It's all anthropology now: As we noted on Saturday, a new report has reported, for the ten millionth time, that black students are suspended from school, and otherwise disciplined, more often than their white counterparts.
Kevin Drum has offered a post about the new study. More specifically, he ponders the cause, or the causes, of this "disciplinary divide:"
DRUM (4/9/18): So is this disciplinary divide a result of racism? It’s impossible to say. Hispanic students are underrepresented, which suggests something else might be at work. But again: you simply can’t draw any conclusions from this report aside from the fact that there is a difference—which we already knew—and that more detailed study is needed to determine the causes.There's more, but that's the gist.
We note that, in that last sentence posted, Drum refers to possible "causes" (plural) of this phenomenon. That said, the opening sentence posted above may seem to suggest that racism could be the cause (singular), and of course that's always possible, since everything always is.
In comments, almost everyone began searching for the cause (singular) of the differential discipline. Anthropologically speaking, it seems that our remarkably weak human brains tend to work this way.
The differences in rates of discipline tend to be rather large. As someone who's actually worked in schools, we can think of many factors which could contribute to this, some of which have been mentioned by people in comments.
(One example: Black principals in all-black or largely-black schools may sometimes tend to be more inclined toward "discipline" than educators elsewhere, partly as a cultural factor, partly out of apparent necessity. There can be a lot of despair, unhappiness and anger in struggling neighborhoods and schools.)
We're talking about millions of students across a continental nation with vastly different racial/ethnic cultures, differences which have been created over hundreds of years of tortured human history. It's very unlikely that any one factor can explain the differences here, but that seems to be the way our swamp-evolved minds tend to work.
We humans are fairly good at building things. Our technologies tend to work fairly well, though they could always be more advanced.
We just aren't especially good at puzzling out conundrums. Especially at highly fraught times like these, this horrible anthropological fact tends to come to the fore.
We tend to look for the ideologically pleasing single cause. We rarely seem to appreciate how little we actually know.
Absent potent moral/intellectual leadership, we simply aren't an impressive species. (Source: Human history, all over the world.) At present, our "intellectual leadership" comes from corporate cable news and other such ludicrous sources.