Arizona Alliance of Black

School Educators

Dawn Demps is a PhD student at Arizona State University in the Education Policy and Evaluation Program of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. She is the mother of 3 growing gifts, an artist and youth organizer with over 20 years of community and family advocacy in her hometown of Flint, Mi. 

Don’t Believe the Hype: A Visual Ethnographic Journey through Anti-Blackness and Exclusion

School to Prison Pipeline (STPP) scholarship has come to acknowledge the racial disproportionately of punitive responses by schools to perceived misbehaviors which most readily impacts African-American children. Unfortunately, the practices and policies that contribute to the ushering of Black students from the educational system into this “Pipeline” are only the latest iteration of historical patterns of educational exclusion that have been experienced by Black children and their families since their ancestors landed on these shores.

No examination of the exclusionary practices experienced by African-American students can be properly considered outside of the historical context of being a Black person in chase of education in the United States. Deficit based policies have historically been crafted and put in place to maintain the unequal treatment of students of color in this country. The rhetoric of safe schools and appropriate school behavior cannot be divorced from the tropes of savage brutes, dull coons or the lascivious jezebels of old. Media, art and other forms of visual propaganda have cemented these images as accurate portrayals of Blackness. This presentation will utilize the tools of visual ethnography to take participants on a journey through the indoctrination of the American psyche as it wrestled with the “Negro Problem” and into present day realizations of African-American student push-out.