African Americans

Dealing with Dysfunction: A Review of “What It Is Like to Teach in Failing Schools,” Part 1

What it is Like to Teach in Failing Schools: A Memoir, an Inquiry and a Critique (2016)
by A. Teacher

Even without the students present, a visitor familiar with middle-class White schools would notice that Atlanta’s “Fairfield Junior Academy” is different. Walking the halls he would observe that there were no lockers. “[W} e moved all the lockers into the classrooms because most of the fights and drug deals took place during transition time when students went to their lockers” (76). If the visitor was unfortunate enough to need the restroom, he might see “dried diarrhea on the walls and toilet in the bathroom stalls” (111). Venturing into a classroom he might encounter vandalized computers and locked file cabinets that had been broken into.

As the subtitle indicates, this book is part a memoir, part a scathing critique of the educational establishment that some call Big Ed. This reviewer has twenty years’ experience in secondary and tertiary education. Fortunately, I have not experienced many of the problems the author relates, at least not to the same degree. Thus some of the dysfunction A. Teacher (AT) describes is particular to his type of school — a failing junior high — while other problems are systemic and likely to be experienced by most public school teachers in America.

The reader might conclude from the opening paragraph that Fairfield in one of those neglected, underfunded minority schools one hears about. While it is a non-White school (70 percent Black, 27 percent Hispanic), it is not underfunded. “Our school was flushed with money” (12). There was plenty of technology — computers, iPads, smartboards, and printers in every room. There was also widespread theft and vandalism, plus poor maintenance of the facility.

American education is often top heavy with administrators. This is particularly true of urban schools. So, in addition to student misbehavior, a major complaint of Mr. Teacher was the reams of paper work and endless meetings his position required. These demands left little time for lesson planning, and made classroom management more difficult. Because every behavior issue needed to be thoroughly documented it was less likely a teacher would take action.

One way a bureaucracy insulates administrators from day to day problems is the put-it-in-writing strategy. A “Response to Intervention” form was required “to document every infraction a child commits, complete with where the incident took place, what preceded the incident, what the infraction entailed, and the consequences that followed” (89). Even with documentation teachers at Fairfield felt the administration did not support their efforts to maintain order. Read more

Rational Dialog with BLM Is Not Possible

If we are to judge from recent events, BLM protestors (and a seemingly overwhelming percentage of Blacks in general) don’t seem able to discern the difference between the impression created by a few seconds of a video clip, and the reality and attendant circumstances behind that video.  They know how they feel when they watch a Black apparently being mistreated by police, but any further deductive reasoning is from that point quite impossible.  The combination of ignorance and moral certainty is dangerous, as we see in the Dallas shooting of police and other violent protests last weekend.

In their mind, Black Lives Matter protesters have the “evidence” already, because they think that evidence simply means something unpleasant caught on camera.  From there they demand immediate retribution, without further deliberation in the legal process.  It is ironic that one of the BLM protesters’ trite chants is “No justice, no peace,” considering their complete disregard for the judicial process.  But they are good at disturbing the peace, we’ll have to give them that.

The chanting of slogans seems to be the tool of the cognitively incompetent, because it conveniently avoids discussing any facts.  The rallying cry, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” is based on a mendacious account of the Michael Brown incident, who did not have his hands up when confronted by Darren Wilson, and did not say “don’t shoot,” but rather went for the cop’s gun.  The “Black Lives Matter” chant is repeated in a zombie-like fashion by the protesters.  But note that every slogan is based on a faulty premise: that justice has been derailed, that innocent Blacks are being shot, and that the government has somehow devalued Black lives.  “We have nothing to lose but our chains,” they chant, enraptured in an orgy of victimization and delusion. Read more

Reality Shock in the American Classroom: A Guide for the Perplexed

 

WaltersA review of Facing Reality in American Education by Robert J. Walters

There are over 1200 schools of education in the United States awarding upwards of 175,000 Masters Degrees each year. Prospective students are increasingly selected on the basis of demonstrated commitment to egalitarian ideology; in any case, all of them are  intensively marinated in that way of thinking for a couple years or more before being let loose in America’s classrooms. There, of course, they observe White, Jewish and Asian students outperforming Blacks and Mexicans—over, and over, and over again.

Some teachers’ beliefs are unaffected by even a lifetime of observation contradicting what they have been taught; such close-minded ideologues are the successes of our ed school system. But for many of their colleagues, cognitive dissonance is painful, and their inability to “make a difference” in the lives of their young Black and Brown charges can be deeply discouraging.

The education establishment makes sure these well-meaning teachers have nowhere to turn. Some become cynics who go on mouthing the platitudes they have been taught while learning not to care about their students. More than a few drop out of the profession entirely, at a considerable sacrifice of time and money invested. Very few, we can be sure, ever stumble across American Renaissance or any other publication that might allow them to make sense of their experiences. Read more

On Dylann Roof’s “Manifesto”

Before Dylann Roof set out to commit the shooting at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church, he set up a very simple web-site called LastRhodesian.com and posted there a manifesto that referred to his intended actions. I think that it is worthwhile to examine Roof’s manifesto for some clues about how he ended up doing what he did.

Roof says that he grew up in the South, having “a small amount of racial awareness, simply because of the numbers of Negroes in this part of the country.” Southerners in general probably do have a better sense, compared to White people from other places, about how Blacks behave. This was not a clear White racial consciousness however; rather it was the kind of dissimulating defensiveness promoted by the likes of Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck, with its rhetoric of deflective counter-accusation characterized by Roof as “Blacks are the real racists.”

Roof was shocked out of this weak orientation based on fear of being called “racist” by the drumbeat of anti-White propaganda that began with the absurdly biased reporting on the case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin in 2012 and 2013:

The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case. I kept hearing and seeing his name, and eventually I decided to look him up. I read the Wikipedia article and right away I was unable to understand what the big deal was. It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right. But more importantly this prompted me to type in the words “black on White crime” into Google, and I have never been the same since that day. The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?

Although Roof’s main theme was biased media-coverage of Black-on-White crime, this was not mentioned in an article on Roof’s manifesto by one of the leading culprits, the New York Times. 
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The Rachel Dolezal Phenomenon

The case of Rachel Dolezal, the “trans-Black” who is the head of an NAACP chapter and has apparently reported false “hate-crimes” is all over the Internet. It’s hard to know if this is just a case of rent-seeking by someone taking advantage of Black privilege or a case of someone who really does identify as a Black person. Or both.

Regarding the first possibility, in addition to her position as head of an NAACP chapter, Dolezal has parleyed her Black identity into a position as professor of Africana Studies at Eastern Washington State University and chair of the office of the police ombudsman commission in the city of Spokane (on the application she claimed to be “a mix of white, black, Native American and a number of others.” Reminds one of Elizabeth Warren’s claim of Cherokee ancestry which she made to three separate employers, the University of Texas Law School, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Harvard Law School. Or Vijay Chokal-Ingam. Or non-Jews in Hollywood who pretended to be Jews to get ahead (crypto-gentiles?) (see here, Note 40).

Her story also recalls Brenton Sanderson’s article on Andrew Bolt, the Australian who got in serious trouble when he called attention to the fact that there was a huge increase in the number of people claiming Aboriginal descent after Aborigines were granted loads of benefits. Lots of them look White to me.

The ideological nature of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act [which provides penalties for saying true things related to race and ethnicity] was starkly illustrated in the case brought against conservative commentator Andrew Bolt. In 2009 Bolt wrote two columns pointing out that individuals with very small amounts of Aboriginal ancestry (or in some cases none) were taking advantage of a raft of government scholarships and affirmative action job vacancies by choosing to identify exclusively as Aboriginal. Bolt claimed these people were choosing to identify as Black to leverage their career and social advancement.

Hipblack

 

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Excerpt from “My journey to race realism”: Reformers’ search to close “the gap”

The following is the second of two excerpts from an article, “My journey to race realism,” to appear in the Summer issue of The Occidental Quarterly. Prof. Ray Wolters is Thomas Muncy Keith Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Delaware.

First Excerpt: The Burden of Brown

Before 2010, I was aware of evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology.  As mentioned, during the 1990s I began to read American Renaissance, and about the same time one of my chums from grade school and high school, a bank examiner named Gene Stelzer, bent my ear with comments about Darwinism.  Gene was also the first person to call my attention to The Occidental Quarterly, a journal I later came to regard as an indispensable guide to understanding White racial consciousness.  At the University of Delaware, education professor Bob Hampel kept me informed about some of the best recent books in his field, and social scientist Linda Gottfredson told me about gene-culture co-evolution.  But from mainstream historians I heard and read nothing about Darwinism or the interaction of culture and genes, and my own written work was still based primarily on archival research.  It was not until 2010, when I was laid low by lung failure and could no longer rummage through archives that I began to read deeply and to think seriously about evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology.  As it happened, at this time I was also thinking about the modern school reform movement, which since about 1990 had become, above all else, an effort to close the achievement gaps that show American Blacks and Latinos lagging behind Whites and Asians on standardized achievement tests.

In some ways, the reformers’ concern with test scores is surprising.  In recent international comparisons, African Americans have done better on standardized tests than Blacks in Africa or the Caribbean.  Hispanic Americans have done better than Hispanics in Latin America.  White Americans are doing better than students in other predominantly-White nations (except Finland).  And Asian-American students have done as well as most students in Asia — and better than those in Korea or Japan.  These results were achieved, moreover, at a time when an increasing proportion of American students were being reared in single-parent families and a growing proportion of parents did not speak English. Read more

Excerpt from “My Journey to Race Realism”: The Burden of Brown

The following is the first of two excerpts from an article, “My journey to race realism,” to appear in the Summer issue of The Occidental Quarterly. Prof. Ray Wolters is Thomas Muncy Keith Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Delaware.

In the 1960s and 1970s I forged through the academic ranks.  My dissertation received favorable notice when it was published in 1970, and another book of 1975 received even better reviews.  At the age of 36, I was promoted to the rank of full professor at the University of Delaware, and I began to think about research for yet another book.  At that time, civil rights lawyers had brought a lawsuit seeking metropolitan busing for racial balance throughout the northern portion of New Castle County, Delaware.  From reading the local newspaper, I learned that the largest city in this region, Wilmington, had been one of the first five jurisdictions that the Supreme Court, in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education (1954), had ordered to desegregate its public schools.  Wilmington complied immediately, but desegregation led to inter-racial scuffles and a decline in cultural and academic standards.  This touched off White flight, and enrollment in Wilmington’s public schools tipped from 73% White to 90% Black.  I then learned that much the same had happened in three of the four other “Brown districts” — in Prince Edward County, Virginia, in Summerton, South Carolina, and in Washington D.C.  Only in Topeka, Kansas, where Blacks made up only 8% of the students, had the majority of Whites continued to patronize the public schools.  And desegregation had been problematic even in Topeka.[1]

In my best-known book, The Burden of Brown (1984), I told the story of how public education had fared in these five districts where desegregation began.  In the introduction and conclusion, and in a few statements that were interspersed in the text, I maintained that the misbehavior of Black students had created serious problems and that federal judges had made matters worse by redefining desegregation to mean something quite different from the original understanding.  When the implementation order for Brown was handed down in 1955, the Supreme Court defined “desegregation” as assigning students to public schools on “a racially non-discriminatory basis.”  Similarly,  in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Congress defined what “desegregation” meant and what it did not mean: “‘Desegregation’ means the assignment of students to public schools and within such schools without regard to their race, color, religion, or national origin, but ‘desegregation’ shall not mean the assignment of students to public schools in order to overcome racial imbalance.”[2] Read more