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Why are minorities under-represented in the gifted program? - Page 3

post #41 of 53
I actually just read a study about black and Latino teens and their experience with being socially accepted or rejected based on their school achievement. It did report that these students felt socially stigmatized and less popular when they were high achievers. HOWEVER, this effect was worst when they attended high-performing schools with low numbers of other minority children. The study suggested that rather than coming from the minority culture, the social stigmatization may be coming from the WHITE culture. There was still an effect in schools where minorities were the majority, but it was much smaller.
post #42 of 53

I teach at a middle school that is almost 100% AA and I definitely notice anti-intellectualism in the culture of the kids.  It usually isn't anything as obvious as kids blatantly making fun of someone for being smart, though that occasionally happens.  What I know is that if you go to predominantly white schools and find the popular kids, most of those kids get good grades (though they're probably not the ones with the BEST grades).  At my school, the most popular kids are the ones who are the most stylish, win the most fights, and just generally carry themselves as really tough.  Most of those kids are too invested in that attitude/lifestyle to be doing well in school and all of the peer pressure is in that direction.  Also I notice that kids generally don't look down on the kids who are failing.  There is a minority of kids who are extremely low in their skills, maybe have some undiagnosed LD, and just cannot sit in a classroom and focus.  They are incredibly disruptive and are consistently not accomplishing anything in their classes.  Even though most of the kids are not like that, people don't generally look down on those unusual kids.  Those academically dysfunctional kids are still accepted socially--the kids don't hold it against them.  In white schools, that is typically NOT the case.  Those kids would have very few friends and probably be made fun of a lot--people wouldn't want to associate with somebody "stupid."  Also, when I call parents, I notice that they are much more responsive when it comes to their children being disrespectful rather than their children not doing work/not learning enough.  As a middle class white person, I really don't think much about the importance of being "respected."  But I find that I can give kids pause a lot quicker by saying, "You're being disrespectful," rather than, "You're not learning enough."  I know a lot of my students who probably have normal or above average intelligence but score less than proficient on the standardized tests have parents who love and care for them.  I think the culture just isn't built around academic achievement.     

post #43 of 53

I seriously don't know what happened to this post.


Edited by heatherdeg - 12/22/10 at 8:33am
post #44 of 53

I'm not sure what happened to the post I actually wrote.  irked.gif

 

Reading this whole thread has been really frustrating because it just screams of the brainwashing that's been done in this country that has set the dominant cultural standards as the standards by which everyone is measured.  Even in the teacher training programs, we brainwash minorities to believe it.  And the ones that "get" that those rules don't work for their culture are powerless to teach and evaluate children of their culture by means that are accurate and successful because the administration (and sometimes, the system in general--especially in standardized test) simply ties their hands.  But some of the statements here (and I'm not quoting anyone specifically because I'm fairly certain it would be hurtful and I don't think the people who made those statements 1) realize that they have the biases they have; and 2) meant to be offensive or hurtful) just scream of the brainwashing that has permeated this country to the complete detriment of racial minorities and any race in the lower socio-economic classes. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post

I do agree that racism plays a huge part...but one thing the black community is struggling with is "Thug" glofication.

 


News flash: that's because the possibility exists to GET to "thug" status with more likelihood than obtaining a college degree.  The reason the black "community" is struggling with this is because I can pretty well guarantee you that none of the kids striving for that status have parents that are encouraging it.  Like everything else, you may find the rare exception to such sweeping generalizations, but...

 

The idea that anyone not living within these cultures could possibly believe they could understand the resulting behaviors or actions is just evidence of the extent of the brainwashing and the power of the culture of dominance in this country (which is, btw, Caucasian).  And the resulting effects of those standards and biases in the classroom don't only affect racial minorities, but lower socio-economic status Caucasians as well (whether they are true "low income" families or just lower than the dominant level of the school or district--and yeah, I'm serious--I worked in one of those schools).

 

It's POSSIBLE to change IF people were open to the idea that their culture (or the cultural standards that they've been brainwashed into believing are the "best" and the ones to aspire to) is not the only culture or the most appropriate for every situation or the only one with true value... and that's the current mindset.

 

The best example of making these things possible for minorities (and I'm talking about BASIC ACADEMIC achievement at this point--not even gifted education) is Rockville Center, NY's school district, where they implemented an International Baccalaureate program that engaged their minority students and made them successful.  It required backward engineering their schools over the course of several years--going back year by year into the middle and elementary schools to ensure that by high school, the kids were able to do better with less support.  But they did it.  Here's an article on it:

 

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/apr07/vol64/num07/A_World-Class_Curriculum_for_All.aspx

 

But by and large, that kind of integrity, open-mindedness and drive are absent in our school administrations and many of the teachers.  So much so that when a teacher or district prove that it's possible, we make a movie about it.  It's obviously possible.


Edited by heatherdeg - 12/22/10 at 9:04pm
post #45 of 53

Heatherdeg, awesome post. Excellent points.

post #46 of 53

Heatherdog,

 

You brought up valid points. I was repeating what I heard from another person's point of view that I also agree with.

 

I don't see there being 1 solution. IMO, this guy was saying don't buy into it. Don't set your kids up because you get caught up in a negative mentality. If you don't want your child do act like a thug don't let them dress like one. Don't glorify the uneducated in your home (this really goes for any home of any race, creed, ethnicity).

 

After I reread what I wrote, I don't think I eloquently repeated what he said. He challenged the room to find out how many black Congress people there were. How many black judges. He also stated quit saying people are "trying to be white" if you don't like their opinion.  Do so makes success only a "white thing."  I wrote a list of names down he mentioned -- I planned to look them up but I managed to put that notebook in with some Christmas presents and can't get to them.  

 

 

 

post #47 of 53

Marsupialmom--

 

there is a difference, though, between trying to motivate people to rise above institutional racism and think about their personal responsibility and self-efficacy in a situation to exceed the expectations others have for them, and acknowledging the systemic oppression that has caused the situation to occur. While it is true that people can work to rise above the lowered expectations others have for them based on race, it is unfair to stop one's analysis at the individual level and never look at the systemic level.

post #48 of 53

Oh, I agree with that....but the boot strappy part of me thinks both has to happen.  

 

  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post

Marsupialmom--

 

there is a difference, though, between trying to motivate people to rise above institutional racism and think about their personal responsibility and self-efficacy in a situation to exceed the expectations others have for them, and acknowledging the systemic oppression that has caused the situation to occur. While it is true that people can work to rise above the lowered expectations others have for them based on race, it is unfair to stop one's analysis at the individual level and never look at the systemic level.

post #49 of 53

Not an American, but I've always been bemused by the part of the "American Dream" that presumes that opportunities and access to resources is equally distributed, if only you try hard enough.  In fact, there are dramatic disparities in access to opportunity and resources.  Placing blame on individuals or sub-sets of the population, or applying descriptors like "lazy," "gangsta" and "drop out" to people blurs the reality.  Looking at quintiles and economic mobility tells an interesting tale about how societies actually operate at the macro level.

 

I'm not at all surprised that some ethnic minorities are under-represented in gifted programs given what's happening in society in general and what's happening in public gifted education.

post #50 of 53

Marsupialmom--

 

 

You might be interested in the book "Losing the Race" by John McWhorter. It sounds a bit like what you are saying. 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Losing-Race-Self-Sabotage-Black-America/dp/0060935936

 

It is an interesting read, although there were parts that made me a bit....um...uncomfortable and I'm not sure I buy it all. But an interesting POV, nonetheless. 

post #51 of 53

I really wish I had time to read that book to make a better opinion, but with what I have read of reviews and such ---- it does seem like he swings the pendulum to an extreme that is just as dangerous.  It seems that he fails to acknoweledge the other side. I think it is a little bit of both -- a middle ground.

 

It is like loosing weight.  I live in a world that encourages over eat of crappy food. My husband is a chef....even though I have these pounding on my door I am responcible to teach my kids about these pressures that will hit them once they leave my home.  Even though my dh makes yummy crap I don't have to eat it or allow it in my home.  Racism is very real.  But when you allow it in your home by encouraging "not acting white" and not promoting intellegent AA then contribute to your strife.  I wish this outside crap was not an issue (just like crappy food) but it is there and as we change the other stuff we have to control what is in our home so we can send out kids that can make change and good choices.    

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EVC View Post

Marsupialmom--

 

 

You might be interested in the book "Losing the Race" by John McWhorter. It sounds a bit like what you are saying.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Losing-Race-Self-Sabotage-Black-America/dp/0060935936

 

It is an interesting read, although there were parts that made me a bit....um...uncomfortable and I'm not sure I buy it all. But an interesting POV, nonetheless.

post #52 of 53

I'm so NOT loving the new posting system... I'm having NOTHING but problems trying to post!  I keep writing up my response, hit "Submit" and it tells me to enter something before I post.  irked.gif
 

So here is something before I post...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post

Heatherdeg,

 

You brought up valid points. I was repeating what I heard from another person's point of view that I also agree with.

 

I don't see there being 1 solution. IMO, this guy was saying don't buy into it. Don't set your kids up because you get caught up in a negative mentality. If you don't want your child do act like a thug don't let them dress like one. Don't glorify the uneducated in your home (this really goes for any home of any race, creed, ethnicity).

 

After I reread what I wrote, I don't think I eloquently repeated what he said. He challenged the room to find out how many black Congress people there were. How many black judges. He also stated quit saying people are "trying to be white" if you don't like their opinion.  Do so makes success only a "white thing."  I wrote a list of names down he mentioned -- I planned to look them up but I managed to put that notebook in with some Christmas presents and can't get to them.  

 


 

I absolutely understand the point you're making (or rather, that person made).  It's actually a point that Bill Cosby is EXTREMELY vocal about.  There are rappers that have sung about this problem (listen to Tupac's "Changes").  I don't disagree that what you're saying exists, but I absolutely think that it is the result of a systemic problem that dictates the possibilities for specific populations and this is how they've adjusted to that reality.



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post

Marsupialmom--

 

there is a difference, though, between trying to motivate people to rise above institutional racism and think about their personal responsibility and self-efficacy in a situation to exceed the expectations others have for them, and acknowledging the systemic oppression that has caused the situation to occur. While it is true that people can work to rise above the lowered expectations others have for them based on race, it is unfair to stop one's analysis at the individual level and never look at the systemic level.


I also agree with this: it is still a culture dominated by white, middle/upper class standards.  Period.  We teach in that mindset and we hire in that mindset.  It excludes many different types of minorities--not just race.  But when it comes to race, there is absolutely nobody that can say that racism no longer exists/plays a part in these matters.

 

 

As for the person who was talking about the "American Dream" mentality, there has been research done on the acceptance of obesity among AA women that noted that the "American Ideal" (part of the "dream") is considered so far-fetched and unattainable that these girls aren't even held to that standard in their own communities and are not usually shunned for being overweight.  So let's talk about standards...  There is also research (TONS of it) showing how teacher/administrator expectations affect student performance, and then how all of those experiences affect self-esteem.

 

So really, it starts with the schools.  And until that's fixed, I don't see exactly how we're going to fix the systemic problem.  Of course, the schools ARE a systemic problem. 

post #53 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post

I really wish I had time to read that book to make a better opinion, but with what I have read of reviews and such ---- it does seem like he swings the pendulum to an extreme that is just as dangerous.  It seems that he fails to acknoweledge the other side. I think it is a little bit of both -- a middle ground.

 

It is like loosing weight.  I live in a world that encourages over eat of crappy food. My husband is a chef....even though I have these pounding on my door I am responcible to teach my kids about these pressures that will hit them once they leave my home.  Even though my dh makes yummy crap I don't have to eat it or allow it in my home.  Racism is very real.  But when you allow it in your home by encouraging "not acting white" and not promoting intellegent AA then contribute to your strife.  I wish this outside crap was not an issue (just like crappy food) but it is there and as we change the other stuff we have to control what is in our home so we can send out kids that can make change and good choices.    

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EVC View Post

Marsupialmom--

 

 

You might be interested in the book "Losing the Race" by John McWhorter. It sounds a bit like what you are saying.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Losing-Race-Self-Sabotage-Black-America/dp/0060935936

 

It is an interesting read, although there were parts that made me a bit....um...uncomfortable and I'm not sure I buy it all. But an interesting POV, nonetheless.


 


Yes, he is bit too radical in his thinking, I believe. There is a good deal of oversimplification of several key issues. One of the criticisms of the work is that he takes a few personal anecdotes and uses them to draw broad conclusions about the challenges facing the black community. As I am not AA, I don't really feel qualified to comment on many of them, but there is one I can use as an example. At one point in the book, when talking about anti-intellectualism in the black community, he describes his experience as a professor and mentions several examples of AA students who slack off, skip class, either fail to turn in work entirely or turn in work that shows no effort nor critical thinking about the subject matter (despite the fact that they're clearly smart enough to have made it into a top university). He uses these examples to conclude that this attitude toward academics is typical of black students and points to the larger anti-intellectual trends of the black community. 

 

 

Thing is, I teach at the SAME university he talks about here. And I do believe that he is quite right in saying that these examples DO point to a larger problem. But not specifically among black students. I have had very similar experiences at this university with WHITE undergraduates. I have had some UNBELIEVABLY flaky students, and students with a VERY bloated sense of entitlement--it seems every semester there are at least one or two just like the ones he describes. And talking to other instructors, this is fairly typical. In addition, due to rampant grade inflation, an A is the new B, if not the new C (the attitude among many students is if you do the bare minimum, you should get an A so few really make an effort to go above and beyond in their thinking and many do the work just to get the grade, not to truly learn or challenge themselves intellectually). 

 

So there may well be a trend here. But not necessarily a "black" trend, and he doesn't acknowledge that. And that is one of the big flaws of the book. 

 

 

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