Friday, July 24, 2009

"A Nation of Cowards About Race?" A Full-Dimensioned Discussion of the Racial Achievement Gap

In a post a month ago, I wrote that I worry that the racial achievement gap will likely remain because current proposals are little different from those offered in the past.

To stimulate fresh ideas, per Attorney General Holder's calling us "a nation of cowards about race," I decided, as an antidote to education leaders' and politicians' lofty, often out-of-touch rhetoric, to post a teacher's report from the trenches, despite its being inflammatory and probably overdrawn.

I urged readers to view the essay, like early feminist male-bashing writings, as a door-opener for a full-dimensioned discussion of what to do about the achievement gap.

And you certainly responded: almost 400 comments, many of which are very controversial. As I read them, I found myself fascinated, often amazed.

In an effort to continue the conversation forward, I recognize that it's unrealistic to expect many people to read so many comments. So in this post, I've selected the most interesting quotes from the full range of ideas offered by the commenters, including many that make me feel uncomfortable. As the ACLU says, uncomfortable ideas especially need protection. I believe that ultimately, the greatest good comes from the free and open marketplace of ideas.

Despite my efforts at distillation, it will take you an hour or so to read this post. Yet I believe it will be well worth your time.

I encourage your benevolently derived comments on this post. I'm especially interested in ethical and likely effective approaches to addressing the racial achievement gap.

I plan to merge your input with my own (for example, see the post offering a plan for reducing the achievement gap that I wrote after reading the first 150 of your comments) to create an article I will submit for publication and perhaps as the basis for a book.

Okay, here are the quotes from the comments. As is typical in the blogosphere, most of the comments were anonymous, but where not, I include the writer's blogosphere name.
* * * * *
The promotion of rap music, celebrity life, and other illusions have captured young African-Americans minds. A form of new slavery. (R.D. Robinson)

I have to admit that a lot of blacks act exactly as he describes...Many of my family members, with whom I no longer associate, are like this...If these people do not want to follow the rules and make better lives for themselves and/or their families, they need to be cut off. They do not deserve to be coddled. If they keep refusing to be taught, why should money be wasted on teaching them? If they do not want to contribute to society, why should society contribute to them? Just because they're here? Maybe at some point, citizens should have to earn their citizenship, like legal immigrants do. You think that natural-born citizens would take their spot in America more seriously if they had to apply for it every few years, like a driver's license?

As a former tutor to some black students in an underperforming elementary school (I was in high school) I found that the really dedicated students needed outside tutoring in basic skills because their regular teachers were overwhelmed with the daily requirements of keeping some order in the class. Many black students have parents who want them to succeed but don't know where to turn for help.

Having spent time in Africa, the average African wouldn't dream of behaving in such a manner. They could well educate all of us on decorum. Nor do the Africans who come to America and become citizens, get jobs and raise families.

In his amazing book, The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker drives home the point that, while we face social problems full-on and honestly acknowledge their origins, such a direct approach never justifies bigotry and prejudice. (Kelly)

It's uncomfortable for me even to publish others' first-hand reporting on the subject, but I feel we should. It's like trying to cure cancer without examining all the likely causal factors. (Marty Nemko)

After reading this blog, I have to admit I'm quite embarrassed. I'm a 32 year old Black female engineer who was born and reared in the Southeast (Tupelo, Mississippi), and I knew a group of kids who acted like this...Even if it were true that Black people were generally less intelligent, listen to rap all day, vote Democrat, and talk loudly...why is that considered a negative? It's an assumption that whites act appropriately and are considered the pristine standard for human behavior. (D. Robinson.)

Many African-American families with middle or upper income move to a more diverse school or put their children into private schools. This leaves the local schools with students who are low-income and have parents with little education. Parents of students who immigrated from Africa or the Caribbean also tend to value education and put their children in private or diverse schools...My wife is black and from Belize. She and her family are typical of many people who recently moved here and are serious about education...They are often puzzled by the African-American families who don't take advantage of a good education. (WRAllen99)

You are hard-pressed to name a black country or a black mayor city in US that is not dysfunctional. This is the culture Bill Cosby. Thomas Sowell and others points out only to be called Uncle Tom. (JimJinNJ)

This (essay) really hits home for me...Most of the behavior problems in our school come from our Black students--and our school has a much larger Hispanic population. We get more support from our Hispanic parents when there is a problem.

Not all black teenagers think of only sex and drugs and getting 'dat green'...There are more than a few black students that do not fit into your pot, Mr. Jackson....From a mother and teacher of black students.

C. Kirabo Jackson, an associate professor of labor economics at Cornell University, published a study last month in the Journal of Labor Economics. He reported that, at all levels of schooling, high-quality teachers, both black and white, were more likely to switch schools when the racial makeup of a school became predominantly black.

It's glaringly obvious this "racist" (the essay's author) was no racist when he started. He tried everything he could and still failed in the face of the thug-life culture gripping the black community...If you do not change this, something only you as a community can do, this degradation will continue.

By high school age, I don't care if you were raised in the most difficult home situation: you are in charge of your actions. Our society provides public education, public libraries, etc. for everyone, and it's your own decision--and no one else's-- if you are going to take advantage of the opportunities presented to you.

I will admit that reading your essay made my eyes well up with genuine tears because I am familiar with that segment of the African American community. What is rarely discussed is the fact that White teachers who do venture to tackle the task of teaching in the inner city, do so with a set of preconceived ideas. They go in expecting to observe and experience that kind of behavior and subsequently fulfill their prophecy. ...I have known Black students that have acted out in the way you described but I have also known Black students who were the complete opposite and excelled... Europeans developed the English language, perfecting it to meet their own needs and desires, An African-American experiences difficulties with the language because it is essentially foreign to them. Even when born into the language, they have trouble with it due to linguistics...African-Americans are indoctrinated and are forced to think in the way Europeans think. Blacks are an oral people; their histories used to be passed on orally through proverbs and stories that weren't necessarily written down. That is one of the reasons that rap music is so popular. I do think that written language is very important especially in a complex society such as ours; however, older African tribal societies were not at all complex.

A family member and her white girlfriends had to go to the restroom in groups to deter attacks by black girls. They gave up eating in the cafeteria because of black violence and ate their brown bag lunches in vacant classrooms during the noon hour. My experiences with blacks came in college, and they weren't much better than in high school. They were loud, rude, ill mannered, lazy and stupid...I have no more patience for blacks. None. In my entire life I've never seen any institution, classroom, place of employment or any thing else uplifted or improved by their presence. I can't remember all the times that standards have been lowered for them. Has anyone ever heard of standards being raised because of their presence or contribution? We need to bring back segregated schools and segregated neighborhoods.

A recent study said more black teachers are needed for the black children. Well, first it was thought that black children needed to be around white children to learn. Then when that did not improve outcomes, it was because the teachers needed diversity seminars and the district had to hire expensive consultants. Now they are rediscovering the obvious, that blacks do better with blacks. All the more reason to return to segregation when both races were happier.

I'm white and I went to school in Los Angeles during the 80's and early 90's. I had the EXACT same experiences with blacks as described in this article. I entered school as an incredibly open minded, left leaning child. I exited school completely the opposite. My experiences mirror those Mr. Jackson has described, and that was almost 20 years ago. I can't imagine what schools look like today. I could write pages and pages on the behavior of black kids and many Latino kids as well, and not just aimed at whites, but aimed at anyone deemed too weak to fight back. Blacks have become their own worst enemy and they don't even know it.

I've seen the same behavior among welfare whites in California, so this dysfunctionality is not related to race. If the author had removed the term black, it could have been the same school system that I pulled my kids out of because of the same lack of value for education, inability to focus on the future, entitlement mentality, etc....Read Theodore Dalrymples "Life at the Bottom" to see how the same scenario plays out in England. CULTURE (or lack thereof), not race, is everything.

My nephew and niece attend one of the top H.S.'s in the country. It is a magnet program but the school is in the low-income part of town. Kids who live there have the great privilege of attending the school without having to apply and be accepted. What I hear from my nephew is totally consistent with what I read in that article. The black students' cultural differences, outbursts ("O-BA-MA!"), and constant claims of racism make it difficult to maintain an environment conducive to good instruction and learning for those students who want to achieve. Additionally, the teachers' hands are tied when it comes to enforcing rules or punishing a student. Why? Because the student will claim "racism"...which could destroy the teacher's career. The school district is so worried about avoiding lawsuits and keeping a PC reputation, that they rarely side with the teachers when the race card is played. Parents have complained en masse, to no avail at this point.

My experience with Black Africans in our Physics Department at University hardly found them lacking, intelligence and education-wise. Is it perhaps that we have created in the Black American subculture the excuse not to excel, not to strive, not to contribute, but to only take?

The more people rely on welfare, the more drained they seem. There is no drive to succeed. It seems to me to be the worst form of slavery. And the ones caught in it resent the ones who provide the welfare. In a way, I guess it dehumanizes them.

I was a substitute teacher for years as well as a history teacher for many years as well throughout Dade County... I am neither Black nor White but one thing I can tell you with absolute certainty is that the level of control and my ability to teach in ANY given class was in direct proportion to the ratio of Black students I had. If the class was 10% Black, just minor problems. 30% Black, things became increasingly difficult. 50% or greater and I suddenly felt as though I was a correctional officer rather than a teacher and I spent most of my time policing the classroom... I became somewhat of an independent researcher over my years of teaching and I am absolutely convinced that the only cause of this clear correlation is racial, since all other variables could be accounted for. As unpleasant of a conclusion as that might be for anyone to face, I think Blacks need to face this FACT more than anyone else. Their finger pointing will do NOTHING to address this issue. And for once, they need to look WITHIN, rather than to simply blame the White man or the system.

I'm glad someone has the guts to tell the truth! I am white with a little bit of Cherokee ancestry. I was in a gifted program in junior high school. All I saw were whites and Jews--there were no blacks in the program at my school...The races are not all equal. Affirmative Action seems to be a way of tacitly acknowledging this. But your garden-variety lefty will say it's because otherwise blacks wouldn't have opportunities. Please. I'm all for equal opportunity--but I am not for forcing equal outcome! To anyone complaining about stereotypes, I and others have found that at least 80% of the time, people do conform to their associated stereotypes! We can't be afraid of being called "racist." Just let it bounce off. Anyone who plays the race card has issues--they are just trying to use their race to get what they want. They act like spoiled children. Alexandra.

Creators of racket and chaos deserved to be berated. Those who practice self-control deserve praise.

I am from the only white (Caucasian) tribe of Africa...The product of white culture is civilization with accountable government, quality people, brick houses, infrastructure, cars, trains and plains, industrialization, jobs, education, abundance, long and prosperous lives etc, whereas the product of black culture is savage dictatorship with massive corruption, quantity people, mud huts, no infrastructure, walk or run on foot, subsistence farming, no education, poverty, short and miserable lives. This, the rich white liberals found to be grossly unfair. Therefore while they are getting even richer, they devised laws, systems and approaches, to force the middle class white majorities of the world to subsidize these black masses’ “need” to be as prosperous as whites, without the need for blacks to take on the same tasks, responsibilities or accountability. The liberals made it fashionable human rights to attach 50 black parasites to each white productive member of society. The 10% of blacks who can compete with the white average, does not bother anyone.

To all the ignorant people blathering on about how black kids can't learn, take a look at the American Indian Charter School in Oakland and tell me again that minority kids can't excel when properly motivated. That school is number 5 in California as far as test scores go. The only difference is that the school doesn't put up with any of the behavioral nonsense described above....And to the racist idiots (black and white) out there: My grandkids are half black and have been raised to be decent, hardworking US citizens, not card carrying members of a racial or ethnic group. Teddy Roosevelt once warned that the only thing that could destroy this country was if we turned into a tangle of squabbling nationalities fighting each other for political power...Let's bring back the good old-fashioned idea of shaming people for bad behavior. In my day, if you called someone a "no account" it was a big deal. Cultural pressure has been supporting bad behavior for too long.

I'm nice to all my customers but I've always been especially careful to be nice to black customers (I'm white). Why? I don't want to give any offense or be thought of as having any negative racial attitude...but even though just 3% to 5% of my customers are black, black customers cause nearly as many problems for me as white customers.

The black kids in my school, did best when they had a strict teacher.

I can't figure out why, no matter how nice you are (maybe that's taken as a sign of weakness), far too many blacks have this attitude - like a hatred of whites. They say and do things that no white could get away with without getting fired.

In Prince George County Maryland, the average income is one of the highest in the entire country. It is mostly black and many of them work in government jobs. The classrooms are no better (than reported in the essay,) as a front-page article in the Washington Post shows. What the black principal goes through just to maintain order--no serious student could learn well in such an environment. As for the Africans, I've know some that really are intelligent and capable of a high level of abstract and idealistic thinking, but they represent a tiny percentage of the total African population. Africa is a continent where rape of the most ferocious kind (5 years with gunshot wounds in the vagina) is endemic, where men who perpetrate it say they would rape family members if the "magic" required it. There are documentaries on this subject that you will never see on PBS. There are good people there but the black population is possessed of a superstition and violence that we in this country (or almost anywhere else) cannot comprehend. This is a continent that had functioning, comfortable universities for blacks in places now called Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone. Former missionary school students recall their schooling fondly and say that blacks have since destroyed both the buildings and the educational system. Sub-Saharan Africans never developed writing or even the wheel. There is no tradition of book learning or of abstract, high-level thinking. The closest might be some madrassas in Muslim areas. Out of a billion people, you'll find a few bright ones...but Africans left to their own devices do not create, or even maintain, civilization as we know it. Donat.

The gap CANNOT be closed. To say that it can be closed is to say that everyone's equal. No, we are not all equal! There is a huge gap between me and my own sister! It cannot be closed due to how she is and how I am. I was in a gifted class, she was in special education. We were raised the same. She gets jealous of me but she's going to have to learn to deal with it. Alexandra.

You instill the values of self discipline, family, education, thrift, and hard work in ANY child and they will do well in life. When the black community no longer has a 70% out of wedlock birth rate, when strong families are the norm, when achievement is valued, when being on welfare is considered shameful, when working hard in school isn't considered to be "white" (and yes a friend's daughter was systematically harassed at her school for just that reason), when wussy public school educators DEMAND that students behave themselves properly, then the problem will be solved. It isn't rocket science for crying out loud. Beth.

I have been a teacher in an inner-city school and my experiences unfortunately jibe with those of Mr.Jackson. It's not clear what constructive approach can be advocated as it seems just about everything has been tried -- and shown not to work.

I will share an experience I had with my Fresh Air son, who came to my family every summer from Harlem...He'd throw back his head and close his eyes with a big smile on his face and I'd ask him what he's thinking. He would explain it's not thinking; it's smelling. He is smelling pine trees not garbage cooking in the sun...At home he could not fall asleep. His grandmother would not let him out to play because of "mean people."... Once, D looked at my eldest and asked him why he does not hit. D said, "No one was nice like that in Harlem." My son said, "You are." He denied it. He loved his life with us and he wanted to stay. We would have taken him but he had a grandma and younger brother who loved him in Harlem. When he was twelve, I called him in the spring and he told me he was not coming that summer. I asked him why and he did not want to say. So I had him put his grandmother on the phone and she asked him so I could hear the answer indirectly. What I heard was "you white." He did not usually talk "Black" with me. He gave me a heads up at the end of his last summer with me. He said he was under pressure in Harlem for acting white. During this race conversation, he did not look me in the eyes. I said that we have to stay together, college will be here before he knows it and Dad has a plan for that. I never heard from D again. Harlem won. I called to speak to his grandmother after the summer was over but the phone was disconnected...The removal of D from the Harlem culture and environment was central to his progress which points out to me that the Black inner city culture, as it has evolved since the 60's in the care of the radical left, is not serving the children. We have to tell the excuse makers; the political, academic and professional race hustlers, who do their best to keep Blacks in a separate racist gutter to stop and we have to remove their self-anointed race authority. Just because they are Black, does not mean they get to own and abuse the Black tribe with their left-wing drive for power, stupidity and self interest...Time for the "New Left" to go the way of the segregationists they replaced!

If in fact blacks learn differently than whites/Asians/whomever, then how can one group succeed while the other is present? Why should teachers have to use two different forms of teaching for the same subject matter? What are the white kids supposed to do while teacher has to switch to her "black" teaching style? The problem is liberals don't want equal rights, They want equal RESULTS. This is impossible because we are all different. Levi.

I live in a county where whites, as of our last census, make up 47% of the population, blacks are roughly 17%, Hispanics are 17%, and the rest are diverse. Blacks are arrested nearly 2-1 over nearly every other ethnic group---I know this because I have worked in law enforcement for 10 years. I wish these statistics were not true but they are. Blacks think every enforcement of the law that directly affects them is racially motivated, that they are arrested because of their color and not their guilt. That this begins while they are young and in school is no surprise at all. They are their own worst enemies.

The PARENTS of these children have failed to provide them with a proper upbringing. The KIDS have failed themselves by foolishly buying into a cultural ideal that is destroying them, and by dragging down anyone who tries to escape that toxic culture. The SCHOOLS have failed to apply high standards and strict discipline from grade school on. You can bet if bad behavior wasn't tolerated starting in elementary school, many of these kids wouldn't be the basket cases they are now. I am shocked that a student felt safe threatening a teacher and that there were no repercussions....and after reading about LAUSD teaching experiences I can see that teachers get NO SUPPORT from administrators for dealing with discipline problems. SOCIETY AT LARGE has failed by undermining the nuclear family, fostering an entitlement culture, and failing to use social pressure to penalize antisocial behavior. It is failing by not providing alternatives to students who want to escape educational hellholes (e.g. witness the DC voucher program that is going to be scrapped by the current administration in order to placate entrenched educational interests). All these factors need to be addressed.

As a white male who moved to the Mississippi Delta to teach black kids, I witnessed much of what Mr. Jackson writes about. Yet, I am appalled. It is obvious that he had contempt for his black students and I'm sure they knew it. These are not the words of anyone who has any business teaching America's youth. My experience in the Delta was very difficult. Like Jackson, I faced a situation where apathy, violence, and irrational behavior ran rampant. Every day, students entered a learning environment riddled with internal and external distractions. However, I cannot accept the picture that Jackson paints. My room was extremely diverse - and I don't mean racially (all of them were black). I had nerds, suck-ups, jocks, class clowns, musicians, bullies, book worms, thugs, etc. Not all of them worked hard for me all the time, but they all cared because they knew I cared for them. They didn't want to disappoint me. In my final year at the school, 13 of my 29 students tested into the honors program for the following year. They worked their butts off for me and they were rewarded with a chance to have a better learning environment, a better education, and a potentially better future. There were about five students that were in danger of failing my class, and they stayed after school everyday the second half of the year to get help. True, I had to chase some of them down from time to time, but they did the work and all of them passed (One of them earned a B his final quarter- his first ever). I had meaningful relationships with all of my students that extended beyond my classroom walls. There were fights in my classroom. There was occasionally disorder. There was frustration from both me and my students. I had to deal with pregnancy, drugs, and weapons at one point or another. They didn't always like me, and God knows I didn't like all of them all the time. However, they were my kids and it was my responsibility to give them everything I had.

There is a huge achievement gap in our educational system. However, the root cause is not race as Jackson would have you believe. It is a culture of poverty that is prevalent in minority school districts. The essay hints at this by talking about their, at times, distorted world view. I recommend a book entitled "A Framework for Understanding Poverty" by Ruby K. Payne. My black students lived in a different world than I did. They came from homes where education was not valued. They had parents that made terrible decisions and, if present, taught them lessons that ran counter to our middle-class value structure. They had terrible teachers who came out of the same educational system that we're criticizing. And then they'd go home to neighborhoods where survival is a greater concern than homework.

No less of a humanitarian than Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize winner, said after a life in Africa: "I have given my life to alleviate the sufferings of Africa. There is something that all white men that have lived here must learn and know; that these individuals are a sub-race; they have neither the intellectual, mental or emotional abilities to equate or share in any of the functions of our civilization. I have given my life to try and bring them the advantages which our civilization must offer, but I have become well aware that we must retain this status; white, the superior, and they the inferior, for whenever a white man seeks to live among them as their equal, they will either destroy him or devour him, and they will destroy all his work; and so for any existing relationship or for any benefit to this people, let white men from anywhere in the world who would come to help Africa remember that you must continually retain the status; you the master, and they inferior, like children that you would help or teach. Never fraternize with them as equals, never accept them as your social equals; or they will devour you; they will destroy you."

I have to say that after reading the comments on this page, what really scares me is this utterance of the term "hate speech", as if merely speaking one's mind constitutes a crime. This is a slippery slope into the bowels of a tyranny that Western civilization has spent centuries attempting to drag itself out of. If we allow unpopular opinions to become ILLEGAL opinions, then we are no better than all those despotic regimes around the world that we decry so loudly over ill treatment of their own citizens. Regardless of how much an opinion hurts to hear, we must allow it to be spoken and heard, lest we do our Founding Fathers a disservice they would have branded as unAmerican.

I am in awe at the ignorance of Mr. Jackson. I am a female who teaches students who are from a lower socio-economic area. I do very well with discipline. The key is mutual respect and seeing through many facades. Most students are hiding troubled homelives. ...I have taught for 21 years, and I love teaching different ethnicities. I abhor ignorance from all sectors.

Whites are committed to the fiction of racial equality because it is the most straightforward and decent solution to designing a society where different races can live in harmony. The current framework simultaneously a) treats blacks as though they were mentally inferior (affirmative action, special protected status), while at the same time b) immediately destroying any white person who says out loud that blacks tend to be mentally limited in comparison to whites. With a few encouraging exceptions, most blacks cannot compete in a white society. This leaves them with the option of extorting the system for special protected status and special benefits but does not give them the tools to catch up cognitively. Blacks do sincerely hate whites, but not because whites abuse them. (Whites endure shocking levels of black-on-white violence while at the same time spending billions trying to lift blacks up our own level. This is NOT how racists behave.) Blacks hate whites because they feel inferior, because they are dependent on us. Until the censorship ban is lifted on discussions concerning the biological, physical, physiological, mental, sexual, etc. differences between the human races, we will to tread water without progress as we've done for the past half century. Most importantly of all, European Americans (for that is what we are) must assert our group identity, our collective and civil rights, and our pride in our heritage. This is not racism, nor white supremacy, but instead a simple precondition for survival. Creating the most advanced, the most sophisticated, the most free societies in the history the world is nothing to be ashamed of.

I've been in schools all over the place. USA, Canada, Australia, and South Korea. Guess what race of kids, in every one of these countries, cause the most trouble? Blacks. Now, some of you're blaming this on poverty, etc. Although finance might have some sort of an influence, when seeing a recent analysis of SAT scores based on income and race, you'll start to believe otherwise. In fact, according to statistics, on average black children who come from $100k+ incomes score LOWER than white children from $20k incomes.

In the 1980’s I spent a year working as a substitute teacher at public schools in a major East Coast city, an experience that allowed me to see a spectrum of schools, ranging from decent to intolerable. The really bad schools were always predominately black – similar to what Mr. Jackson describes...Teachers, mostly white, were essentially babysitters making good pay but highly stressed out. In one school the principal begged me to return. “Just keep them from hurting themselves” he implored. At another school the elevator operator, spotting a new face, commented: “You’re NOT going to have a good day”! When I asked her what she had meant she told me that they had recently employed an ex boxer as a sub. The ex heavyweight couldn’t take it; he resigned after a few days. The elevator operator was right. My middle school students were completely recalcitrant. There was one white girl in that class who was taunted mercilessly by her classmates. I’ll never forget the misery she underwent merely because she was white. These were just a few of many eye opening experiences. All of the schools were acceptable from the perspective of facilities – a reality that convinced me that money is not the issue. Students do not learn more because they have a carpet on the floor or better projectors. They learn when they come to school willing to make the effort and are guided by responsible teachers. The problem is cultural and I have no idea how you change an entire culture while denying its reality. Unfortunately we live a big lie in the US. We talk about ‘diversity’ when we all know that the only way to get ahead, to get out of the ghetto and live a better life, is to adopt the values of the majority. We can’t say that, though, as it goes against the PC grain. Instead we perpetuate a lie which in turn perpetuates an underclass.

Unless the person who spoke is filled with hatred for Black people, their comments can not be described correctly as "hate speech". Ideas can be described as stupid or mean, but that requires an argument to justify that opinion. Hate speech is an Orwellian term and smear tactic created by the far left to shut everyone up but them so they can be the self-anointed ones. "Oh, I better not say what I think and what I have experienced or someone (the usual suspects) will call me a hate speecher and get me fired. beaten up, harassed; or kicked out of school."

Let me be blunt. Blacks are, as a group, less intelligent than Whites. Every standardized test used in the last hundred years shows a consistent and statistically significant gap between Blacks at the low end and Whites and Asians at the high end. This intelligence deficit is caused, at least in part, by genetic differences. Therefore, nothing can really ever be done to close this achievement gap. The Left, however, refuses to accept this reality, and they (and their media allies) will denounce anyone who speaks this truth as a "racist." So no elected official who wants to be elected can say these things. Because of this, we are stuck in a position where all we can do is hope that some miraculous new educational reform or policy will magically change the status quo. It's not going to happen, folks. Fifty years from now, this racial academic achievement gap will remain. You can try to paper it over with "social promotion" and "Affirmative Action" and a massive infusion of federal monies into "disadvantaged" school districts but the end result will be the same as it is now. Yes, there are exceptions. There are exceptions to every rule. But the rule remains. This isn't the way I want the world to be, but it is an honest reporting of the facts as they stand.

We live in scary times indeed when the act of simply stating an informed opinion on a subject --but an opinion that is not popular among the elites--gets one accused of thought-crimes. Then we wonder why White people are so terrified of having an open and honest discussion about race. We are labeled "cowards" by our own government (Attorney General Eric Holder) for not discussing the subject of race but then we're demonized as hatemongers when a few of us do stand up and speak our minds. It's a Catch-22 that Whites are destined to lose every time, no matter what we do. The entire system is gamed against us.

I attended inner-city schools in Los Angeles growing up, and I can tell you, from personal experience, that all the discipline in the world will not reach some individuals...The schools I went to were out of control. At the time, I thought it was funny. Today, I wouldn't send my own son to them under penalty of death.

Do you honestly think he (the essay's author) decided to teach in this school for a number of years if he truly disliked African Americans? Why would he stay there for so long if this were the case? Could it instead be that he was just too worn down after trying awfully hard to get his students to learn and yet they never did? How do you know that Mr. Jackson was the problem in the classroom when many of the people who've posted comments said that they've had very similar experiences? How is it irresponsible of Mr. Jackson to write what he perceives to be his genuine understanding, coming from many years of teaching?

I'm 38 yrs. old and it sounds like things haven't changed a bit since I went to school; and your essay really tells it like it is. I transferred from an all white school where I made A - B honor roll to an all black school my sophomore year of high school. I'd like to mention at both schools I was a varsity football starter, and at the latter: the only white kid on the team. Everything in Mr. Jackson's essay is true. Every class I had looked like Mardi Gras. It was impossible to teach let alone learn in that atmosphere. Someday you would have 3 guys gambling, different cliques of girls carrying on conversations, multiple cut-ups, the usual bunch that gave the teacher hell for that day, and, believe it or not sleepers. Pretty soon you won't be able to find anyone to teach at predominantly black high schools. I was never bothered physically because I was a varsity football starter but I have seen a lot of kids that were terrified. I think African-American kids need to be sent through some kind of boot-camp before starting high school to teach them respect.

I don't understand. Why does Mr. Jackson assume he deserves respect? He doesn't do anything when the class gets out of hand, or if he does try to calm the class, he doesn't do enough, which seems to me to signal he's an easy teacher to mess with. I've been in so many classes like this, I find it much easier to sympathize with the students than the teacher. If he's in over his head, and is aware of that, why does he keep pushing through? I've had so many teachers who believe they can pull a Freedom Writer that this article is, frankly, more embarrassing than inflammatory. As teachers, you're not expected to change our behavior, you're expected to give us information. Everything else, we'll learn on our own, just like we've done before. No one likes having someone else's idea of normal shoved down their throats. Grillz and rimz are so bizarre to him he needs to add a side-note, as if the idea is from another planet rather than a different neighborhood. Bashzilla

I am a white male who teaches in a majority black school. I hate to say it but I think black culture epitomizes failure. Most black students want to grow up to play for the NBA or be a rap star. Just how realistic is that? Black students who do well are ridiculed for "acting white" by their fellow blacks. I do have a few high achieving blacks but in every single case they usually have a father and mother at home who make them study and are concerned about their education. Most black students are being raised by their grandmother after their birth mother has fobbed them off so they can continue their irresponsible lifestyle. Children are just a government check to most of these teen black mothers. Is there racism in public schools? What exactly constitutes racism? At lunch students self-segregate themselves. It's a matter of choice, not because some evil white racist makes them sit in certain areas among their own people.

Most white males now dress like blacks and listen to Rap music....Liberals would be blown away by how black people feel about whites and how the darker blacks treat the lighter skinned blacks. Blacks cannot take responsibility for their own failures and everything that happens to them is because of white people and racism. I kid you not! That is what they believe! If you want to talk about racism, hatred, bigotry, and intolerance, whites can't hold a torch to blacks!

Black men are only about 6% or less of the US population but commit 52% of all murders, 32% of all rapes, 56% of all robberies, and 34% of all aggravated assaults in the USA. http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm, http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/data/table_43.html. When viewing the stats linked above, be aware that the FBI and USDOJ count Latinos as being WHITE, which unfairly raises the reported "white crime rate" much higher than it actually is.

www.harbornet.com/folks/theedrich/JP_Rushton/Race.htm. Average Differences Among Blacks, Whites and Orientals. Brain Size/Cranial capacity: Blacks: 1,267, Whites: 1,347, Orientals: 1,364 . Cortical neurons (millions): Blacks: 13,185, Whites: 13,665 , Orientals: 13,767.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20090605/sc_livescience/boyswithwarriorgenemorelikelytojoingangs. "Boys who have a so-called 'warrior gene' are more likely to join gangs and also more likely to be among the most violent members and to use weapons, a new study finds. While gangs typically have been regarded as a sociological phenomenon, our investigation shows that variants of a specific MAOA gene, known as a 'low-activity 3-repeat allele,' play a significant role," said biosocial criminologist Kevin M. Beaver of Florida State University. In 2006, the controversial warrior gene was implicated in the violence of the indigenous Maori people in New Zealand, a claim that Maori leaders dismissed. But it's no surprise that genes would be involved in aggression. Aggression is a primal emotion like many others, experts say, and like cooperation, it is part of human nature, something that's passed down genetically...A separate study at Brown University from earlier this year found that individuals with the warrior gene display higher levels of aggression in response to provocation."

Gareth said... I recently returned from a month-long trip through South Africa and Namibia... Our guide, a well-educated colored (in South Africa there are three racial categories, White, Colored, and Black, where one is only considered "black" if they have no mixed heritage whatsoever) told us a story about a group of Black activists from the United States. He said the activists came and immediately requested a different guide because he wasn't "African" enough. When he would describe stories of reconciliation...the American blacks were upset that the Africans hadn't sought more "justice." They eventually requested he be taken off their tour because he wasn't as angry towards the whites on behalf of mother Africa as they thought Africans should be.

My local school runs sports sessions early in the mornings to physically prepare the students. Their conduct then in class is good. It is just a matter of diverting their energy.

I went to a mixed race public school. I recall an honors biology class, probably around 7th grade. We were about 30-40% black in a middle-class to well-to-do suburb of Chicago. We had a stern taskmaster that we all respected. You could sense her genuine caring and what seemed like love for us all. She became ill for a length of time and so we had a series of substitute teachers. Those poor substitute teachers were made mince-meat by the unruliness of the students, similar to the scene Jackson describes...I think Jackson is a failure as a teacher. He failed himself and the students. They sensed his failing and weakness and went for the jugular.

I read this post and brought back some really bad memories of high school. It actually kind of infuriated me looking back on it on all the things I missed just because of the school district I lived in and realizing for the first time that all those opportunities were lost because of the same reasons that the author had given. I went to a predominantly black high school near Philadelphia, PA and literally was in fear of my life every day. I hated that school so much and tried desperately to skip school as much as possible due to the drug use and knowing those who carried knives and guns. There were no metal detectors at the doors although there should have been. Reading I couldn't stop but remember all the beatings I had to endure. I really really hated being called "White Boy" even by those people whom I had known since kindergarten. I am so happy now that that horrible time is over now and I would never subject my children to that kind of filth.

In the Federalist Papers and in his Constitutional Convention notes, James Madison wrote that the way to control the masses is to divide and rule them by increasing the number of factions in the voting districts. He did that by increasing the size of the political districts. That was why the federal govt was created by the founding fathers--to disempower the majority by making it hard for them to "unite and discover their common interest" (a quote from Madison). Today, the minority of the opulent has found another was to decrease unity--multiculturalism, racial integration, and mass immigration. The comment above (R.D. Robinson) mentioned a conspiracy. It is indeed deliberate, an open conspiracy. Why you ignore it, I cannot say. Divide et impera--that is what has brought us the conditions depicted in the essay above.

Pretty surprised by these responses. The author is clearly both racist and incapable of contextualizing what he saw.

When students understand that there are acceptable and unacceptable behaviors THEY WILL conform and respond. Because this teacher was afraid or reluctant too be the authority in the classroom he felt he could do nothing about it and just marked it up to cultural differences that fit his preconceived notions.

I have NO LOVE whatsoever for former President Bush but he did get one thing right “the soft bigotry of low expectations” are very true. And especially true for this teacher. He didn’t expect much and therefore did not get much in return.

Here is a link to the college version of this essay, with a Black teacher
http://www.sptimes.com/2007/05/20/Opinion/A_dream_lay_dying.shtml

Graduating in 2004 in the richest county in the United States (outside of Washington DC), I can confirm that the original post accurately describes a significant portion, but not all of the black students in my school...Even with financial backing, many of the black students resorted to this type of behavior and to personify themselves as "gangstas out fo the green."... (just as) numerous black athletes and stars, who clearly have the financial backing but can not resist the urge to mimic the actions of many disadvantaged blacks in urban conditions. It's baffling. ..I can also confirm that blacks in my high school who chose to embrace the culture had serious discontent for the Hispanic community. I am fairly sure that the equal discontent felt by Hispanics is provoked by the Blacks' racism.

Doug said...I am a mostly Caucasian mongrel that until recently lived in South Africa. I believe that the answer lies hidden in the middle of this sad but socially necessary diatribe. Humans would benefit from individuality training. Non-conformity is a powerful force driving, or at least existing in the greatest leaders, artists and inventors through the ages. Conformity is no less powerful, leading inexorably to the behaviour of the lowest common denominator. Teach people to think for themselves and they may learn to think.

Race is an easy scapegoat. Nice to read comments from Beth and the others who've pointed out that there's other things at work here than race.

Dave said...I am currently a teacher in a Low Performing New York City High School in the Bronx. Our black student population is the majority, followed by Hispanics, So I work closely with these students every day...the students we get in my school ARE for the most part ignorant of history, math and whatever else the author feels they should know- but that's the whole point! WE ARE TEACHERS, OUR JOB IS TO TEACH. If the students were already experts in American history, government and math, they would not need us.

Many people don't seem to understand that colonial Europeans traveled to Africa, enslaved the locals, brought them to America, and systematically tortured them physically and mentally for HUNDREDS OF YEARS. Do you want to know why the black family unit is so fucked up? Because the slave owners broke families apart and RAPED the women! How about the way slave owners would kill the smartest slaves who attempted to educate themselves? Or how slave owners created the best workers by breeding the most physically fit slaves? The colonial Americans and Europeans destroyed their African identity. Not to mention the past 60 years where both Republicans and Democrats have treated them like asses. Fuck all you racists out there who feel the need to pick on black KIDS (some who were born with no one in this world to tell them that they are worth a shit and to shelter them from the death and destruction surrounding them everyday of their lives) to make yourselves feel better. I really do hope that most of you lost money in the stock market or some other "legal" swindle by (mainly) white people. Those people stole more of "your" taxpayer money than any of these kids have.

I must admit I felt profoundly discouraged by not being able to connect with my teachers and professors along the years of my education. As an Amerindian with South Americas roots, I'm seldom (if ever) around people who are racially like me. I've proven myself in all fields I've had to, and I've been a positive asset to both societies, the USA and Canada. I've managed to achieve more than most other people with a similar background of poverty. Yet, in all my years, I've never managed to have a true friend from a different racial background. Someone who could open up with me as if I were an equal. I consider that my worst failure.

Seems to me the author of the essay summed up the problem quite nicely, maybe without even realizing it: "...according to official figures some 85 percent of them graduate. It would be instructive to know how many of those scraped by with barely a C- record. They go from grade to grade and they finally get their diplomas because there is so much pressure on teachers to push them through. It saves money to move them along, the school looks good, and the teachers look good."

That teacher was biased and never made an effort to actually get to know his students. How can one learn from someone who is so distant? He himself never attempted to close the social gap in which he and his students were drowning.

People seem to think that black people should have just "gotten over" slavery by now, but it was a destructive system that lasted over 200 years, followed by another 100 with no voting rights and a culture of racism where academic achievement was not rewarded with economic success.

People mentioned genetics...Slavery, theoretically, could actually interfere with sexual selection given enough time. When people are bought and sold like cattle, and when the intelligent and free-thinking individuals are more likely to be killed and good physical attributes are more highly valued, that could have an overall genetic effect. When we pass the 200 year mark of a slavery-free U.S., then perhaps we should revisit the differences between the races. But until that approximately 50 years from now (2065, I think), I don't think test scores of black students prove anything along the lines of what some posters think they do.

J said... I'm a senior premed student at a university located in the southern part of the United States. To make myself more competitive for medical school, I have spent a great deal of time volunteering at a local hospital in a big city. I know this might sound a bit crude but black people for the most part are exactly as the author of the article describes. I agree with previous comments that suggest that the problem is not with the 'system' but, rather, with the culture that many black people embrace. Bill Cosby said it best in his speech[several quotes]: "...parenting is not going on..." "I’m talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was twelve? Where were you when he was eighteen, and how come you don’t know he had a pistol? And where is his father, and why don’t you know where he is? And why doesn’t the father show up to talk to this boy?" "...We cannot blame white people..." "...50 percent dropout rate, I’m telling you, and people in jail, and women having children by five, six different men.""...[Black]People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! Then we all run out and are outraged, “The cops shouldn’t have shot him” What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand? I wanted a piece of pound cake just as bad as anybody else And I looked at it and I had no money. And something called parenting said if get caught with it you’re going to embarrass your mother..."It can’t speak English. It doesn’t want to speak English. I can’t even talk the way these people talk. 'Why you ain’t where you is go, ra,'...And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. Then I heard the father talk. This is all in the house...Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads." "What the hell good is Brown V. Board of Education if nobody wants it?" "I know that you all know it. I just want to get you as angry that you ought to be. When you walk around the neighborhood and you see this stuff, that stuff’s not funny."

In the "new democratic" South Africa where all are now equal by law and in practice, chaos reigns: infrastructure and services are collapsing. Crime and corruption are the norm. There are many black-only schools with zero pass rates. Only the few remaining only white schools still have 90% to 100% pass rates. As schools get more race mixed, they become more dangerous to pupils and to teachers and the pass rate drop and the criminality rises... But once again you liberals will ignore the truth and "develop" and popularize amazingly infantile excuses, reasons and theories of why blacks with total equality and equal opportunities, are failing dismally and rather choose to make everything ungovernable and chaotic. You are the racists, because your whole approach is built on the premise that blacks cannot achieve and prosper by themselves. They need to hitch a parasitic ride with whites to stand a chance! And when the majority of black parasites still fail, you blame the white hosts!

Dr. F said...I found the 'racist test' that Harvard University created. It's a real eye opener. The results for 98% of the population are not surprising, to say the least. Take it: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/takeatest.html

It makes me laugh though about bringing up slavery. It is nothing more than an excuse to be lazy and blame white people for everything that goes wrong. Blacks need to take responsibility for their own actions and stop blaming white people for everything.

My personal experience with blacks in high school and the military agree with Mr. Jackson's account. In 1971, a Federal court mandated busing for my all white high school in Tampa, FL. Prior to the order, Plant High was considered the best academic environment in the city. The very first day the blacks were bussed to Plant, they attempted to burn the cafeteria down, giving us all a two week vacation. Until I graduated in 1972, the situation at Plant just got worse and worse. Classrooms were in total chaos, robberies at knife-point in the bathrooms, boys publicly masturbating etc. The Dean of Boys at Plant, a retired Marine Corps gunnery sgt, finally quit as he "was tired of going to court with the NAACP over expelling 23 year old males who only showed up to rob and pillage."

I taught for a couple of years in an inner-city school system that was more than 90 percent black. There were life threatening situations almost daily. The kids called each other the "N..." word thousands of times every day, and considered it a joke that whites were not allowed to use that word. There seemed to be a culture of entitlement without requiring any effort. We were supposed to provide them with entertainment, and if they showed up, they were supposed to get good grades. I had parents complaining that it was too much to expect their children to read "Catcher in the Rye" as high school freshmen because it was too hard. The students would throw their trash on the floor and when I told them to pick it up, would respond that it was the janitor's job. When the situation escalated, their parents also explained that it was the janitor's job to clean up the messes their children made. I know there are many blacks that work hard to improve themselves and their lives, but the vast majority of black students in inner city schools do not and feel that they should not have to.

I was a serious problem-child in school. I often acted like the kids the author described. I know what the problem was. The author is a bad teacher. He comes with the assumption that the students should learn anything he teaches them... I was often reprimanded for disturbing the class. I guess I just didn't get it. Even with the adults in my life, I never aspired to be like any of them. I would deliberately ignore things I thought were useless. I think a teacher's job in ANY school is to SHOW interest in the subjects they are teaching...Showing interest means relating it to life, to social concepts that everybody can relate to.

For the sake of the kids, you have to break them (state curriculum plans) down and give the teacher exactly what you want them to teach...This is the situation with black people as well. The idea of formal education is not as much a given. There are much stronger social pulls that demand the student's attention and any teacher who ignores this or looks down on it will be left behind.

I taught in a school that was 60% black, 35% Hispanic and 5% white. I face many of the same issues. My issues were just on a second grade level. The Black students were LOUD, and giving them hands-on group work is like shooting yourself in the foot. There was no control in the classroom when it came to group work. They just either cannot or choose not to regulate themselves given the opportunity. I actually have had to slam books on the floor just to get their attention because they were so loud. Now, my question for anyone out there who blames the teachers for poor classroom management is this: How do you manage students who were told by their "mama" they don't have to listen to you because you're white? I have been called a b**ch by a student in SECOND grade because I was trying to maintain control of the class. There were two major problems I faced among a predominately black school besides the lack of authority we have as teachers. One is that there is a lack of critical thinking skills. They don’t try to think for themselves; they only think what they are told, and can’t even handle that sometimes. Problem solving questions were a nightmare, so I frequently used them to try to build on these skills. The other major problem I faced when trying to teach these students was this learned self-helplessness, the "I can't" which really means "do it for me” because they don't want to put forth the effort. This to me is the same as “give me a welfare check.” My husband says that if we have to take drug tests to have a job, go to work, and provide for our families, then anyone who is cut a welfare check must take supervised drug tests regularly to receive them. I think that to solve the problems in schools, we need to empower the teachers to discipline. The students know that all teachers can do these days is give them a "slap on the hand” so to speak. Bring back the old-school days before everyone was afraid of what might happen if we actually discipline students.

I did want to share a perspective of a young black man who went through 13yrs of public school and graduated college...The kids are just getting flushed through. I personally think that if you take a militaristic approach... it would go a long way. Sometimes fear works, if you can get unruly kids to fear you more than their parents.

I am a white teacher and I have and continue to work with low-income, minority students in the public school system in New York City. I have watched as both myself and my colleagues have reflected on our teaching practices to better our instruction, talked to grades above and below to adequately prepare them, fought to improve practices by appealing to school officials and worked with those in the student’s home to impress upon them the importance and expectations of school. If a teacher does not at least attempt to do this and more, they do not deserve any right to stand in front of a class. The situations I see day to day can be incredibly disheartening and I have witnessed my share of violence and the repercussions from the chronic poor choices often made by young people, however that still leads me to more a sane conclusion than Mr. Jackson. .. Mr. Jackson has to do more than care, he has to show it to his students in his actions and look beyond the bright and loud problems to the more rooted and chronic issues at work in his students.

The educational gap between black in America and all other ethnic groups can be explained in one word, ACCOUNTABILITY. As it was told to me, many blacks as late as the 1950's and 60's strived to overcome common stereotypes by working doubly hard and always remaining presentable. Then, in the decades following, black culture transformed into the rebellious, anti-establishment, "thug life" culture of today, justified by the liberal notion embracing ethnic pride amidst a vacuum of identity for the black culture in America. Programs of entitlements attempting to repair past wrongs and enhance equality merely perpetuated the vicious cycle, which cannot be broken until black families and individuals embrace accountability and education....Almost every regional dialect contains some improper language, but ignorant blacks embrace "ebonics" as part of their cultural identity and refuse to conform to the proper use of our national language. Again, liberal philosophy attempted to legitimize this foolish belief by incorporating courses to teach this in public schools in California in the 1990's. I distinctly remember a mandatory assembly at my public high school in South Louisiana (20% black) during Black History month, where a few black students were called to the center of the court to name their role models. Instead of great men such as Thurman Thomas, Frederick Douglas, Langston Hughes, or Jackie Robinson, whom actually impacted the perceptions and rights of black people in America, the students listed such people as "Pac"(Tupac Shakur), "Kobeeeeee" Bryant, and "Cash Money" (Rappers of Cash Money records of New Orleans: Manny Fresh, Baby, Juvenile, Lil Wayne). The reality is that despite the extensive efforts to inform young black people of the impact of Blacks throughout history, the vast majority aspire to become athletes or entertainers.

Jessica said...There's so much I want to say in agreement with the author of this article but I'll just say, as a former White female student of the public school system in Florida that the same things happened to me as described in the ending of the article. I was harassed, spat on, called a racist and nearly beaten because I refused to date blacks and was raised to be proud of my white heritage but not to hate people just because they were different. I would beg, cry and even resorted to self injury to avoid going to school. No matter how much my parents tried to fight the school board and school staffs at the various schools I transferred to it was always the same, there was nothing they could do or they flat out denied there was a problem and even blamed me for being spat on. I will absolutely under no circumstances allow my daughter to go to public school out of fear for her safety, it's too much of a hostile environment for whites these days. I will home school or get a private tutor for her if needed. The only solutions I can suggest that educators to consider is optional segregation, the legal allowance of private community-interest schools with special legal protection and a effort to get role models within the Black community to come together to find a way to encourage their youth to learn. Maybe even have a serious discussion with the rappers that Black children idolize and hope they can put out music that encourages respectful and responsible behaviors instead of a life of crime, casual sex and drugs. The very liberal community needs to quit targeting White youth in these diversity campaigns to make them feel ashamed of who they are or that they need to go out of their way to make friends with non-Whites or they are somehow bad. This is why you have White kids that go astray and become violent and irrationally hateful towards minorities.

Dems keep them (minorities) down, feeling worthless, useless, incapable. They remove all the necessary self-driving accomplishment values that should be instilled at an early age. Dems are careful to control appearance - "white" is synonymous with "Republican" - lobbying groups spent decades & millions to get black citizens thinking like that...It's a sub-culture of failure created by Democrats in an atmosphere of political power grabs at any cost. Visible now are the dangers of government indoctrination: Blame everyone and never take any personal responsibility.

If "race is just a construct" as the multicult tells us, then how can be blacks be seen as a separate people with separate art forms? If race is only a matter of mere skin color then how could it possibly account for different learning patterns? But if there are these inherent differences, then perhaps do the race realists have a point? "Whatever negative experiences a person may have had with individuals of a certain background, it is ESSENTIAL that we not tar all people of that background with the same brush ..." True, but this is precisely what many minorities and virtually all liberals do in regards to Whites: treat Whites as an "oppressing" group who must be re-educated, bused, sensitivity trained, and subjected to lawsuits and regulation in order to rid them of their "privilege" and “racism.” ...they "cross the line into hate speech." Ah, so then the author of this statement is opposed to civil rights insofar as he or she believes in censoring comments which are not in accordance with the prevailing multiculist ideology? But wait, how does this jibe with the civil rights movement which claimed to be speaking for freedom? Are we to set up boards of censorship to conduct witch hunts against anyone who dares dissent from the prevailing multicultist orthodoxy, as they do in Europe?

Alyssa's Bog said...As a teacher myself I can point to a few actions that if I had been so reckless to partake in would never have to gall to admit to. 1. His (the essay writer's) answering of his cell phone during class time, and then stepping into the hallway for 2 minutes! Who is watching the students during that time? Why would it be all right to leave any students, black or otherwise, unattended and then blame them for taking advantage of the situation? 2. He purposefully chose the "lightest" student in the classroom to carry out a task and then was surprised that the students called him on it?

Unfortunately all my personal experiences with Black people from suburbia during my time in high school have been very similar, where often times negative aspects of black culture are glamorized. I would see kids in high school whose parents were making 200K+ who were still selling cocaine, getting bad grades or getting in fights, just living the 'gangsta rap' lifestyle and I couldn't understand it. What needs to change is not black people, but the negative aspects of black CULTURE. There is plenty of great aspects of black culture to be celebrated, and those are really what parents should be teaching their children. About strong black leaders like Malcolm X and the insane struggles they overcame here in America. Gangster Rap music I think is unfortunately a main culprit and I'm guilty of listening to it, perpetuating negative and counterproductive values. I'm sure you can relate how an on-the-'edge' lifestyle where you can make a lot of money appeals to many young rebellious people, not just blacks.

I'm a white teacher in South Africa... I can really relate to a lot of what Christopher Jackson says. I found the same problems with so many black students - they just are not interested in learning at all, they are much more violent: the only students I was every afraid of were the black students...Even though many of the white students were extremely naughty, rude, even aggressive, I never really felt threatened by them. I don't know how much you know about South Africa, but what is happening is that since we became a liberal democracy we have become a "rights" obsessed culture. This is understandable, because for many years black people were segregated from whites, as I'm sure you know. Unfortunately a consequence of this is that when schools want to take action against students like the one I mentioned above (a student who used a cell phone in class), they shout about their "right to an education" and the relevant government departments actually support them in this. It is nearly impossible to expel delinquents, even if they come to school drunk, physically harm teachers or other students, steal, etc etc...Rights at all costs, even the rights of teachers and other students, it seems. Anyway, it's just interesting to see that even in a completely different country, with a very different set of cultures, the experiences we have here are nearly exactly the same as what he says in his letter. Black people are the ones who are ultimately being harmed by our cultures that are afraid to see things as they are because political correctness rules. Much better to allow people to experience bad consequences due to bad behavior, and encourage responsibility above demanding entitlements from the rest of society.

You're kidding yourself if you think that black culture contributes to any of what was mentioned in this article. What kind of kid (black, white, whatever) hears lyrics from a rap song and thinks that's how real life works?

The frustration deemed "racism" of whites with this segment of blacks in our society is born of a lifetime of experiences inconsistent with the virtues of equality preached by elitists. In contrast, the real racism of many blacks blaming whites for the problems of the world and the beliefs held by elitists that blacks are held in poverty by institutional racism toward blacks in the South are truly ignorant.

Fathers and fatherhood are sorely lacking in the black community. The conventional wisdom is that the reason for this is irresponsible fathers, but I think that it’s actually more nuanced than that. Irresponsible fathers mate with irresponsible mothers, in a sexual free-for-all without boundaries. When a particular father wants to remain in his kids' lives, Mom is left with the choice of (A) being denied welfare and child support and depending on an unskilled father, versus (B) accepting welfare and child support while consigning Dad to the periphery of the children's lives. And so fatherhood dies a quiet death over an 18 year period in the case of a particular fatherless child. The result is chaos, at home and school. I hear Barack Obama on Father's Day, projecting the pain that he had about growing up without his father and calling for black men to "step up" and be a man. But barely a word is spoken on ensuring that fathers who do want to "man up" be given legal guarantees to be around their kids -- and to be free from child support payments to the degree that they support their kids through their own utilization of parenting time. The lack of fatherhood, and the peace and order that it bestows, results in this cultural devastation.

Daniel said... Let's not forget the real reason why black people's culture and demeanor is in such a way as you described it. POVERTY. most black people are in poverty and pass it on from generation to generation.

Chris Rock tackled this in Black People: www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7b2oCYgfik

While much of what Mr. Jackson may have been true, what he fails to acknowledge is that there is a whole different world of blacks who have successfully blended and succeeded in larger society. Middle class African Americans have much more in common with middle class whites than they do with the poor underclass African Americans described in the essay...I do know that taking the conservative hands-off approach is just going to make things worse. There is a place for Head Start. There is a place for Planned Parenthood. There is a place of affirmative action. Perhaps society needs to go further and actively promote birth control and more active rewards for moving in the direction of middle class values of delayed parenthood, two-parent families, and a more traditional lifestyle.

The irony is that the liberals who push the insanity of political correctness and race guilt know what this author has to say is all too true but do not care. Their goal is not to educate and advance Blacks, it is to keep them on the Democrat party plantation and fuel the fires of resentment to create another generation of faithful Democrat party voters. Even Barack Obama - the current black Messiah - won't subject his kids to the majority black public school system in Washington, DC.

When I retired from the army, I became a teacher. Being an ex-military man, it was assumed that I could handle the discipline problems in an inner-city middle school. Being enthusiastic about my new job, my eyes were opened as I walked down the hallway between classes and a group of young blacks walked by me and one said, "What you lookin at MF?" Having retired as a field grade officer and being used to respect, I was floored. During the three years that I attempted to "be all I could be" as a teacher, I constantly faced depressing obstacles, ie. students that could care less about academics, parents that could care less about their kids education and getting involved in their schooling, students that had absolutely no respect for white people or authority, total disrespect and disregard for school rules. I worked with many truly dedicated teachers. I was really depressed that I had so much to offer and I could reach so few. There were black teachers there that had adopted the attitude, "it's just a job". The few good black students that I had were military dependents and generally shunned by their fellow classmates that weren't. These kids behaved well as they knew that I knew that a call to the commander of their military parent would cause serious problems. And, they had not been poisoned with the idea that racism is the cause for black failure as the former commenter R.D.Robinson contends...A double standard has been established in schools to cater to the lifestyles of black students in inner-city schools. For example, a white student that ever called a black teacher a nigger would be severely punished on the unlikely event it could ever happen. On the other hand, a black student that calls a white teacher a "white MF", cracker, or other name is just given a talk by the counselor. Blacks are allowed to get by with murder so to speak...Until black leaders like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and other glory seeking hypocrites stop encouraging racism and supporting racism, we will all suffer. Opportunity is truly equal as a minimum. There are programs and opportunities for blacks that have never been available for my kids. If one isn't motivated enough to take advantage, it isn't white racism. Black mothers must start getting more involved in their childrens' lives and stop the laziness. Successful blacks need to be more critical of those that are slackers. In summary, I worked in a school that had all of the top technology, excellent teachers, and other benefits that many other schools dream of. It did nothing to motivate most students. It all depends on the community leaders and parents. The other blame is a cop out. People like RD Robinson is the Black person's worst enemy. His racism is obvious.

Just because some kids, some classes, or some schools are having problems does not justify stereotyping to an entire group or race of people. Students that are out of control can become in control. I teach at a school with very few minority kids but find that the same kids that are in control in my classroom are out of control in other teachers' classrooms. Blaming behavior, learned helplessness, and/or a fatalistic view of the situation will only lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy of continued problems. Honest, INFORMED debate on the topic is what will lead us to success.

You should take a look at KIPP. I have philosophical and practical disagreements with KIPP, but the program could credibly be called a success at teaching and socializing ghetto students.

Marty Nemko said...In reviewing the research on approaches to reducing the achievement gap, I did indeed take a look at the data on KIPP. Alas, it was disappointing. This is the Wikipedia synthesis of the troubling findings: "Some observers, such as the authors of "The Charter School Dust-Up,"[4] say that KIPP's admission process self-screens for students who are both motivated and compliant, from similarly motivated and compliant -- and supportive -- families. Parents must commit to a required level of involvement, which rules out badly dysfunctional families. Reports of KIPP's discipline policy, which involves shunning the miscreant student, and other KIPP policies such as teaching students how to "walk briskly down the hall" (according to one admiring description of KIPP practices),[5][citation needed] might further tend to discourage willful, defiant or simply independent-minded students from applying. In addition, some KIPP schools show high attrition, especially for those students entering the schools with the lowest test scores. A 2008 study by SRI International found that although KIPP fifth-grade students who enter with below-average scores significantly outperform peers in public schools by the end of year one, "... 60 percent of students who entered fifth grade at four Bay Area KIPP schools in 2003-04 left before completing eighth grade." My best bets on how to reduce or eliminate the achievement gap are presented in the post I wrote yesterday: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2009/07/my-plan-to-close-achievement-gap.html.

bvw said... As a teacher I came not to associate problem classes with the percent of blacks, but rather the percent of kids from broken and fatherless homes. I can teach all black classrooms but I can't teach a class were more than 50% of the kids do not have the internal self-discipline that seems only gained from homes were the father trains the child as only a responsible male can.

It MAY be true, as most geneticists and psychologists in fact believe (this is well documented but not well-publicized) that there are absolutely fundamental differences in physiology, cognitive ability, sexuality, and psychology between the different human races. OR it may be true instead that Homo sapiens are the only Earth species to be somehow mysteriously exempt from Darwin's law of selection selection,. (That is the position, for example, of Luigi Cavallo-Sforza.) ..Until the censorship is lifted, we we are NOT!!!! having a discussion about race, we are not having a discussion about anything, we are having a monologue, with the other side of the debate (i.e., the Darwinists) being silenced. If people are burnt at the stake for saying that the earth is round, then you're not really having a discussion about geography. Online fora like this are OK, but until someone has powerful as James Watson can speak publicly without being destroyed, the discussion hasn't yet....Historians will look back with amusement at the “Boasian interregnum” during which racial difference was ideologically repressed: the only such recorded period in human history. (What happens when it is solidly established that many or most blacks carry the “warrior gene”? Most whites do not.) Instead, progressives should be preparing a progressive discourse on racial difference that will enable us to demand social justice once the racial equality myths has been laid to rest. I have spent my life in the equality camp, but have decided that reality is far more interesting and stimulating than the cartoonish, Leninist, ideological straitjacket I have now cast off. The perverse consequence of the progressive “hear/see/speak no evil” approach is to grant the far-right a total monopoly on public interpretations of the exploding discoveries of the biosciences... It is, of course, the political consequences of the possibilities that cognitive differences could be at least partly attributable to genetic and racial difference that terrifies progressives: What happens to the political project of equality once we have abandoned the a priori view that all groups have identical cognitive strengths and weaknesses, identical temperaments and styles of learning?The following posts contain my “Call for a Progressive Discourse on Racial Difference.” Any suggestions on getting it published would be welcome. P.S. I’m not a cracker living in a trailer somewhere, I'm a US-American white/half Jew, from New York/Boston, a doctoral candidate in the humanities at an Ivy League university, a successful freelance translator, a Social Democrat, openly homosexual, and I've lived in a European capital for the past 15 years.

Can't anyone debate without calling everyone "racist" anymore? It must be clear by now that buzzwords such as "ignorant" and "racist" haven't been solving any problems lately. With these people, egalitarianism has become a religion complete with the faith-based belief that all people are just blank slates. Really now, how are we going to solve these problems when we aren't allowed to examine what may be the harsh truths of nature? Will we all just go down in flames reciting our feel-good litanies?

I just graduated from high school with an overwhelmingly white and Asian population, so take my opinion for what it is. Throughout grade school, my best friend was African American. I was put into a gifted program, and we split during middle school. Once high school came around, I met him again, and he had completely changed. In grade school, he worked hard and liked doing well in school, but he felt the need to associate with other black students in high school. I realize that it is natural to want to be with people like you but he suddenly acted exactly the way that was described in the post...I have discussed this with several of my classmates, and they have had the same experience with their African American friends. I refuse to believe this particular experience is due to economic reasons, as this suburb is comparatively wealthy. Something is wrong with black education, even in the wealthiest white suburbs.

The people that claim it's cultural: What is your excuse when you realize that this behavior is the same whether it is the U.S or the U.K where Africans from Africa are responsible for high levels of gang rape, murder, etc?

Marty Nemko said...Anonymous (of July 5, 4:02 PM,) THAT is the question that has troubled me more than any other regarding the issue of closing the racial achievement gap: If the core causal factor for the achievement gap is culture, then why, among the world's 205 nations--some in which slavery occurred, others not, majority black or minority black, colonized or not, Westernized or not--is there not one nation at any point in the last couple thousand years at least, in which Blacks don't occupy the lowest socioeconomic stratum? I first heard that question raised years ago but have never heard nor can think of a helpful answer. I welcome your thoughts. A valid, ethical, constructive answer to this question may be the key to reducing the achievement gap.

I remember my feeling after teaching at the Black college. I felt like I'd taught the same lesson every day for the entire semester. No progress was made. My experience at the charter school was worse. The classes were loud and unruly. It was the normal stuff, I suppose, but it was uncontrollable by me and I bailed out. A study hall next to my class, taught by the school dean, was non-stop pandemonium. The school was a joke. Absolutely hopeless because of the lack of discipline.

Realistically and frankly, (we must) recognize that from heredity there is no escape, that men are born unequal, and unequal they must remain to the end of their days. And they would therefore apportion opportunity selectively and cautiously, with a view to determining who can inspire, create, and lead, and those others who, on one level or another, must follow and obey. On this latter basis, only those will be given opportunity who shall have first proved they have in them the stuff required to rework and to transform opportunity into that manifold meaning and beauty which is the ultimate flowering of human existence.

As an educator for 34 years, I've found that Black students have to be "more" than everyone else--louder, more flamboyant, more defiant, more full of rage, more violent at the white system that feeds them. A growing number of immigrant students are fast adopting this attitude. I found that the black students were the most racist and intolerant of any of the groups at my school...At my high school we had more than one teacher (Black, by the way), walk out of the classroom after 2 classes, get in her car and drive away never to be seen again. One teacher from Texas (my school is in Calif) sat in the lounge and cried. Never saw her again either. She left her books on the table in the lunchroom - didn't even stop to turn in her keys. All the liberals who spout how intolerent some teachers are haven't put up with abuse that some teachers endure. I have broken up fights, gotten blood over my clothing, had a knife pulled on me, had a mother kick me because I wouldn't pass her son and had a student try to rape me in my own classroom after school. Just the kind of people that all you white liberals want sitting next to your child in school I suppose. No, you'd rather send your child to private school and blame all the ills of society on the teacher. Try it some time for the lousy pay, the hours spent grading papers, the nasty parents, the foul-mouthed kids and see how you like it.

Dr James Watson (discoverer of the DNA double helix), who runs one of America's leading scientific research institutions, made controversial remarks in an interview in The Sunday Times. The 79-year-old geneticist said he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really." He said he hoped everyone was equal but countered that "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true." He says that you should not discriminate on the basis of colour, because "there are many people of colour who are very talented, but don't promote them when they haven't succeeded at the lower level." He writes that "there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so."

Just an old granny's opinion. ..Teachers cannot be expected to overcome social chaos. Please think about that before you condemn teachers who report the results/consequences of social programs that have destroyed any kind of social structure on children they then are expected to "socialize"...Just my opinion, but the author is right, not a racist. He is just an observer of what didn't work...Can the rest of us just stop arguing, and realize we messed up with "welfare", etc? Anyone have some positive ideas about how to get kids in these terrible circumstances into happier and more productive lives?

For me, an African person reading these posts rots me inside...African people had a language and a written language before white people came. It is sad that I have to say this. Africans are not savage animals--we are extremely intelligent. There are many excellent universities in the continent of Africa- Ibadan and University of Lagos to name a few. The idiotic idea that African people carry the warrior gene is laughable; my culture abhors fighting. Its hard to see but the intelligence in African people fixed (controlled) for socioeconomic differences is identical to whites...Obviously, this teacher would not receive any positive responses from any Black people...If I felt that a teacher did not see me as a human being but one of many black people- I would act disrespectfully too...So what do we need? An army of teachers like Stephen to tackle the inner city students- that solves the problem.

I spent three years as a substitute teacher in mainly black schools. My experiences in those schools was like Mr. Jackson's. I had many Polish immigrant high school students. They uniformly agreed that the schools in America were inferior to the schools in Poland. Colleges of Education produce edumajerks who spout edumababble.I suggest that all colleges of education be closed and all teachers be hired on the basis of their scores on the Graduate Record Examination.

To answer the following question from Mr. Nemko: "If the core causal factor for the achievement gap is culture, then why, among the world's 205 nations. some in which slavery occurred, others not, majority black or minority black, colonized or not, Westernized or not--is there not one nation at any point in the last couple thousand years at least, in which Blacks don't occupy the lowest socioeconomic stratum?" Here's the first thing I came up with: ...Perhaps we should look at the exceptions. ...Blacks may overwhelmingly occupy the lowest socioeconomic level in every country where they live, but if this is true, then each country must also have exceptions, as we have in America. What do the exceptional, successful blacks do that the rest don't? And why don't or can't the rest do it?

I've read a lot of the comments and some of them are complaining about "hate speech", and some go so far as to demand censorship. I have not read any comment that I would describe as "hate speech". Someone stating that "A is less intelligent than X, or B is inferior to Y" is not hate speech. It's opinion. Describing the differences one observes between the races is not "hate speech", it is just an observation. And lastly, racism does not equal hate. A Racist may simply be someone who doesn't pretend there are no differences between races; a racist is cognizant of the differences between races but does not necessarily hate anyone.

It's the economy stupid! ...All the financial and social resources that go with being in a secure niche in the economic system made this a successful school, whereas the nearby urban schools are a mess.

I always read that blacks need "higher self-esteem"...It has been proven that blacks have HIGHER self-esteem than whites. I propose that this baseless and unrealistic sense of high self esteem is actually part of the problem. See www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200203/bursting-the-self-esteem-bubble.

I am a "white" teacher who taught in one of the country's worst "ghettos." I have experienced the dysfunction described in this essay. Yet I see one problem with it... the constant implication that somehow "liberals" are the problem...With conservatives in power, for decades now it's been impossible to implement any meaningful programs against poverty, to improve urban neighborhoods, etc. And some of the cultural factors you CAN blame on the black people themselves, as after all a person decides to gangbang or be a welfare queen or whatever, but those also are a response to poverty, a dysfunctional response to be sure. Well, I'm a leftist Democrat but I taught my ghetto students responsibility, the importance of education, and multiculturalism in the sense that we must respect each other, oh yes, even whites and Latinos. I had some success, but of course, you have these kids for one year and then they move on... I am unfortunately certain that even some of my brighter students are now in prison or dead. I think black people should read this and be self-critical rather than making excuses for everything. I think whites should read it to understand some of what is going on realistically. I confess I would not allow my kid to attend a school such as that described or the one in which I worked. However, let's not let this information be used to reinforce existing stereotypes or to make us think it is ok simply to give up on our fellow Americans who are black.

Beth, yes, it's all ultimately about culture, but neither is culture entirely arbitrary. Culture is underpinned and constrained by biological realities that include the intelligence of its members (or else try teaching a fish to ride a bicycle). As for Lucien, who claimed that slavery is responsible for the dysfunctionality of the black families in America, how does he/she explain that as late as 1960, over 70% of black children grew up in two-parent homes?

Bengt said...Why should these students try to reach "white" measures of success when they don't think it will do them any good as it won't matter and that there is already a path of the least resistance in the form of government hand-outs? And what of the black students that did succeed?...Solving the gap between test scores of "blacks" and "whites" can't rest only on the shoulders of education - it's a large-scale, long-range solution that will solve the problem. I taught in a "multicultural" environment for many years as an esl instructor. Granted, there were fewer "black" students in my class, but the ones that I taught were all in all extremely well-behaved and polite. However, most of these "black" students came from sub-saharan Africa...I also know that where I live, in Portland, Oregon, there is a thriving and successful Black community.

PhD Program Tips said...I taught at a Historically Black College. About 20% of students in my class were good students and 80% had very little interest and/or abilities. I did have a bit more problems in terms of keeping kids quiet but not to the extent where it becomes impossible to do my work. Overall, I didn't have any big problems while working there. I did have problems with the not-black administration there and so I quit.

As an individual who has had - dare I say it - the misfortune of attending public school with many blacks growing up, I can certainly identify with the situations this teacher relates. Indeed, the situation grew so dire in the schools I attended, we had ongoing violent racial conflicts (overwhelmingly black on white) all the way down to the sixth grade. I witnessed a white vice principal beaten to within an inch of his life by a black 17 year old "eighth grader", as his throng of black girlfriends stood in a semi-circle and cheered. My next door neighbor was rendered almost completely deaf as a result of a stab wound inflicted to his right ear while he was trying to defend a special-needs boy who was being attacked by a gang of black boys. That special-needs boy was whipped across the head with chains and suffered severe brain damage as a result. The city media did their level best to cover the whole incident up as an example of what happens when there is "name calling". I begged my father repeatedly to move us, and finally, in the ninth grade after a particularly heinous series of attacks on whites in our school, he relented. For the next 4 years I was "treated" to the greatest educational experience of my life - an orderly and relatively peaceful environment oriented towards learning. Indeed, it was one that was predominantly white. This experience paved the way for college, two graduate degrees, and a professional career in the sciences...I only hope that an honest discussion of this problem can finally lead to some sort of resolution. Staying the present course is undoubtedly untenable.

I went to John Ehret High School on the west bank of New Orleans from 2000-2003, a public school in a predominately black area. During my four years there, it was not unusual for me to be the only white kid in class. Classes generally ran around 30-40 kids and there was never more than 5 whites in a class at a time. Everything is just as the author describes but he left out some things. Like how students call teachers racist that don't pass them or don't let them have their way. Or how teachers curve grades just so all the blacks don't fail when they deserved to. Or how the curriculum is so dumbed down that some students are able to graduate but still can't read.

Reading all of these comments, it occurs to me that although we have all been brainwashed since birth to believe that blacks are always oppressed by whites, huge numbers of whites in the country have suffered terrible violence at the hands of blacks. I would propose an online clearinghouse for Euro-American people who want to share their experiences without being vilified as “racists” or “white supremacists.” This might go a long way toward launching the public “discussion on race” that Mr. Holder and President Obama claim they want to have but which they shut down immediately when it begins on the grounds that “hate speech must be criminalized.” At the same time that we have been subject to a reign of terror from coast to coast and from north to south at the hands of blacks in the formerly great cities of our nation, we have paid out billions if not trillions of dollars in various forms of assistance to the black community It might go a long way toward healing the rift between blacks and whites in the United States if blacks would admit that whites have made enormous sacrifices to improve the socioeconomic status of blacks and that our thanks so far has been a reign of terror.

It isn't about race, it's about, as R.D. Robinson stated, "a form of new slavery." I think this new slavery is caused by people feeling that they are entitled to "free" things versus having to work.

If students use or sell drugs, fight, or disrupt class, they should be placed in separate classrooms from students who are following the rules. Is this reverting back to segregation? Not racially but behaviorally. Is it necessary to rebuild/allow every individual the right to an education? I think the answer is justifiably yes.

Nettrice said...Teachers like Jackson often send these cues (false expectations) to Black students based upon their own conditioning and prejudices. They are not trained how to be hypersensitive and set different conditions in classrooms where they are a majority of Black students. For example, I co-taught a class with a team (white and black). The students were Black and Latino. It was reported that when I left the class, the students immediately changed their behavior and acted up. One day I observed from a hidden location and saw it with my own eyes.... This is a systemic issue that has a lot to do with ingrained racism in U.S. institutions.

Bengt said...I begged my parents to let me go back to Canada to finish my schooling, which they did. The American educational system fails not only "black" students but "white" ones as well. Go and look at how America scored on the Pisa (programme for international student assessment) to see it isn't just a matter of overhauling the educational system for "blacks" but for everyone.

With sensible, VOLUNTARY incentives for smart Blacks to have many children and low-IQ blacks to have fewer children than is presently occurring, in only a few decades, the achievement gap would close more than has occurred in 50 years of trying programs based on the cultural hypothesis as the cause of Black underachievement.

I cringed a little while reading Mr. Jackson's account but it wasn't too far off from my school experience. I was one of a handful of white kids at Dickinson High School in Jersey City - graduated in early 90s. It's a long story why I lived in Jersey City when most whites were a generation removed but I REFUSED to attend Catholic school so it was my choice to go to the public HS. At that time, the school was like 45% black 45% Hispanic, the rest a mix - mostly Filipino. There were certainly some good black students and I befriended many. The majority, however, were NOT interested in learning or behaving. I saw all sorts of crazy stuff - a girl getting knifed in the face with a razor, a teacher's car getting stolen from the parking lot, etc. I was once in a class where some kid got called on and told the female teacher "Suck my d*ck". Dickinson was supposedly the best school in the city (not saying much) and there was even an alternate school for the real troublemakers. In any case, I have no patience for liberals who read Jonathan Kozol and think they know what goes on in inner-city schools. They have no idea. I'm curious if black schools in the rural south are similar or if the urban element makes it that much worse.

I had a similar experience to Mr. Jackson when I joined the Army. I was raised in a mostly-white neighborhood and thought all blacks were like the ones on TV and that whatever differences there were could be chalked up to lingering effects of racism and would surely go away in a generation or so. But my eyes were opened as I saw many of the same things as Mr. Jackson (who also sounds like he was a good liberal before actually experiencing blacks). The worst incident I recall was seeing a fight between a black racist and a smaller white guy who tired of being picked on. The white guy started beating up the black bully and when it became clear the black would lose a group of other blacks joined in and beat the hapless white kid. Unfortunately, as some of the responses here show, a real conversation about race is the last thing people like Obama and Eric Holder desire. They simply want to blame whites (and others) for the problems of blacks.

Josh said..."And from what I've read, this is shown by studies. Black kids adopted by white families nearly match the white kids from white families in IQ tests." This is incorrect. The black children adopted by white families matured to have IQs that are consistent with their biological peers. Asian children adopted by white families mature to have IQs that are consistent with their biological peers and which are higher than their adoptive parents.
Sandra Scarr, after conducting the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study: "Within the range of 'humane environments,'variations in family socioeconomic characteristics and in child-rearing practices have little or no effect on IQ measured in adolescence." P. 476. "There is simply no good evidence that social environmental factors have a large effect on IQ, particularly in adolescence and beyond, except in cases of extreme environmental deprivation." Currently, the magnitude of the U.S. Black-White IQ difference is not in itself a major cause of scientific dispute. A recent meta-analytic review by Roth et al. yielded a 1.1 SD difference, with a range of from 0.38 to 1.46 for a total sample of 6,246,729 from corporate, military, and higher education samples. Further, that difference was consistent for college and university application tests such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT; N = 2.4 million) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE; N = 2.3 million), as well as for tests of job applicants in corporate settings (N = 0.5 million), and in the military (N = 0.4 million). Other researchers have corroborated our conclusion that there has not been any significant narrowing of the Black-White difference over the 30-year-time period (from 1972 to 2002) covered by Dickens and Flynn. In 2001, when Roth et al. [9] confirmed the 1.1 SD difference in a sample of 6,246,729 corporate, military, and higher education testees, they also addressed the question of whether the difference was diminishing. They concluded that any reduction was “either small, potentially a function of sampling error…or nonexistent for highly g loaded instruments”. Similarly, in two subsequent studies, Murray [28,29] concluded there was “no narrowing.” In the first, he found no narrowing in either verbal IQ or achievement test scores for children born to women in the 1979 sample of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. In the second, he again found no narrowing for 6- to 65-year-olds in the Woodcock–Johnson standardizations of those born in the last half of the 1960s and early 1970s. Roth, P. L., Bevier, C. A., Bobko, P., Switzer III, F. S., & Tyler, P. (2001). Ethnic group differences in cognitive ability in employment and educational settings: A meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 54, 297-330. 10. Vernon, P. E. (1982).

Scholar said...An interesting discussion. I can't add much in terms of personal experience in the school systems (though as a college professor who teaches at a university that is about 4% Black, I cannot relate to some of the comments that claim a single black student ruins a class atmosphere--I have had by and large very positive or unremarkable experiences)...The biggest challenge is finding a way to reverse cultural trends that keep a culture in a fruitless spiral, regardless of the causes--some of which are external, some internal. Unfortunately, it is difficult to talk about the internal causes without being labeled as a racist...At the same time--as demonstrated in some of the comments above--when one does focus on internal causes, some run with it and make hasty and extreme generalizations about the inherent limits of a race--which slows the progress of problem solving as well.

African Americans know that they were sold by their own kind to the white colonialists in Africa...Did Africa have cities and civilization before the whites built them there? Did they have guns,wheels, etc. that whites brought to Africa?

I was sitting in the foot of an l-shaped room (in the student union) which was hidden from the main part. At some point, I heard a meeting come to order around the corner - they were unaware of my presence. It turned out to be the Caribbean/West Indies Student Association. They had a lively debate over if they had any responsibility for assisting the inner-city African-American kids. At times, the articulate speakers sounded quite classically racist. I offer this anecdote as evidence that the issue is a cultural one.

The recognition of our relationship to God and the happiness inherent in good choices must come one individual at a time.

Too many people have trouble grasping that there is a difference between how we want the world to be and how the world is. I would prefer to live in a world where Blacks were blessed with the same amount of intelligence and socialization as whites. However that's not the world I live in.

I was one of these "white" students "Mr. Jackson" spoke about. I was in all sorts of schools due to moving around the state and wound up at a high school that had 80% black students, 15% white, 5% other. It was a scary experience for me and I can honestly say that I didn't learn anything new in the majority of my classes as they had to be dumbed down for the students who didn't care about learning anyway. Because I was a white female from a middle class working family and took pride in my looks & in my schoolwork, I was targeted by both sexes of black kids and basically had the stuffing beat out of me, simply for not being black. It seems that folks love to sugarcoat things and hide behind their love of diversity or proclaim those of us who speak the truth as racists but I can tell you that I was far from a racist during my teen years and only after suffering from almost daily beatings and beratings, theft, rape, & even had my gym locker contents set on fire that led to my leaving high school at 16 and getting my GED, then suffering a few years with crappy jobs, dealing with more "diversity" in college, being passed over for jobs thanks to Affirmative Action and then suffering at the hand of more crimes (you guess the race of the perpetrators) that fed my disgust and feeling into full blown racism. I've dealt with similar situations that Mr. Jackson dealt with in my chosen profession and until blacks accept that they need to shape up every aspect of their lives and steer their desires to being a better person, parent, and employee, they will never be able to instill these values in their youth. Blame whitey all you want, as it's become so en vogue, but facts are facts. It's up to you and your people to change it.

The author does not even clue the reader into the unique socioeconomic background of the students he was dealing with. He just makes the assumption that race is the sole explanation...It is unclear what the author was hoping to accomplish with this article. While a lot of the observations he made do occur in inner city schools and I had the misfortune of observing this negative behavior, the manner in which it is presented is highly exaggerated and racist in its generalization.

I happen to be a Black student from Morocco...I go to Stuyvesant High School, the best high school in New York. Of course the school is 70% Asian, but the reason for the academic success of students comes from their parents...Make no mistake IT'S THE PARENTS' FAULT, NOT THE ADMINISTRATION.

I taught in Oakland, CA from 2001-2004. It was a horror show in many ways and I had innumerable experiences that mirrored those of the essay writer. I worked at every single middle school and at all but two of the high schools in the district, and the experience was a mix of despair, horror and hopefulness, but on the ground, at particular schools, it was indeed incredibly similar to the depictions made in the original essay. Confounding, frustrating, baffling, so often I found myself despairing, but I kept at it and kept trying, and in the end I found solace in the knowledge that I never gave in to the obvious bitterness and loathing this apparently overwhelmed teacher felt. It's impossible to imagine that the students didn't pick up on these visceral feelings of distaste...It slowly eats away at you and the only solace is at the elementary level (where some level of hope remains) and that is why I left, before I let working in the inner city destroy my passion for teaching...I believe the problem is attributable to two main sources. The first is accountability: nobody in any fashion is interested in accountability for these issues--not the federal government, state, or local. Not the kids themselves, and certainly not their parents....The other issue is what Cosby has hinted at and that's a failing culture. There is a culture of blame attached to this lack of accountability, a culture that refuses to accept flaws and faults, and thus accurately appraise such problems in order to address them. Instead it's "racism,", "the white man," etc behind all of one's problems. And of course, nothing gets solved when one isn't interested in genuinely honest self-appraisal.

Mr. Jackson, as a teacher you should really be ashamed and most likely quit. It seems as if you spend the majority of your time evaluating the children than actually trying to teach them the right things. Many of your opinions were purely racist and honestly really stupid. You basically stated every possible stereotype that has been assigned to African Americans. As a young African American myself I feel that your essay was fabricated to the max. As a student in a predominantly black school ,I have NEVER seen black girls dancing in the classroom especially if the teacher is there, black people do not only listen to rap, also do you realize that whites and other minorities listen to rap as well? I just feel that if you find so much hardship in your teaching African American students, why don't you just go and teach at a white school so that you would teach instead of judging, where your students are all good, do not listen to rap, have excellent grammar, and are not on welfare.

This essay confirms my belief that racism is very much alive. I am a black woman. I teach in an 'urban' or 'inner city' or 'predominately black' school (whichever term u prefer). I have not encountered any of the situations that you have mentioned. You indeed paint a caricature that is too heavily illustrated on television, movies, and now apparently on blog sites. It saddens me to see that people like you believe that educated blacks are indeed the talented tenth...I will simply thank God that you are no longer teaching these black students. Just note that Differentiated Instruction (appealing to different learning types) as well as the group work, are strategies that are meant to appeal to ALL students. Routine lecturing while your students are sitting in rows listening to you and taking notes only brings about the ability to regurgitate information for multiple choice tests. It does not encourage actual learning. These teaching strategies were developed in order to cultivate minds for 21st century learning, not to appease what you believe to be ignorant black students.

da braniac said... Although the examples Mr. Jackson presents in his essay seem racist and are stereotypes, the sad sad truth is that many inner-city black kids fill these roles. As a high school student in a specialized public high school in New York City, my friends and acquaintances span many different racial and social groups, and one of my best friends is an impoverished black kid who lives in Harlem. So the question arises, how was he able to overcome the odds? ...He has a strong-willed mother who rules with an iron fist and in so doing keeps him away from trouble, strong ties with his Church community that takes up large amounts of his time...and in addition, goes to a specialized high school where all kids strive for more knowledge and genuinely like learning. He exhibits stereotypical behavior on occasion because he has friends of that nature who somewhat encourage this behavior. But he has more influences that discourage this behavior...On a side note, rap and hip-hop are not inherently negative...Rap in fact stands for rhythm and poetry, and hip-hop was established by Afrika Bambaataa as a way for poor children to stay out of trouble and engage their minds intellectually and creatively.

Rachel said...The studies overwhelmingly show white cranial vaults and brains to be larger in proportion to the body (critical point) in whites. They also show Asian brains and cranial vaults (as in far Eastern, Mongoloid) to be larger than those of whites in proportion to the body. Persons of sub-Saharan black descent have craniums and brains that are smaller in proportion to their bodies -- on average -- than is the case with whites or Asians...There are also differences in complexity of brain convolutions among the races. This is not "racism" nor is it true of all individuals. Blame nature. It is simply a general anatomical fact. Anatomists have known about these differences for a hundred years but modern science, embarrassed, has squelched the info. If people who complain about "racist science" only knew how much the scientists really cover up to keep the idea of "no real differences" and "race is only skin deep" going, they would be shocked... If you want to challenge ideas you think are racist, get the ideas right. The facts are what they are. How we handle them is what we have control over. Here's the link. http://books.google.com/books?id=q7ENd_Rnb5UC&pg=PA164&lpg=PA164&dq=average+black+cranium+size&source=bl&ots=zM3BV0D0zp&sig=zYuEJLwsx4pkhNXxO0yE2zpja4U&hl=en&ei=piZVSpWNCpX0NeX31eEN&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3


Indra Maghavan said...I notice many of the commenters are experts at blame-shifting...: "The students were bad because he was a bad teacher". Hogwash! Stop blaming the teacher for bad students. He's just describing what those schools are really like. That doesn't make him a racist. Actually, that makes him courageous in my book.

It will take really crazy ideas to improve things. May I propose one? Select the worst ones: .the most aggressive., the small leaders of the local school gangs, the future leaders of big, the loudest and most annoying, those who start shouting first. And send them to Africa, to any or all, countries suffering from war, drought, hunger, to places bad enough to challenge them. Send them as "peace ambassadors", volunteers, exchange students, whatever. Send them, like Japanese families send their kids abroad for a year (all families I met in Japan did it, or plan to do) - to understand the world around them. Send them for a year. Or for a month. For time enough to get shocked. And get them equal to the locals: no extra money, no cell phones, no anything that their peers cannot afford...Let them witness how people starve, how they kill one another for anything valuable... Or maybe send them with a humanitarian mission, with minimum support, offer them a decent pay (or a college scholarship, or something valuable) - but only after they come back. If they can. If they wish. Let them feel, on their own skin, the value of civilized society... Let them compare and choose. Send them (the returnees) back to black schools to tell the youngsters what they've seen. Make them school teachers...Clarification: I am white, almost 40, male, IT engineer. I don't hate blacks. I had black friends in Japan where I lived for many years before coming to US as a legal immigrant.

This (thread) provides more evidence that blacks and whites (and Asians) are genetically different. Their cultures and behaviors are representative of this genetic divide. I post regularly about this at my blog:OneSTDV.blogspot.com. This is a quick primer to racial intelligence differences: Quick Primer to HBD

I have never seen such passion in my mother as I saw when she related to us a story about how she encountered the often hidden brilliance of the students she worked with. She spent countless hours at our table finding innovative ways to teach her students the things that they had been told they would never understand; math, politics, science, literature, and art. When she lost her fervor for this, she retired.

As someone who went to a Black high school for 4 years and is multiracial (one of those races being Black),...the only problem was that many students were poor and had bad family situations, they basically raised themselves. They entered school and mirrored their families' lifestyles and failed government programs. I noticed that the teachers that helped and left the most impression also spent quality time with the kids, gave them rides home, made jokes with them, made subjects interesting, and truly interacted with them. The kids in my school could sense when someone felt they were a charity case and would act out because of it. The author failed to have basic knowledge about the relationship between Blacks and the inter-racism they face: Many darker Blacks believe that lighter Blacks have it easier, and from my experience (being lighter) it's true. This often caused problems in school when the possibility of favoritism came up. Self-hating, absent fathers, stereotyping in the media (which tends to affect those who lack good role models or parents) are also some pretty important things that should have been examined. ...He came off as a racist when writing his "article".

Blacks aren't holding a grudge over what happened a couple hundred years ago but they are angry over what is still happening. Same with Hispanics, Asians, and other Whites. Racism still exists and is often ignored/brushed off by the majority. I think America is too busy painting itself as a place full of unicorns and rainbows rather than dealing with the problems -- race and education being the main ones.

People WANT and NEED to talk about race. We all do. I did Google & Yahoo searches. Hundreds of blogs and discussion boards have linked to it. Several people has posted it on different Craigslist sites. One person even nominated it for Yahoo Buzz.... As painful as it is to see and read, such comments are a valid part of an honest discussion on race...Maybe nothing will change no matter what we try to do. But if otherwise decent people try to silence others just because they disagree, then they and we are no better than people who hate.

Let's get one thing out in the open. Everybody is racially biased. There is not one white male liberal sycophant out there who, if you hooked up to a lie detector test and asked if they really believed in the equality of the races, would pass the test. Most whites feel that if they insult their own race and praise nonwhites, they are somehow virtuous and enlightened. Multiracial societies do not work and only the conceited bores who want a pat on the back and to be told how wonderful they are will say otherwise.

Rose said... About 40 years ago, our Southern junior high school was integrated with Black kids from the worst parts of town...Me and a few other white kids became the minority in an almost all-black school. Coming from an all-white school in an upper-class neighborhood, this was a culture shock beyond anything words could describe. For two years of junior high, I never ever went to the bathroom alone. To do so was foolish; one unaccompanied white girl would be beat to a pulp and/or shook down for money. For two years, I never ate lunch in the cafeteria. I *was* beat up for that egregious infraction. During my two years in this hellish environment, I was threatened, bullied, beat up, slapped, spit on (repeatedly), ridiculed and slammed into more than a few walls. I saw a white boy thrown down a flight of stairs. His offense: He asked two black boys to stop stomping on his feet. This school was extremely violent and completely out of control. For two years, I begged and pleaded with my father to get me out of that hell-hole. He was a fool and couldn't see how awful it was. Now, 40 years later, I still struggle to abandon prejudices that have their roots in these awful experiences. BTW, my own three children went to a $10,000 a year private school. No way was I going to let the public schools ruin their life, the way it ruined mine. My three girls graduated (and are graduating) from college with highest honors. We went into debt to do this but it was worth it. I wanted my children to be able to eat in the cafeteria. I wanted them to go to college. I wanted to be sure they never suffered the indignities that I did...I consider myself "self-educated" and I have read several thousand books in the last 40 years. I've now written six books and am a nationally known author in my niche field. And I'm sure my junior high school "chums" are now guests of our state penal system.

It's akin to a pot of crabs boiling: As one starts to crawl out, the others pull it down. An uninformed observer might conclude that African Americans prefer permanent poverty and ignorance. However, the school system itself bears a large portion of blame. There are many stories of private schools with grant money or government funds taking majority black classes and turning out success. However the curriculum is a far cry from the coddling nanny state teacher's union diversity claptrap that is intubated into today's youth. Discipline and strictness in classrooms at an early age will instill in even the poorest black child the necessary basics to receive instruction, thereby allowing teachers to teach instead of preventing the kids from murdering each other in school.

I live in the Nordic countries.. Since the 1980's we have had quite a large influx of migrants...The difference in the educational performance between migrants of different ethnic groups is in real life quite staggering. This performance seems to be inherited by the succeeding generations. A migrant of Asian origin seems to be able to climb the mountain even when starting from the gutter of the ghastliest refugee camp whereas migrants of African origin seem to as a rule fail no matter what the circumstances. And it's not that we urge them to fail, quite the opposite, we encourage them to thrive as well as we can. And that is a lot considering they are granted the benefits of the Nordic welfare state on an augmented scale. But it just isn't happening. This is where Mr. Jackson's story comes in. The cultural traits, sentiments and behavior he describes are conspicuously present in the schools heavily populated by immigrants of African origin and their offspring. Things are further complicated and compounded by other unfavorable cultural phenomena, such as the traditionalist interpretation of Islam. The criticism Mr. Jackson faces in the comments sounds all too familiar: no real substance, just random accusations of racism. And if that doesn't seem to fit, just expand the meaning of racism, as has been happening in the past two decades, and voilĂ ! Mr. Jackson merely gives an eyewitness account on what was in his experience happening in the class rooms and corridors of that school. He doesn't resort to genetics or IQ studies. He doesn't claim immutability. He isn't politically correct but the alternative would be that he would have to lie (lying and being politically correct actually have a synonymic relationship). It's always alarming when people choose to reject the unpleasent reality and seek refuge in fantasy worlds created on ideological grounds. This phenomenon becomes especially disturbing and detrimental when denialism disguises in the form of intellectualism and scientific opinion. This is often the case in the current discourse of race, social inclusion, and multiculturalism. Currently our methods clearly aren't working. The logical reaction would be to revise our theories to reflect the empirical reality. Identifying racism as the only culprit and invoking collective guilt every step of the way is counterproductive and is only going to make things even worse.

I worked in schools for many years and completely agree with what this teacher says about blacks. Blacks see everything as race-related. They filter everything through the prism of race. They are the most racially conscious people on earth. I particularly agree with what he says about them being quick to take offense. Blacks in my experience are very easily offended, taking deep offense to something most people wouldn't even notice or would dismiss. Whether this is due to an over-compensated (but unadmittable) inferiority complex or their ingrained belief that everything is "racism" I don't know.

J Gault said...I am a Black male. First, I am more libertarian, not trusting in government institutions especially government schools and teachers. Secondly with the pressure to conform to the "Black" image/ collective thought, I been called an Oreo many times, I divorced myself from the Black community...If the Black politicians and civil rights hucksters want to take the entire community to hell, they can do it without me.

Here is my experience teaching black students: - You have to take into account the effects of slavery. - You have to take into account the effects of racism. - You have to take into account the effects of poverty. - You have to take into account their "culture" - You have to take into account their "unique learning style." And you know what? After all that, you still have a bunch of disrespectful, loud, vulgar students who perform significantly lower that white students and for whatever reason, just can't learn. No thanks, it's just not worth the effort. I agree with the author and I am teaching in a white district where students can and want to learn.

My mother was an elementary school teacher in the suburbs. Just one example of her interactions with black parents: She called a conference with the parents of a black child because he had severe behavior problems at school. The dad told her, "He don' have ta take ordas from no white woman!" That was one of the better parent-teacher conferences. It was also unusual in that both parents were present. My mother did not call these conferences because she was a racist or didn't "know how to teach black students." She called the conferences because she was worried about the child in question. After conferences like this, she would fear for the child's future and be even more concerned for him or her after meeting their parents. It's not just whites who notice this - I was fortunate that I taught black students at a technical school who were trying to escape the ghetto. Yes, I had some real doozies who were there only for the education money (and it was my first real eye-opener that there was a serious cultural problem in the black community), but I also had some who were serious, intelligent, and dedicated. To a man, they lost all their black friends for being "uppity" and "acting white" for trying to better their lives. One of them told his 'friends' that "if you were really my friends, you would be supporting me in trying to make a better life for my family. But you just want to drag me down." A black parent recently told me that she is appalled at the groups of high school black students she talks to who are illiterate. She asks them how they are going to ever get a job without being able to read or do basic math. They just laugh. There is nothing you can do to teach a child with that attitude. What I find really interesting is that the white students who are headed to a life of welfare and drugs imitate this same culture - rap, baggy prison type pants that fall down, yo yo yo manner of talking, etc. It's not race, it's the thug culture that many have bought into. The change has to start in the home. Without that, you just have to hope that individual students wake up and realize they don't want to live the lives of their families and 'friends.'

If I might offer a perspective from all-white, 'racis' Europe, I think this issue of low aspirations and poor performance comes from poverty. There are poor schools that are mainly white where I live (Scotland) and you'll see the same characteristics in the pupils.

How can you teach while in "shock"? Also have you ever considered that these children have no confidence in the system they are supposed to be learning from?

I am saddened that so many of these messages (both on this message board and in our society in general) place all of the responsibilities on the education system and on the teachers..What about after I have fulfilled this responsibility (to try my best to educate all kids.)? What about when I have gone beyond it? What about the responsibility of our students? I always tell my students: "I can give you homework but I can't go home with you and do it. I can help you understand HOW to do the work, but ultimately, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for completing the assignment, not me. You can choose not do the homework, but then you will not pass the class." Invariably, this scenario always transforms itself into me not being a good teacher, not caring about my students, or being racist. The response I get from other teachers and administrators is "What could you, as a teacher, have done to ENSURE that they WANTED to do the homework? What could you have done so that the student WOULD pass the class?" Ugh. It just doesn't make sense! Again, the responsibility is being misplaced. I would like to find a job where I could place such responsibilities on my boss. If I don't want to come to work, does that mean that my boss is not making my work interesting enough? If I don't feel that I can go to work because it's boring, can I still get paid for simply sitting at my desk in my classroom just as our students expect to pass their classes without doing their work? No. It is my responsibility to work, even when I don't relate to taking attendance on a personal level, or I don't find faculty meeting "interesting" enough to attend. I still need to do these things. So do our students, regardless of their race. THAT is what this article is ultimately talking about. Whenever it comes to AA students, everyone (including our teachers, our educational system, our AA parents, and AA students) are always finding reasons why our AA students CAN'T be productive members of our society. Call me racist, but I would rather keep requiring high standards and PERSONAL accountability/responsibility from my students regardless of their race. They can either spend their time making up excuses as to why they are not responsible, or they can rise to the occasion. Only one of these choices will lead to their success. It's up to them.

Baltimore is typical of many Midwestern and Northern cities, whose demographics were forever changed by the great black migration of the twentieth century. Not unexpectedly, we found a cognitive discontinuity at the city line. Surprising, however, was its magnitude. Whereas suburban mean IQs (86 for blacks, 99 for whites) conform more or less to national norms, city IQs are dreadfully low. With a mean IQ of 76, inner-city blacks fall about 0.6 SD below the African American average nationally. More than a third have death-penalty immunity on grounds of mental retardation. www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/city.htm.

I relate very much to the words of this teacher... I am attending a community college.. I was extremely liberal until I had enough contact with blacks. If I thought anything at all about blacks, it was that they got a bad shake and we ought to do something to help them. After contact with them, I realize the best thing I can do is simply avoid them... I can stuff ten thousand dollars down the baggy pants of a hoodie; it might change his jeans but it won't change his genes.

Lisa said...Slavery began with the black slave traders in Africa thousands of years before they ever saw their first white man... Black on black slavery continues in Africa continues to this day, however, the news media (with the exception of the BBC website) refuses to report it... Blacks are an enormous burden borne by whites and other minority races, who may someday tire of their lack of productivity, their criminality, their chronic indolence, and their clear hatred of the society that has nurtured, supported, and subsidized them.

Low Frost said...People like to discount the societal shattering caused by the trans-Atlantic slave trade, when such things usually wiped out the peoples who endured them...(There is) sheer and almost unbelievable amount of self-hatred (among African-Americans.) .... the flagrant use of the word "nigger/nigga", a word adopted by Africans while still in bondage to reference each other, the variety of self-destructive customs and cultural norms taken or derived from the time when they were still "property". (The constructive use of hip-hop) was crushed by the proliferation of "gangsta rap" by large music corporations, a music type most defined by its misogyny, violence, and glorification of a self destructive lifestyle, and somehow became the most widely known and imitated form of the music. On top of that, the dependence on narcotics such as freebase cocaine that some still say was introduced purposefully to the African inner city community, is an added weight. I do not know how to uplift African peoples from the mire they are in....Perhaps the idea of "segregation" really is best, because as it stands in America, the government and the Caucasian members of society, as evidenced here, do NOT have their interests at heart and are not equipped for such an undertaking. The Nation of Islam outlined a plan for such a thing 60 years ago, that America should establish and fund a separate country for the descendants of its former slaves that wish to leave, that the "integration" of Africans and Caucasians in America has utterly failed and been far more harm then good. On this, I'd be hard pressed not to agree. Before the integration movement of the '60s, African people in America had their own doctors, dentists, lawyers, farmers and businessmen, serving their own community in the capacity that they were needed. They have all but disappeared now. Affirmative action has helped Caucasian WOMEN. The descendants of Africans in America must save themselves. It is the start to a new strength and pride that must carry them forward to brighter future for their children.

For ATBoricua, who said... "An IQ score of 67??? Wow. Is there really a need for people to come here and make unfounded claims?"..., please see
www.geocities.com/race_articles/lynn_race_diff.html

When I was in high school, I became very serious about academics. That was when the differences between black and white became stark to me. Most blacks didn't care about school, despite being in one of the best high schools in a white Atlanta suburb. The opportunity that this excellent public education represented was utterly lost on them. The blacks generally stayed in cliques and took the easiest classes. Many skipped class or dropped out, and all the white potheads knew that if your white dealer was empty, you could always score at the middle stairwell, where the black males hung out. I remember one exception very well. A black guy that struggled but gutted out college level calculus as a high school senior, the only black in a class of brainy gifted white kids. He was trying to make something of himself. He was well spoken. Well behaved. He worked hard to compensate for not being the smartest in the class. The other black kids ostracized him for acting "white". Wanna bet this guy made something of himself? Wonder where his high school critics are in life today? Too bad the black community looks up to the likes of Cynthia McKinney (punches a cop and gets away with it), Marion Barry (cocaine bust), Louis Farrakhan (chronic bigot and panderer) and other loser scum. They should listen to Bill Cosby, a successful self made man who overcame huge hurdles, but I guess the problem is, Bill Cosby is actin' white.

The statistics suggest that the issue goes much deeper than skin color. Granted the African immigrant population in this country is comparatively small, one cannot ignore their successes as an overall percentage. Why can this one 'black' group excel while other 'black' groups are the subject of biased, slanted over simplified articles like this one. Disclaimer: I am not African or of African parentage.

Charlie Meniscus said... I'll only talk about my experience teaching the all-black school. What I found was that the students were very engaged in what they were interested in. I thus made a point of getting them interested in the material I was teaching. Once I did this, the students virtually taught themselves. They were eager to track down information and share what they already knew. They also wanted to earn my respect because I was able to demonstrate to them that I was "cool" but I had high expectations which I was very verbal about. Once I got the hang of steering the group back on subject when they started to drift off-topic (which happened very quickly when it happened), this was one of the easiest groups I taught. One thing that I was taught during a training was that there is a frightening relationship between income and the amount parents tend to engage themselves with their children in a positive manner. The upper class is often stereotyped as the group that is detached from their offspring and fail to contribute to their healthy growth as human beings. The reality of it is quite opposite...My experience teaching students thoroughly engaged in the arts has shown me that they are tuned in. They want to learn. They are excited and awake, and they are eloquent. They speak to communicate in the clearest manner possible. They also receive information the first time it is given to them and they work well with educational standards.

Booger Cat said..I agree very much with your article having taught four years in an inner city school myself. The black parents say they want their children to get a good education but they do not support them at home, blame the teachers for poor academics and behavior in the classroom, do not show up for conferences or PTA meeting and do not set very high expectations. They support black myths ("whitey dun hold me back, they all be racist.) The black kids think school is dumb, don't do homework and basically don't care. They focus on sex, drugs, rap music and cell phone. The girls talk about how cool it would be to have a baby, no father necessary of course. Blacks are the biggest racists when dealing with each other, calling each other the "n" word, comparing hair and skin color.

To justify privilege, the privileged classes must pretend they are in some way better, that the have-nots are, perhaps, less than human. That's what the teacher is doing. It's dangerous, stupid, and belies his pretensions.

The Cerealistic Lama said...There is not one child you mentioned in this article that would act the same way raised in a better environment.A lot of the blame should be on the parents... parents should make sure their children get music lessons, learn math, do homework, eat healthy, understand the natural world, and learn about diversity and biodiversity and everything the civil rights movement fought for.

Jen said...A foreigner who is completely unfamiliar with and literally afraid of a culture--who doesn't even speak the language of its people--cannot be expected to come into that culture to teach its children. This would be completely undebatable if said in reference to any other group but Black Americans, yet ignorant bigots like Jackson fill predominately Black schools and the world sits stupidly by wondering why Black children aren't learning. I am twenty-four years old and have a doctorate level degree. I am Black and have lived in Black neighborhoods my entire life. I went to an elementary school wherein every single teacher and administrator was Black American and there were literally only two non-Black children enrolled. Every single child in that school could read by the end of kindergarten, and this is not an exaggeration. Supported by this strong foundation, those schoolmates that I kept up with all attended college. The problem Jackson describes is not with the Black children but with his aversion to them. While de jure segregation is despicable for ethical reasons, I strongly support a return to and real support of Black schools that are segregated de facto. I'm not just talking about a racial and cultural segregation of children, but of their teachers and administrators, as well.

The majority of black students do not want to end up living on welfare or selling drugs but when that is all they see around them it is hard for them to think they have a choice. Similarly, white students that are trapped in a trailer park tend to think they don't have a choice in where they end up. Many times GOOD TEACHERS can help change this perception. I had a biology teacher that pushed me to do better. Even with the "white" way of learning, I and many others were able to do well. As hard as it might be for you to believe, most of us went to college, community or traditional, our high school had similar results to school that are not predominately black. Not only am I now a recent Ivy League graduate, I am also starting medical school in the fall. What is the difference here? Good teachers, Mr. Jackson ...your own inadequacies may have allowed these behaviors to flourish at times.

Having been a student in a predominantly black school, I must say as much as it hurts me to admit it...most of his accounts are pretty accurate. I am Hispanic, and more oftne than not, most of my African Americans peers would shout things like move it "Whitey" and attempt to fight me if I responded by addressing that I was actually Hispanic. The teachers tried so hard to get the more 'uneducated' AA kids to participate, but ultimately failed, because they would claim everything was racist, too white, or just plain didn't appeal to them. All I can say is, we can pray and hope for a better generation.

At least someone seems to see it clearly: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8155077.stm

Tlinz said...I am 19 year old African-American female. I wonder if the author has ever heard or studied white privilege or complexes that occur in oppressed people...I actually have attended a white privilege conference in which I heard a similar account, however the teacher (who was white) actually looked beyond behavior and to other factors. He did not teach students according to what high officials told him to do but made his teaching more of an intimate matter. He did not expect students that were incapable and had not learned how to build a teacher-student relationship to come to him, but instead took the first step of initiation...NONETHELESS African Americans must wake up and begin to realize that we are stuck in America and aren't going anywhere, so why not make the best of it? Yes, there is always the issue of not wanting to conform, however, integration can be achieved without conforming.

I'm a foreigner (South Asian). I came to the US with heavy sympathies for African-Americans. Living in a heavily black neighborhood for 5 years turned me into a racist. The kids, especially, are completely out of control.

As an educated black women, I am more insulted by his very obtuse so called social analysis/commentary than the behavior of the students. --Morgan James, Cornell University '09, Applied Economics

M. Bryan said...As a young African/Caribbean-American young lady, I must say that I have to agree with the bulk of the issues that Mr. Jackson spoke about. Unfortunately many of the claims that he made are reasonably true. Many black people do have this oppressed mindset that stems from slavery days. I see R.D. briefly noted it as new slavery. New slavery is a reality. Maybe it is that a good portion of the black race never freed themselves from the fear that the white man tried to instill in us. Once a person has been accustomed to something so strong as fear or abuse, it can be extremely difficult to loose yourself from such restraints and oppression. Where is the strong will that our ancestors endured with? It seems we've lost that. Where is the strength that they possessed? It seems we've lost our willpower and actually desire to "blame it on the white man" in an effort to mask our own weaknesses. Unfortunately, poverty is a harsh reality for many people not just with blacks. So really, what is the excuse? On the flip side I have to state that it seems as if Mr. Jackson wasn't much of a dedicated teacher.

I have met teachers like Mr Jackson. It's always the fault of the student; at least in your eyes. Before teaching about history or another subject, you must first show that you care about them as human beings. Unfortunately, many of your white readers (with absolutely no contact with blacks) will take your comments as truth...It is your job to "make" students display the necessary conduct so you can get "your" job done. Black students are not animals, nor are they animal-like. You speak of their dialect - it was your job to demand that they practice speaking as correctly as possible. We have white teachers at my predominantly black school and their experiences in the classroom is quite different from what you describe. Larry F. LrFst4@gmail.com

m.j♥mmy said... As an African American woman, I know as a child, the reasons I deemed academic excellence important was because my parents would not accept anything below a B+, I wanted to travel the world, I wanted an Ivy League education, and I knew none of that could happen unless basic things like lower education were achieved. As teachers, your goal should be to instill goals into these children. Emphasize the importance of loving their own culture but of the importance of correct grammar/clothing presentation as well. Make things relative. You're entering a situation where you're dealt the charge of reversing generations of an oppressed mentality. BTW: I grew up in Philadelphia and attended a predominately black charter school for 2 years. In my experience, I never witnessed ANYTHING to the level the author described on a rare basis, let alone daily.

In the UK, all power (useful forms of discipline) has been taken from the teachers. The kids know this and act accordingly. Our wonderful government has recently tried to entice teachers to teach in inner city schools by offering them huge bonuses - a bit like recruiting mercenaries!

I'll bet all the doubters of the essay's factualness will be shocked to learn that they have metal detectors at many black middle schools, with security guards that roam the hallways with hand held metal detector wands to search these "children." Do you all think this is some great racist conspiracy?

I am a Black student living and attending schools in the South Bronx until high school. Though I must admit most students are the epitome of ignorance, I have never witnessed anything quite as extreme as you described... The problem here is partly your fault Mr. Jackson. If you really wanted to reach your students, I'm pretty sure you would have made a difference in at least one child's life. The only reason you was probably teaching in a predominantly Black school is because the board of ed. put you there and not because you really wanted to make a difference. And if anything Black students know when a teacher doesn't really want to be there. I will admit the education system needs to be revamped, Black students need better role models, and there has to be other alternatives and better teachers to reach these kids.

Take him (an African-American) out of high school and give him on the job training in a field like other countries have done.

Afro-Action was the worst thing that could have happened to Blacks. I, for example will never see a Black doctor because I know Blacks consistently finish in the bottom 20% in the MCAT's. I do not want a doctor who only became a doctor because of the color of his skin. Same thing with lawyers...Blacks like to say "We have to work twice as hard to get half as far." But in a lot of people's eyes, it's more like "Blacks only have to work half as hard to get twice as far."

m.j♥mmy said... Affirmative Action works just as much for white women and poor white students than any other group. It's based off of a point system. So yes, someone might receive a favorable point fort being minority but someone whose parents went to Cornell receive 2. Someone who's family are contributors to the school receive 3. People from Alaska and many of the middle states receive 2. The poor little white kids from agrarian working class families that Mr. Jackson spoke of receive just as many points as poor inner city blacks. I was neither poor nor from a favorable region, so already a white student has more affirmative action points than me.

I grew up in Newark, NJ, one of the worst towns in America [in terms of crime..I attended a very black middle school in the middle of the worst parts of Newark... I would show up to a house party that featured all of the adults [20-40 year old black males] getting getting drunk and acting stupid in front of the kids. Every little girl had another baby in her arms as they ran around in the streets. Every little kid was the nephew/niece of some other person at the party. Everyone had a ton of aunts/uncles/nephews/nieces. I swear to god, all they did was **** and make babies... No one gave a **** about these kids.. Some house parties were hosted by the "aunty" or "ol granny" that was usually the oldest of the bunch and had the most wisdom. They would have astounding morals and character but their leadership was more democratic than authoritarian but no one would listen to the people who had the most wisdom; it was actually quite sad. The living rooms would have 1 mattress in there where about 5-10 kids on average would sleep/stay. Everyone babysat for everyone else to be able to go to work, so some blacks would take on the responsibility of almost a small classroom of kids. IT WAS A DISASTER AREA. Black people have the best drugs, that is why they "get dat green." All in all, the environments were always very hostile and very ****ty for the kids, but what can you do? No one gives a ****, the somewhat educated black adults always preach bull****, but they never practice it or lead by example. The kids learn to hate middle-class society and any form of authority due to the fact that they never had any in their lives. Funerals always happened in bundles [retaliation was key]. Kids always seen people come and go in their lives and it is a lot to experience for a young mind. To help the ignorant black kids in these schools, it has to start with the ****ed up parents that pop out kids in their late teens/early twenties before they are ready to fully function as a parent.

I live in a mixed neighborhood, in a predominately AA and predominately poor and blue collar city. The sheer volume of noise, sometimes laudable gospel-related singing and chanting, sometimes just childish, sometimes execrable, misogynistic rap-crap is really notable. In public, we see multiple generations subjected to the harshest and loudest kind of treatment. As an example, and not an extreme one, I was in the check-out at a Wal-Mart. There was an AA "family" of 3 female generations--a disheveled grandmother, her daughter a little better decked out with too much jewelry and the most up-to-date cell phone, with a "Cash Money" cover, a toddler and an infant. The toddler was very cute, playful, maybe even precocious. But when she strayed a bit and played with the junk on the register aisle shelves, Granny yelled to Daughter (who was constantly on the cell) to "GET HER!" Daughter just turned from the cell phone and screamed at the toddler, "COME HERE, I'MA SLAP YO IN YO FACE!" Then back on the cell. Toddler looked at her with the one intelligent expression I saw from the whole group and hunkered down out of range. They proceeded to pay for their goods in three batches with different food-stamp/welfare debit cards (i.e., they're drawing under multiple accounts). I felt sorry for the toddler and the infant, who'll grow up with that kind of brutal stupidity. How would these kids behave in school? I can only imagine it would be chaotic, troubled and ultimately contrary. After all, what would you do if your loving caregiver routinely screamed at you, to "COME HERE, I'MA SLAP YO IN YO FACE!" You'd probably learn pretty quick NOT to obey.

Every year, more black kids came into my previously all white school, usually because their parents worked at the school or in the area. Those kids integrated very well academically and socially. Most of that progress was destroyed with forced busing because most of the kids who were bused in didn't want to be there. The black kids who were already attending the formerly "white" schools were under extreme peer pressure to fit in with the other black kids, many of whom came from bad ghetto environments. It was a giant lose-lose situation. Despite all the efforts to integrate, there remains, over 40 years later, a de facto segregated system because no one who values safety and academics would for a moment put their kids into a "black" school.

The black students...well they have each other and a fantasy that is being shoved down their throats by the rappers and BET that they deep down know that they will never get. And that is because nowhere not at home not on BET not at home is there really convincing proof that education will lead to freedom from the terrible situation they have been born into.

Reading the full essay made me empathize with the black students AND with the white teacher.

Perhaps "THE SOLUTION" is not to revamp our educational system, but rather to obligate every single BLACK doctor, lawyer, teacher, scientist, etc. to teach for several years in predominantly black public schools.

ludensbisto said... R D. Robinson (comment above) is correct about a conspiracy "exploiting the positive future of so many African American students". And this conspiracy begins in the home--in whitey-bashing homes. If you cannot trust your teacher, you won't accept a thing they say, even when it's in your best interest.

We, as a country, need to grow some balls and start expelling these failures from our school system. If you work hard, you succeed. If you don't work, then good riddance to bad rubbish. But of course, the only true answer is the total elimination of public lower schooling. Since the majority of lower schools (elementary, middle, and high) are government owned, there is no quality control or competition...Education is no different than any other trade, it NEEDS competition!

Christian Yates said... Employers are afraid to tell my black co-workers that they should do their jobs or else! Whenever a black co-worker doesn't want to perform a certain job they just tell the boss "I'm not going to do that" or "that's not my job!". Then they act hurt that their boss even dared ask them and invariably they give the job to me. They know I won't complain because I believe they are paying me to do what they ask. Maybe I'm just a pushover but I get the feeling that they would not accept the same type of behavior from me. Whenever I work quickly my co-workers make fun of me and tell me I'm brown nosing, that they "get paid by the hour", etc. My girlfriend is experiencing a similar situation at her job. There is one problem individual who is constantly making racist statements about my girlfriend and another co-worker who is also black but light skinned. This lady works slowly or not at all, pretending to file or do other such work as she talks to other coworkers, taking the same file in and out of the filing cabinet as she pretends to work. I've seen this before. I know what she's talking about. Now the boss wants to send her to the other store or fire her for not working and she's complaining about being discriminated against! Every time the boss attempts to reprimand her for not doing her job she pulls the race card. This has been going on a long time so apparently he's not going to do anything..."The real question is why have African-Americans not achieved socioeconomic parity? If it is, as the activists claim, because of the legacy of slavery and lingering racism, then why is there not one country of the world’s 200—whether majority black or majority non-black, previously colonized or not—in which blacks have even an average standard of living, while other groups such as the Jews, who have been persecuted for thousands of years—from the Roman times through the Inquisition, through the pogroms, through the Holocaust, and with Antisemitism remaining even today--on average, do well. Asians have suffered discrimination in the US, even placed in internment camps, yet, on average, do well. Arab- and Muslim-Americans have been and are subject to prejudice, yet have done better than have African Americans.." Why are blacks allowed to get away with this behavior in school or in the work place? I for one am sicchrk of being held accountable for the laziness of other people.

Artfldgr said...When white man is polite he could be lying, but when we are violent and such to each other we are honest...Those who are independent and smart choose not to have children because of finances and abort, while the dumber ones keep the kids.

Provide financial incentives to women who do not get pregnant.
res Ipsa Loquitur - I know, law-themes are lame... said...I am so disturbed by this essay. I guess I should make my disclaimer- I am a black woman, BA, JD...I do not doubt that Mr. Jackson's retelling of his experience is accurate. I do not fault him for feeling frustration and for feeling more of an affinity for the (obviously) more affluent white students that he now teaches...He did not qualify ONE statement as, "All of the black students I worked with."...What kind of ignorance must it take to make such sweeping and awful generalizations about an entire group of people in this country?

More home schooling.
Rather than encouraging unsuitable people to become parents (welfare, housing etc), what do people think of providing financial incentives to women who do not get pregnant?

I am a black female educator...I work for a predominantly white school system....If you take 5-10 minutes to listen to students' frustrations, they will be more attentive and less distracted because they realize you care. Educators should be available to tutor students at least twice a week or by appointments (even if you feel it is inconvenience for you).

TheIkonoklast said...I have read the post and all 387 comments in it, start to finish....One thing is certain: this will not stop as long as it is considered "racist" to take note of it. Those who level charges of "racism" when violent people are treated as pariahs and stupid people are treated as unfit for all but menial jobs must be held liable for slander. The average IQ of Africans is approximately 70 (African-Americans 85)....Today's American "victims of slavery" can thank their lucky stars that Christian plantation owners were not Arab Muslims; they owe their very lives to that fact. If you want to look for crimes against Africans, the Muslim genocide is worse than anything in the New World. However, it does not serve the cause of domestic political power or painting Western Civ as the worst crime of all time, so the Politically Correct sweep it under the rug....Differentiated Instruction saddles teachers with teaching what may be several different levels of students at once. This wastes student's time listening to material which is either ahead of them or behind them, costing them valuable learning opportunities. It is widely panned at Joanne Jacobs' blog. Its major purpose is to eliminate visible differences between classrooms associated with grouping by ability (because visible differences are "racist"). And it does nothing. Those of you saying that children can smell racism from teachers... do you think they can't tell who the slow ones in the classroom are, and what color their skins are? There is only one solution to this, and that is to treat people as individuals. If they have a sub-80 IQ they are going to be slow no matter the color of their skin, and if they have a 120+ IQ they are going to be quick. There must be NO excuses for bad behavior. If a gang attacks a handicapped child or an administrator, severe punishments are appropriate. Public hanging from the school flagpole would not be excessive in the worst cases. The terrorism of violence by minorities and the conspiracy of silence around it will either be ended by this country, or it will END this country...pay ANYONE with e.g. an IQ under 90 to be sterilized if they have no children. Pay them AND their custodial parent(s) if they are minors. Come up with penalties for low-IQ teenage parents, maybe treating them all like "deadbeat dads." I recall a slogan which goes "what gets rewarded gets done". Fix the rewards and the rest is likely to follow.

I taught for two years in a Bronx NY high school. It was 70% Hispanic and 30% black. While some of the Hispanic students were wild (mostly the Dominicans, who have adopted black Rap culture), the majority of the Hispanics were pretty good in terms of behavior and willingness to cooperate. The black kids - omg - they were absolutely nuts, just as the article described. Throwing chairs across the room, chanting, "Let's get those b-s pregnant", rapping all the time, doing no work, stealing from your desk and cabinets, running around, fighting, etc... And this was ALL the time. I really did a lot of good for them by being persistent, however, and I had a huge pass rate on the history regents, but it was such a drain on my energy. I knew I couldn't keep going like that and survive as a teacher. (Didn't the 'Freedom Writers' wonder woman and even Michelle Rhee leave teaching such kids after only 2-3 years! And Rhee had an assistant teacher her second year teaching little tots!) The funny thing is that I'm not a racist. I'm white, married to a woman from India and I have biracial children and I think it's all great. I live in an integrated neighborhood (Asian, white, Jewish).

I just happen to believe that the Western tradition is the high point in human civilization, despite the flaws of imperialists and scoundrels. That tradition (which involves reading, writing, philosophy, etc...) can be adopted by anyone, regardless of race, and it is the wellspring from which the modern social justice/diversity movement came from....Tell me the name of any other culture that currently says, "All people are equal and deserve to have all opportunities."...Africans are driving out whites. Asians are so inward and racist against outsiders. Middle Easterners are too mired in conflict to even consider these issues. The Enlightenment laid the groundwork for all the civil rights and social justice stuff going on today. Unfortunately, the same liberal crowd seems to be doing everthing in its power to destroy the core of the Western liberal tradition.

I know and have black friends who are the finest people you will ever meet (and their kids, too). I just think there is an insidious culture that has taken hold of the black imagination in the urban areas. Hip Hop/ gangsta rap is only an expression of that very tribal, barbarian-like outlook.

Most black and Latino teachers I know are disgusted by the antics of the urban youth, and they voice their opinions loudly, something I, as a white cannot do. Asian teachers, forget about it! The gangsta crowd chews them up. I've seen it a few times, and it ain't pretty!

Absolutely true- I have witnessed every situation the writer described. I do disagree with the plan of action. Many of the steps in the plan have already been implemented with poor results. Parenting classes? These classes would be taught by the same type of teachers in our high schools. I've heard stories about parenting classes being offered to teen parents. They attend to get the subsidies and sleep or text during these meetings. Real solution- stop subsidizing teen pregnancy, welfare, etc. When the gravy train stops real change will occur.

(Research reports that) Black teenagers voiced higher self-esteem than whites...They expect to do well at things, discount failure and feel beyond reproach.

Katie said... I have no doubt Mr. Jackson actually observed many of the things he lists here... However, I also have no doubt that Mr. Jackson's own ire toward and prejudice against his non-white students had a lot to do with what he paid attention to and took note of in his classroom.

This is clearly a fake article. It has a good deal of basis in truth yet I doubt this person was ever a teacher. It's just another internet white guy taking advantage of the opportunity to debase blacks. Thus, he tosses out every black stereotype including jive talk not hardly spoken by blacks since the 70s.
I live in a mostly white area but the few blacks living here are just as described. I am tired of being called a racist for pointing out the facts.

What are the historical implications of educational disparity post-1865? How does social-economic status play a role? In what capacity do external factors play a role in achievement (parental involvement, peer culture, etc.)?

Sabot said...As a Black male teacher, ...teaching in a predominately Black school, I could vividly see each and every situation the author pointed out and I could agree with many of them, however, I also saw a sub-par teacher, who in my opinion, sat in a classroom position as a teacher for a year collecting data to produce a personal research account to contribute to research that is already known.

The values, or lack of them, that they are raised with, the frequent chaos of their home lives, the complete lack of hope and ambition, these are the current oppressors. Unfortunately, I cannot fathom how to change this.

As a teacher, I understand. As a teacher, I have seen teachers leave and know why. As a student in a high percentage black area, I also know why. It is one of the most difficult things to get over being a victim of black crime without becoming racist. He spells it out clearly. If you want to do something to help out the black community, I suggest you understand what is happening. I would be a fool to tell you we live in the same world. We do not.

I have to agree that this essay appears rather contrived...It’s like a poor attempt at mimicking modern black vernacular. The part about not being able to find seating that the overweight children can fit is telling. I’ve seen 300 plus pound football players fit into school desks comfortably...This is not to say that there is not a severe problem with disruptive behavior and anti-intellectual thinking among black students, but real discussion must be accompanied by honest observation.

Marcus Goodwin said...I am an African-American teacher and I have taught for a while now in AA schools...The things that you allow to happen in your classroom are not the fault of children, they are the fault of the teacher. You obviously have no classroom management, period. I also believe Mr. Jackson to be a racist. ...This not a racial issue, it is a socieoeconomic issue....Mr. Jackson and those that agree with that crap he wrote may have thought that teaching was going to be easy, but teaching is not. Sometimes you have to adjust and modify. With, AA kids you have to put the science book down (that's what I teach) and talk about real life. Sometimes you have to listen to what they listen to, watch what they watch, they have to know you can relate to them. You can't expect every child to have the tools they need to succeed, if that were the case, kids wouldn't need teachers.

Ian Random said...In this school there was one black kid. He showed up biweekly, something about maintaining his welfare benefits.

Anonymous is correct. The 1 SD difference means that 84% of whites will exceed 85 IQ, but only half of AA's will. Outliers don't change this. I know a dear, sweet girl who is pure European and has an IQ of 45, putting her below 99.6% of AA's. She does not change the average case any more than you do.

When a child comes to me and asks me something using incorrect grammar I gently correct them and explain to them the importance of it and guess what? The next time I see them they use it correctly.

National average IQ scores:
Nigeria: 67
Somalia: 68
South Africa: 72
African-Americans: 85
USA: 98
European-American average: 100

5 comments:

Shawn said...

Hi Dr. Nemko. Here's the full version of the un-pc "A Conversation About Race." It is quite interesting.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1084394769627714346

Joseph Sutton said...

I just finished reading the article by the white teacher, Mr. Jackson, who taught in a mainly black high school. I'm white and I once taught in an all black high school in South Central Los Angeles in the late 1960s. I know the times are different, but I was appalled by the negative stance that Mr. Jackson had of his black students. I could have ended up with the same negative stance as he did if it wasn't for one incident that changed my whole perspective on teaching American history to apathetic students.

One day a student of mine asked me if he could teach my class. From that day forward, I let him, and any other student who wanted to teach, teach. They were free to teach anything they wanted.

So what did they do? They led discussions on Black Power, the Vietnam War, capital punishment, violence in schools, premarital sex, the grading system, drugs, freedom, police harassment and whether I was teaching them or not. They had weekly debates on all the topics above and other major issues of the day, they held trials, they signed petitions, and they dropped notes and essays of their own accord into an Ideas and/or Complaints box. Due to the democratic format of the classroom, I believe my students ended up learning what is most important in all of education, and that is they learned how to think.

If you want a completely different viewpoint than Mr. Jackson's, then I recommend you read my novel A CLASS OF LEADERS.

Jorn said...

An interesting read, both the essay by the teacher and the comments.

To all the commenters who place blame for the classroom situation purely on Mr. Jackson, indicating he is the failure for not maintaining order, I would ask: How is the teacher supposed to maintain order in the classroom when they have no authority to discipline? In an environment where any student can avoid negative repercussions from their actions simply by claiming the authority figure is rasist, there is no incentive to behave. When a teacher fails a student and is overruled by administrators, students have no incentive to accomplish, and those who were putting in effort will be disincentivized ("I worked hard and learned the material and got a B+, but the kids who can't even read passed the class too, so why should I bother?")

And while yes, there are physiological differences between people of different geographical descent, I cannot believe that such factors are solely responsible for the situation. It's a socio-economic separation, not a racial one- a child raised in an environment of perpetual victimization will grow up with the same mindset unless they are snapped out of it once they are old enough to think for themselves (much like religion) and a perpetual victim will never strive to achieve on their own.

I think the largest stumbling block on the road to progress is the continued view of all black people as being a homogeneous group- blacks are this way, blacks do those things- because while those things may hold true for the specific subset of black people in question- behaviours of black people from low-income areas are not necessarily the same as the behaviours of black people from middle-class areas.

That said, race relations in the US are in a terrible state, and will remain as such until a meaningful dialogue is allowed, which won't happen as long as any discussion that touches on the concept of race is immediately decried as 'racist' by those who disagree- much as the Mccarthyists would cry 'Communist' at anyone who opposed their agenda.

Yes, racism does happen, and yes, it's a terrible thing, but far more people in the US today are discriminated against because of their religion or their sexual orientation than because of their race. In fact, the most racist thing I've ever experienced was in high school when I was told (by a black student) that I should apologize to them for slavery, because I'm white.

Anonymous said...

Jackson lists his first-hand observations and is branded a racist. Ok, he did make generalizations, but the bulk of his opus was reporting. Hate the game, not the playuh.

A handful of commenters blame the teacher for "allowing this behavior to happen." With lawsuits and accusations of racism rampant, what is any teacher (white, AA, etc.) to do? The assumption that she/he is "the adult in the room" and can control the behavior of 20, 25, or 30+ teenagers is fantasy. Even the AA teachers I work with have the same problems with students (90% of the problems come from AA students).

Call home?
Typical responses include "I can't get him to listen to me, how the hell am I gonna get him to listen to you!" or "That's YOUR problem/job!" or "Stop calling me - she's 19 years old and I'm tired of calls from school!" or "You're picking on my child!" or "The number you have reached is no longer in service."

Give a detention?
I think I've seen this work. Twice. In six years. For the 10% that actually show up.

Write a referral to the administration?
First, YOU would be written up for having poor classroom management (even though the administrator, who's been out of the classroom for 20 years, could never demonstrate how to keep a kid from yelling 'F**K YOU, N*GGA!" across the room or getting the young learners to show up on time. Second, if it is dealt with, it's days or weeks later. And the consequences are inconsistent at best. And revenge will be served.

Anonymous said...

(continued)

Some commenters talk about respect being two-way. I don't disagree - in a realistic world. I think a teacher deserves a certain amount of respect to start, due to his/her role and age, and earns the rest. The student deserves respect as a human being. But how does one respect a child who rolls in late every day, refuses to put iPod or phone away (I had a student throw his phone at me after I asked for it; he was using it during a guest speaker's visit), curses incessantly, and turns in blank tests? The real problem is when the student does not respect himself/herself, he/she won't respect others' right to learn or the teacher or the cop or the principal, etc.

Having taught spoiled, rich, white kids, poor Hispanic kids, and a mixed bag (though 70% black), I can say that I've seen most of what Jackson observed, though fortunately only about 2-6 kids per class. I cry inside for the decent kids whose education is hijacked by these mutants. Teachers and staff end up spending most of their time AND ENERGY on zookeeping at the expense of the others. While I abhorred the sense of entitlement that the rich kids came to school with, at least I was able to spend 95% of my energy on teaching, and the proof was in the pudding.

If I had to pick ONE thing to do, it would be to weed the garden. Those who rob others' right to education should be removed and segregated. Have some of the unemployed, educated veterans who have endured war, trained to teach this crew. Empower them! Anything goes short of corporal punishment. Better yet, let the chronically disruptive leave school and lick envelopes or pick up garbage on the highway. If and when they figure things out, they can come back to adult school - PAY FOR IT - and do what they should have done in the first place.

And guess what: not everyone is college material. One of the reasons other countries don't see the dysfunction in high school and college is because they allow alternate paths. In China and other countries, one has to EARN a spot in competitive schools. Only in the USA is everyone entitled to a seat in high school AND college!

Just a coach can't run on the field and carry the player and the ball over the goal line, I cannot care about someone's success when he/she does not. Don't get me wrong: I've tried. I've begged. I've used carrots and sticks. But there comes a point where the other 20+ in the room need my limited time and energy, and I move on.

Finally, the word EDUCATE means "to draw out", not " to put in". NaggaTopGun.