May 11, 2021

"I know of no study that more elegantly gets across a subtle but determinative difference between how black and white kids tend to process the school thing."

"A study in 1997... found that among eighth and ninth graders, most white kids said they did schoolwork for their parents while most black kids said they did schoolwork for the teacher.... For the black kids, school is something 'else,' something for 'them,' beyond the comfort zone; for the white kids, it is part of the comfort zone. This is not something the kids would consciously be aware of, but being really good at school – and this would include tests – requires that it becomes a part of you. To hold it at half an arm’s remove all but guarantees that you will only ever be so good at it. Now, because Clifton Casteel’s study wasn’t about racism, the usual suspects see it as their responsibility to argue away such work.... [Casteel] is a black man... deeply devoted to helping the black community. Casteel’s study pointed up a quieter aspect of something richly documented nationwide – a sense among black teens that school is 'white; and that real black kids don’t hit the books. Black academics and media people tend to dismiss this as a myth, but based solely on an impatience with addressing black problems as due to anything but racism. The facts are plain: the idea that 'acting white' is a myth is, itself, a myth."

From "CAN WE PLEASE DITCH THE TERM 'SYSTEMIC RACISM'?/As a linguist I know we can't, but systemic racial inequities can almost never be undone by 'getting rid of the racism'" by John McWhorter (Substack).

1 comment:

Ann Althouse said...

gbt writes: "Any child that excels in school is subject to taunts of “teachers pet”. Such taunts have limited success in intimidating the child to dial-it-back a bit to fit in. Only an African American over-achieving child can be hit with “Oreo”, “coconut”, or “Uncle Tom”. Such taunts can only come from fellow African Americans. Such taunts are far more successful in telling African American children that excelling in school is not for them."