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Re: “Rich, Black, Flunking

Interesting article that fails to mention one important detail that was not addressed by any of the quoted researchers. In citing the differences in attitudes towards education between Blacks from other countries, they neglected to speak to the attitudes of primarily white teachers who engage in an "exoticization" of Blacks from other countries.

I immigrated from a caribbean country to the US and was placed in the 10th grade in a high school that was approximately 50% Black American and 50% White American. I was placed in the college preparatory track. In the 3 years I spent in that school, I and another Black caribbean young man, were the only Black students in the college prep track in that cohort group. My observation was that all the other Black students were placed in a vocational track. I was "allowed" to test into AP coursework with the exception of Calculus. When I questioned why I was excluded from Calculus, I was told that I wasn't prepared for it. This was after 2 years of being tracked in the same coursework as my other college prep classmates. Curiously enough, the only Asian student (A Vietnamese immigrant) in the school was tracked in the highest Math class while being excluded from all other AP courses.

I've since gone on to achieve a doctorate degree, and I question why I was "chosen" above other Black Americans and Black caribbean immigrants who had similar intellectual abilities. I sincerely believe that the recency of my immigration (2 days before attending school) and the fact that the teachers held a more positive view of the intellectual capabilities of Blacks from other countries led to my being allowed access to an intellectual path of achievement.

My evidence is this - several younger members of my family who attended the same school district were relegated to the vocational track as well. I believe that they were not perceived as Black caribbeans by the teachers , particularly at the high school level. By the time they entered Middle School, they dressed, acted and spoke with American accents and were not recognized as "different".

This is only one case study, but I think it speaks to a particular tendency of White US teachers to exoticize the intellectual capabilities of Blacks from other countries.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by al virgo on 01/25/2008 at 11:37 AM

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