Black students vs. other students

Here is an interesting article on one person’s findings about the problem of black students. There is a real crisis in the U.S. because black students just aren’t doing as well as other students, and I don’t mean white students. I mean all other students. The article is a bit long, but if you aren’t going to read the whole thing, I recommend jumping to page 4 and at least reading that page.

For what it’s worth, I have seen this in action at the college level. In my classes, I have seen my black students make fun of each other for doing well at school, or for giving a correct answer in class. Of course, that’s only anecdotal evidence, since I have not done a study. It also isn’t true of all black students. But it DOES happen, and I think this guy is pointing out a very real problem that is being buried under criticisms of racism leveled against him. What do you think?

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/issues/2003-05-21/feature.html/1/index.html

Trying to have a rational, levelheaded conversation about this subject is like speaking calmly to the 911 operator. You may be totally right but people will still think you’re messed up and probably responsible for it.

Thanks a heap Harriet Beecher Stowe.

But no matter, at the end it’ll be all blamed on the tests ‘being too white’, and all the examples will be changed to be ‘urbanized’ whereupon they will be sued for giving racist examples and replaced by an all black staff who will do the same thing and be praised.
Pretty soon it will be standard to give tests with black text on black paper to be answered with black ink. Scores will be given randomly and black students will be given a 20% bonus.

Ogbu isn’t exactly radical… I’ve said something similar a couple times over the years, including once back in high school.

Jock culture for example frowns upon studying, or at least whenever that studying conflicts with sports.

General high school culture at normal schools frowns upon elite students (per resentment) and at rich private schools the same (per envy).

Education is tied to The Man which is tied to Caucasians. Blacks as a means of segregation so to speak care not to participate, or participate unwillingly. They see Education as supporting Whites and not Blacks.

I have a Solution of course, which is to integrate The Man. Once integration occurs on that level the systems which FLOW INTO The Man will be supported by a more balanced racial mix.

Well, this is an anti-intellectual country to start with. But it sounds like African-American students may be making things even harder on themselves…

African-American involuntary immigrants, yes. African-American voluntary immigrants, no. This is one of the big points in his book which catches my eye. Some of the blacks involved in this case study were voluntary immigrants and they did not exhibit the same negative traits as others. If the racist system were the problem, wouldn’t it essentially have the same effect on all “blacks”?

Ignore me, I’m white, hence responsible.

If you’re black, what successful role models do you look toward? Certainly in the media, it’s almost exclusively entertainment and sports. I’m at the point where I actually get upset if I turn on MTV and I see a white person on there. It’s just wrong.

I often joke that any rap song can be made funny by properly enunciating the lyrics and speaking in measured, Robert Frost poetry sentences. White it up a bit and it’s suddenly hilarious, an obvious joke. Based on this experiment, and Ogbu’s research, I guess that’s a two way street.

If you’re black, what successful role models do you look toward? Certainly in the media, it’s almost exclusively entertainment and sports.

White role models in the media are just as banal. Unless Hawking is getting a lot of television and print time when I’m not looking.

The alternate explanation given by a collegue of the researcher is interesting:

Although Fordham did not want to comment on Ogbu’s latest work, it is clear that her beliefs are almost exactly opposite from those of her former colleague. She believes school pressure to speak Standard English and “act white” is the very thing that makes black students fail. “What I found, the requirements in school compelled them to act in ways as if they weren’t living in black bodies but who were essentially white or mainstream Americans,” she says. “Kids found it difficult to deal with that and they found strategies to deal with it. They had to speak a certain variety of English in order to be successful. They had to buy into the ideas that dominate mainstream America. … Black kids couldn’t just be who they were.”

Chicken and egg. Do black immigrant families do better than black native families because pressure isn’t exerted on them to conform, or because the pressure to conform is accepted?

school compelled them to act in ways as if they weren’t living in black bodies but who were essentially white or mainstream Americans

Black kids couldn’t be who they were

The really weird thing about these statements are the tacit implication that black people born in the United States are a completely seperate community; they can’t “be” like mainstream America and mainstream America can’t “be” like them. Evidently we come from incompatible cultures; so much for that whole melting pot thing.

I think this attitude is part of the problem. Maybe it’s slavery coming back to bite us in the ass again; the other immigrants coming into this country didn’t have to deal with all the slavery baggage and were able to assimilate themselves into our culture much more readily.

because the pressure to conform is accepted

Since when is pressure to conform to academic excellence a bad thing? Is mathematics somehow inherently racist? Shouldn’t every man, woman, and child in the US be able to read, write, and speak coherent English?

This is a dangerous road that leads to stupid stuff like Ebonics.

Not to be glib, but look at the fictional character David Palmer on 24. Here’s a black man who doesn’t act at all “white”-- he hasn’t sacrificed any of his “blackness”-- and in my opinion is completely believable in his role as an educated, articulate man who happens to be black and also, by the way, the most powerful man in the world.

I said it once, I’ll say it again: David Palmer for President. If black kids had more role models like that, and fewer like Ludacris, maybe we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

And what does he get for his trouble? Assassination attempt after assassination attempt. Rappers het that too, but they also get cool cars, plasma screen TVs, and poon tang out the yinyang.

Sounds like a pretty accurate assessment to me. It doesn’t have to stay that way, mind you, and it’s not as bad as it used to be, but it’s correct for the moment.

AAHADHAFKJDH STAB EYEBALLS OUT ASHFJDFKL:SJD

I think wumpus is right (for once :) ). No other sub-culture in America seems to have this problem of learning Standard English. What exactly is the block supposed to be? It isn’t like black students know any African languages. Where is the language barrier? English IS their native language. My ancestors were Irish and Scottish, but that doesn’t give me a block on learning English. Asian students don’t have that block either. In fact, I find that their grammar is better than most American students, at least in writing. They may have pronunciation difficulties, but they know the rules. Again, that’s anecdotal evidence, but it is also what I have observed.

Also, one of the best students I have had while teaching at Vanderbilt was a black football player. He was bright, and he wrote well. Of course, when he was around other black students, he fell back into bad habits with his speaking. So he wasn’t immune. But he studied hard, and now he is on his way to law school. AFAIK he isn’t from a high income family. He just works hard, and it has paid off. Examples such as this one, combined with the fact that black men that are successful in areas besides sports are often seen as selling out, make clear that the problem is one of culture, not race. I think it is clear that a black person can do well in school, if he puts in the effort. But he faces a lot of adversity from his peers.

Obviously, there are other cutlural groups that have the same problems. This just happens to be such a large group that the problem becomes all the more tragic and difficult, especially if they refuse to acknowledge it.

Explain to me why speaking in an alternate dialect is bad again?

Explain to me why reinventing history and calling anyone who was a soldier in the Korean and Vietnam wars a ‘heartless, soulless SOB’ is bad again?

I wouldn’t say that it is bad but I’d say it minimises your chance for succesful communication with a large portion of society. If someone jumped into this forum and started typing his messages in L33t form it would initially alienate some people despite the content of his messsages.

I wouldn’t say that it is bad but I’d say it minimises your chance for succesful communication with a large portion of society. If someone jumped into this forum and started typing his messages in L33t form it would initially alienate some people despite the content of his messsages.[/quote]

Exactly. It gives the appearance of unintelligence. Isn’t this the forum with long angry posts about how the president pronounces ‘nuclear’?

I’m all for speaking a different language, as long as there is a point. Preferably what you are speaking is BETTER than English if you are not speaking English (such as my own adjustments to the English language for example).

I personally have never even seen an argument (much less a good one) for Ebonics being better than English. And I have often argued against leet speek. Internet culture being MAINSTREAM does not need a seperate language.

Different languages are for communities that are isolated.

What ?