Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Race in Shaker Heights

Another fresh article in the Cleveland Pain Dealer that purports to seriously deal with race, but actually does no such thing, from here:
Since September, several parents at Shaker Heights High School have come together on the last Wednesday evening of each month to talk about race.
A year ago, Lisa Howell and Beth Robenalt spotted each other after a meeting of the Parent Teacher Organization committee that helps foster relationships among adults of different backgrounds.

Howell, a black assistant principal at the high school, was carrying a copy of the book "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race."
A book, eh? How about the book whose name shall not be spoken when it comes to education in Shaker Heights - Black American Students in an Affluent Suburb: A Study of Academic Disengagement. This book is the result of a ground breaking research project that compared white and black student performance given that the same school, teachers, income, etc. is the same. The result? Thomas Sowell explains:

It is a study of the racial gap in students' school performances in Shaker Heights, an affluent suburb of Cleveland. Whether measured by grades, test scores, or the quality of courses taken, black students lagged consistently behind white students. Why? Black teachers, white teachers, black students and white students all give essentially the same answer: Black students simply do not work as hard.

None of this should be a surprise to anyone who has taught black students, especially if they have also taught white students and Asian students. Nor should it be a surprise to anyone who has read John McWhorter's book "Losing the Race." Although Ogbu failed to mention either this book or its author, he is essentially testing the McWhorter thesis that black students do not put forth the efforts needed to succeed. Why don't they? There are many reasons. McWhorter thinks that the availability of affirmative action reduces the incentives for black students to do their best. Ogbu finds other reasons: different priorities, such as more concern among black students for non-academic activities, such as sports, entertainment, and hanging out with friends in person or on the phone. But behind the different priorities of black students -- and of their parents -- is a pervasive suspicion and hostility to the white school authorities and to the whole culture which they perceive as a white culture that they must resist as a threat to black "identity."

Returning to the Pain Dealer:
PTO Co-President Sharon Midura's two children attend the district's middle and high schools.

"To me, the goal of the group is sort of to have us all become more aware, sensitive and educated," said Midura, who is white.
More sensitive? More aware? I don't think such a thing is even desirable, let alone possible.

1 comment:

Matty D said...

I actually read the book that principal was carrying (Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria or something like that).

It was part of the mandatory training to become an RA. A bunch of bullcrap, if you ask me. It essentially argues that white people are destined to be racist; even if it isn't overt racism that they are engaging in. I forget the term used in the book, but someone else called it 'colorblind racism,' whereupon by virtue of ignoring the color of others' skin, you are being racist.

It boils down to an argument in favor of affirmative action, and some of the piss-poor-est victimhood language I've ever seen in my life.