Sample Paper on Race Ethnicity and their Impact in Learning Institutions

Race, Ethnicity, and Their Impact in Learning Institutions


No single study have identified race as a biological element, rather sociologists classify race as a social construction. Likewise, it is give weight in relation to historical, social, and, political contexts. From historical perspective, race has always predicated on various phenotypic attributes that establish racial differences. In this case, the paper desires investigate race, ethnicity, and their impact in learning institutions. As posited by Michael Omi with Howard Winant in their captivating publication on various formations of races in the United States (1994), the configuration of race and ethnicity is depicted as a social and historical development in nature. The 21st century, primarily within academic community the use race has been substituted by ethnicity.

When we explore the American and European context, the use of ethnicity is confined within specific dominant groups and within school establishment is perceived to be involving diverse cultures in regard to language, political consciousness, food, music, dressing code and etiquette . However, concerning membership status, this can be negotiated, since it can be situational or optional. In relation to race, ethnicity has been found to be mutable as well being highly flexible group. In this instance, I have noted race is no longer exploited as a biosocial element, but ethnicity which is greatly influenced by biological properties, culture, nurture including historical issues is of great significant within learning institutions. Despite the change of terminologies, this does appear to affect countless change, since race and ethnicity have diverse social privileges including disadvantages of being identified as a member of a particular ethnicity or race. Historically, these attributes have been associated with the formation of diverse theoretical perceptions, which have impacted on academic success or failure within racial or ethnic groups.

Interest for the Study

Academic success is typically associated with individual background in terms of race or ethnicity. Diverse theoretical dispensations have been employed to explain why student performance, which has considerably provoked the utmost level of controversy, has always been placed within either racial or ethnic backgrounds. Since, various attributes sets race as being static, with ethnicity at range, it is important to examine their influence on individual academic capabilities. Due to such kind of observation, I am interested in knowing why the concepts of race and ethnicity are perceived to be the determinants of success among students. It is also essential to question why within the academic realm they are employed as indicative parameters of individual intelligence within specific racial or ethnic groups, rather than being outcome of cultural factors, historical considerations, and socioeconomic attributes.

Such observations have aroused my desire to understand the impact of race and ethnicity on the way students performs. In this regard, I have attempted to reflect on diverse arguments, which have been proposed and presented some groups to be suffering genetic inferiority. Some of these groups included native Africans, European ethnic minorities as well as Native Americans. However, such respected scholars as Allison Davis, Horace Mann Bond, and Du Bois have challenged the study in other similar studies. Nevertheless, remnants of this thinking continue to sprout within the academic circles, as established by Herrnstein and Murray’s 1996 book known as The Bell Curve. In this publication, for instance, the authors allege that a predominant reason some groups do not excel in schools could be linked more to aspects of rank and file perceptions of intellectual inferiority rather than to cultural, economic, structural and historic dynamics (Herrnstein, et al  254).

Data Collection Methods

The target audience consisted of various students with diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds, to avert bias and racial profiling the participants were requested to sign consent forms, participate in interviews, surveys, and answer both closed ending and open ended questions. The technique employed would involve document analysis, case studies, structured interviews, as well as ethnographic studies. In addition, non participant observation would be included. These methods are essential for easier data processing.

The participants would be culled across all racial and ethnic range. The study would not discriminate against gender. The aspect of age would be given consideration since majority of the participants are schooling going populace, thus, the age factor was pegged between 18-35 years. The data was gathered from various venues such as schools, libraries, churches, and social media platforms.

Informed consent

The participants have acquired legal age to participate in the study, and this formed the backbone of their informed consent. The researcher, nevertheless, informed the participants of what was expected from them and the nature of the study. It was an open and voluntary participation.


To understand the various issues that are associated with this observation, the researcher would explore previous studies including the latest literature regarding the impact of race and ethnicity on individual academic outcome. The perspective would be pegged against diverse theoretical perspectives, which provide a credible analysis. Race and ethnicity has been cited as being critical factors that influence academic success, to agree or refute this argument, I am of the opinion that it is important to reflect on the various objectives that can either influence academic performance positively or negatively.

Literature Review

Cultural deprivation Theory

A number of scholars have fronted varied concepts on the role of race and ethnicity influence on academic performance. Some of the scholars have pegged their analysis on what is widely perceived as cultural deprivation theory. From this premise developed in early 60s, it is assumed that academic disparities were because of lack of nurture rather than being a product of nature (Hale-Benson 104). In this case, the publications that ensued projected that academic failure among certain ethnic groups was as a result of family failure to adequately transmit the necessary values as well as cultural patterns essential for student performance within academic institutions. The deprivation premise guided the formation of many of the school programs including pedagogies for families within low-income levels, a good exemplar being Head Start among other compensatory academic programs.

This school of thought projected that cultural deprivation is instrumental in boosting the manner education was provided by the government. The argue that academic institutions should help low income, racial and ethnic minority learners in attaining deficits ignited by their families and the appropriate phase for such interventions was perceived to be early childhood.



Ethnic difference and learning styles

Anthropologists and sociologists have continued to challenge the premise of cultural deprivation through formulation of alternative perception of academic failures allied to ethnic and racial minority learners. This progressive group of theorists alleged that the manner in which a student learned or failed to learn echoed the cultural dissimilarities of the given group, which did not live up to the expected cultural principles of the academic institutions. Flowing by the tides of this new view, sociolinguists ensued by stating the cultural differences leading to language crisis involving scholars and their tutors, of whom many were white. This lifted an argument of the discourse from the perception some of the students cultures were lacking toward the perception that cultures differed. A new angle was developed, where it was agreed racially and ethnically unique learner’s education could be improved if there was an established cultural equivalence or strong synchronization involving home as well as the school, and more, if the learning experiences echoed the dynamic cognitive or equally learning styles including cultural patterns of the pupils.

Manuel Ramírez III and Alfredo Castañeda’s book that elaborated on cultural democracy and education documents the various variations evident within distinctive cultures, the study explored the dissimilarities witnessed among Mexican –American students who were perceived as field-dependent and white learners who were presented as field independent. In the same manner, the study on black student’s cognitive capabilities ignited controversy within academic circles. Some observations by different authors help in advancing the argument. For instance, Hale-Benson in Black Children: Their Roots, Culture, and Learning Styles and Shade’s analysis in Afro-American Cognitive Styles: A Variable in School Success? And Boykin’s 1986 episode, indicate that diverse instructional stratagems employed in classes were not working adequately for the black students, and the outcome was poor outcome among the black students (Hale-Benson 100). These scholars observed that teaching methods require to be improved to increase student’s academic achievement, which would entail developing settings suitable for their unique learning styles such as informal class participations as well as class cooperative engagement while paying emphasis on non-competition learning (Fordham, et al 2005). While these investigations establish various positions on the need to enhance; learning styles for student with diverse racial and ethnic surroundings; Jacqueline Jordan Irvine and Darlene Eleanor York, in their comprehensive prose review from 1995, “Learning Styles and Culturally Diverse Students: A Literature Review,” warns against exploiting this approach exclusively to group students learning procedures on the basis established on cultural attributes (1995).

Nevertheless, the racial and ethnic differences pertaining to schooling experiences remain a feasible explanation due to an increasingly mixed student populace where nonwhite are perceived to be greater, while the teaching staff is established to be heavily populated by whites.


The American education system has attempted to forge a single establishment covering all races and ethnicities within all academic establishments. The objective was intended to allow each student to feel secure and to acquire education without fear of being discriminated or segregated. However, various studies have established this objective is more than often abused. It is evident that the very nature of ethnic profiling is visible across all academic divides. The impact of such engagement results in one race or ethnic group being denied the full right to education. With American case, majority of African-American students are more and more discriminated. A number of scholars have noted that, blacks, Jews and Hispanics are perceived to be racially defective and are ethnically segregated. The impacts of ethnicity and racialism within academic institutions have been blamed for the weakened society since it impinges on the effectiveness of the country’s democracy (Banks 192). The future of each country relies on the ability of its education system to educate and involve all of its young and older generations. However, the spate of academic institutions is changing due low turn out of students from other cultures.


The participants involved in this study expressed their concern on the impact of race and ethnicity within learning institutions, a substantial ratio alleged that Americas academic institutions are heavily racialized,some observed that there states where African-American are not allowed to take some high end courses such as engineering ,law and medicine. For instance, those who answered the question whether ethnicity plays a part in the acceptance in the higher learning institution alleged that ethnic discrimination is rampant within learning institutions. The participants observed that this trend is entrenched in the larger American society due to social and historical dynamics. The effects of ethnicity within academic institutions facilities are rife since only specific ethnic group appear to be always on the wrong edge of the law. The researcher fielded this question whether there had been any bias in their institution in terms of ethnicity, something that almost all participants consented to, that African-Americans are the most heavily affected by this trendy, followed by Hispanics. The nature of racial and ethnic dispensations is more attributed to social, economic and political constructions embraced by the state. Whenever the government fails to enforce streamlined all inclusive academic program, the respondents argued paved way for instability, bias and racial profiling based on the student performance. In some cases, 20 % of the participants noted that ethnicity was also employed to discriminate students on gender, for instance, Hispanic women were viewed as very promiscuous within school establishments, and many schools denied them the right of entry and this violate their right to education. The question whether ethnically specific childhood experiences affected educational levels and experiences informed the researcher that the same experiences applied to Sino-Asian students who were favored since they were believed to be good performers particularly in mathematics and sciences classes. Those who responded  argued that majority of employers consider the applicant ethnicity before considering academic qualifications. Similarly, African-American gained entry to some schools on ground of their sporting and musical capabilities. According to the participants, these were worrying trends since they wrecked the future of the minority due to their color or ethnicity.


Examining the roots of ethnicity and racial problems within learning institutions, I have realized that multicultural education established along cultural centered dynamics required to be explored. The need to infuse diverse ethnic ethos within schooling experience would ascertain cultural, historical, and social experiences of all learners from across all divides. The aspects of this move would ascertain all aspects associated with cultural dynamics within academic sphere are factored. As noted by Molefi Asanti, an activist of afrocentric education, the European-American system distorts history including the cultural backgrounds of students. Various studies are in tandem with this evaluation and they agree that the knowledge that the schools provide and what the society expects invalidates what the learners acquire from schools (Kunjufu 111). I am of the opinion that the infusion of multiculturalism is instrumental as is with cultural-centered schooling system (Banks 112). These dynamics would considerably help in solving the problem of racialism or ethnicity within academic establishments. Thus, teaching the students in structures that are culturally harmonized culturally centered, and ethnically relevant is of value to the learners including the society at large. This approach would be more valuable and far above additive methods and would greatly change the whole of schooling systems and learning experiences.


There is a growing problem within the learning institutions, if race and ethnicity cannot be enhanced to improve on the academic experience of the learners, the academic system can be deemed to have failed in its universal mandate. Exploring the various thoughts advocated by the participants that it is possible to reverse the current situation. This can function if the involved authorities pay more attention to the evolving trend of racial and ethnic profiling in schools. The window can be permanently closed if the government can embrace multiculturalism. Nevertheless, various challenges were encountered in the course of this study; there are those who were against what was being asked and those who supported the study. The study objectives were attained. The information processed can be used to help the government on how best to improve the learning experience for all learners. The nature of racial and ethnic discrimination affects both the whites and other citizens equally. It would be better if the academic system is harnessed and teaching staff balanced and this would greatly change the entire platform.



Interview Questions:


  1. Indicate your age, sex, ethnicity, citizenship and highest level of education?
  2. Dates of your arrival here.
  3. What is your original nationality? Are your parents still living in home country?
  4. What are the different value systems between America and your home country?
  5. How has ethnicity affected your acceptance in institutions of higher learning?
  6. Do you think ethnicity play affects your level of intelligence? Explain.
  7. Do you there is a smarter race than others?
  8. What are bias in your institution with regard to your ethnicity

Transcribed Interview

Interviewer: Tells us your name

Respondent: Mark

Interviewer: Mark Who?

Respondent: Mark Muli

Interviewer:  You are a black student? From?

Respondent: Yes, Richmond, California.

Interviewer: How old are you?

Respondent: 18 years.

Interviewer: how is your schooling?

Respondent: pathetic!

Interviewer:  Why?

Respondent: no learning, too much abuse?

Interviewer: why?

Respondent: No teachers for blacks.

Interviewer: How comes?

Respondents: white thinks black is inferior.









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Works cited

Banks, James A., ed. Multicultural Education, Transformative Knowledge, and Action:

Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. New York: Teachers College Press, 1996

Banks, James A., and Banks, Cherry A. McGee, eds. Handbook of Research on Multicultural

Education. New York: Macmillan, 1995.

Bloom, Benjamin; Davis, Allison; and Hess, Robert, eds. 1996. Compensatory Education for

Cultural Deprivation. Chicago: University of Chicago.

Boykin, A. Wade. “The Triple Quandary and the Schooling of Afro-American Children.” In The

School Achievement of Minority Children, ed. Ulric Neisser. Hillsdale: Erlbaum, 1986.

Foley, Douglas E. 1991. “Reconsidering Anthropological Explanations of School Failure.”

Anthropology and Education Quarterly 22:60–86.

Fordham, Signithia, and Ogbu, John U. 1986.”Black Students’ School Success: Coping with the

Burden of Acting White.” Urban Review 18:176–206.

Hale-Benson, Janice Black Children: Their Roots, Culture, and Learning Styles. Baltimore:

Johns Hopkins University ,1986.

Herrnstein, Richard J., and Murray, Charles. The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in

American Life. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.

Irvine, Jacqueline Jordan, and York, Darlene Eleanor. “Learning Styles and Culturally Diverse

Students: A Literature Review.” In Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education,

Ed. James A. Banks and Cherry A. McGee Banks. New York: Macmillan, 1995.

Kunjufu, Jawanzaa.To Be Popular or Smart: The Black Peer Group. Chicago: A A, 1986.