Posts Tagged ‘race’

Teaching in a majority black high school.

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

This essay has been around for a while but I saw it for the first time today. It is powerful but depressing. I wonder how applicable it is to the Chicago school system? I have a nephew who has a step daughter in a public school that is about half black. Her mother has to go to the school about once a week to complain about bullying. Catholic schools’ tuition is far higher than it was when I lived there.

Here it is.

A few excerpts: Until recently I taught at a predominantly black high school in a southeastern state.

The mainstream press gives a hint of what conditions are like in black schools, but only a hint. Expressions journalists use like “chaotic” or “poor learning environment” or “lack of discipline” do not capture what really happens. There is nothing like the day-to-day experience of teaching black children and that is what I will try to convey.

Most whites simply do not know what black people are like in large numbers, and the first encounter can be a shock.

One of the most immediately striking things about my students was that they were loud. They had little conception of ordinary decorum. It was not unusual for five blacks to be screaming at me at once. Instead of calming down and waiting for a lull in the din to make their point — something that occurs to even the dimmest white students — blacks just tried to yell over each other.

This must be an impossible place to try to teach. Are there any kids who want to learn?

Black women love to dance — in a way white people might call gyrating. So many black girls dance in the hall, in the classroom, on the chairs, next to the chairs, under the chairs, everywhere. Once I took a call on my cell phone and had to step outside of class. I was away about two minutes but when I got back the black girls had lined up at the front of the classroom and were convulsing to the delight of the boys.

Many black people, especially black women, are enormously fat. Some are so fat I had to arrange special seating to accommodate their bulk. I am not saying there are no fat white students — there are — but it is a matter of numbers and attitudes. Many black girls simply do not care that they are fat. There are plenty of white anorexics, but I have never met or heard of a black anorexic.

“Black women be big Mr. Jackson,” my students would explain.

“Is it okay in the black community to be a little overweight?” I ask. Two obese black girls in front of my desk begin to dance, “You know dem boys lak juicy fruit, Mr. Jackson.” “Juicy” is a colorful black expression for the buttocks.

The attitude toward learning is totally negative. That is “Acting white.”

“Once I needed to send a student to the office to deliver a message. I asked for volunteers, and suddenly you would think my classroom was a bastion of civic engagement. Thirty dark hands shot into the air. My students loved to leave the classroom and slack off, even if just for a few minutes, away from the eye of white authority. I picked a light-skinned boy to deliver the message. One very black student was indignant: “You pick da half-breed.” And immediately other blacks take up the cry, and half a dozen mouths are screaming, “He half-breed.”

I have been teaching medical students for about twelve years. About 1/3 to 1/2 are black, most of them are foreign born, either Africa or the West Indies. Most are more dark than the average American born black but some, as those from Ethiopia, may be quite light skinned. The foreign born blacks have a totally different attitude than the American blacks. Of course, with medical students, I am seeing the highest achievers.

Even so, I have met college students who are from Africa. One, I remember quite well, was attending Dartmouth in the mid-ninties. He worked the night shift in the dining hall, which was open 24 hours at the time. He could not understand white students who would come to the dining hall at 3 AM drunk. What were they doing at such a prestigious and rigorous college ?

I also examine recruits for the military in Los Angeles. I talk to these kids and about 1/4 are black. Hispanics seem to be about twice their share in recruits but both groups are highly motivated. Some of the blacks are foreign born and I have spent some time talking to them. They show none of the social pathology I see in this article but, of course, it would be hopeless for such kids to try to join the military even if they wanted to. One young man I talked to last month is 25 and has 17 half-siblings. He said he never wanted to see any of them again. He is drug free and trying to improve his life. He was raised mostly in foster care and, I suspect, was luckier than most in his situation to had that upbringing.

Most of the blacks I taught simply had no interest in academic subjects. I taught history, and students would often say they didn’t want to do an assignment or they didn’t like history because it was all about white people. Of course, this was “diversity” history, in which every cowboy’s black cook got a special page on how he contributed to winning the West, but black children still found it inadequate. So I would throw up my hands and assign them a project on a real, historical black person. My favorite was Marcus Garvey. They had never heard of him, and I would tell them to research him, but they never did. They didn’t care and they didn’t want to do any work.

Anyone who teaches blacks soon learns that they have a completely different view of government from whites. Once I decided to fill 25 minutes by having students write about one thing the government should do to improve America. I gave this question to three classes totaling about 100 students, approximately 80 of whom were black. My few white students came back with generally “conservative” ideas. “We need to cut off people who don’t work,” was the most common suggestion. Nearly every black gave a variation on the theme of “We need more government services.”

My students had only the vaguest notion of who pays for government services. For them, it was like a magical piggy bank that never goes empty. One black girl was exhorting the class on the need for more social services and I kept trying to explain that people, real live people, are taxed for the money to pay for those services. “Yeah, it come from whites,” she finally said. “They stingy anyway.”

Is there any hope for these people ?

My department head once asked all the teachers to get a response from all students to the following question: “Do you think it is okay to break the law if it will benefit you greatly?” By then, I had been teaching for a while and was not surprised by answers that left a young, liberal, white woman colleague aghast. “Yeah” was the favorite answer. As one student explained, “Get dat green.”

There is a level of conformity among blacks that whites would find hard to believe. They like one kind of music: rap. They will vote for one political party: Democrat. They dance one way, speak one way, are loud the same way, and fail their exams in the same way. Of course, there are exceptions but they are rare.

Whites are different. Some like country music, others heavy metal, some prefer pop, and still others, God forbid, enjoy rap music. They have different associations, groups, almost ideologies. There are jocks, nerds, preppies, and hunters. Blacks are all — well — black, and they are quick to let other blacks know when they deviate from the norm.

Reading this essay, and I recommend it, has made me a little more comfortable with the concept of amnesty for illegal aliens.

My black students had nothing but contempt for Hispanic immigrants. They would vent their feelings so crudely that our department strongly advised us never to talk about immigration in class in case the principal or some outsider might overhear.

Whites were “racis’,” of course, but they thought of us at least as Americans. Not the Mexicans. Blacks have a certain, not necessarily hostile understanding of white people. They know how whites act, and it is clear they believe whites are smart and are good at organizing things. At the same time, they probably suspect whites are just putting on an act when they talk about equality, as if it is all a sham that makes it easier for whites to control blacks. Blacks want a bigger piece of the American pie. I’m convinced that if it were up to them they would give whites a considerably smaller piece than whites get now, but they would give us something. They wouldn’t give Mexicans anything.

We live in interesting times.

The Race Card

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

There was a shooting in Florida this week that has now accumulated all the “usual suspects” for a racial extravaganza. The bare details are that a Florida neighborhood had had a high number of burglaries in the previous year. The neighbors had instituted a “neighborhood watch.” The watch member on duty saw a black tennager in a “hoodie” sweatshirt acting in a way that was suspicious in his opinion. He called 911. The 911 call was recorded but the record may not be clear. A new eyewitness has said that the shooting victim was attacking the shooter and was on top of him as the shooter called for help.

The usual suspects have all appeared, including Barack Obama, who seems to insert himself into every racial incident. Of course, Al Sharpton (MSNBC commentator) is heavily involved. Hopefully, the body count will not reach previous levels in Sharpton’s activities. Sharpton did manage to convince some suckers to pay his debts in the Tawana Brawley hoax I guess that means he can go back to New York for his MSNBC gig.

This may be the substitute for the failed contraception ploy the Democrats attempted. Maybe there really was a crime committed by an excited neighborhood watch member. If so, the magnitude would be voluntary manslaughter, hardly a reason for the attempted lynching now going on in Florida and Washington. It is ironic that the group, which suffered 100 years ago from lynching, now seems to promote it. I think the Republicans would do well to stay away from this case with the exception of the usual sympathy for the victim. It is getting ugly and the facts are far from established.

When privileged minorities govern

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

We are entering a strange time in this country. We have elected a black President who appointed a black Attorney General and who has now nominated a Supreme Court candidate who is of Puerto Rican heritage. One would think that this proves racism is gone and we can all advance to the future as allies. What is happening ? This essay says what I think, and I wonder how many others are starting to think about this.

Michelle Obama describes the fear that Sotomayor felt at Princeton — and its lasting effects to this day — and then compares it, of course, to Michelle’s own ambiguous feelings toward the same Princeton campus (cf. Michelle’s thesis for the details), that one is willing to put up with for the education and prestige it gave, but does not really like for the presence of apparently so many stuck-up, rich, preppy kids and their ubiquitous exclusive campus culture.

Sotomayor was a radical activist at Princeton, advocating Puerto Rican independence, among other causes. Puerto Rican independence gained 2% of the vote in elections in Puerto Rico. I think that makes it a fringe position.

The Princeton thesis was written at a time of heated political debate over Puerto Rico’s future. Beginning in 1974 and continuing for nearly a decade, the paramilitary group Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional, or FALN, carried out bombings in the U.S. to push for independence for the island.

Ms. Sotomayor described the inconclusive debate over Puerto Rico, even after a 1967 plebiscite in which 60% of voters agreed with Mr. Muñoz Marin in favoring commonwealth status.

She had never lived in Puerto Rico, of course, but that is typical of left wing radicals.

Many Americans were terrified about our first year in college. Some left farms for sophisticated urban environments and were lost; others were the first in their families to go to colleges, and so on. The Ivy League is by definition snobbish to all outside its traditional insular orbit, whether white, black, brown, country folk, foreigners, etc. But by predicating such common discomfort on their own race and gender, Ms. Obama and Judge Sotomayor deprecate a universal human experience, and instead claim it as something unique to identity politics.

Some of us left home at age 18, traveled 2500 miles and knew no one when we started college in a strange city with very little money, no car and very limited experience of the world. The Ivy League may be snobbish but it can’t have been much more snobbish than 1956 USC.

Once more we see the schizophrenia of affirmative action, diversity, and identify politics — the university is both obliged to select students on the basis, at least in part, of race, class, and gender, but then almost immediately faulted for a climate that, in the eye of the recipient, stigmatizes those to whom it gives unusual consideration (what is the answer? — no race/class/gender consideration at all?; constant race/class/gender consideration that begins at admission and continues through graduation?; damned if you do, damned if you don’t?).

Affirmative action has had very mixed results for many beneficiaries. The anger of the well fed and prosperous members of Reverend Wright’s church suggests that the recipients of such beneficence are not always grateful for the support. It seems to feed resentment. Now, those people seem to be in charge of the government.

And the remedy for feeling separate at elite colleges is apparently to reemphasize separatism based on identification with the tribe (e.g., Justice Sotomayor’s senior thesis, like that once written by Ms. Obama, is predicated on ethnic and racial grievance).

The irony of the demands for racially segregated dormitories never seems to occur to the new generation whose parents and grandparents fought segregation.

All this should disturb Democrats because it fuels a general and growing perception (cf. Sotomayor’s white-male references, Eric Holder’s “cowards” remark, the serial Obama apologies abroad, the confusion about America being an important Muslim nation, etc.) among the public that something very strange is going on — a sort of generic anger being expressed at the highest levels of government that seems fueled by long past resentments against a perceived establishment that at times apparently is to roughly characterized as white, or white male, or rich, or Christian, or something other than poor, of color, or of female?
One would have thought with the presidency, or nomination to the Supreme Court, or with the office of Attorney General, or First Lady, such hurt feelings and old grievances might wane; but instead the resentment seems to be ubiquious, and growing, and the lectures will be with us for the next four years in almost every imaginable circumstance. If the administration is not careful, millions of Americans are going to begin feeling that they are caricatured pretty much as those once were in rural Pennsylvania.

I even feel a bit of this in the gay marriage arguments. It is not enough to have all the old grievances corrected. They must move on to new grievances and keep pushing the majority until the good will is exhausted. It will be a long four years.

More about Sotomayor here.

In her thesis, Sotomayor punctuated her radical nationalism by referring to the United States Congress as the “North American Congress” or the “mainland Congress.” At least she didn’t call it the “running dog imperialist Congress.” As Princeton’s former president William Bowen says, she was always respectful.

Always respectful. Now that she is about become a member of the “North American Supreme Court.”

Liberal tolerance

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

As I was preparing to head east for my cruise, I read some accounts of the demonstrations at the Mormon temple in West Los Angeles. There was anger directed at the Mormon Church because it had contributed quite a lot of money to the Yes on 8 campaign. Apparently, Mormons are not the only ones gays are angry with.

It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. YOU NIGGER, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a FAGGOT, I will call you a nigger. Someone else said same thing to me on the next block near the temple…me and my friend were walking, he is also gay but Korean, and a young WeHo clone said after last night the niggers better not come to West Hollywood if they knew what was BEST for them.

This was directed at a gay black guy walking with “No on 8” buttons with his Korean boy friend.

Al Rantel is a gay conservative talk show host in LA. Periodically, he gets an angry letter from a left winger complaining about something he said on his show and the number of anti-gay comments (like calling him a “faggot”) are amusing. He reads the best of them on the air.

Of course, Hispanics also supported the gay marriage ban but I don’t see as much mention of them. The rest of us are coming in for our share of the “blame.”

There are so many other groups in the exit polling that voted for Prop 8 overwhelmingly (as in, more than 60%):

The elderly (65+)
People who decided for whom to vote in October (but not within the week before the election)
People who were contacted by the McCain campaign
White Protestants
Those who attend church weekly
Married people
People with children under 18
Gun owners
Bush voters
Offshore drilling supporters
People who are afraid of a terrorist attack
People who thought their family finances were better now than 4 years ago
Supporters of the war against Iraq
People who didn’t care about the age of the candidates
People who are from the “Inland/Valley” region of California
McCain voters

Let’s see. How many apply to me ?

Anyway, it’s a nice lesson in the tolerance found in those of the left. Sort of like the nasty joke President-elect Obama made about Nancy Reagan at his first press conference.

Oh well, it’s early yet.

An election decided by issues

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

There have been allegations that many Obama supporters are voting for him just because he is black. To study this question, Howard Stern sent out staff members to do man-in-the-street interviews. Listen to this and they should settle the question.

They agree that Obama supports the war in Iraq, opposes stem cell research and chose Sarah Palin for his VP.

No problem. On the issues, they are with him.

Obama and the dollar bill speech

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

UPDATE #2: The polls are showing bad news for Obama.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of the nation’s voters say they’ve seen news coverage of the McCain campaign commercial that includes images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and suggests that Barack Obama is a celebrity just like them. Of those, just 22% say the ad was racist while 63% say it was not.

However, Obama’s comment that his Republican opponent will try to scare people because Obama does not look like all the other presidents on dollar bills was seen as racist by 53%. Thirty-eight percent (38%) disagree.

McCain’s viral marketing is working.

UPDATE: Those shadows on Obama’s front porch are vultures that flew over from the primary. They are home to roost for a while.

Matt Lauer interviews both campaign managers and Axelrod essentially concedes the racial meaning of the “dollar bill” comment.

[W]hat it means, what he was saying – and he does this in a self mocking way – look, I know I’m not from central casting when it comes to presidents of the United States. I’m new, I’m relatively young, I haven’t spent my life in Washington. And yes, I’m African-American – and that’s going to be some fodder.

The president on the dollar bill, Washington, never spent a day in Washington, DC and he had never held elective office. Andrew Jackson, on the $20 bill was also a general and never spent a day in Washington until he was elected. Abraham Lincoln had been a Congressman for one term and Thomas Jefferson, while he had been governor of Virginia, had not served in Washington. Benjamin Franklin, who had never been president, is on the $100 bill but, again, the capital was in Philadelphia and New York while Franklin spent most of his time in Europe as ambassador. There is just no other interpretation of Obama’s remark except that McCain was referring to his race. Axelrod concedes this. Even the Los Angeles Times admits the fact that the remark was about his race and that Obama accuses McCain of attacking him because of his race.

Obama has since called the race charge “a typical pattern” of the GOP campaign.

But now Obama’s chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod, admits his candidate was referring in part to his race when he suggested the McCain campaign wants voters to fear Obama because he doesn’t look like other presidents.

Shelby Steele, who is biracial like Obama, has written books about the dilemma of young men who are black but have white mothers. Obama has chosen, by his choice of the church he attended and other choices, to seek his black identity. He has called his grandmother, who raised him in his teens, “a typical white person.” On the other hand, he is trying to attain the highest office in American politics, which requires a majority of votes from whites. Steele has described two tactics used by black strivers to deal with the majority white society. He calls one of them “bargainers,” those who present a nonthreatening face and seek approval from whites. Oprah Winfrey is Steele’s example. David Ehrenstein called Obama, “The Magic Negro” as a way of describing the same persona of a black man who seeks white approval and does not mention the anger and alienation that is felt by other blacks and which he, himself, may feel but conceals.

The other tactic described by Steele is the “challenger” who does show anger and demands concessions from whites to assuage his anger and their guilt for past oppression of blacks. Two examples he gives are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Jackson once tried to run for president but challengers are not going to get any votes from the vast majority of whites who, while aware of past injustices, feel no responsibility for them and who themselves are free of racial bias.

If Obama, under the pressure of the campaign and frustrated at his failure to achieve the high poll numbers he is convinced that he deserves, slips into the challenger role, he will fall quickly from grace. The votes from blacks and guilty whites are not enough to carry more than a couple of big cities. This may have been the first slip. The tactic worked against the Clintons in the primary but Democratic primary voters are far from the American mainstream.

H/T to Powerline and Politico.