Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lest We Pile On Too Much: What are Black Academics Doing to Help Poor Black Kids?

I try to engage in a bit of critical self-reflection whenever possible.

Gene Marks' exercise in white privilege and Internet trolling has been thoroughly demolished for its lazy thinking, arrogance, and deficit of empathy. But, in reading all of the rebuttals to the essay, I have been forced to ask myself a hard question: while it is easy to throw rocks at the town jester for his foibles, are those who are taking Gene Marks to the woodshed any better than he?

For example, I always try to reach out to first generation, low income students once they are in my classes. I have also devoted considerable professional time to grant funded programs which are tasked with improving the post-secondary and graduate school enrollment rates for first generation, low income, and under-represented students. But, is that enough?

The documentary Ebony Towers is a helpful entry point for this conversation. It deftly highlights the struggles to racially integrate colleges and universities in both the U.K. and the United States. While Ebony Towers does not sufficiently play up the role of organizations like the Ford Foundation in establishing Black Studies (a move that was part of a broader plan to deradicalize the remnants of the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1960s and 1970s), it is however quite sharp in highlighting how access to education has historically been a political act for black Americans.

While "Blackademics" and others are hating on Gene Marks for his piss poor article, what are they/we doing to improve the educational and professional opportunities for poor people of color in this country?

Yes, looking in the mirror can be hard; but, it ought not to be avoided for that reason.


Plane Ideas said...

Good post and I agree we should never accept from Black educators or any other Black professionals low expectations and less than stellar efforts..

With regard to piling on of bigots like Gene Marks and others of his ilk...I never conduct an inventory nor measure how I defeat and reject white racism etc..

Anonymous said...

Good question. I am not in academics but what I would like to see is for us to pull within our own communities. Set the bibles down, pick up the books, stop letting our talents be bought out and sold back to us or a profit. Make it impossible for riff raff to thrive in our communities. Sadly, too many of those who are capable of doing anything about it are busy doing as they have done since the time of slavery. Sitting back with the massa, sipping lemonade, shaking their heads and pointing out the flaws.

CNu said...

CDV - If you don't traverse my cross-pollination path, you might've missed my recent angry fist-waving at Prof. Spence. (Why any of y'all lionize that buster Dyson is mystifying to me - what an oxygen thief) I need to apologize to the brother because by the tail-end of that thread, the tequila is commenting more than I am.

Anyway, the Hon.Bro.Prof showcased a project in political cultural production he's put together in Baltimore. I like it. I like it as much for the sharing of its how-to particulars as for its aims.

You know what might be cool as the bottom of the pillow? A clearinghouse which showcases various and sundry local, grass-roots afrodemic projects and serves as a clearing-house for collaboration, cooperation, and knowledge and information sharing across institutions, localities and constituencies.

I'd be willing to set something like that up in Google Apps for Education if I could identify a quorum of doers.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote] what are they/we doing to improve the educational and professional opportunities for poor people of color in this country?[/quote]

My dear friend Chauncey DeVega,
What's up brother Thrasher!!!
And you too KCNu:

When you ask "What are they doing (now)..........." why does it seem that you are not willing to note the fact that TO-DAMNED-DAY the Black community is living in the "solution set" that Progressive-Fundamentalist visionaries like Bayard Rustin had prescribed for us 50 years ago about this day we presently live?

For your argument (or indictment) against these others who you inspect to be credible it is necessary for everyone to look past that which was done in the name of "Black Community Progress" over the past 50 years.

The SCHOOLS that you speak of - these institutions that were supposed to "take in Negroes with unsculpled minds" and then produce refined, progressive gentlemen like the 3 of you - are by your own admission falling woefully short of their important mission.


Who got banished from our protected zone for this malfeasance?

Most importantly, Mr Thrasher - WHAT EVIDENCE can you produce that there is now rampart erected around our "community consciousness nucleus" to ensure that our jewels will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER again be subject to such usurpation?

The irony of SEEKING EQUAL TREATMENT for Black people by certain forces that don't see our own people as EQUAL HUMAN BEINGS, competent of carrying a certain amount of burden upon our consciousness shoulders that the CARETAKING from the outside can never furnish is the irony that damns us.

Why is it not possible to create SOCIAL JUSTICE inside of the various "Martin Luther King Jr High Schools" or "Frederick Douglass Middle School", Mr DeVega?

Is it possible that social justice is NOT an end state that you seek WITHIN YOUR OWN QUARTERS but is merely an INDICTMENT that you seek to compel your larger enemy to yield to?

Indeed there is a COST for your antics as seen on this blog sir.
Not recognizing this cost does not make it any less substantial.


Plane Ideas said...


Then make it happen..Why do you need anyone's permission??

Amazing you finally leave the dark side but still cling to it..WTF

BTW despite our differences yor idea is great and count me in as one of the doers in your quorom!!

Plane Ideas said...


So now we are brothers?? You have attacked me and comiited all manner of chatter class abuses directed at me including posting up websites in my regard..WTF

You know where to find me..