Extensive studies concentrating on gender and racial inequalities in the
society have revealed damning conclusions. Despite several attempts being
fronted to guarantee equity across the society, institutionalized, as well as
specific gender and racial discrimination, have better progress. Historically,
gender and race, among other forms of subordination are avenues that constitute
the political, economic and economic landscape.
These elements convey the dynamic of disempowerment, and this has
compelled researchers’ to examine the interacting and concurrent impact of
these systems on race and gender disparity. In like manner, they have fronted a
potent account of equally restricted categories such as ‘black’ or ‘woman’ that
promote masking interacting and intersecting relations of inequality and
domination. Not to mention, the
neoliberalism has emerged, redefining the concept of inequality and
In his work on genealogy and history, Walby (2011) revealed that
neoliberalism consisted of a set of political beliefs on the role of the state
in deregulating free market and the moral view that attempts to evaluate an
individual. As can be seen, neoliberalism has created a challenge in lessening
race and gender inequality because there is a decline of democratic governance
and increasing social inequalities which goes against its general objectives.
This study examines the discourse of race and gender inequalities encountered
by black boys in the classroom. Also, the study demonstrates the intersectional
realities and how it has impacted the education of black boys.
Neoliberalism: Effects and the Role it
plays in Easing Inequality in the Society
Over the years, neoliberalism has become pervasive globally,
reconfiguring into racialized, sexualized, gendered and classed society. Ong
(2006) argues that this element has reconfigured the link between the governed
and the governed, knowledge and power, territoriality and sovereignty. In his definition, De Lissovoy, Means, and
Saltman (2014) observed that neoliberalism is a politico-economic theory that
supports privatization, free trade, minimal public expenditure on social
welfare and government intervention in business. Neoliberalism asserts that
individual liberty is amplified by partial interference by the government. Harvey (2005) further explains that the
government has a responsibility of establishing and preserving the
institutional framework appropriate for individual autonomy.
For several decades, the UK government has invested heavily in the
education system. This has seen the creation of academy schools, privatization,
and the government has imposed varying policies in view of improving the
educational achievement. However, despite all these advances, Roberts (2003)
show that race and gender have continued to advance these initiatives. Despite
massive investment in the elementary education system, the intersection of race
and gender has seen minimal improvement in educational attainment among the
black boys. Walberg & Bast (2003) asserts that children of color, as well
as poor children, have continued to score low grades on standardized tests and
their graduation rates have minimally improved. This revelation demonstrates that
children of color and poor children are mot likely to hold similar economic
opportunities fixing another cycle of generational poverty. This is despite all
children, regardless of race and their gender are supposed to be highly skilled
and educated populations in the society.
Neoliberalism effect on People’s belief
in the Society
Globally, neoliberalism has had a huge impact on people’s believes in
the society. Thus, the society views
neoliberalism as a competition characterizing human relations. This aspect intersects citizens as consumers
and their democratic choices shaped by buying and selling, a trend that
punishes inefficiency and rewards merits. Besides, Walberg & Bast (2003)
observes that the market aspect, as one element of neoliberalism has an impact
on an individual. The market advances
benefits not attained by planning. Therefore, any attempt to limit competition
is welcomed as detrimental to autonomy. Public services should be privatized
and the regulation and tax should be minimized. Similarly, the disparity is
recast as moral, that is, it is aimed at wealth creation and a reward for the
utility which then trickles to the lowest echelons of the society to enrich
A central concern of neoliberalism is the human cost; this is especially
for the lower class citizens. Roberts (2003) reveals that the free market
policies were intended in ensuring broader autonomy and prosperity across the
world. These were in terms of rapid
economic growth and minimize unemployment rates. However, various studies have
confirmed that resource distribution is inequitable in free economies (Walberg
& Bast, 2003). Further, the market liberalizing strategies sacrifice
political and social rights in favor of economic competitiveness.
The intersection of neoliberal policies has amplified economic, social
and political inequalities, worsening living standards for the world
population. De Lissovoy et al. (2014), in their studies, noted that low wages
among the poor, tax cuts among the wealthy and privatizing wealth have
contributed to increasing inequality in the society. Besides, the tendency of neoliberalism in
terms of suppressing the rights of ordinary populations, commodifying labor as
well as appropriating assets among other elements have contributed to
disparities among the world population.
Race and Gender and Effects on Black
Race and gender inequality continue to define the hallmark of education
provision around the world. Recent statistics in the UK demonstrates that boys
are indeed lacking behind girls in 11 out of 13 categories of learning at the
age of five years (Asthana, 2010). In
the same manner, children from poor background are half likely to obtain good
GCSE’s; black pupils, including boys, are three times more likely to be
excluded. Identically, Gilborn (2008) concurs with this statement by further
stating that minority ethnic and blacks (2008) continue to face challenges in
the UK education system. In fact, an extensive study confirms that BME students
experience racism in schools, and are less probable to gain admission to top
universities (Boliver, 2013). An
additional line of inquiries on race and gender in the education system reveals
startling results. Bhopal, Brown, and Jackson, (2015) confirm that BME groups
are highly probable to consider moving overseas in large numbers as opposed to
their whites colleagues. Given these
points, race and gender inequalities have a huge impact on the black education
system, despite the UK spending several decades of reforms where the government
desperately attempted to address the social lines in its education system.
The intersectionality theory is vital to understanding black boys’
education. Coined by Crenshaw (1994) the intersectionality theory stemmed from
its purpose of seizing the unprecedented efforts and experiences of women of
color, who, according to Crenshaw (1989) was characterized by feminist and
anti-racist discourse. Sentiments of intersectionality spread leading to an
assembled social units operating as functioning in layered designs. In fact,
Lykke (2005) had viewed intersectionality as an interplay between race, gender
and other forms of inequalities in individual social practices, lives, cultural
beliefs and institutional systems, together with the resulting actions of these
interplay in regard of power. In yet another studies, Phoenix (2006) proposing
undertones of submission and dominance indicated that intersectionality was a
complicated political reasoning and strifes seeking to demonstrate apparent
positioning that coalesces daily life and the dominance relations that are key
Crenshaw (1994) confirmed two notions of intersectionality in regard to
gender and race. He stated that structural intersectionality transpires when
disparities and their intersections are undeviatingly consistent to the
occurrences of people in the society and the political intersectionality
manifests how biases and their intersections are related to political policies.
Indeed, Hanckock (2007) has disputed the unitary method of identity politics by
alluding that various marginalizations of race, gender, and class at
institutional and individual levels authorize political and social
stratification. This, therefore, requires policy answers attuned to the
interplay of these elements. Oppression and domination in the society
demonstrated through racism, as well as, sexism among others act divergently
because patterns of oppression are interrelated climaxing into practices of
abuse that reflect the intersection of diverse kinds of prejudice (McCall,
2005). However, Grillo (1995) offers a
contrast this assertion by being concerned on the complexities surrounding its
In the UK, Gillborn and Mirza (2000)
revealed a significant contrast in educational achievement occasioned by
gender, race and social class in the society.
The authors admitted the likelihood that intersection of gender, class,
and race influences the higher educational performance of Black students. On
the other hand, Tomlison (2008) through the socio-political viewpoint confirmed
the effects of political tension manifested in diverse forms of education. The
divergent views based on the socio-political perspectives has affected the
education system leading to a debate on issues of cultural heritage, national
identity, racism, and multiculturalism. Diniz (1999) shares the same view by
demonstrating that the UK education system has departed from recognizing social
class variation to appreciating the impact of inequality anchored on labeling
some children with special needs or having the non-white background.
The Critical Race Theory (CRT) proposed
by Gilborn is central to understanding race and gender inequality in the
education system. Delgado and Stefancic
(2006) reveal that the CRT theory is designed around an understanding of racism
as ‘the liberal pursuit of incremental change, color-blindness, and meritocracy
in education and the society. Notwithstanding, Solorzano (1998) argues that CRT
perceive race and racism at their intersection with other types of
subordination including class and gender discrimination. Gillborn (2008)
remarked that opportunities and outcomes are positively connected and that when
outcomes are unequal, it demonstrates that opportunities are also unequal. Prior inquiries on race and gender and effect
on black boys’ education can be traced back to the Second World War. Chitty
(2009) points out that following the WWII, huge numbers of BME children were
found in schools located in larger cities such as Manchester, Liverpool,
Birmingham and London boroughs in the UK. This high numbers contributed to the
emergence of race and racism issues in schools.
Several reports have demonstrated marginalization of black boys and
other BME children in the UK schools as a result of racism (Gillborn, 2008).
However, whether racism is practiced in a school or not has sparked intense
arguments. Pilkington (1999) commenting on anti-racist tone noted that schools
are accountable for the differential treatment of African-Caribbean children,
and, it is upon the schools to reflect on their prevailing practices. He went
on to acknowledge the presence of racial discrimination in schools creating
differences in educational achievement among diverse ethnicities. Gillborn
(2005) observes that the major challenge with racism is the multifaceted
nature, deeply embedded, and often being taken for granted as an aspect of
power relation that lies at the center of institutional racism in the UK. He presented the English education system as
evidence to prove the fundamental role accorded to the defense of racial
inequality. On the other hand, Sewell (2000) contrasting Gillborn (2005)
claimed that race was not the only element involved in the underachievement of
black children in UK schools. He stated social class as another element
contributing to underachievement. Sewell
(2000) argued that the influence of peer group, student social class and
parenting contributed to the underachievement of a black student in the UK.
Gillborn (2006) illustrates that student
adaptation and teacher racism contributes to the varying differences in
educational attainment of BME students from a certain background. Besides,
Gillborn and Mirza (2000) observed that White British pupils who did not
receive free meals were more probable to achieve five higher grade passes in
contrast to similar gender particularly Black Carribean and African. Similarly, Gilborn (2008) observes that Black
African boys recording 9.7 points were more likely to achieve five higher
grades, that is, three times the gap size existing between the White British
and the Black Caribbean. These figures reveal that when crude measures for the
social class are computed as pupils are eligible for free meals intersects with
race, thus, the reasons for White/Black perceived gaps in educational
achievement is likely to be affected.
Haynesa, Tiklya, and Caballeroa (2006) have also examined the
intersection of White and Black students and concluded that the black student
is likely to exclude in schools.
Government Powers Influence on Racial
and Gender Inequality
Historically, race and gender has created a compound form of
discrimination and has continued to define the world, and social relations
between the citizens and the state. The intersection of historical government
policies enhanced economic disadvantage, patriarchy among another system of
subordination or discrimination. These systems contributed in designing layers
of inequality that structured the relative positions of races and other groups
as well as women and men in the society. In fact, Santos, Amancio, and Alves
(2013) reveal that the government policies and specific acts on race and gender
established race and gender inequalities disempowering the black populations.
Choo, Myra (2010) mention that historical government policies have
institutionalized racism and gender concerns as an intersectional subordination.
This is demonstrated via the U.S. education system. According to Flicker
(2013), the implementation of standardized testing in the United States has
intersected with gender and race inequality creating a compounded challenge for
the black population. The standard is biased, favoring persons from a
well-endowed socio-economic background unlike the blacks and other minority
groups. Various studies reveal that some ethnic groups have consistently
performed worse compared to the whites on all standardized test (Campell,
2015). Additionally, after the passage
of Higher Education and Civil Rights Act, in the 1960s, blacks began attending
universities and colleges in huge numbers, however, problems of getting integrated
into predominantly white institutions of higher learning ignited unforeseen
challenges for students and faculty of minority groups under such environments
(Choo, Myra, 2010). The subordination has continued to perpetuate race and
gender inequalities across the U.S.
Intersectional subordination is also evidenced in the prosection system.
In fact, Flicker (2013) admits that race is indeed playing a role in the
courts. This is evidenced by an exclusion of black prosecutors from juries in
view of securing prosecutions that would otherwise seem problematic. A case in
point can be demonstrated by the 2014 shooting of Micheal Brown in the U.S
(Campell, 2015). Since this event occurred, the harsh treatment of Blacks by
the police has been more pervasive and apparent in public. This is happening despite the passage of
Civil Rights Act by Congress in 1875 deterring racially discriminatory jury
selection. This was further supported by
the U.S. Supreme Court which termed the exclusion as unconstitutional (Campell,
Slavery offered a perfect example of intersections of race and gender.
The dominant authority relied on social inequality and violence to sustain
their racial and patriarchal boundaries.
While it has been acknowledged slaves experienced diverse forms of
discrimination manifested through race and gender, various groups of
ethnicities experience the same differently.
The consequences of the interaction of several forms of subordination,
including race and gender are often viewed to be separate and mutually
exclusive forms of discrimination.
Eltis (1993) illustrates that slavery
arose as a result of superiority. The white’s race viewed blacks as vulnerable
to exploitation. Slavery is seen as a
direct repercussion for one race to manifest superiority over the other.
Indeed, this assertion created racism in the world. Studies have revealed that
racism gives a sense of entitlement to a person belonging to a superior race.
Thus, slavery fixed an inferiority complex among the blacks and other
marginalized race. What is more, the conclusion evidenced between the Whites
and the Blacks during the slavery period cemented the notion that this was the
way the two races were supposed to co-exist. This phenomenon established race
and gender inequality in the society because the white superiority ideology was
well-formed; giving whites an authoritative position in the society.
Racism is a direct outcome of slavery.
The intersection of the concern is being manifested via lack of equity
in resource distribution, profiling, and segregation in schools. In fact,
Santos et al. (2013) reveal that slavery affected the Blacks in all facets of
life including the social, political and economic fronts. The blacks have to
work harder compared to the Whites, and this is the reasons the poverty levels
among the blacks is the highest in the U.S. Further, this inequality is further
demonstrated by lower incomes, unlike the Whites. The point is that
opportunities belong to the superior race, the whites, from the slavery period.
Even after abolishing the slavery, it has been a challenge to identify a
balance to level up with the whites establishing inequality in the society.
Racial discrimination was vibrant in the education sector. Head (1995)
confirms that black children lacked equal opportunities, and were segregated.
Poor schools, widely dominated by blacks had insufficient resources to
guarantee optimum learning. Blacks, among other minority groups, dominate
poverty ridden schools, thus, the influence of slavery contributed to racism
disrupting the social, political and economic equality in the society.