This article raises an interesting argument about the way in which the American education system shows evidence of institutionalised racism both when it attempts to prevent such racism and when it ignores it. The article describes how despite the fact that black children are actually statistically under-represented in special education facilities when compared to white children with similar needs and backgrounds, the impression that black children are overrepresented as a result of racism within school has led to policy-makers attempting to reduce the numbers of black children receiving special education (Morgan, 2015, n.p.).
What this article highlights is the way in which political sensitivity about institutionalized racism can lead to appearances becoming more important than welfare when such polices are made. Because policy-makers are concerned about the perceived racism within the system, the actual impact of the policy on the minority group in question comes to be ignored. As the article explains, �If well-intentioned but misguided advocates� (Morgan, 2015, n.p.) insist on correcting this appearance of racism, the real issues of racial inequality for black children with special needs will get worse, rather than better, as these policies in fact have the opposite effect to that which is intended. By removing black children from special needs facilities, these policies address the appearance of racism within school, but also deny black children access to much-needed support.

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The article describes how this situation has come about as a result of other ingrained inequalities in the social system. It discusses the way in which �Black children face double jeopardy when it comes to succeeding in school� (Morgan, 2015, n.p.), stating that although social demographics mean that black children are more likely to affected by �gestational, environmental and economic risk factors� (Morgan, 2015, n.p.), but are less likely to be identified as needing special needs treatment and care. This is where the real issue of racism in education lies, but policy instead focuses on the perception of racism within special needs classes, because the issue of representation within classes is a more visible issue.

What this article highlights overall is that the sensitivity within American culture to issues of institutionalized racism can be as harmful as it is helpful, causing people to act upon appearances without considering the wider social picture.

  • Morgan, P. L. and Farkas, G. (2015, June 24). �Is Special Education Racist?� The New York Times. Retrieved from