
Daniels is of the opinion that, smaller classes should be encouraged since in large classes; the aim of education is not achieved leading to educating oppression and injustice. This is because some classes may be too large such that the people at the back can hardly hear what the lecturer says, or some are slower in learning than others. Other students also tend to easily get distracted. For example, with the evolvement of technology gadgets such as phones can distract students in the form of login social sites or listening to music and watching a movie in class.
Some of the recommendations can be useful in dealing with oppress in all school levels include but not limited to: government working with relevant ministries to improve economy to ensure equality in terms of learning, provide social amenities such as schools pay teachers better to motivate them to work harder. In addition to better and put-up strict rules and laws against racism and education conditions (Kozol 46).
In conclusion, the government and the human race at large has a great role to play in order to ensure social injustice/oppression in none existence to its lowest possible level.