Systematic racism has long infiltrated the education system within the United States. With the latest changes in the laws geared towards affirmative action and the changes in how Black history is being presented to students across the country, it is apparent that there is still much work to be done. Emphasizing that fact, a new nationwide study reveals that teachers perceive higher “conflict” with Black boys in the classroom than with others.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Images

Researchers found that systematic racism impacts the teacher/student relationship as early as kindergarten. The study included 9,190 participants who, regardless of their race, rated their perceived conflict with Black kindergarten boys at almost 40% higher than their conflict with others, in particular, white girls.


“Because we used a large, nationally representative dataset and controlled for the effects of family socioeconomic status, we were able to isolate the role of racism and sexism in teachers’ perceptions of their relationships with students in the early elementary grades,” study author Kathleen Rudasill, Ph.D., interim dean of Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Education, said in a statement. “I hope that this research will help further illuminate the toll of white supremacy on students of color at the start of their school journey.”

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Images

When the research looked at teachers’ perceived levels of conflict with Black boys through second grade, the levels increased by 8%. The research showed that teachers felt the closest to white girls. And of course, when looking at this study, researchers also took into account socioeconomic status as a factor that also influenced perceptions.

When looking at socioeconomic status, the data showed that teachers’ perceptions of conflict declined with Black boys from higher socioeconomic levels as compared to those from lower socioeconomic levels.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Images

How can teachers work to change this bias towards Black boys in the classroom?

Well, study authors identified several avenues that teachers could take to address systematic racism in education. Some of these avenues include: comprehensive anti-racism education, implementing cultural competency interventions like “self-checks” for bias, and cultural competency skill-building for teachers that “place an emphasis on diversity, tolerance, and respect for others, knowledge of cultural perceptions, examination of personal suppositions and biases, and the development of strategies for removing racial barriers.”

“Teachers are a mostly white — approximately 80% — workforce,” Dr. Rudasill said. “As such, they have lived and been educated in primarily segregated environments, with very little exposure to individuals or cultures beyond that of the dominant European American culture. If pre-service and in-service teachers are aware of the potential biases they have owing to systemic racism and if they are provided with opportunities to learn how to check their potential biases, racial disparities can be reduced.”

As a parent, is there anything that you can do? YES, there is. Talk to your children about race at an early age!

Dr. Eboni Smith Hollier, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, previously told Fatherly in an interview that, “It is essential that all parents speak to their children about race, the importance of compassion, and empathy to truly make this world a better place for us all. We should not pretend that racism does not exist.”

Let’s continue the conversations at home to counteract the effects that systematic racism can have on our young Black boys in the classroom.

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

Related Posts

Next Post


Don’t miss out on BCK’s newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter