Student Experience Research Network Blog

Student Experience Research Network stands in solidarity with Black people, Black Lives Matter, and all those standing up for racial justice. We recognize that there is no justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Sean Reed and the other Black people who have been murdered as a result of white supremacy, because they should be alive today.

As an organization focused on research in education, we must reckon with the long-standing role of racism in our field.

Decades of academic scholarship has shown that the education system, like policing and other American institutions, privileges whiteness and perpetuates white supremacy. 66 years after Brown v. Board of Education, school segregation by race is upheld by legislation, judicial decisions, and individual choices. The vast majority of our educational institutions do not teach history in a way that supports students to learn about anti-Black oppression and how individuals and structures in society perpetuate it. Structures, cultures, and interactions in the K-12 and postsecondary education systems create conditions that systematically benefit white students and educators and harm their Black peers and colleagues.

Structural racism is reflected in the foundational policies, practices, and norms of academia, which shape the knowledge that is produced and used by society. This includes who is admitted to graduate school and hired as faculty, how they are evaluated, what and who is studied, how participants are engaged, how and to whom funding is awarded, what research methods are privileged, and which articles get published and cited.

Dominant practice in education research has taken racist, deficit-based orientations toward Black students, families, and communities, and given credence to such views in public discourse. Education research has often sought approaches that aim to remediate the skills, beliefs, and behaviors of Black students rather than address the racist structures and white attitudes and behaviors that systematically advantage and uphold white supremacy in every aspect of education: how educational institutions are funded, what is taught and assessed and how, who teaches, and how students and families are treated.

Looking forward, how can MSN and all other organizations that support, translate, and disseminate research be leaders for anti-racist scholarship that can contribute to a just and equitable—and therefore effective—education system? We take this call to action as an organization and invite members of our community to join us in using our voices, platforms, and resources to combat racism in the spheres we influence every day and in our society as a whole.

Lisa Quay

Executive Director, Student Experience Research Network

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