Martez E. Mott: Diversity, Belonging, and Racial Justice
June 18, 2020
In this series of blog posts, we asked our experts to share their perspectives on issues of race and racism and highlight the work they are doing in their respective fields. “What is your vision for the future of childhood? What are you doing in your professional capacity to achieve that vision, and/or who needs to do what to achieve that vision?”
Systemic racism won’t fight itself
Martez E. Mott, PhD, is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Ability Group at Microsoft Research.
The recent protests over the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have made many people aware of the systemic and institutionalized racism that impacts the lives of Black people. While it is encouraging that many individuals are taking this truly historic moment to reflect on their behaviors, and the behaviors of the institutions that form our society, the fact is, Black people have been long aware of the racial inequalities that shape their everyday lives. This includes Black children.
My vision for the future of childhood is for Black children to be what they are, children. The same racist attitudes and policies that result in police brutality also result in Black children being suspended from school three times as often as their white classmates. In the 2015-2016 school year, Black children were 15 percent of the student body but accounted for 31 percent of arrests made on school grounds or at school activities. The criminalization of Black children must stop, and the burden of fighting for impactful, long-lasting change to racists policies that deny Black children safe and welcoming learning environments should fall on each and every individual, not just the members of the Black community.
Fighting systemic racism is hard; no one said it would be easy. The many people who are taking time to educate themselves on police brutality should also be educating themselves on racial inequalities in education, healthcare, and other facets of society. The lives of Black children depend on it.
See more posts in this series: