Beyond the classroom
April 27, 2020
While the correlation between teachers and students’ ethnicities is extremely prevalent in education, it expands further than the classroom. Other occupations in politics, law and STEM fields also exhibit similar impacts and discourage students from engaging in and pursuing certain areas of study.
Although there are occupations where African Americans and Latinos are overrepresented, those fields tend to be lower paying jobs, according to data compiled by the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While Asians are overrepresented in technology and medicine, they also have the fewest individuals in management positions of any race.
One of the fundamental reasons for different races being disproportionately represented in certain fields is due to the systemic cycle of entering professions that seem familiar, and this is often derived by employees having similar appearances. According to Flores, if there is limited exposure in the first place, then it is difficult for individuals to enter certain fields.
An argument to address the racial gap by proportion is to hire by diversity, but there are concerns that this method would sacrifice merit and talent. Even when hiring teachers
Especially outside of racially and culturally homogeneous communities, diversity is becoming more prevalent in general. According to senior Kelly Chang, who attends Irvington High School with a vast majority Asian student body, being prepared for that change is important.
“I can say for my friends, some of my classmates and myself that we are kind of scared of what it’s like [outside of our current environment]. Most of us have stayed here since we were born,” Chang said. “Because we haven’t experienced having a mostly white population, we are kind of scared of that environment and of being alienated. That’s just not what we’re used to.”