Monday, October 12, 2009

"Acting White"

You may have already heard this, but I came across it again and it's still just as upsetting:
Among white teens, Fryer and Torelli found that better grades equaled greater popularity, with straight-A students having far more same-race friends than those who were B students, who in turn had more friends than C or D students. But among blacks and especially Hispanics who attend public schools with a mix of racial and ethnic groups, that pattern was reversed: The best and brightest academically were significantly less popular than classmates of their race or ethnic group with lower grade point averages.
What's most interesting is that this trend only seems to appear in schools where African Americans are the minority. I haven't seen much of this at my school and it meets that requirement. In my own teaching experience I've witnessed more students afraid of "acting ambitious" than "acting racially". Somewhere along the way kids realized that if they never really tried, then they could never really fail.. If I'm honest I see this same risk adverse lifestyle in myself. Perhaps if I can convince myself that failure is allowable, then I can pass that wisdom on to my students. I need to remind myself of the times in my life when I really took a risk (auditioning for an improv troupe when I didn't know what improv was, asking my best friend on a date, moving to NC) and how happy I was with the result.

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