“Now, I say if you wanna kill yourself, don’t fuck around with it. Go on and do it expeditiously!” – Joe Clark (Lean On Me)We bitch about our current youth, and all but proclaim them to be the spawn of the devil when they’re not our own – yes, there’s a Black Jesus and a White Jesus, so quite naturally there’s a Black devil and a White devil, no? Yeah I know; that’s an entirely different topic, but I couldn’t help but to go there. But anyway, while we are cynical in our criticisms, we’re often quick to justify or attribute the behaviors of said children by the absence of male figures within the home or family structure.
Now considering that our kids spend a more significant portion of their time outside of our homes and in the charge of the public school system. Why is it that some genius among us has yet to question the number of male teachers within our public school system? Specifically, how the absence of black male teachers impact our youth negatively.
I’m not an expert, nor am I a teacher. But I can’t help but to think that there is a direct correlation between the near absence of black male teachers and the difficulties that many African American boys face in school. About half of black male students do not complete high school in four years, statistics show. Black males also tend to score lower on standardized tests, take fewer Advanced Placement courses and are suspended and expelled at higher rates than other groups. The thought occurred to me after I watched the following video over at We Are Respectable Negroes:
The above video is of a Chicago teacher Charlie Martin who works in a school system with their share of problems. It’s my understanding that this encounter came about after the young man was reprimanded for texting while in class, and somewhere along the line using the word “Nigger” in conversation. Now personally, I don’t know how much of the message got across to the kid in question, but I would wager that this was a message this kid probably hasn’t heard before. Sure some of you may not like this teachers style, but you have to admire how he got down and dirty when speaking to this kid.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 4.8 million teachers in this country, 2% of them are black. African American kids account for 20% of the public school population, while African American male teachers account for a stark 1% representation. Yes, the teaching force continues to be overwhelmingly white, and female. That said, couldn’t this be seen as a major contributing factor as to how our kids, or young black males in particular are turning out these days?
Let’s be honest, Ms. Crabtree the white middle aged teacher may not be suited to reaching out to young black males like the lad in the video above – as a matter of fact, she’s more apt to give up on him and be quite fearful of dealing with him, no? I mean, is it any wonder why young black males develop problems when in their lives they almost never see black men as authority figures within a classroom setting? Or what about positive male-female relationships with young black girls? How do we expect our kids to realize their worth and potential when there is a lack of African American role models and mentors in the form of teachers?
So since I never have all the answers, and also because I know that my readership possesses a wealth of knowledge. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this one. Specifically, I’d like to hear your thoughts on why black male teachers are almost as extinct as Tyrannosaurus Rex. Also, I’d like to know if I’m off the mark in suggesting that the near absence of black male teachers contributes negatively to the development of our kids. Personally I can tell you that there were several black male teachers who left an indelible mark on my development in my youth. The question is: where have all the black male teachers gone?