A new study finds that if a child is taught by someone of a different racial makeup, directly influences that teacher’s expectations for the child to achieve. The rate of this was especially lower for Black males. In no way am I suggesting that educators of different racial and life experiences offer no benefit. However, the importance is rather the development of a bond between the child and the educator which allows the child to understand their potential is unlimited when interacting with someone coming from the same background of experiences.
Whether we take notice of how Muhammad Ali connected to Joe Louis, or young Black boys who connected to Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X), to the throngs of young girls who aspire to become the next Serena Williams, Oprah Winfrey or Mae Jemison. The narrative of tracing one’s struggle among common paradigms is always fascinating because it links the past to the future.
More plainly put, it allows many to see a clearer path. When very little if any representation of African American Black men in a plethora of roles occurs, the future of positive manhood becomes threatened.
For example, an Ohio school encouraged everyone to dress up as someone they respected for a “career type” day. Some kids dressed as athletes or entertainers. One boy came dressed in a dark blue freshly tailored suit and tie. The teacher asked the student why he had not completed the assignment. The boy confidently responded, “I am the president of the United States!” The teacher frowned and replied, “We don’t need another Black president.”
The issue in having educators who not only have commonalities with African American Black males but also have the inherent understanding of how the process of marginalizing and ostracizing Black males functions today so a strategic plan for success accounting for the struggles against countless obstacles may be executed. The little boy didn’t think he would encounter someone who is supposed to be dedicated to his educational enrichment rooting for his failure in life.
Unfortunately, this became the case. Since many children see their teachers as authority figures and sometimes role models, many Black males in similar situations are given a hypocritical message: “I’m here to teach you, but I don’t believe you will achieve.” This means that African American Blacks will have to offer an alternative independent methodology of learning to counter the negative. We must begin to properly understand and advocate the struggle of those who have fought and sacrificed so the full power of Black humanity has a chance to grow and prosper. This means seeking out opportunities and individuals who have completed monumental tasks, understanding those challenges will soon be passed down to future generations ready for it or not. It means teaching the values and benefits obtained by everyone as a result of the actions of struggle of another. It means advocating for our best interests unapologetically. It means to stop seeking permission from those who marginalize us and place the needs of our children’s future first. Lastly, we must elevate those African American Black men who refused to allow their struggle against a dehumanizing system drive them insane.