The Failure of Education: The Social Reproduction of Racism and Black Males

What? Wait, I thought I just saw something. Yes, someone was there! There it goes again…another one just disappeared. Where? No it is not an aberration? Are you kidding me…right there? Did you see it that time? Am I going crazy? No. On the contrary, I am quite sane. Even though my mother continues to follow this conclusion, only after witnessing my attempt as a child to place my tongue into an electrical socket as a child, my faculties have yet to escape into the void of emptiness and paranoia. They truly are disappearing, you know? The problem is not with me, but with your eyes. Or rather what you chose to avoid. At times, many of you do not care to venture into what I see. Many of you find their disappearance irrelevant. You say, “How do I know?” Well, even though whispers are present within small circles, in general I see the absence of it presence within your so-called intellectually constructed confines you call “the academy.” I notice your care for the topic within your incomplete descriptive statistical reports relating to educational attainment. I do not see the subject in print within presentation and roundtable discussions which take place inside your large educational and sociological conferences that cater to the intellectual highbrow. In fact, I do not see largely publicized proactive stances within the confines of the government and or public and post-secondary education. Where is the alarm? Sound the alarm . . . . sound the alarm!

Many Americans, particularly people of color, have joined in the celebration of this momentous occasion and expressed an opinion that Obama’s election ushered in a colorblind era. To them, this occasion symbolized for all that the historic caste system which hindered the progress of Blacks since the beginning of our nation has come to an end. On the day of Mr. Obama’s inauguration, I had the pleasure of walking down the hallways of a few public elementary schools and bore witness to the cheers, smiles, hugs, and celebration of many educators who could have not imagined a couple of years earlier they would have the honor to watch on school televisions and news websites the swearing in of our first Black U.S. president. “If Barrack can do it, you have no excuse not to,” was avowed to little Black faces in creepy harmony across the spectrum of a particular ED classroom that was populated with all Black males, except for one White male. In truth, that celebration across the country and sentiments of a colorblind era are nothing but distractions that serve as a curtain to hide underlying racial realities affecting Blacks, particularly those within the lower SES brackets. Through a critical analysis, gains witnessed by many are in fact gains and breakthroughs that primarily benefit middle and upper class Blacks. The racial caste system rooted in society since the founding of America is still in full operation. As a consequence, those at the bottom of the tiered system have continuously been prone to sophisticated measures of extreme supremacy and chastisement within the U.S. The consequential effects of targeting and all around affront toward Black males can be decisively identified through a multifaceted examination of the current state of Black males within this country.

Why? The 21st century condition of Black males is not comparable to any other group within the United States. Nowhere is this more strongly seen than in their educational experiences.

The state of Black males in education is dismal. The Chronicle of Higher Education stated within their Almanac of Higher Education 2012 issue, out of Bachelor’s (164,844), Master’s (76,458), and doctoral degrees (10,417) awarded to Blacks, Black males respectively earned 34.1%, 28.9%, and 34.8 respectively. Black females respectively earned 65.9%, 71.1%, and 65.2%. Today in terms of population, Black females outnumber their male counterparts as well. This does not improve within the domains of public education.

Public schools throughout Florida, New York, and Georgia, that Black males were twice as likely not to graduate with their 2005 and 2006 class cohorts than their other classmates (pdf here). Did you know that Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, South Carolina, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Georgia graduate fewer Black males than any other states? Distinctively my home state of Illinois can take credit, along with Wisconsin, for having close to a 40% gap between White and Black male graduation rates. Likewise, the bleak states of Nevada, Wyoming, Ohio, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Indiana graduate less than 50% of their Black male students from public schools. Sadly, the rare states that graduate Black males at a 70% rate are only Arizona, North Dakota, New Jersey, Vermont, and Maine.

The Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) in 2007 stated that Black males suffered from the largest achievement gap in comparison to any other racial/ethnic group in the U.S. The National Center for Education Statistics in 2007 reported that the rate of Black females receiving a college and university degrees was approximately two times that of Black males. Some reports have gone so far as to note the current academic gap between students of color (Black and Hispanic/Latino) and White students is primarily due to “socioeconomic factors.” Simply put, they dispute racial disparities between Blacks and non-Blacks. Neutralizing the discussion of race has seemingly emerged as one approach to address the achievement gap between Black and White students. Nonetheless, studies and findings in the area of mathematics have proven to dispute this claim and yield no better result. As a case in point, in 2009, Black males in large urban settings who were classified eligible for free and reduced lunch due to low SES, academically performed 20 points lower than comparable White males. White males not receiving free and reduced lunches averaged 11 points higher than Black male classmates who were ineligible. The data indicate that regardless of socioeconomics, racial disparity exists within a vast number of academic areas. Further, Blacks from affluent suburban areas have been shown to suffer from the same concerns as poor urban students.

Why? Overall I feel that a large percentage of governmental and institutional policies and programs enacted today are essentially continuing a legacy of control. This in fact is a legacy many deny even when confronted with surmounting evidence that affirms otherwise. But then again, why admit transgressions when the effort to continue the heritage of oppression endured by people of color subsequently benefits them—the elite proprietors of money, power, and resources within this country. Within this setting they continue to hold the reins of supremacy over the marginalized and less fortunate. Their influence and direction set the rhythm for those on the outside of their inner circle to dance to. They determine who is worthy of their attention and admiration and those who are to be ignored and detested. They determine those who should be considered safe and those who should be seen as dangerous. They have the power to influence the minds of those here and abroad. This is simply a dangerous game of thrones people of color have never seemed to master. Within every game there exists a potential wild card that has the capability to alter the dynamics of a game. A wild card is to be watched by the leaders of the game. All their efforts must be focused to discourage this improbable player from moving from behind to overcome and leader and as a result win. Within this country, Black and Latino males are the impeding wild card.

Within this malevolence operation, Black males are particularly at risk of being exposed to noteworthy doses of oppressive measures that are in general experienced by women or other ethnic groups. Oppressive systems and people who operate on the grounds of the systemic social reproduction of racism as Albert Memmi stated, “want distinctions and advantages to be given by birth to those who simply declare themselves by self-decree to be best.” Today as witnessed within the past, the systems within the U.S. were simply created by our country’s forefathers to give advantage to some, but not all. The effects of the seeds and thus vines of oppression that have encased the internal and external surfaces of the U.S. continue to render the minds, hearts, and actions of the world. The world has blindly come to be served the toxic proverbial “Kool-Aid,” and consequently continue the undertaking of condemning, demonizing, and psychologically and physically antagonizing Black males.

The character Captain, in the 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke, famously said, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate. But I feel that the message that is being sent is quite clear and present. The conversation pertaining to the social and academic well-being of Black males is not only missing, but also insignificant.

Comments

  1. NDiv

    Not a satisfying discussion at all. Why have Asians, who played no part in the foundation of the US and also suffered discrimination, performed better than whites since the 1960s? If the disparity in performance comes down to a seed laid somewhere deep in institutions founded by whites, why do Asians win from it?

    As uncomfortable as it is, you have to accept that all disparities and differences are not simply due to discrimination or power differences. Culture and upbringing makes a difference as well. In that sense, the legacy of oppression against blacks is ongoing, because they were denied educational opportunities for so long it has been ingrained to not make dead end investments. The solution to that is not a question of funding, it’s got to be systematic and wide ranging. Required school attendance like in Brazil (where parents social funding is dependent on their Children’s school attendance) longer school days and a longer school year.

    • Dr. Terence Fitzgerald Author

      Actually, your analysis of Asians is incorrect. For instance, it has been argued that the perception and subsequent myth of Asian/Pacific Islander students as the “Model Minority” is simply that—a myth. Asians have been painted with one color upon the American canvas. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. represent 17.3 and 1.2 million respectively. The group typifies a huge number of different cultures, mores, languages, and outlooks on the world. Examples can be seen within groups such as Indonesians, Iwo Jiman, Japanese, Chinese, Lao, Maldivian, Native Hawaiians, Thai, Malaysian, Samoan, Palauan, Korean, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Tibetan, Okinawan, Pakistani, Burmese, Filipino, and Guamanian. This list is by no means exhausted. Nevertheless, the array of these peoples have been placed under the umbrella of a false “minority myth” that has been present in the U.S. since the late 1960s. Research has recently exposed how their achievement and experiences in public and higher education have been over-generalized. Do Asians as a whole outperform Whites as previously believed due to the “one-story” perspective? In reality, White student in regard to reading achievement scores in public schools, have actually outperformed groups such as Filipino Americans, Vietnamese Americans, and 7 other Asian American and Pacific Island American factions. Once data has disaggregated into separate Asian and Pacific Islander groups, it is evident that in terms of math computation scores, different groups such as Samoan American, Hawaiian, Guamanian American, and other Asian and Pacific Islander groups underperformed in relations to Whites.

      In addtion, it is irrational to connect the Asian and Black experience. They are distinctly different. Simply, one was brought by force and treated as property while the other came here freely.

      • I’d also add the idea that the black community doesn’t hold education in high enough esteem is also a myth, and one that has been debunked and which I find particularly maddening. First off, where did all these HBCUs come from if blacks don’t value education? And what about Brown v Board of Ed? It wasn’t as though white Americans were clamoring to go to black schools. So what was the point if we don’t value education?

        Secondly, and more to your point Dr. Fitzgerald, a teacher who thinks his/her students don’t appreciate what she’s doing is likely to put forth his/her best efforts in educating and training young black minds.

        And another stat you can add to your list is the disparity in occurrence and severity of school punishments. Children of color are more likely to be punished more often and more severely even though all children equally misbehave.

      • cordoba blue

        I think the main point that NDiv is trying to make is that all disparities and differences are not simply due to discrimination or power differences. There are still choices that each individual family makes regarding their children that will affect the students’ lives for the next 80 years.
        For example,if parents place their children in front of the television 24-7 instead of creating a blend of some television and some reading time, that child will not perform as well as the parent who insists that their children read (even for 15 minutes) every day. This is a topic I am familiar with because I’m a tutor.
        Parents ask me all the time, “How can I help my student get into college?” And they are talking about second graders! And I always tell them the same thing: put aside a half hour of each day for reading time. Let them read books they enjoy, not something you picked out. But make the reading a daily habit. Because by doing school work alone, minus reading on their own, children will graduate from high school, but will not be eligible for college.
        College is for Above Average students, not ones who just get by with doing classwork. Reading expands vocabulary, encourages higher level thinking skills, expands knowledge of the way the whole world works because even fiction books contain tons of factual information about history, geography, politics, science etc. I can always differentiate between students who are avid readers and students who just read what’s required in school.
        The point is, and I apologize for the long example, that home environment is a tremendous source of strength for children. Without a home environment, whether the child is Cambodian, Pacific Islander, Samoan American, or African American, that encourages and supports the Habits of College Bound students, those kids are doomed to drop out of high school or just barely graduate. But they’ll never be professional people with jobs that require a college education such as doctors, attorneys, engineers, architects, teachers etc.
        Thus, the point is not everything is up to the state to remedy. You do have choices. In America you can create any home environment you want. You can indeed place your child in front of the “mindless television box” OR you have the choice of replacing television time (at least some of it) with reading from whatever source.
        The state can do just so much to help children. And I agree there is racism against especially African American children within the school system. Teachers have a tendency to not expect much from lower SES African American kids. This results in a tragic self-fulfilling prophecy. But this can be overcome within a family unit. No teacher is going to place ANY student who is, for example, reading 2 grade levels about his current grade, in a remedial class. No matter what the ethnic group or income of the parents.No teacher is going to put a student who scores A’s and B’s on math tests in a remedial math class.
        That’s not to say he won’t encounter racism as he ages. But it sure beats the pipeline of high school drop-out to petty crime to serious crime. I’d rather live in a $300,000 house and my neigbors make racist remarks about me behind my back, than in a 9×5 jail cell while the prison guards make racist remarks behind my back.
        I personally have never seen a truly ambitious black student be ignored or placed in lower level classes by a teacher. There’s no percentage in teachers doing this. Why would they want African American kids to fail? It’s a poor reflection on the teacher’s abilities, right? Teachers like success. It makes them feel good.The principles like them. The parents love them.
        Again, there is some institutionalized racism at work within our school system. One big bias white teachers have is when they have to work with children who speak Black English. They aren’t doing their jobs as teachers if they allow kids to say, “There go Bill” instead of “There goes Bill”. Many black children enter school with a strong black dialect that impedes language arts progress right from the beginning. Teachers have to work twice as hard with some black children to ease them into writing and speaking Standard American English. Some people think not accepting the black vernacular is in itself racist. But the SAT’s are written in SAE. College textbooks are written in SAE. Sometimes the individual does have to change some habit to succeed in whatever situation he is in. This is not racism. It’s managing a country of 400 million so we can all understand each other efficiently.
        By the way, I know some Asian students who are actually quite lazy. Their parents try to persuade them to apply themselves to no avail. Not all Asians are serious about education. Quite a few are though, because in Asia there aren’t as many universities or colleges as there are in the west, so getting into college and thus being a professional is very competitive. If you don’t exert yourself (and the competition is terrible I’ve been told by Asian parents) your child ends up working in a factory for the rest of his life. End of story.
        They don’t have community colleges where if you “goof up” in high school you can have a fresh start and then graduate to a 4 year college. Americans actually have more access to reasonably priced education than any other country in the world.
        Bottom line is if you want a college education you can get one. But you have to work for it. You have to sacrifice “play time” for study time and it gets lonely and tiresome for the most dedicated student.
        In summation, schools do reward high achievers no matter what their color. But they can’t be expected to motivate students all by themselves. Without parental support, children do have a tendency to fall between the cracks.It’s not easy for the parents to “nag” but if you just leave it up to the state (in any country) the state won’t come through because it’s not their child, their baby, their emotional invested interest that’s at stake. Even under the best of circumstances, the state can never replace parental guidance and concern.

        • Dr. Terence Fitzgerald Author

          I understood what his point was, but at the same time his analysis was incorrect in regard to the issue of Asian Americans. Yes, you both have a point that families do play a large part in the academic and social well-being of their children. In regard to your issue of states and their responsibilities, it is important to know that a large number of state constitutions have amendments that declare their responsibility to educate all children. The achievement data, in general, illustrates many are in derelict of their duties and should be held accountable. When districts are disproportionately funded and racially segregated and isolated, states have a fundamental responsibility to uphold the fidelity of their constitution and intervene. No one is asking states or school districts to take the place of parents. Many are simply asking them to do what they are responsible for doing. That is educating all children to the best of their abilities on an equal plane.

          One should also be careful when applying a general functionalist perspective. It is important to not forget the eroding that has taken place upon marginalized populations due to the historical oppressive policies, laws, and procedures. Racism and the current modes of operation that express racialized messages of days long gone are present, but within covert manners. Do I take parents off “the hook” for their at times lack of proper supervision and tutelage in terms of their child’s experiences in school? No. But I am conscious enough to realize very little has changed within the manner students of color are perceived and treated within public and post secondary settings. Why should it? In some parts of the country, the end of legal segregation did not take place until the late 1970s and early 1980s. Therefore to believe that an institution that was founded on benefiting elite White males is cleansed of its oppressive roots in the past 30 to 40 years is misleading. The roots still live and effect students of color.

          • cordoba blue

            Hello Dr Fitzgerald,
            Thanks for responding. I just want to add, regarding segregating schooling, what I heard on National Public Radio yesterday.In the city where I live in North Carolina, the schools have re-segregated. This happened 10 years ago. Previously black and white children were bussed to various parts of the city to create half-black and half-white (approx) classrooms.During desegregation the gap between black and white student achievement scores started to close.
            Then during the segregation period (which we’re in now) black children made more individual progress in competition with themselves. What I mean is if you were reading on the 4th grade level, then entered a black school, in a relatively shorter amount of time than previously, you were reading on a 5th grade level. The data, according to NPR was that in all-black schools the role models for the kids were black teachers and principles. This was a factor in encouraging black children to exert themselves. In a mixed setting, the black kids didn’t identify with the white teachers.
            That said, the gap between white and black achievement scores has actually Widened since the newly installed segregation. In other words, on an individual basis the black children make faster progress in an all-black school. But not as fast as the white kids in an all-white school. So the gap is back, basically.
            Also, during the de-seg period, there were many black teachers in classrooms. Not all the teachers were white. But in re-seg the entire faculty is black. So I don’t know what to conclude. Obviously black children feel more comfortable with black teachers, and perhaps classrooms with black peers,,again not sure.
            Logic says though that if any color child is taught in the same classroom with other ethnic groups, their performances will tend to coincide because :same teacher, same facility, same textbooks, same lesson plans. If the output is The Same from the teaching end, the results from the student end tend to be similar. I’m just speculating.

  2. Correct if I’m wrong, Dr. Fitzgerald, but there’re more white women graduating from college and grad school than white men, yes? And more white women in the general population than white men as well?

    The distance between black female and male graduation rates is probably twice that, or more, of the distance between white graduation rates. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that.

    I just want to remind you that black men are not in this alone. You and we black women rise and fall together. We’re your mothers and sisters, daughters and wives, and on occasion, baby’s mamas. And despite the drop-out rate and low college graduation rate, you still earn more than we do.

    This is not to say we suffer more from society. Nor is it to say you should expand your focus to include black girls and women. It’s just that when I hear statistics comparing black men and women’s experience . . . I get a little troubled.

    It could very well be that the white male elite very black men as more of a threat than black women. It could be that the white elite understands intuitively that oppressing half the community oppresses the whole community. Sure. I see that. I just remind you that black men are not in this alone.

    • Dr. Terence Fitzgerald Author

      You are correct in your first question. The attainment and graduation rate of all women have increased while their male counterparts have decreased. More White males are dropping out of high school than White females. When accounting for numbers, the trend still shows that white women are increasingly attending college and graduating than White males. Therefore, one can not simply chalk it up to a population increase.

      Also, you are correct, I feel that Black males are have historically been seen as more of a threat then Black women. This is evident in many illustrations throughout history.
      In terms of your troubling sentiment, I become troubled too. But for different reasons. Within my upcoming book on Black males where I interviewed a diverse segment of Black males that are educated, drop outs, convicted of felons, young, and old, they noted that society has always seemed to deny their voice and issues of concern. They noted even Black women have the ability to deny their stories. I understand that we as Blacks are a unified group, but that does not mean one can not discuss the differences that exists. By taking a part numbers, one is able to determine the proper intervention. The time of blindly applying solutions to a population with different needs and confront, at times, different obstacles are over. Not doing so will increasingly effect the social dynamics of the Black family. We can no longer allow a “one story” perspective in regard to our racial group. It is not a question of being alone, but getting to the root of the education and social dynamics that are effecting what we see within the field of education.

      • Seattle in Texas

        ahhh, only to accent the discussion here, as a grandmother of a Black grandson and Latino grandchildren–concerns extending to their cousins and all children of color for that matter (larger social issues), while not being neither Black or Latino and having different family and ancestry, my/our own more localized concerns for raising the children are qualitatively different by gender though with a collective concern for all. My grandchildren are largely being raised within the Black and Mexican/Chicano communities and minimized exposure to white society, etc. As a family and between families, there is no going into “whose the most oppressed” not only between the genders within the Black children/families, but between Black and Mexican/Chicano families also. Within and between both, however, there is a definite recognition of the qualitative differences by gender/sex and preparing them for life in the larger society within those contexts based on gender…. It’s a collective issue with qualitative differences that result in different firsthand experiences and consequences by gender/sex–qualitative differences that need to be recognized and understood as such, that affect all in the groups indeed making it collective issues…at least from this standpoint.

      • Yes, we have to discuss the differences.

        Here’s the thing. When I was in middle and high school, the male leaders at my church (which I have since left) would complain that white male managers and execs would hire black women over black men because they wanted to hold black men down. They provided no context. They didn’t mention that black women were obtaining more college and graduate degrees. Only as an afterthought did they acknowledged the possibility of that employers were killing two affirmative action birds with one stone in hiring black women. This new male leadership was, and still is, misogynist. So it was definitely implied that black women are in cahoots with white male elites in keeping black men down. As though we advance ourselves at the expense of black men, and willfully so. Especially since you don’t need a PhD to “stay home and make babies.” The only point to a black woman’s educating herself was the shaming of her men-folk, particularly her husband. So the message was definitely that black women were willingly participating in black men’s oppression. And I didn’t even get to false charges of spousal abuse.

        Of course, not all black men feel that way. Not even all the men at that church. And I’m definitely not trying to say you feel that way. Because of that experience, however, when I read someone comparing black male attainment to black female attainment, the first question that pops in my head is, “What do you want black women to do? Not go to college or grad school?” When I read a stat like that, I get this skeptical feeling that’s difficult to shake.

        It took me some time to come to understand black men’s position in society. I can’t deny that we black women do have the ability to deny your stories. But you have to understand why. First of all, we have to face (sexualized)-racism, (racialized)-sexism from society. Black women are at the bottom of the income totem pole, including earning less than black men. We have the highest rates of death in childbirth and infant mortality. We fill up women’s prisons. That’s from society at large. Then, in our homes and neighborhoods, it’s black men who abuse us physically and sexually. We have the highest rates of new HIV infections. We have the highest rates of out-of-wedlock births, primarily having black men’s children!

        This is not to say that from society at large, black men don’t have it worst than anybody. This is just to try to put things in perspective. As unhelpful as it is to deny black men’s stories, you have to admit black men make it all too easy. You do rape us, beat us, abandon us. Then, when you “arrive,” you do marry white women. Black men have bought into dominant ideas of masculinity and patriarchy to both your detriment and ours.

        So let’s just keep things in perspective. We can’t not continue to educate ourselves in the interests of improving the ratio of college degrees you reference. But black men can wear condoms.

        And before some passer-by gets the wrong idea and feels compelled to join in some good old fashion lynching, let’s set the record straight. It’s not black women who’re enacting “stop and frisk.” The majority of teachers and principals who disproportionately suspend and expel black males are white. The legislatures who enact laws the lead to underfunded schools in black neighborhoods are white. The legislatures who enact laws that disenfranchise felons even after their release from prison are white. The criminal justice system that leads to a disproportionate number of black felons is white. Not only is their an achievement gap between black and white America, there’s an opportunity gap. So don’t try to jump in this January-February conversation. Just March right on by.

        With that out the way, I just wanna be clear. Black women aren’t against black men. We’re not. Some of us deny your stories, yes. Sorry. But, we’re not going to come up as a people if we’re contesting each other. Let’s get to the root of things, yes. Comparing black women’s outcomes to black men’s outcomes, especially without some disclaimer or context, it’s not going to get us there.

        Lastly, Dr. Fitzgerald, I probably should apologize for afflicting you with the residuals of previous wounds. I dare not suggest you’re misogynist, and it’s not your fault the 4th paragraph in your essay strikes me that way. If it’s not too much trouble, I suppose I just need some reassurance. Though, again, it’s not your fault I have this skepticism and I apologize for the added trouble.

        • Dr. Terence Fitzgerald Author

          You owe me no apology. I do not understand, but empathize (the only thing I can totally od since I do not live within your shoes) with the plight of Black women. Just know, that when one compares, it is not simply saying that those with advantage are evildoers keeping others down. It is just a way to show that a trend is occuring and that evokes questions to be asked. Next, no one has the gold medal on oppression. Understand each others sperate experiences is actually good. If it were not, Black feminist perspectives and programs would be irrelevant. They deserve a space to operate. In fact this specific study does not include discussion related to Black males. It focuses on the Back female experiences. This is important. So I think yo should ask yourself why is this ok, but the discussion of Black male experiences is not. Finally, we all have been effected by the hands of oppression. It has caused many of us to turn upon each other. We need to remember that the lastinng effects go beyond race.

          • Good deal! I’ll keep that in mind for all the stats I read and share from here on.

            So okay.

            Why they didn’t study black boys, I can’t say. I can only venture the same guess you did, that black boys just don’t matter. Which is really sad if for no other reason than figuring out what’s going on with black boys can help educators understand what’s going on with all their students. Like a puzzle – each additional piece brings understanding of the entire picture.

            I actually let the family off the hook. Primarily because it’s just not true that black folks don’t care about education. Black parents don’t care about their children’s education only to such extent as the sun rises in the west and sets in the east. Secondly, the families of students and their SES represent variables in the equation. The constants are the educators and school administrators.

            The best example I can give as to what I’m trying to get at is actually two separate incidents that happened within days of each other a few years ago. Two 7-9 year-old boys in two different parts of the country, one boy white, the other boy black, both take their family car joyriding. Even though no charges were filed, police still kept the black boy’s name for their records. You know, to keep an eye on him. As far as the white kid? His punishment involved going to church because, after all, he was still a “good boy.”

            Thanks, Dr. Fitzgerald for me informed and enlightened!

  3. cordoba blue

    In regard to black men, the above commentator wrote:

    “As unhelpful as it is to deny black men’s stories, you have to admit black men make it all too easy. You do rape us, beat us, abandon us. Then, when you “arrive,” you do marry white women. Black men have bought into dominant ideas of masculinity and patriarchy.”
    “Then, in our homes and neighborhoods, it’s black men who abuse us physically and sexually to both your detriment and ours.”
    Doesn’t this sound like divide and conquer? Why has this commentator suddenly accused black men of physical, sexual and emotional abuse of black women? And does Dr Fitzgerald think this information is accurate?
    White men have abused black women for centuries. But white men are not the reason black women today are abused by black men. Or are they? Is a case being made against WHITE men if black men abuse black women? Are black men just buying into the “dominant ideas of masculinity and patriarchy?” So it’s the white man’s fault that black men rape and abandon black women?
    I don’t know if this is demonizing black men or what…since very few black women have done this on this site. The usual response to divide and conquer is “We got your back like black”. In other words, we black women won’t sell you out to the white man EVEN if you abuse us.
    Now I am hearing some derogatory comments about black men, but what’s the catch? Is this because the white racial frame is responsible for black men abusing black women? Or should black men be held accountable for just adding to the burden a white supremacist society places on black women?
    Again, isn’t the purpose of this site to bolster the position of black men in this white-dominated society? If so, why are commentators painting black men as the scourge of black women? If black men are as irresponsible and disloyal to their own black community, as this suggests, then doesn’t this contribute to the “dismal state of black men in education”? If black men disrespect women, how can they be expected to respect themselves? Self-respect is a prerequisite to even trying to advance yourself academically. Or is it?
    What does Dr. Fitzgerald think about these observations regarding black men disrespecting black women? Do you see this as accurate, or is it just one commentator’s observations, an outlier viewpoint? Or do black men disrespect black women because white men disrepect black woman? What’s being said here?

  4. Dr. Terence Fitzgerald Author

    The majority of comments made are interesting, but I feel the point I made cordoba blue were lost in previous responses. First, my intent of comparing male and female graduation rates and etc. was not to imply females should not perform well. My point of comparing the two was first to indicate a shift has occurred. Instead of both groups rising, we see a decline in a category so many people are unwilling to discuss. It is easy for policy makers and educators to state Black attainment is on the rise. It is much different for many of them to state Black males are on the decline. Why? We as a society downplay a majority of male issues. The fact that in education, boys, mostly Black and Latino, are being judged unduly harshly in terms of academics, discipline, and special education is an area few want to address. I feel in order to increase the prevalence of democratic social justice in education, we must attempt to help those at the bottom in order to make gains. The field of education is truly lacking within moving in this direction. But again, how can we help if we do not point out the disparities through the act of comparisons? It is always funny to me that it is socially acceptable for women to point out income disparities, housing, and etc., but when a male does the same for men, it is frowned upon. I agree both are needed to approach the issue of equality and social justice.

    In terms of Black male abuse, this is not an issue I study. But I feel it can be argued that the incidences of abuse that occur happen due to males in general following suit with notions of power. In addition, many who do not act in a physical manner toward women, but follow the lines of disrespect and etc. drink from the waters of mass perceptions. The manner the media and etc. have depicted women has def. had a historical impact on male to female interactions. In terms of race, I sense it is a tool of dominance that is used to divide the groups. Division does not yield power and direction. In addition, the lack of proper tutelage from the home has compounded the issue.

  5. cordoba blue

    Dr. Fitzgerald, Thank you for responding. First of all I agree that division does not yield power and direction. But who is doing the dividing? I have said this before on this site and statistically it is accurate. The point is that it has become the norm for black males to have children out of wedlock and then move on. In the 60’s and 70’s and 80’s this was not the case. What happened?
    This abandonment leaves children in the care of matriarchal families. That, in turn, means that black males lack role models. There is no father. There is only a mother, aunt or grandmother. In the past 10 years black teenage girls are having children out of wedlock more than any other racial/ethnic group combined in America. Why?
    When I, in a previous post, suggested these children need birth control education and to take their sexual activities (which I consider normal behavior for all teens by the way-no judgment about this) I was told I was promoting a “black holocaust”? Birth control is promoted by all world health organizations including WHO (stands for World Health Organization) in all countries because it can assuage STD’s and allow people to engage in sexual activities without having children they cannot financially support.
    Anyway, I believe the break-up of the nuclear African American family is a tragedy that can account for much social regression in many black communities.This familial unity and strength (not division) cannot be remedied by the white liberal left. It must come from a desire within the black community to redefine their ultimate goals for the future.

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