Infinite Education Without Fulfillment
Living in the U.S. there is no question that some individuals have privilege as opposed to others. We live in a world where there are many mechanisms of oppression that keep individuals within a minority group from succeeding. There is a constant struggle for minorities when dealing with homophobia, racism, sexism, etc. Because of the different forms of oppression that keep a minority group down, it creates a tougher environment for individuals to succeed. When looking specifically at the education system, we can see that there are many factors that contribute to the success gap among minority students. Looking specifically at people of color and those who identify within the Queer community, it is clear to see that those minority groups face the most difficulty with school.
Students of Color:
Looking at students of color first (specifically Black and Latino students), there is a higher drop-out rate among them. Research found that students who attend community college first will take longer to graduate or will not graduate at all. When looking at students who attend community college, they often live in low income areas and juggle between paying for school, work, and their living space. This is important to notice because people of color tend to live in lower income areas. People of color end up living in low income areas which makes it harder for them to maintain an education and work. As a result, it would take them longer to obtain a degree due to the individual paying to survive, while also paying for their schooling, and still finding a balance of time between the two. This information relates to higher drop-out rates among students of minority status because they aren’t able to pay for school — whether they lose interest due to the fact that the system is setup for them to fail or because they can no longer make ends meet with paying for both school and home.
Another factor that contributes to why minority students aren’t succeeding as much is because of the experience with the faculty. Many students of color have stated how their teachers or professors were not helpful to their success. That they did not provide enough resources and support, which could be linked to the high drop-out rate and their interaction in the classroom.
Queer Identified Individuals:
When looking at queer identified students we can see that they also experience adversity in school. There is a lack of representation for queer identified students in school (as well as people of color) which can not only cause students to feel disconnected in the material, but it leads to higher risk bullying and harassment because students aren’t introduced to other identities in a positive. If there is no representation (or positive representation), students are more than likely to develop a negative idea of that community — which leads to bullying. Among students in the LGBTQ community, there is a significant amount of bullying and harassment due to their identity — whether that be sexual identity or gender identity. The suicide rate is extremely high in the LGBTQ community — significantly higher than the average amount.
Queer People of Color:
When looking at both minorities we can see that they have similar struggles when dealing with different forms of oppression. Both oppressed minorities deal with forms of discrimination whether that be because of their sexuality or ethnicity. They also face a lack of representation within the education system (and society as a whole) which can be can be main cause with how they interact with their environment. A result of dealing with similar forms of oppression can lead to higher drop rates, suicide, going against the oppressive system, etc. Although both minorities face similar forms of oppression, if you are a queer person of color you would experience greater forms of adversity.
Some researchers developed different solutions and ideas in order to help the minority groups. Some researchers suggested that it should be a requirement for all professors/teachers to take some form of training in order to have an understanding of how minority students cope with the problems that are set up for them. Also, by requiring some kind of training for professors/teachers, they can ultimately be an ally for students and create a safer classroom environment for everyone. When looking at queer identified students, researchers have found that by talking about queer identities more in the classroom can lead to a positive outlook that students can have of the community. Some researchers also suggest to follow the idea of the sociological imagination, and link our past, present, and future. We can learn from the mistakes that were made, and spark change for a better education system for all.