Take Me Back to 1953

Disclaimer: I wanted to do this post for a while now but I was discouraged when I first had the idea for fear that a lot of people would’t be able to relate. After reading the chapter on Black Education in Thomas Sowell’s Black Rednecks and White Liberals, I’ve decided to finally go ahead and do it.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

Decided: May 17th, 1954

“Segregation of white and Negro children in the public schools of a State solely on the basis of race, pursuant to state laws permitting or requiring such segregation, denies to Negro children the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment — even though the physical facilities and other “tangible” factors of white and Negro schools may be equal.”

This is taken directly from the syllabus of the decision of the Supreme Court.

I graduated high school in 1999. This is the race distribution of my high school that year. African American- 92.6%, White-3.13%, Hispanic-2.79%, Asian-1.22% and American Indian-0.26%. I went to a publicly integrated high school but based on the numbers my school might as well have been 100% African American.

Before I go any further allow me to state my stance. I support segregation in education.

Yes. Segregation. In public schools.

Why you ask?

From the time of post-antebellum America to the middle of the twentieth century it seemed that blacks in this country had a higher sense of pride when it came to educating themselves. Children dressed in their best to go to school. Learning was a serious matter not to be taken lightly. Like Malcolm X once said “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”. Blacks were infants in this country and had to readily play catch up despite the obstacles (put very lightly) in our way. Although men such as Booker T Washington and William Edward Burghardt Du Bois may have had their differences they both stressed the importance of education.

The term “separate but equal” was practiced in theory but not in reality. Even with lack of resources and funding there was no excuse to slack and feel sorry for ourselves. We did what we had to do with what we had. But do not be fooled separate but equal still exists today. Instead of segregating us based on the color of our skin, we’re separated based on our income. As an example look at the racial make up of my high school. Does that really look integration? There are many schools across the country whose numbers are more balanced but I would put money that in most major cities most schools have at least 60% of their population made up of one particular racial background. One way this was done is through the advent of school zones and neighborhood schools. It wouldn’t be that hard to keep Blacks, Asians, Jews, etc segregated this way since most neighborhoods were already segregated. So in a sense “separate but [un]equal” still exists in many facets today. No one wants to talk about it.

As soon as we learn how to the play the game, the rules change.

There are children who thrive in an integrated environment. There are also children who would lag behind and underachieve in a segregated climate. This surely wouldn’t apply to all children as each individual child learns differently. The one thing that is consistent is that Black children are seriously lagging behind White and Asian American children in this country as far as academics are concerned. We’re stumbling right out the block.

There have been schools which only serve inner city children and/or minority children that have excelled beyond expectation.

Urban Prep Academy in Chicago admits males from the inner city of Chicago. Over 85% of their students qualify for free/reduced lunch. For the third year in a row, 100% of Urban Prep’s graduates have been admitted to four-year colleges or universities. 

Three years ago Toronto opened its first Africentric elementary school. The goals of the school are:

  • High academic achievement
  • High self-pride
  • A high motivation to succeed
The school’s founders were met with hostility and resistance. You know God forbid students are taught to have self-pride. Three years later their students are reading and writing and solving math problems at standards above the city and provincial average. This past year Toronto’s board of trustees approved a second Africentric school, this one a high school.
There will be many who completely disagree with my views for they were either raised in a more integrated environment or they truly believe that integration within public school systems is necessary for the development of a child. Speaking from my point of view and experiences I believe that overall the current dogma in education of blacks don’t work. It seems like whenever someone speaks out on this they are shunned and lambasted with cries of being either a racist, militant or an Uncle Tom. With that I leave you with a excerpt from the book that stood out to me:

Much of what is said–and not said– about education of black students reflects the political context, rather that the educational facts. Whites walk on eggshells for fear of being called racists, while many blacks are preoccupied with protecting the image of black students, rather than protecting their future by telling the blunt truth. It is understandable that some people are concerned about image, about what is in private life might be expressed as: “What will the neighbors think?” But when your children are dying, you don’t worry about what the neighbors think.

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48 thoughts on “Take Me Back to 1953

  1. Veronica

    Okay- so I’ll wait to post my opinion but I do have a question… Segregation helps how? Not asking to be a smarty mouth- but how? Blk kids act like they hate each other all the time… They are forever shooting and killing each other. Like they don’t care about life in general- theirs or anybodys. Segregating schools makes these students care more how? It makes parents more in touch how?

    No- my opinion is- your points are valid and well accepted. I’m glad to know that these kinds of schools have proven to be very successful in some areas. If it gets us and our kids back on track then I’m certainly game. Im just skeptical of how this can make students care more an want more for themselves…. I don’t disagree with this post at all….

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      not every black child behaves as they hate their own race. not all black children are shooting and killing each other. i’m enough of a realist to know where our race stands at this point everyone can’t be saved. some people are just prone to self-destruction. by putting students who are serious about learning in an environment where teachers and staff are serious about giving them the best education possible then i think a difference can be made.

      Reply
  2. That Damn African

    I’m still getting my mind around the decades of pro-integration rhetoric I’ve absorbed and the unfortunate truth of the negative aspects of integration. I’m not at all a scholar of history or education policy, so forgive any inaccuracies or assumptions.

    Integration definitely wasn’t the magic bullet that was thought to be the savior of black education. There are numerous examples of high-achieving black schools that were all but destroyed due to integration. However, I believe that the fact that integration was forced (through busing and neighborhood schools), rather than integration itself, is more to blame. There are many more examples of low-achieving black schools than there were high-achieving black schools. In my opinion, providing black children with more options and a chance to attend higher-achieving schools, no matter what the racial makeup, is a good thing. However, more focus should have been spent on improving educational methods for the schools instead of meeting racial quotas.

    Like you said, segregation found a way to live on. Neighborhood schools did nothing more than cause white people who were largely against integration to move to other areas (white flight). I was raised in PG County, Maryland. Every public school I attended was by far majority black. In 1974, PG County was over 80% white. After they were forced to integrate their school system, the population shifted to majority black as most white residents moved out.

    All of this reminds me of the concern for the children who aren’t gung ho about learning and about education. I was the first freshmen class to attend my high school (majority black). I had to apply to its magnet program and take an entrance exam before I was accepted. I was surrounded by other high-achieving black students and it provided me with an environment that fostered my learning. There were also students that attended my high school who were not a part of the magnet program (mainly middle class). Not all of them were low-achieving, but more were when compared to the magnet students. In a way, we were segregated from those students and I think it was a benefit to my learning environment. However, the quality of my high school has dropped significantly since I graduated. Does it create a problem when schools have to try to elevate the students who are serious about their education AND save students who give no fucks about learning? Might these be more mutually exclusive, at least in the public school arena, than we want to believe? Schools could weed out “IDGAF” students and give students who are serious about learning a better learning environment and teachers the ability to work more effectively. But is this segregation acceptable? The moral argument can be made that these less-than-enthusiastic children shouldn’t be quit on so quickly. They need mentors, educators, and counselors who will guide and push them toward realizing the importance of education. If we just throw them back into the street, statistically we are condemning them to a life of crime & jail. But you can’t save them all. It may be that segregation at some level needs to happen for schools to be successful, just not racially.

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      by chance did you attend flowers? i went to fairmont heights so you already know how my high school was and the attitude towards learning a lot of my schoolmates outside my AP or biotechnology program had.

      i definitely didn’t know about the racial makeup of PG county up until the 70s. now that you mention it i do remember the makeup of my neighborhood (i grew up in landover hills behind the old capital plaza). when we first moved there the white population wasn’t balanced but there were definitely some. by the time i graduated high school there wasn’t one white family in my neighborhood.

      with the gentrification of dc and more and more blacks moving from dc to pg county i only see more flight taking place. white will begin leaving towns like bowie, college park and upper marlboro in abundance.

      “However, more focus should have been spent on improving educational methods for the schools instead of meeting racial quotas.”

      i definitely think this was where we went wrong.

      Reply
      1. That Damn African

        Yeah, I went to Flowers. I was in the Science & Tech Program there, so we had our own advanced classes that were, for the most part, separate from kids who were just there because it was their neighborhood school.

        I actually didn’t know about the racial makeup of PG until I looked up some info on the history of busing in the US. PG was one of the big examples brought up. Even looking at general population trends, PG had a population that consistently increased at least 20% every decade from 1910-1970 (from 1950-1970 it increased by at least 80% every decade). But the population increased by less than 1% from 1970-1980 and less than 10% each decade from there on out.

        PG had the 10th largest school district in the country at the time and was forced to implement a busing system in the mid-1970s when their “freedom of choice” plan wasn’t desegregating schools as it intended. However, this change was implemented in the middle of the school year, forcing lots of students (even seniors) to have to change schools. Just one of the examples where integration was forced in a way that was counterproductive. If you get a chance, read this http://www.watson.org/~lisa/blackhistory/school-integration/pgcounty/index.html

      2. madscientist7 Post author

        appreciate the link. i’ll definitely check it out. as far as high schools i definitely wanted to attend roosevelt with all the smart white and asian kids but i got wait listed for the math and tech program. i ended up at my neighborhood school and was able to utilize their biotech program. was talking to a hs and college friend this morning and the overall quality of education in our school was very poor. schools like roosevelt and bowie received way better teachers/administrators and funding than we did.

    2. Mo (@MonnaAchy)

      I think that is where parents responsibility kicks in. All can’t be left to schools. We can’t isolate “IDGAF” students, I sincerely believe there is more to their attitude than what meets the eye.

      Tunde , thanks for this topic. I love education, one day I will go into policy in education. In the meantime, I’m learning what I need to know.

      Reply
  3. Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

    Good post Tunde!

    This could work if the proper leadership,curriculum, and funding are in place. I essentially had a segregated education until college when I decided to attend a PWI. Where I’m from has a population of about 10,000 people. When I lived there the more than 70% of the citizenship was black and the school system was about 95% black. My graduating class had a total of four white kids.(Many white families send their kids to private academies set up post Brown v. Board to prevent race mixing. Most of these schools were named after men from SC with more than dubious histories of being racists.) Not long after this the State of South Carolina actually stepped in and took over the school system.

    Everything was basically seperate but nothing in fact was close to equal. As a product of a f**ked school system I would have to have laundry list of guarantees placed before myself and my spouse before I would send my kids to a segregated schools system whether it’s a de facto segregation or not. I simply don’t want my kids to struggle like I did when I got to college because for a poor secondary education. My apprehension is based on my experiences.

    I agree with TDA’s point that the methods of teaching need to be revamped also.

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      thanks a lot.

      “As a product of a f**ked school system I would have to have laundry list of guarantees placed before myself and my spouse before I would send my kids to a segregated schools system whether it’s a de facto segregation or not.”

      this is where i’m at with it. before i would want us to be segregated i would want to clean up our school system first. children willing to learn can’t do it on their own. i think children thrive best in environments where there aren’t distractions (from students who don’t want to learn as well as shotty schools).

      i also came from a bad school district and while i didn’t struggle (mainly because my parents being foreign they stressed the importance of education to me) i could have excelled even more had i been fostered in better schools.

      Reply
  4. CaliGirlED

    Awesome post! The truth of the matter is separate but equal is ideal, but not the reality. Fortunately there have been schools, such as the ones you mentioned in Chicago and Toronto, that have taken on the task of segregating Black children and giving them educational
    opportunities unimaginable in their current environments. There are also some in the Los Angeles area, but I don’t recall many, if any, when I was growing up. So my mother bused me off to the Valley (a predominantly White but multicultural area) for a “better” education. Was it better? Well we had decent textbooks, better athletic equipment and cleaner grounds. However we also had better drugs, suicide up close and personal and more exposure to illicit acts. So unless you had a high educational-driven environment at home, which I did not (just make good grades), you could get by with bringing home good grades without truly learning.

    I think the opportunity to grow up in an integrated environment was beneficial in that I’m not susceptible to major culture shock when I’m around non-Blacks. I’ve come to accept the parallels and disparities of our values, customs and principles as just that, one not being necessarily better than the other. However, if I had it to do all over again, I would have attended an HBCU and afforded myself the opportunity to have a cohesive cultural and educational experience, while drawing from the multicultural interactions of my formative years to keep my socially balanced.

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      you bring up a good point of learning versus just getting good grades. while my school sucked overall i did have a couple of teachers who really stressed the importance of learning to me. one was mr. shabazz, who was something of a black nationalist. i really appreciated him opening up my eyes.

      see the thing is i grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood, went to a black high school and attended HBCUs for grad and undergrad. at my job now i’m the only black person in my entire department. i didn’t have the culture shock i thought i would have. you can still learn skills that will allow you do adapt to any environment in a segregated setting.

      Reply
  5. Reecie

    I also think segregation in primary and secondary education is not a bad idea. I’m not sure it should be mandated but I’m totally fine with the OPTION. I mean I went to an HBCU so I don’t think its that bad in higher ed either.

    I also support gender segregation too,in some circumstances, especially for maybe up to middle school grades. I think when the focus is PURELY academics and not many of the other social aspects, we will find that our youth will thrive, will be pushed to think purposely and critically, and will have more pride in cultivating their intellect and themselves.

    There are several opportunities to eliminate culture shock and socialization via extracurriculars, internships, teenage employment etc. I grew up in the inner city and all of my public schools were majority black but I still interacted with other races because of the things mentioned above. I don’t feel like my life experiences were slighted, even though I chose to attend a PWI for graduate school because I did want that experience also.

    while I agree with the racial segregation of schools, I do want the schooling to be equal in terms of access to resources and opportunities. THAT is where the separate by equal failed. it was never equal.

    Reply
    1. Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

      I’m with you on the equality front Reecie. Being a southerner I can’t fathom that working without heavy, heavy oversight. I wish I could say that all things will never be equal wasn’t in my mind but it would always be stuck there.

      Reply
    2. madscientist7 Post author

      reecie you know i’m also an advocate for HBCUs and i was tempted to touch on that as well but you know how ppl can get when the HBCU/PWI debate gets going. i didn’t want to point of the post to get lost in the tired debate of “my school is better than yours” lol

      but i agree 100%. like i told caligirl i didn’t feel slighted by my environment and i didn’t have culture shock once i stepped out into “the real world” whatever that means. as if our world isn’t what real living is. that’s another post in itself though.

      Reply
  6. gemmieboo

    i agree that forced integration did more harm then good. segregation had its advantages, despite the harsh racist attitudes going on during that time. my dad always said that ending segregation ended our – blacks – need to band together, and uplift each other. we havent really gotten back to that point where we appreciate our own. we’re always chasing what the white man has and then get mad when he sh*ts on us. as if we arent capable of achieving on our own merit, and not by others standards.

    that said, i dont think we’ll ever be back to that place. not unless our rights are completely stripped from us and we start from ground zero – lawfully oppressed. i think it was the circumstances of segregation and racial inequalities that made education what it was in that day. it worked because there was no other choice. we are kind of in a different world now – though there are serious similarities.

    all that to say – i think education deserves to be custom made. i think that public schools should cater to a certain audiences of students – meeting the students at the point of their need(s). students who have an aptitude for math and science should be able to go to stem-focused schools. students who are academically weak or uninterested in going to college should have the option to go to vocational schools, where they’ll still learn important knowledge but also gain skills that are useful to them and society at large. etc and so forth. holding ALL kids to the SAME standard is limiting and unrealistic.

    but even more than that, which is what you basically articulated in your post, is that students need to feel a sense of pride – in themselves, in their culture, in their country. students needs to feel empowered, despite their social economic background, and be taught to reach for the stars. ive seen 1st hand students at Urban Prep recite their creed, and its one of the most beautiful things you could ever hear little black boys say. it brought me to tears. because so many of our children are not being taught to value themselves, each other, or hold themselves or each other accountable. and that has to be taught and reinforced. the school is making it its business to do so.

    unfortunately, by and large, poor black/brown children are taught to just get by, and not really encouraged to aim high because its assumed that they wont. putting those types of subconscious limitations on a kid is psychologically damaging and makes teaching them in the long run a living night mare for all involved -THE ENTIRE SOCIETY.

    in the end, i think education needs a reset button. but since that wont/cant happen, we just have to work it through one school at a time. change the mindset of the teaching and that of the community. when we as a community make education a priority, our government will have no choice but to follow suit, because we’d be the ones electing our leaders to do what WE would have them to do for us. everyone has to come together for the children to thrive and achieve. it may take decades, but the struggle will be worth it.

    again, great post wh.

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      ***bravo***

      copies and pastes into new post. lol but really your father is a smart man. he’s spot on that once we achieved integration we lost our sense of pride in our communities. the black family structure started to crumble and it worked its way down to the children.

      as far as education being a priority for the government all you have to do is look at the GOP debate and i’m sure the presidential debate coming up. the hot topics? birth control, gas prices and the economy. education is nowhere on their radar. and these are the people i’m supposed to vote for? i’m good.

      Reply
      1. gemmieboo

        “the hot topics? birth control, gas prices and the economy. education is nowhere on their radar. and these are the people i’m supposed to vote for? i’m good.”

        because unfortunately those topics ARE important to some ppl. thats why we need to change the mentality of the community. esp the ones who cant afford to NOT be educated (re: poor blacks/browns)

    2. Mo (@MonnaAchy)

      Gemmiboo,
      “all that to say – i think education deserves to be custom made. i think that public schools should cater to a certain audiences of students – meeting the students at the point of their need(s). students who have an aptitude for math and science should be able to go to stem-focused schools.” This can be detrimental too, my HS (Kenya), this how they streamlined us. Fast forward my friend that was put in social sciences comes to the U.S and is now doctor. She had the apitude for sciences , no one took the time to nurture her. I’m not saying it’s bad thing, just make the system effective and not leaving people with potential behind.

      Reply
      1. gemmieboo

        having schools that specialize in a certain area of study arent leaving behind people with potential. its offering ppl who do have an aptitude for it an advantage. to compete globally in the stem fields, we need to educate our students much earlier than college in these areas.

        thats not to say a kid who doesnt go to that kind of school shouldnt be able to learn stem fields. this model doesnt exclude anyone but def shifts the focus for those who are interested. its no different than colleges and universities that have liberal arts education programs versus specialized programs.

        the whole point is for ALL schools to be nurturing and sensitive to students needs.

      2. madscientist7 Post author

        there are schools in india and china which groom children to become doctors as early as grade school. they test that early for their potential and then move on from there. a lot of critics (mainly in the west) say that children should be having more fun. can you really deny their results though?

  7. Mo (@MonnaAchy)

    As someone who went to a high school in another country I will sit back and learn. I understand the context of separate/HBCU, but I have struggled with its efficiency. I’m not well equipped to say the above are not justfied.

    A different view, almost similar. I went to an all girls school. I always thought I would have been a much better math/science student if my school was a mixed school. Not because I think boys are better science/math students, innately we think differently. To this day I still contend I would have made national levels with my “microwave” project if my team was mixed. I just thought we could feed off each other better and in the end become better students.

    I used above example to say integration has the ability to offer students things that ordinarily they would not learn in their own environment. I might be wrong here, like I said earlier I’m all ears.

    On another note, there is a magnet HS here in the metropolitan of DC that is suppose to target AA, but according to local news, AA makes less than 15% of the population. Maybe the answer to this problem lies in lack of enough preparation of the kids at elementary and middle school level. In grand scheme of things, I think the emphasis should be put in making education system that benefits everyone & not based on the race or socio-ecomonics background.

    I also happen to suscribe to Malcom Gladwell views on what makes one an outlier. His take on education on that book I thought was brilliant.

    Reply
  8. Nigel Godfrey

    Great post!!! Integration failed us and we fought for it. Fought to give people our money. Begged to sit and eat with people who wanted nothing but our labor! This educational system is a joke and doesn’t speak to the needs, history or future of afrikan kids in america. Parents need to step up but I’m just saying.

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      you’re absolutely right. the desire to want to educate yourself begins at home early on. my parents instilled it in me early but then again my parents are foreigners so i believe that had a lot to do with it.

      Reply
  9. beautynobility

    I just completed some basic research on this from the legal perspective. Part of the reason why integration in education hasn’t worked is because it was abandoned by the federal judiciary that was actually tasked to enforce it in Brown II. Milliken v. Bradley, Missouri v. Jenkins, and most recently Parents Involved v. Seattle School District are all decisions from the US Supreme Court declining to enfore quality education in an integrated setting.

    There is now a movement among legal scholars that is calling for state constitutions to be enforced to provide an adequate and quality education for all students. Even though there is no federal fundamental right to education, the majority of states have created a state right to education. On top of that, many of these states guarantee that education to be “quality,” “adequate” or “substantial.” Additionally, they require that the education be equal. Three states expressly forbid segregation in their state constitutions, and two of those states have used that clause to place an affirmative duty on the states to provide a quality, integrated education, The most recent, and influential, decision is Sheff v. O’Neill, coming out of Connecticut which expressly gives the state an affirmative duty to provide a quality desegregated education, and allowed eighteen students (sixteen of which were African-American) to sue the state for the failure to provide that education.

    All that legal background to say: there are mechanisms to hold the states/gov’t responsible for a lack of quality education. But beyond that, I agree with all who have said that the educational system – at base – needs a severe overhaul. Unfortunately, we don’t appear to be the community that will hold the gov’t responsible for this lack. We won’t (or don’t) petition for a change in the state consitution, or to hold the gov’t accountable for what the constitution says. We won’t (or don’t) call for a change to receive quality education. Community action is required for any kind of change. I can only hope that the action comes.

    (My apologies if this is too long/off topic…just thought the legal side could be interesting as well)

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      thank you for sharing some legal precedents regarding education. i for sure didn’t think about that. you’re right in that no change will come if we don’t demand it. thing is our people are too caught up in frivolous things that don’t really matter.

      and you never have to apologize for writing a comment that’s long on this blog. i welcome everyone to share the opinions as long or as short as they may be.

      Reply
    2. gemmieboo

      “There is now a movement among legal scholars that is calling for state constitutions to be enforced to provide an adequate and quality education for all students.”

      im all on board with this. we need to rap – i need to get in on this like SERIOUSLY!!

      Reply
      1. madscientist7 Post author

        this is major especially coming from a state like south carolina (no offense). the ruling of this could have long lasting implications in the distribution of funding in states across the country.

  10. Veronica

    This reading has been interesting. I never considered the segregation of race as a solution. I do like the idea of all boys and all girls schools though. I have also thought about why have these public and private schools? Why not zone the schools by address of student and if you live in zone A- you go to and teach at school A…black or white, rich or poor, smart or not so smart. In my mind, this would mean the ‘good teachers’ at the private schools have to lend their talents to ‘regular schools’. That means the parents of those sendign their kids to the better schools have to participate in and help keep the WHOLE school on their toes. They can’t just say, ‘oh well it’s just public school…not my concern anymore’ … ANYWAY… that’s just how it would go in my lil mind…

    Now- my question is- is it segreation that would be the way to go or would it be revamping the whole educational system/curriculum. I mean students aren’t like when most of us were in school. Would the schools benefit from including some type of sociology classes? Ethics and morals classes? Since teachers (like my dear sweet moma!!!) spend more time with students than their own parents…. Would something like this possibly help better understand different races, cultures and ways of life… NOT neccessarily to ‘like them’, but to be able to try to respect them enough to live in a little better harmony?

    And I do in deed think teachers need to be paid more. LOTS more. After all most of them played very pivital roles in the big buck makers actually getting to the points to where big bucks are being made. IDK why teachers are paid competitevely with docs and lawyers and what not. If teachers were paid more, they may actually bring in a better grade of educators…and with a larger salary at stake, shitty teachers would be more inclined to take responsibility for their actions… or lack of actions in the classroom…

    AND FINALLY- saw a post the other day about students being paid to perform in schools. Good idea? no?

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      honestly i think all children (not just minorities) are at risk with the way education is going in this country. so even if we were segregated it wouldn’t make much of a difference without an entire overhaul in the way we approach education. i’ve always said that schools need to start teaching lessons that are more applicable to real life.

      like i said last night in my book club teachers do need to get paid more. they cultivate our greatest resource. our children.

      “IDK why teachers are paid competitively with docs and lawyers and what not.”

      we live in a capitalistic society but we expect teachers to get by on the bare minimum for the love of their job. that doesn’t make any sense.

      Reply
  11. nianaturally

    Great post, and great comments from the readers. Integration has harmed our communities in many ways, education being at the top of the list. Someone already mentioned Brown II, and the lack of enforcement, so I won’t go into that. I’m all for segregating schools by race, and within schools, separating the genders. Boys won’t act stupid in an attempt to impress girls, and girls won’t feel the need to dumb down for the boys.

    One thing we really need in our schools is more black teachers, black men in particular. There is a cultural gap between teacher and students, sometimes fostering a hostile learning environment for the student. Take for example the white teacher who told the black student to read “blacker.” http://24wired.tv/34101/white-teacher-tells-african-american-student-to-read-blacker/

    Education is the biggest issue effecting out community, and we should pay close attention to this election cycle, both locally and nationally. Who’s speaking up for our children?

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      “One thing we really need in our schools is more black teachers, black men in particular.”

      you hit the nail on the head nia. during my last two years of grad school i was really interested in going on to law school (intellectual property). i would be lying if i said that my main motivation wasn’t monetarily driven. i’ve recently had my eyes open and i believe that i have found my calling.

      “Education is the biggest issue effecting out community, and we should pay close attention to this election cycle, both locally and nationally. Who’s speaking up for our children?”

      i believe i said this earlier but i know there are other issues that others may care more about but education is very important. as much as we discuss the job market and the economy a long term solution would be to make sure more students have access to better employment through education. but what do i know?

      Reply
  12. TheMostInterestingManintheWorld

    I think the “we were better before integration” debate is one scholarly folks like to have now, from the comfort our not-quite-post-racial-but-way-better-than-1953 chaise lounges. The thing we have to remember is that the movement for integration in schools was part of a larger, more expansive movement for civil rights, the end of legal segregation every where (via Jim Crow laws) and, from a macro level, the generationally ingrained racism born out of ignorance. It’s like Malcolm Said “You can’t hate the roots of a tree, and not hate the tree.” Our generation likes to look back, with a certain measure of nostalgia, on the unity that existed amongst our people pre-integration. We remember the unity, but we forget that that unity was born out of fear for our lives and livelihoods. We gloss over just how dire our situations were in parts of the deep south. We forget that the NAACP flag flew at half staff daily because black men were being lynched daily. Segregation is directly tied to that fear. Segregation, and the ignorance and racism born out of people not interacting with each other is what produced those dire circumstances. You can’t hate the roots of the tree – racism – and not hate the tree also – segragation.

    The other thing the vouge movement for modern educational segration glosses over is the major pandemics that have all but wiped out the black family in America – namely crack and HIV/AIDS. These pervasive nature of these pandemics, and the impact they’ve had on the black family is at the root of our education problem. The problem isn’t the schools, it’s the families from which the children in these schools come from. The difference between 1953 and now, is that in 1953 less than 25% of children were coming from single parent homes. Now that number is reversed. Our children don’t value education the way previous generations did not because it’s given to them more liberally, but because their parents don’t have the time or means to intill that value for education the way previous generations did. Black students in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s achieved, despite separte but unequal access to quality education because they have huge support systems at home that made them believe education was our nations greatest conduit for change. It was a fundamental part of their rearing. It’s not anymore, it’s not because our parents are younger, often under-edcuated themselves, and struggling by on single incomes. They just don’t have the time, or means. The problem isn’t the schools. Blaming on the schools is any easy fix. It’s easier to say we need to fix the schools than it to say, we need to fix the families.

    Great post, and great comments.

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      i agree with what you said in the first paragraph. the fight for integration was a part of a larger issue. i would have touched on that but i was already nearing the 1000 word limit i had already limited myself to. i may write another post i don’t know yet. i don’t fault activists back then for fighting for equal rights across the board. there is no way that they could have known that this is what would have been left of their legacy.

      speaking of the crack and HIV/AIDS pandemic i have my views on how they ravished our communities but i’m trying hard not to come off as a conspiracy theorist and black militant. i will say one word. reaganomics.

      as far as poor and undereducated parents you forget that at the time immediately following slavery the majority of black people in this country couldn’t even read. also, the financial gap between freed blacks and whites was a lot larger than it is today. this didn’t stop these uneducated parents from stressing the importance of education. often in the face of hate and bigotry. today we are our biggest obstacle as far as educating ourselves. i will say that the two parent household may be the biggest difference in the education of children back then and the children of today. i’m not totally blaming schools. i know that education begins at home.

      appreciate the point of view. great dialogue.

      Reply
  13. J B

    This is an interesting perspective. I’m not completely opposed to what you suggest, but I caution taking this perspective without considering the full social context and consequences. I think that this may be a romanticized view of past educational experiences. You’re probably right that some Blacks took more pride in their education : those that were actually able to get the education (I wasn’t around then so I can’t vouch for that). Also, it is important to remember that education was more of an option than it is today. Primary and secondary education are mandatory until the age of 16. Furthermore, it is economic suicide to drop out of high school. This means 2 things: 1. All kids under the age of 16 have to attend school whether they want to or not and 2. Setting a high school degree as a requirement for “profitable” economic participation means that some people will only go to school so that they can participate in the economy. With that being said, there are some students who may not value education per se, but know they need it to participate in an economic system requiring at least a high school diploma and stick it out. During the days of segregation, there were other options for people who did not value their education as the economy was composed of manufacturing jobs that paid decently without the educational requirements. However, I’m all for an educational system that benefits students and puts them in a position to make successful life decisions. I graduated from a 100% Black high school in rural Mississippi, where I saw some students who could care less about their educations, but there were also students that were very invested in their educations. Personally, I was one of those students who cared about my education, graduated, and went on to college. So, I don’t necessarily think that segregation is a bad thing; however, options are better than limitations. I think that that everything has unintended consequences and it would be wise to consider the unintended consequences of what you suggest. Also, I did have one question about the Africentric schools: Are they only composed of Black students? I couldn’t gather that from the article that your link sent me to. I think the goals of those schools are those that all schools should aspire to.

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      i agree with you that i may be romanticizing the past but let’s be honest school is required up until the age of 16 but there are still a good number of students who drop out before then and authorities in the position to fight truancy don’t care.

      also, in my ideal world i’m not saying that segregation would be 100% enforced but just like how there are HBCUs for college students who want that type of learning environment, i think the same options should be available in grade school and high school.

      Reply
  14. TeyAni (@TeyAni)

    This is an interesting post. I am in South Africa and the effects of apartheid on the quality of education black kids received and are still subjected to can be felt. I applaud the Canadian school, because black pride is something that we were robbed of during those years and it has only been 18 years of “freedom”.
    Black pride is something that can only be taught to black kids when they are alone, however the quality of facilities and other numerous factors that are lacking in black only schools make it impossible to embark on such programs. I really feel the black young mind is being neglected hence people making statements like we just hate and kill each other. I feel Government has a role to play but as the community and families- what are we doing to foster certain principles in our youth when they leave school and come home?

    My views are my own and i cannot speak on behalf of the entire country or all black people. I’ve really narrowed the facts to suit this conversation- there are factors which i have not raised which may contribute to what ive discussed above.

    Reply
  15. H

    Well. I’m really late commenting. A link on SBM lead me here, but I did want to comment. I will have to disagree with many of you all. Integration is not the problem. Those kids are so successful in Toronto and Chicago because they are basically raising the kids somewhat. These kids don’t underperform because the integrated school system fails to address differences between black kids and others. They underperform at integrated schools because these teachers at integrated schools aren’t going to take the time to raise other people’s kids and instill qualities and teach lessons that parents should be doing. Black parents need to look at themselves and their parenting skills. The educational gap is not just seen in inner city schools. It is seen also in black kids from middle class backgrounds. Also, children of African immigrants don’t have this problem. They outperform white and Asian kids I read somewhere.

    When you say that integrated schools are the problem, it sounds like you all are buying into the inferiority myth about black people. You think we have problems learning like others. But how is it that non-African American black people aren’t having this problem? These schools aren’t teaching Chinese people to have cultural pride either. For me, it is obvious that African Americans don’t value education. This devaluing of education is the reason for the educational gap. What are you doing with your kids when they come home from school? Asian parents are doing different things with their kids that help them shine in school. That is why their kids do better than African American kids. Have you heard of that Tiger mom? African American parents aren’t doing 1/10th of what she did. Some of the stuff was bad, but some of it was good. Are you making them read books instead of letting them watch hip hop videos? Did you tell them that it was mandatory to bring home all A’s since kindergarten? Do you make them do homework in the summer? Do you try to put them in educational summer camps?

    African American parents think it’s enough to send their kids to school and expect to get a genius. Other parents are more hands on. And for all the people talking about cultural pride, why the heck should a school teach you to have pride in your culture? Asian folks don’t seem to complain about this kind of stuff. You know why? Because pride in your culture and knowing your history are all things that other minorities seem to understand fall on the parents. It is YOUR responsibility to teach your kids about African American history and culture.

    The educational gap will go away when African American parents realize that they are slacking and decide to change what they are doing. Simple things like visiting the teacher, emailing the teacher, checking homework, demanding all As or punishment for bad grades would make a world of difference. Most African American kids are being rewarded by their parents for being mediocre.

    I think these schools are great for these kids in bad neighborhoods, but many of these schools would not be needed if parents were doing their job in the first place. I read about one of these schools having military influences. They do these things to teach discipline, but see that is something parents should be doing. Your kids should be disciplined when they come to school. Maybe you will have the occasional problem, but they still know the rules.

    So what is better and cheaper? Creating schools to raise your kids or telling African American parents to change their child rearing techniques?

    Sorry this was so long and late.

    Reply
    1. The Black Jane

      I agree. I also fault black people for dispersing when the gates of opportunity swung open and they could start trickling into white neighborhoods. I wish as a people, we would have chosen to keep our black elite connected to our black middle connected to our black poor.

      Reply
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