Academia

Combating White Skepticism of Black Teachers Teaching Black Students

While most White people involved in the field of Education will say that they support improving Black male academic achievement, some of them become skeptical when Black teachers play a significant role in helping Black students to ameliorate their academic achievement.  It’s natural for Black teachers to have a special passion for boosting the academic achievement of Black students.  Because of the impact of slavery and Jim Crow and their residual effects, many Black people understand the need to passionately advocate for other Black people.  Most Black teachers, if not all, want to provide all students with the highest quality education possible, regardless of their students’ race and ethnicity.  Unfortunately, some White people situated in the education sector do not truly want to see Black students succeed.

Some White people in Education do not trust Black teachers to be able to increase the academic achievement of Black students without cheating for them.  Now, most of the White people who cannot believe that Black students’ academic achievement can be increased without cheating for them will not directly tell the Black teachers that they think they cheated for their Black students.  It is fallacious to think that just because a Black teacher teaches Black students he or she will cheat for those Black students.  Now, you don’t hear a significant number of Black people running around saying that White teachers are cheating for White students just because they are White.

Some Whites’ skepticism toward the improved academic achievement of Black students that has resulted from the teaching of Black teachers dramatically intensifies when it is a Black male teacher helping Black male students to ameliorate their academic achievement.  It seems like some Whites think that Black male teachers are not only going to cheat for Black male students, but also cheat so much for them that their grades end up being astonishingly higher than they have ever been.  When Black male students are making tremendously high grades, it offers a serious counternarrative to the lies and negativity that some Whites like to propagate about Black male students and Black male academic achievement.

Black parents and White parents who are committed to the improved academic achievement of all students need to strengthen their support for Black male teachers who evince a zeal for enhancing the academic achievement of Black male students.  When one truly understands that extensive research has proven that Black male students at every level of the educational pipeline academically underperform all of their peers, then it becomes reasonable to understand why a Black male teacher would develop a special passion for improving the academic achievement of Black male students.  With such vexing academic underachievement at all levels of the educational pipeline, Black male students need everyone who is truly concerned about education in America to give them greater support and attention.

You cannot be seriously committed to education reform in America when you’re not devoted to the improvement of Black male academic achievement.  We should view Black male academic underachievement as a national crisis.  If White male students at every level of the educational pipeline were academically underperforming all of their peers, we would have been declared their academic problems a national crisis.  For some reason, Black male students have not been privileged enough to have their academic struggles be promulgated as a national priority.

Although the Black community must make the improvement of Black male academic achievement a serious national priority, stronger efforts to involve more Whites in this effort is necessary.  We have to think critically about ways to engage more Whites in the effort to ameliorate Black male academic achievement.  Moreover, we have to think more deeply about how make strengthening Black male academic achievement a national priority for Black people.  While some Whites will always remain skeptical of Black teachers working with Black male students to enhance their academic achievement, there must be larger efforts to support the continual efforts of Black teachers to improve Black male academic achievement.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Google is Making the Library a Thing of the Past

As a college instructor, I have had the unfortunate opportunity to see the waning of love for libraries. While there was once a time when students (and people in general) had a thirst and zeal for obtaining information in libraries, Google is becoming more and more the chief source for those seeking information. Google can be a valuable source of finding a significant amount of information—there’s no question about that. I am just afraid that this heavy reliance on Google is making us lose some of our hunger for being researchers.

I am sure that we are much more efficient retrievers of information because of the ease of obtaining information Google provides for us. I love to use Google too. I do not, however, over rely on Google when conducting academic research. I still use libraries as primary sources of academic scholarship, and have found electronic databases to be my invaluable friends. The library is a place where I can get away and just enjoy my passion for books and learning with other members of the learning community.

When conducting scholarly research, I would encourage people to use Google as a tool, but it should not be your primary source of locating material to include in your papers. I can always tell when my students have fundamentally relied on Google and other internet sites to aid them in the development of their papers, because the papers always seem to have so few quality references. Google can give you numerous references, but Google is not a better judge of the quality of the references than the assistance you can receive in the library with finding help to assess the quality of your references. The library, especially a college or university library, is going to have less frivolous stuff than you can find on Google. This means you will have less time devoted to resolving whether you have junk or quality material.

While I would never encourage you to do a paper at the last minute, I would have to say that Google can be quite useful when you face this type of situation. You may not have time to go to a library or a library may not be open. In this type of situation, please use Google to help you to find the material you need to complete your paper. For those completing academic papers, “Google Scholar” can be employed to help you to find peer-reviewed publications to include in your work.

Please do not interpret this article as being in opposition to Google for looking for information and for use when composing academic papers. I am just saying that you should not lose faith in the value of a library when seeking information and when composing your papers.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison