‘reinforcing hierarchy, not resisting it’

Mar 20 2012

In The Trouble With Black Boys Pedro A. Noguera writes: “Lani Guinier, the acclaimed Harvard Law School professor, points out that even she, an upper-middle-class intellectual, cannot shield her son from the threats that Black males experience. As a result, she feels compelled to prepare him for the trials and tribulations he may face living in American society. In describing her quandary over how to educate her son about race and racism in the United States, she writes ‘that a failure to acknowledge difference is a failure to prepare him for a world in which his differences may matter-a world in which when he walks down the street, white cops may stop him or other Black males may resent him, in both cases because of a potentially deadly combination of racism and machismo’…Like many other parents, Guinier laments the need to burden her son with an awareness that he may be subjected to harassment and hostility, not because of something he has done but simply because of the reactions that his race and gender evoke. She resents the need to prepare him because she understands that by engaging in this form of socialization, she is in effect ‘reinforcing hierarchy, not resisting it‘…”

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