Blaming the victim by william ryan

When research studies conclude that blacks are inferior to whites based on their upbringing, versus the educational system, the victim is blamed. In studying the home life and background of blacks versus whites, the research conducted blames the victim by saying the under-educated black child is at fault, due to life circumstances.
Research done on “ ghetto education,” predominately, the Coleman Report just touches the surface of the problems. Rather than blaming a faulty educational system or the inability to research and correctly take all factors into account, the family is blamed for the lower educational levels.
The child’s upbringing is brought up repeatedly as an excuse for the lower educational levels of the minorities. The article mentions the influence of the home environment and the lack of experiences as a reason for hindered learning. It goes on to say that these differences in the home environment cause a barrier to education by not teaching the black student with, “ inadequate preparation for the reality of the modern urban school.” (37)
Integration became the solution for the poor educational system. So rather than facing the true problem, the victim is blamed and, “ Uneducated parents, crowded living quarters, absence of books, family disinterest in education—all combine to handicap the poor black child as he enters the school system.” (33) Thus not only blaming the victim, but also instilling a belief in negative stereotypical beliefs about the victims.
So not only is the child and his upbringing blamed for the lack of education, the inequality is justified by finding defects in the child while blaming. One instance of finding defect is that it was believed that being poor led to a “ functional inferiority.”
By finding defects in the child’s upbringing, researchers are able to justify the reasoning of their findings.
The ability to learn is there. In fact, the author states surveys showed that blacks were increasing their educational level at a more advanced rate than whites.
The Coleman Report was considered comprehensive. Coleman’s studies found that “ blackness and low achievement are highly correlated”. This research blamed the victim by assuming that because white children learn more, black children learn less.
Repeatedly, the blame returns to the home environment, blaming the victim for an upbringing. Researchers based findings on how far a student would go based on number of newspapers in the home, educational level of father and mother, books in the home, etc. (51) The research determined that there were more opportunities, more preparations for college and more resources available for whites.
According to the author, the Coleman Report blames the victim based on the family background, treating it as “ a cause-and-effect relationship.” So findings were that increased income caused increased grade levels. It is the same as saying “ black children learn less because they are black.” (49)
Blaming the victim hinders social change. Research such as the Coleman Report limits social change in at least two ways. One way is when researchers fail to take into consideration the variations in black population or white population versus black against white. Another way social change is limited is illustrated in cases where a child’s mistrust of the psychologists is misconstrued as an inability to form words, to articulate. By blaming the victim and not taking these differences into account the opportunity to learn and provide social change is missed.
Works Cited
Ryan, William. Blaming the Victim. “ Savage Discovery in the Schools”.