This chapter will contrast different explanations for racial inequalities in the US. The following set of evidence only concerns the US.

Should we discuss the methodologies used to collect evidence?

Psych and implicit bias is hard to analyse as it relies on people's subjectivity. Need for an open-minded holistic study that succeeds in incorporating both quantitative and qualitative data.

When formulating explanations for continued racial inequality in US education, each discipline draws upon distinct forms of evidence and will therefore draw distinct conclusions. Hence, socio-economists argue social-economic status determines whether a student will be high-achieving; emphasising increased funding and more diverse neighbourhoods as viable solutions. Sociologists agree socio-economic status plays an important role in achievement but revoke the approach of focusing entirely on increased funds as this overlooks evidence which demonstrates family background plays a bigger role in producing the achievement gap. Finally, psychologists argue that internalised biases, both in teachers and students, are central to inequality in education. They then advocate the necessity to educate teachers on implicit bias and its impact on the treatment of students[1][2]. While sociology bridges with both other disciplines, no study seems to englobe each point of view. This may be due to confirmation bias- researchers tend to focus on what they are looking for- and to the reluctance of academics to validate evidence collected with radically different methods. Typically, socio-economists may not recognize the importance of implicit bias, pointing out the highly qualitative nature of the studies assessing it and their subjectivity.

Although each discipline presents competing claims for the best approach to address the issue of racial inequality in the education system, this chapter argues that those differences can contribute positively to the issue. Evidence from each discipline must be addressed in policy-making, for their contributions bring to light the multidimensional nature of the problem, which requires and interdisciplinary approach to be addressed efficiently. Conversely, efforts to reduce the inequalities can only be partial and ultimately unsuccessful.


Various studies confirmed racial discrimination in teachers' behaviors. In general, teachers consistently evaluate black students more negatively than white students [3]. (A study found that) They also tend to be less positive for students' academic abilities and give them lower grades when they speak Black English, the negative impact of dialect being stronger for colored students. [3] Moreover, researchers indicated that teachers tend to refer non-white students to special-needs testing, whereas their white peers are more frequently assigned to gifted-and-talented testing. (REF)

This implies that teachers are biased by a negative vision of black students that lowers their expectations and affects the grades they give(REF), which disadvantages African American students.

A study/ studies evidences that black students are more severely disciplined than their white peers (REF), confirming the bias in teachers' actions.

However, the results of these studies do not mean that teachers are badly intentioned and racists : searchers who explored implicit biais suggested that most of these behaviors were unconscious.

Implicit racial associations' stand for all automatic cognitive responses people attach to a certain racial group.(REF?) They are often measured by the Implicit Association Test (IAT), in which subjects are asked to press reaction keys associated with a certain image as quickly as they can. Results showed that 68% of respondents expressed discriminatory views towards black people (REF), which evidenced the tendency of anti-black implicit associations. The study then presumes that since the average American expresses discriminatory implicit assumptions, an average American teacher will be no exempt and hold bias towards Black students.

However, such discriminatory behaviour can be found in the most good-intentioned teachers when caused by implicit bias, the unconscious process of emotions, stereotypes that affect our emotions. NEED FOR BETTER DEF .

The accent has been put on the importance of educating and training teachers on this issue (REF)

Stereotypes' impact on studentsEdit

An experiment assessed the impact of negative racial stereotypes on black students' performances by taking two groups of students and giving each a test: the first was said to assess individual capacities and the second was introduced as an experiment. African American students had lower scores than white students on the first test, but did as good on the second, which implied that when assessed on their individual capacities, African American students are reminded of the negative stereotypes that weigh on their culture and the fear to confirm these stereotypes by failing gives them additional, penalizing anxiety. Similarly, the searchers observed that colored students had poorer results when asked to record their race on the exam paper, inducing that black students' confidence was undermined by pejorative stereotypes. [4] The racial self esteem issue has also been assessed in much younger children [1], which suggests that the stereotype-confidence problem comes from prejudices deeply anchored in society.


It has been implied that teachers' expectations are biased by the race and dialect of students and that they tend to expect less from non-white students. A study found that teachers tend to be less positive in students' academic abilities and give them lower grades when they speak Black English instead of Standard English, the negative impact of dialect being stronger for colored students. [3] The results also showed that teachers consistently evaluated black students more negatively than white students, which would imply that teachers have a negative vision of black students. It has also been proved that teachers discipline black students more severly than their white peers. [5] REF: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, 2016 REF: Wood, Harris, & Howard, 2018 (suspension rates) However, such discriminatory behaviour can be found in the most good-intentioned teachers when caused by implicit bias. [6] Studies then put the accent on the importance of educating and training teachers on this issue [1]

However, evidence lacks when it comes to prove the impact of teachers' behavior on students' performance. One evidence of the impact of teachers on students' performance s is an experiment conducted by James Comer, a child psychologist at Yale, who turned two "bad" schools into top ranked ones by educating staff and parents to create a valuing and optimistic atmosphere. *ref needed*

RACIAL BIAS "Despite their socioeconomic disadvantages as a group, blacks begin school with test scores that are fairly close to the test scores of whites their age. The longer they stay in school, however, the more they fall behind;

" 70 percent of all black students who enroll in four-year colleges drop out at some point, as compared with 45 percent of white"


Study that suggests it has a lot to do with income and parents' support ->put the blame on background

VS social psychologist ... who says the problem also concerns black students who do not face financial problems.

"the importance of the identification process I had experienced: the change in self-definition and in the activities on which I based my self-esteem. They would also miss a simple condition necessary for me to make this identification: treatment as a valued person with good prospects.

I believe that the "something else" at the root of black achievement problems is the failure of American schooling to meet this simple condition for many of its black students. Doing well in school requires a belief that school achievement can be a promising basis of self-esteem, and that belief needs constant reaffirmation even for advantaged students. Tragically, I believe, the lives of black Americans are still haunted by a specter that threatens this belief and the identification that derives from it at every level of schooling."

x believes that black students' performances are affected by the societal devaluation of African Americans' place in society. This view assess

RACIAL DEVALUATION: going over stereotypes and racism.

It has been proved that as

While the work of social scientists tend to explain racial inequalities with the impact of institutional and economic disparity, psychologists have shown a different approach which focuses on racial bias and student's reaction to pejorative racial stereotypes.


All of the above come from :   Wiggan, G. (2007) ‘Race, School Achievement, and Educational Inequality: Toward a Student-Based Inquiry Perspective’, Review of Educational Research, 77(3), pp. 310–333. doi: 10.3102/003465430303947 [7]

"Class and culture" explaination: the impact of social class and culture on scholar achievements. The gap in achievements in school would then start before the student's entry at school.

Stereotypes and concerns on black families create a "culture of poverty" (Frazier, 1966)

Sociologists pointed out the problem of "Ghetto schools"- schools in poorer suburbs carcterized by a high crime rate and low income. S

!!Impact of economic background and family stability. *Are black families poorer in average??

income. parents involvement. class (language, introduction to culture, manners...)


  1. a b c Hicks V.R. Exclusionary Discipline and Implicit Bias with Emphasis on African American Students. MA Thesis. Alliant International University; 2020.
  2. Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Kirwan
  3. a b c D.K.DeMeis, R.R.Turner. Effects of students' race, physical attractiveness, and dialect on teachers' evaluations. Contemporary Educational Psychology, Volume 3, Issue 1; 1978. p.77-86
  4. Wiggan, G. Teacher expectations and Ghetto Schools. In: Race, School Achievement, and Educational Inequality: Toward a Student-Based Inquiry Perspective. Review of Educational Research; 2007. p.310–333. Retrieved from:
  5. Staats C. Implicit Racial Bias and School Discipline Disparities. Kirwan Institutes Special Report. 2014
  6. Staats C. Capatosto K. Wright R.A. Jackson V.W. Trends in the field: Education. In: State of the science: Implicit bias review. The kirwan Institutes; 2016 p.33-40
  7. [1]