Alana Byrd

Professor Miller

African American History

12 March 2019


I had a fantastic opportunity to go and listen to Monique Morris talk about her book “Pushout.” Morris’s main focus was on black girls in school and how the negative treatment of students is a lot of the time concerning one’s skin tone. She talks about education, civil rights, and criminalization of black people/girls individually, and researches the process through qualitative data in which she uses to show the correlation of girls skin tones and how they are treated within the school. Although I am aware of the injustice within schools, we are most of the time forced to focus on events involving black males and how they are brutally attacked. I find it very difficult to grasp the idea that we as humans are seen as different just because we do not share the same skin color. Back when slavery was just another form of routine work for Africans, these PEOPLE were seen as animals that deserved to be brutally punished by whites just because they have black skin. Prejudice has always been a lingering idea within our society so for our community to move and see that all humans are equal will only allow for a better and more prosperous life for all.

“Pushout” is meant to give readers a sense of urgency and open inquiry for progress; there is a lot more we need to know, so it is important to be apart of a community that develops a lasting solution. Monique Morris shares many stories in which show the horrific treatment some of these teenage and even younger girls go through. Just like in Barracoon we are given the perspective of Cudjo Lewis, someone who has experienced slavery to get a significantly better understanding of what honestly went on. Morris’s stories about girls in school go to show that teachers unusual punishment leads to, in many cases, juveniles in court. Many times there are adverse outcomes rather than positive outcomes which we all know are possible, and we need to understand that if we believe in the development of children, then we cannot work in the means of punishment but by the works of freedom. Kids will be kids, and people need to be aware of this, it is a learning process.

As the stories unfold obvious trends are made apparent. Many times we are told to stand up for what we believe in, but in these cases, many of the black girls were standing up for themselves and getting punished, how is that right? Morris asked girls what it was like having school suspension and many girls were shocked even to have the opportunity to talk about themselves. Mia, one of the girls who got interviewed said, “everybody says that white people think that black girls are ratchet,” she was accepting society’s marginalization of black girls as soon as she was directly confronted

and realized the teachers were so unforgiving. Another girl was a fighter, and she believed that “ either you fight or you get beat up, or for you not to get beat up you had to fight.” All these girls want is respect and if that is not given then standing up for oneself is that only other option rather than getting beat up. Another essential term that was used during the presentation was adultification which meant that black girls are put on age compression which does not provide them the opportunity to live their child life fully, some girls tend to hit puberty
much earlier and begin to see an adult like changes to their bodies sooner. When going to school dress codes are stricter which again cause these girls to go through some punishment only because of what they wear. Yes, I do believe that some dress codes should be enforced, but allowing another white girl to show up to class with short shorts and allowing her to stay just got to show that skin color and prejudice are still taken into account. When those who feel as though they are in power and superior see something or someone that is inferior to them they automatically find all the wrongs in them and make sure they are aware of their mistakes, it is a simple truth.

Rather than having police officers on campus there should be councilors. When children are outraged by a situation, they tend to be dealing with other more devastating things. If councilors were made more readily available within schools, students who get in fights or break the rules should seek a counselor to sort out there problems and reasons behind their actions. Students should not be living in fear especially if they are standing up for themselves and in the end getting punished. It is so essential to understanding African American History so that racial inferiority is no longer taken into account. We are all human whether we are a girl, boy, white or black. If society is aware of all our similarities, we will, in the end, have a thriving and beautiful community that is a pleasure to live in.


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