Racial bullying in schools

Published: 2018-03-26 20:20:55
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Racial bullying statistics

When a topic of bullying arises, most people often concentrate on the atrocities carried out by rebellious students who prey on their weak counterparts. While this conceptualization acts as the harsh reality, it is important to acknowledge that the school administration can also foster racial bullying of the minority groups. Not long ago, the segregation rules were still available. It was hard for African American students to attend white schools or share social services. The segregation rules were eradicated and sanity established, but there are still some elements of preferential treatment in some schools that qualify as victimization. It is through this victimization that a culture of bullying begins thriving in a certain learning institution, with the perpetrators well aware that nothing serious can be done to them. To gain more insights on the issue, specific attention to each ethnic group is required.

Although not a representative of the all whole category, African Americans, Asian Americans and Latino Americans are some of the popular minority groups in the country. Mixed race people also belong to this category, but limited research has been carried regarding their relationship with bullying, that is, are they the bullies or on the receiving end of bullying? These groups have historically faced varying degrees of civil rights injustices, an aspect that makes them relevant in any discussion entailing school bullying. Despite numerous scholars indicating that some of these minority groups also act as bullies in the form of retaliation to their inferior ethnic statuses, substantial evidence points towards victimization. Therefore, this segment of the paper combines the predicament of several minority groups in analyzing how they are victimized at School.

Racial bullying facts

Asian American students are always stereotyped as intellectually active, as such; they are less likely to be victimized within normal schools set ups. An analysis by Maffini (2016) disapproves this popular notion by indicating that Asian American’s remains on the hook just like any other minority racial group. Using the work of Cooc and Gee (2014), Maffini (2016:3) indicates that while Asian American students were less likely to experience victimization compared to other racial groups, they were more likely to suffer racial or ethnicity motivated aggressions. However, the level of victimization that is perceived to be lower by Maffini (2016), Cooc and Gee (2014) go ahead to acknowledge that it varies with gender and academic achievement level. For instance, compared to the female students, their male counterparts are much likely to be victimized. Regardless of this conceptualization, the findings on how Asian students are affected within American schools vary. The perception of victimization and bullying, in general, varies with the level of generation of the students themselves. Unlike Asian students who were born in America, those who are from outside the country perceive high levels of victimization, which eventually affects their welfare at school. Similarly, Peguero (2009) indicates that Latinos of third-plus generation remain at a higher risk of victimization. To simplify the issue of discussion further, Cooc and Gee (2014) conceptualize that Asian American students are likely to be physically attacked by bullies, but they are more likely to be the victims of racial discrimination. The predicament of Asian students, although slightly easy compared to their counterparts Indian Americans, prove that ethnicity is correlated with being victimized or at the receiving end of bullying.

Significantly, the situation of the African American students is also not isolated. Contrary to the Asian Americans who are stereotyped to be brighter, African Americans are on the receiving end as among the less-performing students. While these stereotypes may contain some elements of truth, it is unscientific to make final judgments based on them. To challenge the notion of poor grades, several scholars have been able to develop a link between bullying and a string of poor results. The failure of black students at school is less associated with bullying, an aspect that Albdour and Krouse (2014) do not agree on. According to the two scholars, the existing notion is that bullying affects the academic performance of the victims and it is the leading reason why most students drop out of school. According to Albdour and Krouse (2014), African American students are at the receiving end of bullying. While less attention is given to their predicament because of their rebellious and retaliatory nature, Albdour and Krouse (2014) indicates that a substantial population of African American adolescents is bullied and victimized. It is the main reason as to why black students are often linked with drug abuse, poor academic performance, and eventually high rate of school dropout.

Racial bullying in school

Before moving forward with the summary of this section, it is important to note that the lack of coverage of white students does not mean that they are not victims of bullying. Most of the studies used in this discussion carried out a comparative analysis of the minorities against the predicament of the white students. Bullying statistics show that less number of white students are bullied compared to the minorities who are situationally exposed.  In addition, as the dominant group, much emphasis is on the minority groups who are considered to be vulnerable by default. As evident by a number of research studies presented above, ethnicity plays a significant role in determining who is at the receiving end of bullying. All the minority groups covered above remain disadvantaged because of their statuses. Campbell and Smalling (2013) exclusively show that American Indian students are highly victimized and bullied. Same is the situation for African-American students. Slightly on the low end of bullying are the Asian American students whom as discussed by Cooc and Gee (2014), are racially discriminated. Varying accounts of how each racial group is mistreated exist. However, the statically significant issue is that race/ethnicity plays a role in determining who is at the receiving end of bullying. Because of their vulnerable social disposition compared to the majority of white students who are well off, minority groups such as Indian Americans and African Americans remains at the risk of high school dropout rates, an aspect that is linked with bullying.

Correlation of Race and Bullying Perpetrators

While the above segment has qualified the fact that ethnicity plays a role in determining who is at the receiving end of bullying, it surely plays a role in identifying the perpetrators. All these incidents of bullying have people who are responsible for them, and just because white students are less bullied compared to other racial groups as insinuated by several survey studies; it would be immoral to conclude that they are the perpetrators. A study by Spriggs et al. (2007) upon analysis of self-reported data show that 9% of students were bullied, the same percentage (9) of students who indicated they were bullies, while only 3% were bully-victims. Spriggs et al. (2007) go ahead to correlate bullying with factors such as family involvement and other social aspects such as isolation as to being the main motivation. However, the motivation of each ethnicity towards bullying needs to be identified. As such, this section aims to establish any existing link between bullies and ethnicity.

After linking race/ethnicity with being at the receiving end of bullying, strong indications point that same is the issue when it comes to bullying others. A liegeman’s comprehension is that some victims of bullying end up transforming and becoming bullies. Not all of those who are bullied end up becoming bullies because strong evidence as pointed out by Campbell and Smalling (2013) and Albdour and Krouse (2014) show that they end up dropping out of school. However, others who decide to transform into bullies are usually encouraged by the fact that the school administration is doing nothing. This, by becoming bullies, they minimize the chances of being victimized by others in school. Based on this ordinary conceptualization that is fundamentally underpinned to circumstantial disposition, it is evident that bullying in schools is fueled by racial factors, mostly after being on the receiving end with no adequate measures from relevant stakeholders. As such, further analysis based on proven evidence is carried out to develop a strong link between ethnicity and bullying.

Bullying in American schools

Within his comprehensive analytical study findings, Wang (2013) who analyzes the correlation between race and bullying in American schools certifies that bullies are racially motivated. In his Study, Wang (2013) analyzes students from 45 states in the country, including the American Virgin Islands and is able to prove the manifestation of ethnicity in bullying. Each racial category exhibits unique features when it comes to being bullies or victims of bullying. For instance, within the study, after acknowledging that multiracial students are most likely to be bullied in schools, Wang (2013) analysis also places them as the perpetrators of most bullying activities. Bullying perpetrators as categorized by Wang (2013) can be categorized as bullies only or victim-bully. The latter category represents those who were initially bullied but decided to cross the bridge and become bullies, probably as a natural defense mechanism from further victimization. Wang’s findings indicate that African Americans are most likely to be bullies alone. Alongside the multiracial students, African American students are the leading racial group to bully others in school. However, the difference is that multiracial students fall within the gap of bully-victims, meaning that most are transformed by their past experiences and the lack of decisive action from the school administration systems.

Several reasons can be linked to why African-American students are most likely to bully others. In the analysis carried out by Wang (2013), which is largely dependent on self-reported results, shows that black students recorded high rates of having none or one good friend. As such, it equivalently acts as a factor that predisposes them to bullying or being bullies. From a psychological perspective, loneliness in such an active environment can trigger the manifestation of negative thoughts. It is such experiences that can be used to justify the indulgence of African American students in bullying others. On the hand, the same report by Wang (2013) also indicates that Asian American students reported to having a higher rate of friends in schools. This is a positive factor because, in the self-reported results, Asian students indicated less likelihood of harassing other students.  Besides having minimal or no friends at all, African American students reported high rates of school dissatisfaction. Compared to the other ethnic categories, blacks were more dissatisfied with school. For more superficial reasons that Wang (2013) does not indulge in, the high dissatisfaction rate of African American students is directly proportional to their rebellious nature against other students in normal school settings. The reasons linked with dissatisfaction may be more linked with external factors that are not school related, but the impact ends up affecting other students. With all this analysis based on self-reported results, Wang (2013) proves that being a bully has some positive correlation with the ethnic/racial factor.

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