Thursday, May 20, 2010

A year at a diverse school

Beginning of year: all students assume the white kids are the smarties.

Mid year: test scores tell students that maybe some of their minority peers (who are failing all their classes) really are quiet smart.

End of year: Tall, adorable white boy who has worked hard all year to maintain his "A" average yells across the room in the middle of class at sweet, little black boy . . . "Ja---- you are a freaking genius! How do you fail all your classes?" All students agree, and try to catch me up to speed -- as if I'm the one that didn't already know that Ja---- was as smart as (if not smarter than) all of them. Ja---- beams when he realizes everyone has caught on to his disguise.

Is this a game middle school black boys like to play with the rest of us? How can we make it cool to be smart?

And this really isn't a racial thing. It's just a gifted thing. I have plenty of brilliant white girls in the same category as Ja----. The racial aspect of it just happens to walk in the door the first day of school, wrapped up in a pretty little box labeled "Special Delivery: Society's Stereotypes Inside."

The fact: Kids who earn "A" averages aren't brilliant . . . they work hard. Kids who keep steady "D" averages are the geniuses.


Scott and Claudia said...

It happens at a younger age than middle school. I remember most vividly a fourth grade young man who was truly gifted -- like the genius you spoke of. He aced everything and then I noticed his grades were slipping. When I chatted with him, he said he was purposely missing items so he didn't get 100 all the time -- the other students were making fun of him and he was very uncomfortable with their remarks. His comments broke my heart. Even 10 year olds will peck at the one they are jealous of. Sad... Luckily he has become a very successful young man. Some I fear are not so lucky.

Chelsea said...

Boys are so much fun!

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