Closing The Race Gap

Closing The Race Gap
Problem: Teens Shun Academic Achievement

Wisconsin State Journal :: FORUM :: B1
Sunday, December 7, 2003
By Russell King

“Dad, if I show them how smart I am, they say I’m trying to be white.”
Those were the words of my teen-age son trying to explain why he was failing every class, despite having an IQ well above average.

You’ll note that he did not say he was being cheated, discouraged or oppressed by white teachers or white administrators. You’ll note that he did not say the system was stacked against him or that the system gave unfair advantages to white students. The “them” and “they” referred to his black male peers. My black son is failing because his peers will deny him both his identity and their friendship if he dares to succeed. We’re hearing a lot these days about the poor performance of black children in our schools and how racism, insensitivity and ignorance among white teachers and staff are to blame. I’m not saying these faults don’t exist, but as the father of two black and four white children, I am saying there is something more, something we don’t talk about because we don’t dare.

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