Repairing the Fractures: Steps Forward in Building Bridges Across the Racial Divide
- Sarah M. Jouganatos
- Wicondra T. Stovall
- Rose M. Borunda
Disconnections and distrust between the United States educational system and Black communities have existed for generations. Innovative approaches to dismantle this cyclical injustice are needed. For this reason, we sought to examine three tenets of Black othermothering; advocacy, relatedness, care and concern, and how they served as a bridge to engage Black students and families with educators through cultural brokering.
Othermothering is critical to the pedagogy of Black teaching and contributed to the success of African American students prior to the 1954 ruling of Brown v. Board of Education. Following desegregation, Black students began performing disproportionately lower than their White counterparts. Additionally, 40,000 Black teachers and administrators lost their jobs and, to date, have not rebounded from this travesty in education (Farinde et al., 2016). While efforts are made to attract and retain qualified candidates who reflect the demographics of the student population, attention must be directed to ensure that ALL educators, regardless of cultural/racial match, are responsive and invested in optimal education delivery which includes increasing their relational capacity. To this end, white teachers in this study explained that othermothering improved their connection to Black students and families through advocacy, relatedness, and care and concern. Black parents/guardians equally expressed their desire for this essential support.
These findings suggest the need for increased cultural representation within our schools, a greater understanding of the importance of holistic and equitable methods of inclusion for Black students and their families, and the need for Transformative school leaders to establish cultural connectedness in their school systems. This work focuses on fostering individual evolvement that collaboratively moves educators from a state of racialized submersion to a transcendent identity. Through this individual growth, schools can bridge connections with Black students and families. One strategy to innovatively strengthen this connection is through the inclusion of an othermother.
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