From Timbuktu to Tampa: Black Intelligence then, Black Ignorance now

Posted: October 16, 2012 in Uncategorized
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While their counterparts were eating raw meat, grunting, and living in caves around the Caucus Mountain range in Europe, Black people were creating calendars, a writable language, religion, paper, and the Pyramids in Egypt.  During brutal bondage in the Americas, Black people created music, fables, the modern day Black church, and an elaborate underground route to freedom.  After securing their liberty in the wake of the Civil War, Black people suffered more than a century of bloody apartheid.  The bombings, lynchings, false imprisonments, and terrorism Blacks suffered didn’t slow progress though.  Blacks fought hard against Jim Crow, creating their own businesses and staffing their own schools, creating a vibrant, close-knit environment of Black progress.  Some Blacks went even further by becoming revolutionaries, torchbearers putting the cause of Black progress on their shoulders, brushing everything else aside…sometimes even their own lives.  The catalyst for all Black change and progress has and always will be education.  From Egypt to East Los Angeles, from Cairo to Chicago, all Black progress has been ignited by education.  During enslavement, it was illegal to teach an African to read and write.  Why? During Jim Crow, it was illegal for African Americans to attend great White schools and colleges.  Why?  Education causes one to see where they stand in the world…it causes one to question…it causes one to realize…it causes one to fight.  Now, fast forward to Florida.

From Timbuktu to Tampa:  Black Intelligence then, Black Ignorance now

The Florida State Board of Education has passed and initiated a plan that sets race-based goals for specific school subjects, mainly math and reading, for the year 2018.   The four races used are Asian, White, Hispanic, and Black.  The order I arranged them in is the same order the Florida State Board has arranged them in…a racial hierarchy if you will.
The following chart displays the current percentage of students in Florida meeting the grade level requirements of reading and math.

Student’s Race % Meeting Grade Level: Reading 2012 % Meeting Grade Level: Math 2012
Asian 76% 82%
White 69% 68%
Hispanic 53% 55%
Black 38% 40%

This chart displays the Florida State Board’s goals for students in the year 2018.

Student’s Race % Meeting Grade Level: Reading 2018 % Meeting Grade Level: Math 2018
Asian 90% 92%
White 88% 86%
Hispanic 81% 80%
Black 74% 74%

Now, is the Florida State Board of Education being racist, justifying discrimination with statistics or are they being intelligent, identifying a disparaging achievement gap and making it easier for students excel? Is this even shocking?  Numbers don’t lie and “the proof is in the pudding”!  Should we be more upset that the Florida State Board of Education, made up of six Whites, one Hispanic, & one Asian, is justifying the “mis-education of the Negro” or should we be more upset that we have let our children’s education get to this point?  I honestly think it’s regressive and idiotic to protest race-based goals when not doing anything to fix race-based truths.  I’m not your leader but here is my advice.  Show your child three pictures…one of Kobe Bryant, one of 50 Cent, and one of Langston Hughes.  If your child can’t point out Langston Hughes, blame yourself for these numbers, not a state board that is doing only what it feels is best for progress.  Progress?  You know, the thing us as African Americans have forgotten about.  Everything starts at home…everything.  I don’t support the Florida State Board of Education’s ruling, but I don’t support being unrealistic either.  Imagine the final exam in your child’s P.E. class being a mile run. The track is four laps per mile.  Imagine before the mile run, the coach says to a student who appears to lack athletic ability, “Hey, you can run one lap instead”.   Then to another, “Hey, two laps will suffice for you”. Yes, shortening the race will ensure more finishers, but it doesn’t necessarily ensure more winners.    Will this ruling create a race of Black Floridians with high school diplomas not worth the paper its printed on, or will this ruling create a race of Black Floridians with the essential credentials to go forth into the world and prosper?  I personally believe lessening scholarship will lead to increasing servitude, but that’s me.  You decide…

  1. I really like this article. you raised a lot of points that make sense. but we have to be clear of the overall goal for our children: fair education, equal opportunity , and success, across the board.

    do I think they need to set a realistic standard based on passed achievement? no. realistically, the children of each demographic will strive, and teachers will push to meet the goals. and that may be part of the problem. if a parent, teacher, and student set a goal at 74% then thats how far they will reach. they will be outright satisfied with reaching their goal at 74%. The problem is that the child was capable of 90%. parents, teachers, and students hinder the overall potential by setting the bar too low. I believe that children are capable of academic success, regardless of color (after all, melanin does not have a thing to do with intelligence. If it did, then logically Asians would be 2nd highest and not 1st)

    so yeah, set a goal, but make all the goals just as high. that may be the only way to get everyone up to speed.

    In terms of just number crunching, and how it looks on paper I can see why they didnt put everyone at 90%. because when the scores come back, there is a very good chance that they wont reach their goals; every kid will not read or do math to get to that 90%. but what it does is change what would have been a 75% success into an 80% ‘failure on paper’. And you make harp and say “see! we failed on paper!” but was the paper really the point? or was the 5% jump a child achieved because we raised the bar?

    Children are not dumb, just dumb adults who dont know what to do with them.

    • When speaking on your points of “fair education, equal opportunity, and success across the board”, setting different goals based on race are not fair nor equal..because you cant spell EQUALity without EQUAL..I believe it comes back home..teachers are not paid to impart morals, they are paid to teach. Now being a teacher myself, yes, morals are taught but 2nd to the lessons..morals MUST come from the home..and numbers don’t lie..this is not a education issue per say..but a moral one. Melanin doesn’t determine intelligence..

  2. missmilya says:

    While the differing race standards for the grade level requirements need to be abolished ASAP….I do agree with you that we need to look inwardly at ourselves as a race first and foremost. Why are black students doing so poorly in regard to other races? We are not the only race in which some members lie within a low socioeconomic background….why are we okay with doing just enough to get by? Doing just enough to get by was never acceptable to my mom and dad when I was growing up….and, in turn; it’s unacceptable for me as I raise my son.

    I also agree that the implications of this new standard are very far reaching. What happens to those 62% of black students who don’t meet the grade-level requirements? Will they be herded into “special education” classes? Will they be ignored until they finally decide to drop out?

    • Very true..this ruling will make intelligent Black kids feel its cool to make seventies..why strive!? And your point on “We are not the only race in which some members lie within a low socioeconomic background” should greatly be expanded because you are ABSOLUTELY right!!! The children will drop out, get into crime, and work for the private prison industry..making license plates and stitching military uniforms free of charge, making money for the state..Slavery is legal under the 13th amendment when it comes to prisoners..

  3. Personally I do not like to play the blame game with the school system because I know the problem is not the school system. The problem starts at home. There used to be an emphasis on education in the black community because we were not allowed to be educated for so long, but the fire has died down and been replaced with more emphasis on sports and other frivolous aspects of life. It is time to starts raising our own standards and educate from home first! Mom mother was illiterate, but she made sure that me and none of my siblings went without knowing how to read at a high level because she understood the importance of education being that she wasn’t really given the opportunity to learn to read and write due to her circumstances. We have to ask ourselves a question. What are we emphasizing? What is important in our household? Teachers don’t get paid enough to change the morals and values of the households of which their students come from so therefore it is time to give our kids the foundations from home.

    • are absolutely right..ABSOLUTELY right..there is nothing more I can add to that..everything starts at home..parents are a child’s first teacher and sadly many of them are absent. We need to focus more on the social fabric of society and less on social entertainment. There’s a major problem when children can recite 2Chains and not Dr. Martin Luther King..When children know how to work an iPod but not a Calculator. As much as I disagree with Conservatives, they are right on one thing; Our society needs to take a deep long hard look at our values and morals.

  4. ric says:

    I don’t see a problem with this from a school board perspective. Upon first glance, it seems like they are setting what they feel is a realistic goal THAT THEY MAY BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR. I wrote that part in all caps because, yes, if you set the bar higher then you will jump higher; however, that is only good if you don’t have to worry about accountability. What if they set all races to 90% and the blacks and Hispanics reach 75%? That would be wonderful but then the administration or whoever may get in trouble for not reaching their goals. It’s always best to set the bar at a reasonable level and then surpassing it vs setting the bar high and almost making it.

    • That is logical..why set a mile at 4 laps when you know some kids cant even run 2? But won’t that then create a group of kids who say, “its fine to run 1 lap, that’s all they require. Why should i work any harder and attempt to run 2 when only 1 is required”? You don’t see this ruling backfiring..creating a situation where Black students feel they have no reason to strive?

  5. […] While their counterparts where eating raw meat, grunting, and living in caves around the Caucus Mountain range in Europe, Black people were creating calendars, a writable language, religion, paper,…  […]

    • From Your Block says:

      It is definitely a sad sight to see the standards of our African American youth set so low. The problem is not with the school boards graph, but rather the past work they have failed to achieve in regards to their minorities. After all, that’s where these numbers generate from right? Unfortunately, the ball is still dropped in the lap of the school board. The up side is that they have raised the bar from the current stats. This is a nationwide issue though

      • Its a sad state. I see it as a game..almost like hot potatoe. When it gets too hot, they just throw it to the next person. The parents cant take care of the kid, throw it to the teachers..the teachers cant take care of the kid, throw it to probation services..probation services cant take care of the kid, throw it to prison..this cycle could end with 1 word: Accountability

  6. Schlüter says:

    The article reveals circumstances that make me think of the nightmare of “Bantu Education” in Apartheid South Africa those days! But the situation in the US (like meanwhile many other Western countries) is also characterized by an extended system of “stupifying” people via the medias and their highly sophisticated advertising sourrounded by “action” turning the onlooker into a mental zombie! This affects children and youngsters in a catasrophic way!
    Andreas Schlüter
    Berlin, Germany

    • It’s a crazy system in which we live. The media since its conception delivers a 1 way vision of the world. It’s no surprise that most Americans call Iraqis, Pakistanis, and Muslims in general all terrorists…that’s what the news programs them to think. It’s no surprise when “normal, middle class White males” blow up schools and kill innocent children that it’s labeled a “mental problem”. Supposedly, “normal, middle class White males” aren’t capable of such things. The media is just a propaganda tool that expresses plain as day White Christian supremacy and if it wasn’t for us bloggers, tweeters, activists, and questioners, it would go unnoticed.

  7. Alicia says:

    I understand your point completely, but when i look at the goals and the deadlines, i think you’re misinterpreting. The way I read it, whites and asians in florida are already closer to a goal of 90-100% than hispanic and blacks. The goals have deadlines of 2018 (six years). Realistically, it will be harder to get the 24% of asians who are below reading level because of a plateau effect. That 24% is probably full of the hard cases who have more specialized needs That demographic quite possibly has plateau and the outliers are going to be much more challenging to get to reach the goal. With the black student demographic, the margin of increase between the baseline and the goal is 36% compared to 14-28% for the other demographics.

    While i obviously question the intent of the board of education when setting these goals, the way i interpreted this was that they are aiming to help blacks and hispanics more so than white and asian students. I think it will be easier for them to increase the black numbers, provided that they take a holistic approach into educating the children and minimizing negative environmental factors. I think if they are able to come close to reaching the 2018 goal, they should then revise the goals for the next 6 years to have everyone reach 90%.

    My point is, if not all the students are starting at the same place, its hard to set the same exact initial goals for them and you’re almost setting the program up for failure before it even starts by aiming too high in the short term. However, what ends up happening is that educators ignore the white and asian students who are not performing at grade level and focus on the hispanic and black students to get better results. Don’t misunderstand me: the medium and long term goal should be high and equal across the board, but feasible short term goals are the key to success for projects like this.

    I would be interested in seeing the action plan for achieving these goals before I actually can throw support for or against and remark on its plausibility. I’m hardly even defending either your side or board of Eds side, im just remarking that i interpreted this differently than you did.

    • Thanks for your comment. I understand what you mean…
      if the children aren’t at the same starting line, why force them to race to the same finish line?
      Though that sounds like perfect sense, I think its idiotic.
      Imagine if Florida schools where having an obesity epidemic. Instead of changing school lunches, increasing physical education classes, & increasing awareness, they just hired more nurses to deal with the oncoming diabetes increase. That’s exactly what the Florida schools are doing. Instead of increasing tutoring, creating after school programs, and addressing social problems, they are lessening requirements. Melanin doesn’t determine mind..Black kids are not stupid…lessening requirements for them is saying “I don’t think you are as intelligent as your counterparts, ill set the scale shorter for you”..That’s bad policy and I will never agree.

      • Alicia says:

        I agree with you 100%. But you never said anything in the original post. He at I read it, you were merely upset about them setting the goal lower for us but didn’t mention that they are also lessening requirements so that they can achieve these benchmarks. That’s why I said I wasn’t agreeing or disagreeing because I didn’t know the details of Florida’s action plan 🙂

      • Alicia says:

        The way I read it* excuse my illiterate iPhone

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