The New York Times has a terrible article today, headlined "When Black Children Are Targeted for Punishment".
God, these articles are so frustrating. Black students ARE far more likely to misbehave. But if writers acknowledge this, they feel like they're agreeing with those who would say blacks are inferior. So, they invent a narrative in which nothing has changed since 1965, and white teachers are to blame.
But these people have either never spent much time in poor minority schools, or they are willfully blind.
Here's a question: when a community inherits hundreds of years of discrimination and abuse, it's culture shunned, and levels of low-education, broken families, crime and neglect are far higher, how well-behaved are its children?
Really, you can leave race out of it (to make things a little more clear). I've taught kids from low-SES homes who are white, hispanic, asian, black, Native, etc. They're always the ones who misbehave. Why, because life has fucked them over. Their parents - or parent, or grandparent, as often, have a shitty life. They make crappy pay, live in a crappy neighborhood, with crappy neighbors. They develop crappy habits. They are in survival mode, and try to find happiness where they can. This might mean taking a nap instead of helping their kid with homework. Or watching TV while letting their kid run around outside with the other little hellions so they can get a moments' peace. Or handing out a quick smack. Or forgetting to do the laundry, or pack a lunch.
By refusing to acknowledge the reality of underclass life, with all of its ugly behavioral symptoms and cyclical traps, these would-be do-gooders continue to spin this BS. But by all means, continue to pay your clerks, cleaners, waiters, washers, diggers, scrapers and pickers a poverty wage, yet wonder why poverty exists. Then, wonder why we have such high incarceration, violence and ghettos. Wonder who leaves next to the airports, factories. Wonder who is going to get high on drugs or corn chips.
I used to blog about this shit, but I gave up because I got sick of living in an intellectual wilderness. You can either be Charles Murray or Ta-nehisi Coates. But you can't be both. The Devil or the Angel.
Is it too difficult to understand? Does it require too much explanation and prerequisite information? Do you need a bachelor's of arts to add it all up and grok the thesis? My guess is no. My guess is the subject is fraught with danger - for getting on the wrong side of the wrong people. My guess is that our society reinforces tribalism and punishes free thought. (Even saying the phrase "free thought" irks me because it has become synonymous with literal bigotry - with those who would hide behind it as a hideous shield behind which they lose sight of humanity beyond reach of their cold logic. In their case, the "freedom" has only landed them in another homogenous group of a-holes).
In the end, I am simply saddened because the real questions aren't being asked. The real, lived experiences of these kids remains unseen. Their misbehavior is a cry from the darkness. The educational system is a relentless beast of order and suppression - for those who cannot navigate it's strict monotony, it acts like a vice. The harder you squirm, the tighter the grip becomes. By secondary school, these kids know nothing but to be prey. The day is spent forever flitting from flimsy branch to branch, one eye on the beast, one eye on more games to play, unconsciously desperate to find some silliness, some cruel joke to distract themselves from the inevitable, crushing reality they one day they too will be laid out, exhausted, children nipping - their little resentful eyes now too growing larger, poor quality, dirty belongings tossed about in some previously dreary rush, bills stacked high, with echoes and visions of self-satisfied mid-managers barking orders and counting beans, being told to smile more. Being told that, "One more time and you're fired." Knowing where you live. Knowing where your parents live. Knowing where your children live. Seeing the white people come in, laughing, digesting their fancy sandwiches and laughing easily.
In all of this, horrible, systemic drudgery, this pretty little articles get written. A self-satisfied separatist religiosity permeates smugly. Charles Murray's solution to the "achievement gap" is for blacks to start behaving better. His recommendation is for somewhere, somehow some mysteriously delivered "message" be given to them, such that they'll stop acting like fools. Murray is a racist idiot.
To authors of pieces like this - which do-gooder white liberal types seem to eat up like some kind of periodic penance, which they find distasteful but hope deep down will absolve them from the privilege they can't help but enjoy, but feel an inexplicable yet persistent shame over - the solution is for whites to just stop being so damn racist. See, if white teachers would just allow little black and hispanic boys to raise their hands and turn in their homework like the rest of the class, all of our problems will be solved.
Then everyone can grow up and some can nicely go to college, and some can nicely go into the trades, and some can do the scrubbing, and cooking and cleaning and digging and fixing and watering and picking, and then return to their nice, dirty little houses with broken screen doors and cats that we can't afford to spay and so piss everywhere.
And when the school bus comes in the morning, the nice little poor boys and girls will nicely get onto the bus without their lunches (or if their lucky, with a can of soda and a bag of chips because dad stopped at AM/PM last night after the bar and was feeling generous). And they will ever so nicely wave at each other when they come into class, each knowing how their parents were screaming and throwing things early that morning. And when asked, they will raise their nice little hands, forgetting all about the fact that their older sister got knocked about and how mom didn't have time to help them with their science project because she was taking care of her granddaughter. And when on the playground, and another kid tells them they're sister is a slut (because their father isn't in prison), they will politely ask them to stop, and then maybe tell a teacher, because hundreds of years of social and political oppression doesn't have consequences. And kids from poor, broken, disadvantaged homes are no more likely to misbehave.