DOUBLE STANDARDS – Feds look into discipline rates in Seattle schools

“SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Department of Education is investigating the high rate at which black students are disciplined in Seattle Public Schools, a problem that has plagued the district for decades.”

Well good for the feds; it’s high time.

This is in the context of a general culture-wide conception of black people as especially troublesome, violent, crime-prone – requiring special measures to restrain all that, for their own good of course. That’s always been the justification. That’s the justification offered for the way police interact with young black men. School is supposed to be a safe place for children? Pffft… These schools, and probably the same is true across the country, are indoctrinating these kids, and all their peers watching all this too, in the same racist lies as society at large does.

This article concerns Seattle but I doubt the situation down the road in Tacoma is much different. I don’t know the statistics for Tacoma but I do know that when I taught there almost 20 years ago a lot of elementary school teachers assumed and expected black kids to be more unruly or more troublesome even when they plainly were not. It was vague and subtle, but that is exactly the unaddressed “common sense” nonsense that quite often forms the basis for disciplinary decisions – harshness of penalties, judgment on who started what, etc.

“According to district data, in the 2011-2012 school year, nearly 13 percent of black high school students received at least one short-term suspension. The equivalent figure for white students was just under 4 percent. In middle schools, the rate was 7 percent of white students and 27 percent of blacks.”

Racial double standards are not the only double standards when it comes ot disciplinary actions in schools, are they?

So I wonder what the school districts records would show on discipline rates for boys and girls. Because as we all know, boys are just more unruly in class, concentrate less, color outside the lines more. Boys are just trouble – throw rocks at them. Actually that’s only if you can’t handle your male students as well as your female students – if you are professionally incompetent, in other words.

I really would love to see those disciplinary stats for Seattle broken down by gender, as well as the hidden disciplinary stats – the stats that show Ritalin and Adderal usage as administered in the schools.

Do you think there will be many surprises?

Latest posts by Jim Doyle (see all)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmailby feather
  • Clarence

    I don’t know what you are expecting Gingko.
    Considering the amount of fatherlessness, poverty, and crime in many areas in which black children tend to live , to expect that they’d behave in the highly artificial environment of school exactly the same as other children who don’t have as many of these problems seems foolish to me. Now, I don’t have a problem with checking into this and making sure that no actual discrimination is occuring (for instance: same first offense one kid treated different than the other) but what I always caution against is taking disparities in outcome and saying that they, by themselves, prove discrimination of one type or another.

  • http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com stonerwithaboner

    Hey Ginko, you were talking about Kurt Cobain–grunge–Seattle…

    at some point Jimi Hendrix is going to have to come into the discussion…

  • Ginkgo

    Clarence,
    “Considering the amount of fatherlessness, poverty, and crime in many areas in which black children tend to live , to expect that they’d behave in the highly artificial environment of school exactly the same as other children who don’t have as many of these problems seems foolish to me.”

    Two things – first, I hope they control for these factors when they tabulate these differneces in disciplinary actions. Second thing – I hope they highlight these factors as dysfunctions.

    “but what I always caution against is taking disparities in outcome and saying that they, by themselves, prove discrimination of one type or another.”

    Yes, yes, yes. In my business we call those indicators rather than evidence. They are a basis for further investigation, not for any conclusions, unless they happen to add to the point that they become evidence. What you are talking about is basic methodological rigor.

  • Ginkgo

    SWAB, Hendrix is our national composer. May he rest in peace. And anyway, I don’t think anyone has tried to pimp him as any kind of feminist icon.

  • SensitiveThug

    I’ll certainly be surprised if there’s much methodological rigour in the investigation, but who knows. It seems to be a rare government or academic study that has any kind of honesty in terms of gender. Perhaps it’s better when investigating race and discrimination.

    That said, whether or not there’s discrimination against black kids in school discipline, obviously there is a huge amount elsewhere in their lives.

    I’ve always thought it would be interesting to hear from people who’ve conducted these kinds of investigations. Perhaps one day they can enlighten me as to why so much research seems so biased to me.

  • Ginkgo

    “It seems to be a rare government or academic study that has any kind of honesty in terms of gender.”

    When government is involved the process is inherrently politicized. This is a universal principle. In the Han Dynasty a huge controversy broke over the fucking calendar. Seriously. People on the losing side were condemned and executed. This is so universal a tendency that the US military has absolutely no sense of humor when it comes to political partisanship in the officer corps. People can talk, but thyey had damned sure not be talking to troops or showing up at political functions in uniform.

  • Valkina

    Sorry for going off topic.But some time ago you guys have written about Anita Sarkeesian videos about women vs. troop in games.I that you might be interested in this.

    She released the first video Damsel in Distress: Part 1.

    Again,Sorry for going off topic.

  • http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com stonerwithaboner

    Valkina…

    I only got 5 minutes into that…

    however….

    wouldn’t Princess Leia unfreezing Han solo from his carbon prison in the Star Wars trilogy be a “reverse” of the damsel in distress???

    Anyways, yeah, I think that could open doors to bigger things–she says loosely translated it is (young) woman in anxiety….

    The truth is men in distress are told to pull themselves up by their bootstraps….

    statistics illustrate this by men supposedly having lower rates of depression but higher suicide rates….

  • http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com stonerwithaboner

    “I don’t think anyone has tried to pimp him as any kind of feminist icon.”

    makes me like him even more…

    but yeah, maybe a discussion on “masculinity”….

  • Clarence

    I got down to the last 2 minutes of that video and with a few exceptions, it wasn’t that bad.
    Of course she twisted the analysis in the end – that was the whole point. But there was some interesting video game history in there, and sometimes her ‘damsel in distress’ trope was useful, though she neglected to add how many times the MALE CHARACTER typically dies before one finally ‘rescues’ the depowered damsel. She also neglects the fact that the majority of game players throughout that time period were teen and preteen boys and maybe some younger men and of course you play to your demographics, esp. as explicit sexuality is often illegal (and you know she’ll frown on THAT too) so they need something to keep them playing. And in r/l I think Link (as an example) would start to wonder if Zelda is really WORTH risking his life all the time, but to the game worlds its taken as a given that every Damsel In Distress is WORTH the ultimate sacrifice. No matter how many times you have to make it. And of course she whines about a single punch by a street punk to a woman he is kidnapping in double dragon, apparently missing all the male bodies in that game.

    Yep , this woman is a real ‘piece of work’ as they say.

  • http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com stonerwithaboner
  • Schala

    “While one could easily imagine a game where a peacock moves from level to level by out-competing his rivals, it’s less easy to imagine a game centered around female choice of partners (more succinctly, while Twilight might make an appealing series of books and movies, it might not make a good video game).”

    From page 2 of the article.

    I entirely agree with this.

    The solution is to make “the male role” unisex, so that female protagonist can also compete, and you change the reward from “mating chance” to “honor, glory, money, experience”. MMORPGs have done this usually.

    You won’t have the Twilight-like so-called female perspective except vaguely, in The Sims, where nothing really happens (nothing forcing a change, no adventure, no combat, no solution solving, only time and relationship managing).

  • Clarence

    Schala:
    Most men want to be men, not ‘unisex’ whatever that is.
    Alot of video games are hero or romantic fantasies (or often both). Who really cares? In a way that’s what pisses me off the most about this bitch’s ‘review’. Take Zelda for instance. There’s always been lots of male and female fan fiction about Link and Zelda. Many teen boys have had a CRUSH on this silly video game girl, same as I admit always liking Lora Croft’s ass and boobs. But not to Sarkeesian. Oh, no, the male characters(and by extension the mostly male players) never love or care for the women they have to rescue. Instead they merely try to get them back because they consider them a piece of property or something. This is remarkably insulting to both the video game characters (if Link was real do you honestly believe he doesn’t care for Zelda as a person?!!) and the young men and boys who play them.
    I’m all for adding more female playable characters, and certainly I don’t mind games where you don’t have to rescue anyone, nor games where *gasp* the main character gets rescued by someone, whether female or male.
    But this kind of one sided analysis is ridiculously reductive.
    Gasp! A woman was rescued in a game at a certain point. This of course invalidates anything else the woman’s character might have done or might do later or earlier in the game. The horror! The sexism!

    This woman is having a big joke at men and women gamers expense.

  • Clarence

    I should have reworded some of what I wrote.
    What I mean is that EVEN THOUGH Lora Croft isn’t real , she is depicted as muy sexy. And I noticed, and even though I’m in the real world and she’s not, I kinda wish she was…and in my bed too! Well some go farther than mere sexual desire and actually develop feelings for established game characters, both male and female. I admit to crying during parts of certain video game story arcs.

    But I guess we are just men. We don’t have emotions, we just have sexual property and the others we feel like oppressing that day.

  • Clarence

    I apologize to Ginko for going off target. If he wants to get back to the Seattle schools discussion (which is an important issue, even if the cause isn’t out and out discrimination), I’m game.

  • Clarence

    AARGH, I can’t type what I WANT to say today.
    Gingko, I mean that WHETHER the cause is or is not discrimination, the issue of school discipline and how it affects black boys is an important one. I didn’t mean to sound like I KNOW that my opinion is correct.

    Schala: I guess what I’m trying to say is that most boys want to act like themselves. Often this will be (not always as you, I’m sure, well know) stereotypical male behavior and they want to do so without guilt or shame for being themselves. They really don’t want to get up in the morning and check off a list of stereotypical ‘male ‘ and ‘female’ behaviors and make sure they are evenly balanced so they can represent some kind of unisex.

  • http://danipettas.com Dani Pettas

    It sounds similar to the NYPD stop and frisk thing. The NY Times link says “black and Hispanic young men” have made up “85 percent of those stopped.”

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/s/stop_and_frisk/

  • Paul

    The reason Twilight would make a shitty game is not because of “female choice of partners” it would make a shitty game because Bella spends the entire story arc doing *nothing* except reacting to what everybody around her does. There’s not a proactive bone in her entire body.

    so it would basically be this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36o71Z9uwpw

  • Schala

    The reason Twilight would make a shitty game is not because of “female choice of partners” it would make a shitty game because Bella spends the entire story arc doing *nothing* except reacting to what everybody around her does. There’s not a proactive bone in her entire body.

    in answer to Clarence:

    Most men want to be men, not ‘unisex’ whatever that is.

    The pro-active role (like Link’s) should be unisex. You can be men without needing women to take passive roles, right? Then that makes the pro-active role unisex. Unlike Twilight where Bella does nothing at all.

  • Ginkgo

    Valkina, if that a dreailment, it’s a good one! Thanks!

    Clarence,
    “Gingko, I mean that WHETHER the cause is or is not discrimination, the issue of school discipline and how it affects black boys is an important one. I didn’t mean to sound like I KNOW that my opinion is correct.”

    Wow, I thought you worded your comment pretty carefully not to give any sense like what you think I may have taken. I thougth you were just making a very important and valid methodological point.

    If this issue were specific to black boys that wuld make it important enough for me on those merits. But I am almost certain it is not specific ot black boys. What I think oges on is black boys get the double whammy – black and male – both presumed to be trouble.. Black girls probably get disciplined as often and as severely as white boys, white girls less on both parameters than anyone.

    Dani, I agree that it’s connected. This all comes out of the same stereotype. I think incarceartion rates reflect the same mentality.

  • Adiabat

    Ginkgo: “When government is involved the process is inherrently politicized. This is a universal principle.”

    Yep, when you mix politics and science you get politics.

    As much as it goes against my instincts I think what’s needed is some sort of blacklist of “researchers” who routinely produce obvious garbage that they try to pass off as research (even if they have deluded themselves into thinking they are doing something of value). Also what’s needed is for credible subjects to ‘call out’ those subjects which are known for producing this politically biased research. It’s nice to see SWAB’s link below showing a popular Psychology magazine’s exposure of Sarkeesian’s “Women’s Studies” style research into games.

    Imagine if we could foster a ‘culture of mocking’ in universities and general media towards such subjects. I think everyone, as in the general public, already secretly knows that those subjects are bullshit; we just need to bring such sentiments out into the open.

  • EquilibriumShift

    I’m starting to like psychology today more and more. Every time I see a PhD/PhD candidate psychologist address gender issues, I get critical thinking and discussion, rather than regurgitation.

  • Ginkgo

    “As much as it goes against my instincts I think what’s needed is some sort of blacklist of “researchers” who routinely produce obvious garbage that they try to pass off as research ”

    It’s called ‘professional reputation” and there is nothing wrong with this process. Your reputation is everything in that world. I know of several in lingustics who have shaky reputations when it comes ot specific areas – Merrit Ruhlen is thought to be very loose in his groupings of languages, Morris Sawedsh was a by-word for loopy theories, and then of course there is Chomsky, whose reputation is steadily being undermined as people are calling bullshit.

  • Adiabat

    EquilibriumShift: I agree. I wonder if it’s because psychology as a subject has been through it’s own fair share of mockery a few decades ago. It used to have a bit of a reputation of being a bit ‘hit-and-miss’ when it came to scientific validity, which caused it to pull its socks up and push for genuinely valid research wherever possible among its students and professionals. Women’s Studies academics can learn a lot from the history of Psychology as a subject.

    Ginkgo: Re Professional reputation

    Maybe it’s the scientific idealist in me which dislikes the idea of judging the messenger rather than the message, but you’re right that there comes a point where pragmatism must take priority.

    I also worry that a bad reputation only really has an effect in subjects that care about making genuine discoveries about its subject which apply to the world as it really is; and Women’s Studies isn’t one of these subjects.

  • Schala

    “I also worry that a bad reputation only really has an effect in subjects that care about making genuine discoveries about its subject which apply to the world as it really is; and Women’s Studies isn’t one of these subjects.”

    It might not have that much of an effect even in places trying to “make genuine discoveries”.

    This is from wikipedia:

    “Blanchard coined the term “autogynephilia” to describe men with an erotic desire to be women and hypothesized that all gender dysphoria in biological males are variants of only two types: homosexual gender dysphoria and non-homosexual gender dysphoria. The former are attracted to men, while the latter are attracted to the idea of themselves being a woman.[12] Within the transsexual community, there has been much controversy surrounding Blanchard’s ideas.[13]

    Blanchard supports public funding of sex reassignment surgery as an appropriate treatment for transsexual people, as he believes the available evidence supports that the surgery helps them live more comfortably and happily, with high satisfaction rates.[14]”

    See, he thinks trans women are all weird men with sexual fetishes, but that surgery helps and should be funded. Generally, people agreeing with his premise disagree with his conclusion.

    Yet, look at his reputation:

    ” In 1980, he joined the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry (now part of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health).[2] In 1995 Blanchard was named Head of Clinical Sexology Services in the Law and Mental Health Programme of the CAMH, and he serves as a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He served on the American Psychiatric Association DSM-IV Subcommittee on Gender Identity Disorders[3] and was named to the DSM-5 committee. According to the Web of Science, Blanchard’s scientific articles have been cited more than 1800 times, with an h-index of 27.[4]”

    Doesn’t seem to be reviled. He has a big paying job at CAMH where he checks sex offenders and (adult) trans people to assess them for transition stuff. This is with public funds. Yet, he’s obviously a hater, and anyone who’s read his work can very quickly find Grand Canyon-sized flaws in his thinking.

    J Michael Bailey is a follower of that guy, notorious for being anti-trans and anti-gay male while having some strange attraction to trans women (whom he thinks are men). He’s similar to ex-gay conservative people, and would find a comfortable seat at NARTH given his politics that selectively aborting gay fetuses is morally neutral, because they’re never born (hence they never suffer). Even if such a policy would aim at eradicating gayness (obviously).

  • Ginkgo

    “Maybe it’s the scientific idealist in me which dislikes the idea of judging the messenger rather than the message, but you’re right that there comes a point where pragmatism must take priority.”

    Adiabat, ideally it never becomes anything more than an expedient. Then inertia the reliance on reputaion imposes is the main reason scintific revolutions take so long to catch on.

    And thank you, Schala, for pointing out with such clear examples the perils of putting too much stock in professional reputations. Eeewwwww.