Why are Black Men Failing in School While Black Female Achievement is at a Record High? : ThyBlackMan

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Why are Black Men Failing in School While Black Female Achievement is at a Record High?

July 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Education, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Black women are currently attending universities at historically high rates.  While such achievements must be applauded, it brings to light a blaring inconsistency between the level of black male achievement to black female achievement from the same socio-economic backgrounds.  Why are black women attending universities at historic highs while their male counterparts are both attending university at historic lows, since integration, and graduating at rates of 2/3 the graduation rate of black women?

Admittedly, the trend in black female achievement aligns with female educational success across the states with women now attending universities at a higher rate than men.  Graduation rates for women as a whole are also statistically greater than graduation rates of men as whole.  However, it is the degree of difference between the genders in the African American community compared to other ethnic communities that areAfrican American father helping son with homework truly startling.

One explanation for these discrepancies is a difference of socialization, even within the same home environments.  Over half of African American homes are single mother led households.  As a result, many black men lack male role models within their household.  While at the same time, the sisters of these same men grow up under a matriarch that whether by circumstance or choice, practice self-sufficiency.  While black males and females may arise from the same households and socioeconomic classes, the way they view their gender roles vis a vis society and vis a vis each other are affected by the presence of their or lack there of gender specific parental role model.

In addition to not having black male role models in the home, black male role models are also lacking within the educational environment with less than two percent of educators being both black and male.  Without black male role models in the home and in schools, black men often resort to seeking out black male role models as represented by popular media, many of whom occupy admirable social positions not as a result of education but as a result of another sort of prowess, such as athletic or musical ability.

Taking cues from their role models or peer group, education becomes a non-priority in the minds of many black men.  The difference between the role of education in the lives of the different genders is further seen to be representative of the gender differences.  Consequently, educational attainment is seen as girly or feminine, and the exact opposite of the black masculine ideal.  The system that originally derives from a lack of black male role models that prioritize education becomes perpetuated by gender stereotyping, an influence which is especially strong throughout the black community.

Staff Writer;  Jeremy Bamidele

This young brother is a former faculty member at Rancho Santiago Community College in California and currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he is completing Graduate School at the University of Pennsylvania.  He can be reached at jbami@sas.upenn.edu.



7 Responses to “Why are Black Men Failing in School While Black Female Achievement is at a Record High?”
  1. lynn oliver says:

    There will be a very few Males from more stable, supported environments, but mostly from more middle class, educated environments who will have sufficient stability from home; sufficient knowledge and skills given from a young age; and perhaps even some more lower environments with sufficient support, isolation from the stressed community peers, others; along with more nurturing from a more slowly developed family. *However, this only occurs for boys in very rare circumstances, where boys succeed “academically” in college when coming from very lower working class areas with more time in those environments. This is because there is usually much more aggressive treatment from one or more family members; peers; teachers; others; along with much less kind, stable, mental, emotional support and less verbal interaction for fear of coddling. This type of treatment for Male children is much much more the norm for boys in lower, working class communities. This is why it is so much more difficult for boys from lower working class areas.

    As girls, even in lower, working class areas, we benefit from a kind of double sided catharsis of stress in care from others. Instead of more aggressive treatment, we are given more kind, caring, verbal interaction, and protection by parents, family, peers, teachers, others. We are given love and honor simply for being girls, later women. Our families may not have as much knowledge,but over time, our generations of girls have moved upward from this very differential treatment, from family to later families over time with more education, knowledge, skills, and have continually moved upward. We are benefiting from much differential treatment over our Male peers over time. http://learningtheory.homestead.com

  2. lynn oliver says:

    Okay, this is the problem: The belief boys should be strong is still with us in the information age. This problem also exists in higher socioeconomic areas, just to a smaller degree. The book Psychology of Sex Differences says – boys are treated slightly more aggressive as early as nine months. – Now, this increases as boys grow. Boys are given more aggressive treatment by parents, teachers, and peers to make them tough and just allowed by society. They are also not given kind, stable, verbal interaction, and other mental/emotional supports for fear of coddling (really not given more correct treatment). This combines to create more activity for stress relief (not genetic); higher average stress or higher layers of mental work that are maintained that take up real mental energy (stress correctly defined is many maintained, layers of mental work that take up real mental energy, leaving less mental energy to think, learn, “and have motivation to learn” – mental reward received for mental work expended. This also creates more social/emotional distance/distrust of others adults/teachers. The lack of communication over time creates lower social vocabulary and experience with communication. This combines with higher average stress to hurt both reading (requiring lower average stress/high social vocabulary) and writing (higher muscle tension from higher average stress creates tighter grip and more pressure on pencil) creating poor handwriting and less motivation (more mental/physical work, more fatigue. Boys are also given love and honor only on condition of some achievement. This was designed to keep boys/men esteem low, so they would keep trying and even given their lives for ounces of love and honor. Boys not achieving are given more ridicule and discipline to make them try harder. Support is not used due to both our false genetic models (environment not a factor) and fear of coddling. Those boys are then poorly prepared and poorly supported for school and the information age. Many then turn to sports, video games, etc. for ounces of love and honor not received in the classroom. The lower the socioeconomic bracket, the much more amplified this differential treatment and so the much wider gap in achievement.
    Since we as girls by differential treatment are given much more positive, continual, mental, emotional/social support verbal interaction and care from an early age onward this creates quite the opposite outcome for girls compared with boys. We enjoy much more continuous care and support from infancy through adulthood and receive love and honor simply for being girls. This creates all of the good things: lower average stress for more ease of learning. We do enjoy much freedom of expression from much protection that makes us look less stable at times. Of course we can also use that same freedom of expression to give verbal, silent abuse, and hollow kindness/patronization to our Male peers with impunity knowing we are protected. We enjoy lower muscle tension for better handwriting/motivation; higher social vocabulary; lower average stress for reading/motivation; much more positive, trust/communication with adults, teachers, peers; and much more support for perceived weaknesses. We are reaping a bonanza in the information age. The lower the socioeconomic bracket and time in that bracket the more amplified the differential treatment from a young age and increased and more differentiated over time. Now with girls and women taking over many areas of society, we are enjoying even more lavishing of love and honor, while boys and men are still treated to be tough are failing more and so are being given even more ridicule and abuse by society and yes, also by girls and women. My learning theory and article on the Male Crisis will go to all on request or can be read from my home site at http://learningtheory.homestead.com/Theory.html

  3. lewis orr says:

    What you can’t do is blame someone else for your short comings, look at the Black slaves, who invented almost everything in America with little to no education and had it’d all stolen and whitewashed. They seldom knew their fathers. Just today people are nonchalant and just don’t have the fortitude they had a couple of generations ago when there were men like Mohamad Ali.

  4. Ty Rone says:

    BM are failing cause their fathers and grandfathers dropped the ball that’s it. funny when yall can’t blame BW sound of crickets. conquered, lost. but keep on fooling yourself that everybody wants a bm.

  5. toomanygrandkids says:

    First, let me say that there’s a significant number of young black males attending and graduating college. I have to give credit where credit is due: These young males indeed make a difference in their lives and others. They deserve so much credit for excelling in academics. I wish them all the blessing that may fall upon them.

    As far as the young black males who could care less about education. It is what it is. It’s not meant for every black male to be educated or even like school. If they don’t have the mindset to sit in a classroom, then they just don’t. Learning anything is corny, boring, and a waste of time. So why would they waste their time on doing something that doesn’t appeal to them. What appeals to them is making quick, fast cash and running the streets.

  6. Lewis Orr says:

    The number one reason is, Black boys sole interest is in playing pro sports (basketball) or being a rich rapper, neither of which is attainable for the majority of Black boys. Most Black girls interest isn’t in any unattainable goals.

  7. Al Davis says:


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