'Hip-hop' students unfairly targeted, study finds

Jan 10, 2014
Black and Latino "hip-hop" students are disproportionately punished in urban schools, according to a study by a Michigan State University education scholar. Credit: Michigan State University

Black and Latino "hip-hop" students are disproportionately punished in urban schools, finds a two-year study that sheds light on some of the unfair disciplinary practices newly targeted by the Obama administration.

Muhammad Khalifa, a Michigan State University assistant professor of education, found that students who identified with hip-hop culture were often removed from school because of their cultural behaviors and dress. His paper is published in the research journal Multicultural Learning and Teaching.

"School culture is very hostile toward hip-hop student identities," said Khalifa, a former Detroit school teacher who identified with hip-hop culture as a young man. "Teachers possess an impulse to suspend or expel nontraditional students."

On Jan. 8, the Obama administration issued federal guidelines urging schools to abandon zero tolerance policies that critics have long said discriminate against minority students.

"In our investigations, we have found cases where African-American students were disciplined more harshly and more frequently because of their race than similarly situated white students," the Justice and Education departments said in a letter to school districts. "In short, racial discrimination in school discipline is a real problem."

While Khalifa's study illustrated discrimination among minority hip-hop students, it also found a bright spot. One urban school principal allowed hip-hop students to exhibit their identities, while at the same modifying what he viewed as negative behaviors.

Ultimately, the low-performing students improved their academic performance.

"We now know that it is possible for to achieve great success, academic or otherwise, all the while keeping their hip-hop identities intact," Khalifa said.

Explore further: Research explores evolution of hip-hop from party music to political platform

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Urban schools improving faster than rest of US

Dec 18, 2013

Federal testing data shows that public school students in the nation's largest cities are improving their performance in reading and math faster than their counterparts in suburban and rural schools.

Language learning through hip-hop music

Dec 21, 2011

Listeners can learn new vocabulary through hip-hop music, even though the lyrics may be difficult to understand, according to a study published in the Dec. 21 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE.

Recommended for you

Congressional rift over environment influences public

15 hours ago

American citizens are increasingly divided over the issue of environmental protection and seem to be taking their cue primarily from Congress, finds new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.

Decoding ethnic labels

Jul 30, 2014

If you are of Latin American descent, do you call yourself Chicano? Latino? Hispanic?

Local education politics 'far from dead'

Jul 29, 2014

Teach for America, known for recruiting teachers, is also setting its sights on capturing school board seats across the nation. Surprisingly, however, political candidates from the program aren't just pushing ...

First grade reading suffers in segregated schools

Jul 29, 2014

A groundbreaking study from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) has found that African-American students in first grade experience smaller gains in reading when they attend segregated schools—but the ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

wealthychef
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 10, 2014
In kindergarten, this usually happens to the hippity-hop crowd.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 10, 2014
These hip hop peoples also got throwed out of school so they had them a party.
http://www.youtub...H65Kyn7M

an theys white knowwutimsayin?
freethinking
5 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2014
Roger Clegg from National Review online had this to say:

The fact of the matter is that not all racial and ethnic groups (not to mention boys versus girls) are equally likely to be discipline problems. There are a variety of reasons for this, but I will just note here what is probably the main one. There are huge differences among groups in out-of-wedlock birthrates — more than seven out of ten African Americans, six out of ten Native Americans, and five out of ten Hispanics, versus fewer than three out of ten non-Hispanic whites and two out of ten Asian Americans are born to unmarried women — and children growing up in homes without fathers are much more likely to get into all kinds of trouble, including at school.
Zephir_fan
Jan 10, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Jan 11, 2014
They can dress the funny and stupid as they want to it doesn't bother me no. Gives me something to make fun of. But I wish they would make a law against those 3000 watt subwoofer things they put in their cars.

Shouldn't there be a law against assaulting some peaceful Skippy like me with "high intensity pressure waves"? How's that for some scientific talk, I got that phrase from the google.
Dey is indeed ill-legal in many jurisdictions , sumting which juggalos is understandably counter to
http://youtu.be/n1KZlqxUjHI

Because you know annoying peoples is wut_dey_duz .