Center for Research on Educational Opportunity Research and Publications

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School Discipline and Racial Socialization

Dr. Calvin Zimmermann is working on a book project that examines black and white boys' school disciplinary experiences in early childhood. The goal of the project is to uncover the everyday mechanisms that produce racial disproportionality in school discipline. He also considers the social consequences of racialized discipline for black and white boys. Schools are an important site where children come to understand their social selves. He argues that school discipline in early childhood is socializing and sorting these young boys into a larger racial system. Specifically, rather than cultivating the full potential of young black boys, with such an intense focus on discipline and control schools often socialize them into a sense of racial inferiority from the very beginning of their schooling. In contrast, white boys’ disciplinary experiences socialize them into a sense of racial privilege and relative invisibility. 

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