On Marilyn Zuniga and the Miseducation of Children of Color

Crossposted from the blog of Leslie Jones, MARC member and Ph.D. student in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania

Becoming Dr J

I was ten years old when I first learned that Black children don’t have the same “freedom of speech” that all American citizens are supposed to have. I had been having a bad day. In my breakout science class, someone was making noise. The teacher had her back turned, but she identified me as the noisemaker, although I was sitting silently (albeit disinterestedly) at my desk, watching my desk-mate pick his nose.

Even at the time, I recognized that she seemed to treat the Black children in the class differently. I think this was especially significant for me, since I managed to enter high school still firmly believing in colorblindness and the reign of racial equality in society generally. But in this class, Black kids always seemed to be getting in trouble.

So when Ms. A declared that I was the noisemaker and moved me to the back of the…

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