I want to unpack what Biden did here because his response issues a few common (and racist) conflations about Black kids, poor kids, and their families.
First, his refusal to acknowledge, apologize for, or correct his prior statements that dismissed the links between slavery and segregation in education, indicated he may not actually know how racism is linked to educational outcomes.
What he knows about is...poverty.
This happens ALL. THE. TIME. Even among professionals who care for children.
When confronted with the impact and legacy of racism, people pivot to poverty, as if poverty encompasses the inequities facing the descendants of enslaved Africans or as if all Black people are poor.
Conflating racism with poverty misses how racism affects children independent of their economic status. It also misses that not all Black kids are poor.
So addressing poverty in schools will not mitigate the broad impacts of racism on student achievement and outcomes.
There is a relationship between devalued Black labor, land theft, segregation, and wage disparities that unjustly concentrate poverty in Black communities. But addressing poverty without challenging union exclusion, wage inequities and plunder does little to mitigate these gaps.
Instead of challenging racism and the legacies of slavery, Biden and other professionals decry “problems in the home,” vilify Black parents, and promote the institutionalization of Black kids (social workers have historically been used to remove kids and separate Black families).
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