The Hechinger Report, a non-profit organization that contributes stellar reporting on education issues, asked Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Nick Chiles to go to Mississippi to start chronicling the educational and societal woes of Black boys in the state, he jumped at the chance. Following is an excerpt of his first dispatch. We are pleased to share it here, at MyBrownBaby.
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Howard Stevenson is a professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania whose area of specialization is a topic most white educators would probably rather sit for a root canal than confront head-on: How their unwillingness or inability to deal with their own racial biases and stereotypes leads to horrible and stressful interactions with black boys in their classrooms—interactions that can have a devastating effect on the boys’ academic achievement.
For whites and certainly even for African Americans, thinking about, discussing and recounting a racial encounter can be enormously stressful. Stevenson demonstrated by having the participants in his Coseboc workshop pair up and tell each other about any racial incident that came to mind. When asked to share their feelings later, the participants were surprised and alarmed by how much stress they felt during the retelling, almost like they were living through it again. Read more…
by Denene Millner
Chatter about exactly what Affirmative Action does.
Chatter about whom it’s helped and who it’s affected.
And especially the chatter about how awful and ineffective it is.
I readily raise my hand to say that those who argue against it are either clueless, blind or straight lying about how Affirmative Action affects mainstream America (read: white folks), and certainly how it changes classrooms, our workforce and lives.
This Affirmative Action baby’s story? My parents were by no means rich or educated: we lived a middle class existence financed by my parents’ factory jobs, and by the looks of it, we were living the American dream: Mom and Dad had a nice house with a yard and two decent cars to get them to work and church and bowling on Saturdays. But they were only a few paychecks off of having to ask for help, and, on a few occasions when my dad couldn’t find work, they did get that help. There were no fancy family vacations. New clothes came on special occasions—the start of the school year, Easter and Christmas. And extracurricular activities we take for granted today—eating out, taking in a movie or a concert, throwing a fancy birthday party—were rare because money and time were at a premium. Basically, money was tight. Read more…
by Denene Millner
Oh baby! The numbers of African American mothers breastfeeding is on the rise and more black mothers are forgoing formula for the breast for longer periods—a push that is narrowing gaps in breastfeeding rates between black women and other ethnicities.
A report released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control says the proportion of black mothers who started breastfeeding jumped from 47.7 percent in 2000 to 58.9 in 2008. Similarly, the proportion of black moms who were still breastfeeding after six months rose almost 15 percent—up to 30.1 percent in 2008 from 16.9 percent in 2000.
And though black breastfeeding rates continue to lag behind white and Hispanic moms—they reported breastfeeding their infants 75 percent and 80 percent respectively—the gap in breastfeeding rates between black women and white women narrowed from 24 percentage points in 2000 to 16 percentage points in 2008. Read more…
by Denene Millner
African American and Hispanic children have seen a jump in their diagnosis rates for Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder—a trend that comes as more psychiatrists are prescribing antipsychotic drugs some researchers argue haven’t been proven to accurately treat ADHD.
A recent study by Kaiser Permanente found that the overall rate of ADHD diagnoses for children increased 24 percent, from 2.5 precent in 2001 to 3.1 percent in 2010. But when broken down by race and ethnicity, black children saw a 70 percent increase in ADHD diagnosis over that nine-year period, while Hispanic children saw a 60 percent increase.
Darios Gatahun, a researcher and author of the study, says diagnosis rates could have increased because parents and physicians are more aware of the disorder and have increased access to preventative health screenings and treatment. Some experts argue that this is a step in the right direction because it means more children with the neurobehavioral disorder are likely to be treated, reducing their chances for missing school, becoming injured or having difficulty learning. Read more…
By Torrence Stephens
The Florida State Board of Education recently passed a plan that sets goals for students in math and reading; however it is based upon their race. The revised strategic plan passed by the board states that says that by 2018, it wants 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white students, and 74percent of black students to be reading at or above grade level. For math, the goals are 92 percent of Asian kids to be proficient, whites at 86 percent, and blacks at 74 percent.
By Torrance Stephens
The impact and history of racial segregation in America is well documented. It has moved in theory from the 1896, the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case that determined that “separate but equal” was constitutional, to the 1954 landmark Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education, in which the Supreme Court overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson and ruled that segregation was “inherently unequal.” Although segregation is no longer the law, it is still a very real part of America, in particular in education where the Brown v. Board of Education decision was supposed to obviate such practices.
A new study based on a new analysis of Department of Education data shows that whites are still largely concentrated in schools with other whites and that black and Latino students tend to be in class rooms mostly with other black and Latinos. The report was authored by Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles. Orefield suggest that “Extreme segregation is becoming more common” in America.
By NICK CHILES
A widely reported study out of the University of Houston, claiming that there is no added academic benefit for black students when they have black teachers, severely misses the point. As any black parent who has had a few years of experience in American schools can tell you, it’s the quality of the teacher, not the teacher’s skin color, that is the critical issue affecting student achievement. We all want GOOD teachers for our kids, not necessarily black teachers.
But there is a further point to be made here. I believe that when a black teacher is really good, which means she has the ability to get your child to see herself differently, to believe in herself, to start looking at the world in a different way, it can have an even deeper impact on a black child than with a white teacher who is equally good. It’s sort of like finding a love partner of a different race—of course a white woman can be just as good a partner to me as a black woman, but all things being equal, I don’t think a white woman will ever be able to understand me and all the cultural, historical, psychological and emotional issues that are lodged deep in my psyche, carried in my blood, the way a black woman would. I think the same is true of good teachers. Read more…
By Denene Millner
Our country, settled by white Europeans and riddled with the troubled racial legacy of slavery, bitter civil rights battles and an awful anti-immigration stance, has reached a new milestone for the first time in its 235-year-old history: White births in the United States are no longer in the majority.
According to US Census Bureau data, Black, Hispanic, Asian and mixed-race births accounted for 50.4% of births over a 12-month period to July 2011, marking a majority for the first time in US history. Whites still remain the majority of the population as a whole—with 63.4 percent of the population identifying as White—and Whites still maintain the largest single share of total births, at 49.6 percent. But the growth of the Hispanic population is chipping into the majority status of White births—a trend expected to continue as Hispanics, whose population sit “squarely within their peak fertility,” continues to rise, Pew Hispanic Center demographer Jeffrey Passel told the New York Times.
The tipping point represents a “transformation from a mostly white baby boomer culture to the more globalised multi-ethnic country that we are becoming,” William Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer, told the New York Times. Read more…
By Torrance Stephens
By BIG CED
This is what’s troubling about recent reports about the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case. Let’s just say that Zimmerman is correct in that Trayvon was bashing his head into the ground. According to the 911 call Zimmerman made, he was told to NOT pursue Trayvon, yet he did, so, in theory, if he had listened to the caller, more than likely, no incident happens that night. BUT, he did pursue Trayvon. Why isn’t Trayvon afforded the same right, according to the ‘stand your ground’ law that Zimmerman chooses to use as his defense? Even IF Trayvon was whipping his ass, doesn’t Trayvon have the right to stand his ground? Zimmerman is following him, which immediately puts Trayvon in a defensive stance, common sense tells you that. But let me state that I do NOT believe Zimmerman’s version of what transpired, BUT, even IF it happened that way, he is STILL the aggressor in this situation. Of course, we will NEVER know…. Read more…
By NICK CHILES
In Chicago, where a white teacher got suspended because he tried to have a classroom discussion about the n-word, it appears that all common sense has flown out the window. I know that the n-word is still the third rail of public discourse, but that doesn’t mean we should get all goofy and silly whenever that word creeps into a cross-racial conversation.
It’s clear that the Chicago teacher, Lincoln Brown, was seizing what we call a “teachable moment” and using it as an opportunity to break down the history and etymology of this horrific word to his predominantly black sixth-grade class. Any parent should be quite familiar with the idea of the teachable moment because they come up all the time when we are with our children—if we’re willing to acknowledge them. Read more…
I always feel inspired and elated, but also challenged and chagrined, at some of the celebrations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. There are those, too many folks, who want to sanitize Dr. King and turn him into a dreamer. Too many only quote the part of his “I have a dream” speech that talks about character content and skin color. Too few remember that in the same speech he said, “We have come to the nation’s capital to cash a check, and the check has been marked insufficient funds.” Dr. King was an economic populist, an anti-war activist, as well as a classically trained theologian. Too many put emphasis on the latter, without acknowledging the former.
That’s why each year, I am excited to receive the State of the Dream report from United for a Fair Economy. This organization does great work in talking about the wealth gap, and their annual foray into exploring the dream has looked at joblessness, homelessness, and austerity. Last year their report shared facts on the relative pay that people of color earn in the public and the private sector and concluded that austerity programs that cut government jobs disproportionately affect people of color. Read more…
BLACK ARTIST USES INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCES TO CREATE “OLE SKOOL EBONY ART”
— Timothy Giles has spent time in more than 30 countries in Africa, and is using his experiences to create unique artwork in the form of originals, prints and greeting cards. —
Timothy Giles, artist, author and entrepreneur
Nationwide(BlackNews.com) — Timothy “Tim” Giles grew up in Suffolk, Virginia where he chose to illustrate many of his life experiences through his art. Tim’s mother was his role model who always provided the best love, guidance and direction that any single parent household would want. His mother stressed two things to him when growing up; education and actualizing the hope of brothers and sisters who paved the way before him. Success, she told him, was as relevant as the work that you give back to the community. The quote that she instilled in all her children was “a closed fist can neither receive nor give.”
Tim often gives accolades to his mother because she has always been a very strong African American woman and an encouraging and supportive mother. His mother saw something very special in him, specifically in his love for drawing. To encourage him, she provided him with his first paint by numbers set which sparked his passion to pursue art! With no formal training, Tim is a self-taught artist. Read more…
by Dr. Julianne Malveaux, President – Bennett College for Women
November is diabetes awareness moth, and World Diabetes day is heldon November 14 each year. The day aims to increase awareness about diabetes and its complications, and focuses on the need for more resources to fight the causes of diabetes and help fund research about improved treatment options, or even cures. The International Diabetes Federation predicts that by 2030 there will be as many as 552 million diabetics in the world. Presently, nearly 68 percent of all Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes.
Diabetes doesn’t visit every community equally. While 7.1 percent of all white Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, 8.4 percent of Asian Americans, 11.6 percent of Hispanics and 12.6 percent of African Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes. Among Hispanics, more than 13 percent Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans have been diagnosed with diabetes. In total, nearly 26 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes. Read more…
by Yvette Carnell
In a meeting with over 100 community leaders at the White House on Wednesday, President Obama urged the mostly African American group to “stay unified”. Unity implies that both Obama and black voters have been on the same page, speaking with one unified voice, up until now. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Until recently, President Obama had been evading African Americans and our respective surrogates in an effort to prove to the most puritanical segment of the white electorate that he’s no nigger lover, and no nigger favorer, and certainly no nigger indulger. Now, with the 2012 campaign in full swing, he’s trying to pretend that all along, we misunderstood him. Whatever.
Anyway, I’m not going to try to convince you why you should or shouldn’t vote for Obama in 2012 because chances are, your mind is already made up. So, it’s really beside the point now isn’t it? But it is important that African Americans use Obama’s Presidency as an opportunity for learning to interpret the lexicon of power; how it builds, then permeates, and then shows its face. Read more…
So I wake up Saturday morning to this New York Times piece, Tackling Infant Mortality Rates Among Blacks, and by story’s end, I’m heated. I mean, I’m glad the Times did the story; the more attention drawn to the fact that 13.3 black babies out of 1,000 die every year—almost double the national average and higher than Sri Lanka (!)—the more chance that someone will actually figure out why tens of thousands of African American children die before age 1. But this story had problems.
My beef? While the story rings the alarm on the “quiet crisis” that lacks “the public discussion or high-profile campaigns that accompany cancer, autism or postpartum depression,” as usual, it falls right into the trap of completely devaluing the complexity of the problem by stereotyping black mothers. Witness the subject the Times story highlights: A poor, uneducated, 20-year-old pregnant black woman from Pittsburgh who the reporter suggests had to be talked into actually wanting her baby, and has so little self-control or pre-natal intellect that she’s spent the last seven months gorging on chips, soda, tacos and her “mama’s cooking,” gaining 50 unhealthy pounds that could put her baby at risk. Her baby has a chance of surviving only because of Healthy Start, a nonprofit group that, despite scant federal and absolutely no local financial support, manages to give in-home pre-natal care to moms-to-be who qualify for and need their services. Read more…
By Denene Millner
Me: Mommy? We learned about periods in health class today. The teacher said we should get this kit. It comes with books and pads and stuff.
My mom: Okay.
Uh, huh. That was the end of the conversation. She ordered the kit for me — it came with three books about puberty and an assortment of pads and tampons — and when it arrived, she handed it to me and we never talked about periods again. I was 13 when I finally got mine; I was at my uncle’s house on a weekend visit, and spent half of Saturday and most of Sunday with wads of toilet tissue stuffed in my panties, too embarrassed to ask my uncle for help, and later, too embarrassed to tell my mother about it. My mom didn’t find out, either, until after she realized I’d used up all the pads in my kit.
She was hurt. I could tell from the look in her eyes. Read more…
By Dr. Boyce
I recently read about a “study” that was conducted by bestblackdatingsites.org that seemed to get the attention of quite a few readers. In this “study” (and I keep using this term loosely for obvious reasons), it was determined that there are only three qualified black men for every 100 black women. The study uses the following criteria to determine if a black man is worthy of having a mate:
1) He is heterosexual
2) Is interested in black women
3) Has a high school diploma
4) Earns over $30,000 per year
5) Is not obese
6) Does not have kids with another woman Read more…
SEVENTH ANNUAL AFRICAN AMERICAN PROSTATE CANCER DISPARITY SUMMIT TO MOBILIZE PROSTATE CANCER SURVIVORS, MEDICAL, INDUSTRY, POLITICAL AND COMMUNITY LEADERS
— Summit takes Place September 22- 23 at U.S. Capitol and Washington Convention Center —
Congressman Gregory Meeks (left) with PHEN President, Thomas Farrington
Boston, MA(BlackNews.com) — The Prostate Health Education Network, Inc. (PHEN) announced today that it will host its “Seventh Annual African American Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit” in Washington, DC from September 22- 23, 2011, at the U.S. Capitol and Washington Convention Center, respectively. The Summit is FREE and open to the public. Read more…
When members of the black community accuse the Obama White House of behaving disrespectfully toward the black community, this is what they mean:
“Is President Obama finally ready to bite back and throw down with black leaders who have ridden him nonstop for the past few months for his lack of attention to black America? Politico quoted an Obama insider as saying, “The whole thing is bull-[bleep] … We have met with [black leaders] more than any other group and we are increasing our outreach.”
If the mere injection of the African American community into a conversation prompts you to use swear words, then not only are you unsympathetic to the needs of the African American community, you’re openly combative. Read more…
by Candice Rigdon of The Frizzness
My coils are weeping a bit.
Long story short my mane had it’s feelings hurt the other night whilst watching the reality show “Dance Moms.” In this particular eppy, the “instructor” Ms. Abby dressed little African-American cutie Nia (age 10, not pictured) in a leopard print jumpsuit with a curly afro, giving her an “ethnic” dance solo to “They Call Me LaQueefa.” (I’d never heard of the song, & don’t care to again. For real; my ears itched after hearing it). Nia’s mother Holly went slap off, saying over & over again she didn’t want her little girl wearing a “stereotypical, 70’s afro” & dancing to that music because it was not her black experience. Not to mention, the other girls happened to have solos potraying angels in beautiful costumes & such. Holly exclaiming to the other mommies that Ms. Abby “might as well have my baby picking cotton w/an Aunt Jemima wig on” was like rusty nails being snatched through my kinks. OUCH.
African Americans have every reason to be suspicious of white people adopting black babies. From slavery to unethical medical experimentation to Jim Crow laws and more, history demonstrates that white people haven’t always been very kind to people of color, to say the least. As an English teacher, I read many books, and I can recall the numerous titles that talked about whites using slave children as entertainment at dinner parties while the children’s black parents looked on, powerless to stop the disgusting circus, knowing that at any moment, their kids could be sold to the highest bidder, stripped forever from their biological parents.
By RACHEL GARLINGHOUSE
A few months ago, I found myself in a state of panic.
I am the proud mother of two baby girls, both of whom came into our family through domestic, transracial, open adoption. My husband and I are white, our daughters are black. Read more…
Black is a powerful word. More than a color, it represents an entire race of people. While some may prefer African American, Afro Cuban, Afrocentric or whatever variation that applies, when someone says “Black” (with a capital B) you generally know what they mean. That’s why I was taken aback when this man looked me in my eye and said, “I’m not Black.”
Despite having the same pigmentation as myself, he was adamant about expressing his Spanish heritage. He was Panamanian and proud. Being called “Black” was somehow an insult to everything that he was. Be that as it may, looking at him all I saw was another Black man like myself. I never paid attention to his last name, which I later discovered had Spanish roots, because for all I knew it could have just as well been Haitian. Even that was “too Black” for him. Read more…