By Christopher Jackson
Until recently I taught at a predominantly black high school in a southeastern state. I took the job because I wasn’t knowledgeable about race at the time, and black schools aren’t picky. The school offered me a job and suddenly I was in darkest Africa. Except, I wasn’t in Africa; I was in America.
Blacks outnumbered whites about five to one at this school and there were hardly any Hispanics. Some of my classes were all-black, or nearly so, because the gifted and advanced classes siphoned off most of the white students, and I taught regular classes. There were some black teachers … but the majority were white.
Most of the blacks I taught were from the area. They did not tend to travel very much, and I am sure there are regional differences in the ways in which blacks speak and act. However, I suspect my experiences were generally typical, certainly for Southern blacks.
The mainstream press gives a hint of what conditions are like in black schools, but only a hint. Expressions (that) 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 white 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.
It did no good to try to quiet them, and white women were particularly inept at trying. I sat in on one woman’s class as she begged the children to pipe down. They just yelled louder so their voices would carry over hers.
Many of my black students would repeat themselves over and over again — just louder. It was as if they suffered from Tourette syndrome. They seemed to have no conception of waiting for an appropriate time to say something. They would get ideas in their heads and simply had to shout them out. I might be leading a discussion on government and suddenly be interrupted: “We gotta get more Democrats! Clinton, she good!” The student may seem content with that outburst … but two minutes later, he would suddenly start yelling again: “Clinton good!”
Blacks are the most directly critical people I have ever met: “Dat shirt stupid. Yo’ kid a bastard. Yo’ lips big.” Unlike whites, who tread gingerly around the subject of race, they (blacks) can be brutally to the point. 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.”
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.”
Figure 29-1 (Wikipedia, “IQ,”) shows the overlapping IQ bell curves in the U.S. for (left to right) Blacks, Hispanics, Whites, and Asians.
One day I asked the bored, black faces staring back at me. “What would happen if all the white people in America disappeared tomorrow?”
“We screwed,” a young, pitch-black boy screamed back. The rest of the blacks laughed.
I have had children tell me to my face as they struggled with an assignment. “I cain’t do dis,” Mr. Jackson. “I black.” […] > teachers are encourage to read FULL ARTICLE.
How about chronic BLACK Crime?
…plus, another short essay by a teacher >> HERE.