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[Xmca-l] Re: Black Underachievement, etc.

In the county where I live academic achievement and culture are very strongly connected.
If one is in the dominant culture and good at mathematics, then the world is your oyster!
If you are in the dominant culture and in humanities, your star will not rise when you are very young.
Your time will come a few years later, when you have wisdom and maturity and achievement.  
The rewards for attaining high rank in admin. are high.
Where is this?  Who are the ostracized, the marginalized, the neglected?

So the other conversation about your article: culturally integrative and benign evolution versus cataclysmic and adversative, is true in any country or for any people or tribe who live in a dialectic relationship with a dominant culture.  Either the dominant culture learns to value and reward achievement and offer complete membership or it invites revolution.  We see this being played out on the world stage before our eyes.  There is message for the USA who has overwhelming elected a black president by popular election, yet despite that blacks are still not free, nor are the Hispanics, First Nation peoples, and other important groups.  I apologize for a very short note in reply to such a nuanced and vital discussion, but General Systems Theory and William Blake take the microcosm  (the street sweeper) and the global and universal (One law for the lion and ox is oppression) to be a conversation of the individual in the universe and a vast dialectic between (example) The Law and The Creative.

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2013 3:02 AM
To: White, Phillip; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Black Underachievement, etc.

Phillip I agree with you.  However, I think ogbu's cultural ecological approach under analyze the relationship between black social roles in the society and black academic underachievement. ..that is the fundamental gist of our argument.  

Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.

-------- Original message --------
From: "White, Phillip" <Phillip.White@ucdenver.edu>
Date: 11/05/2013  11:57 AM  (GMT-05:00) 
To: "Dr. Paul C. Mocombe" <pmocombe@mocombeian.com>,"eXtended Mind,	Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> 
Subject: RE: [Xmca-l] Re: Black Underachievement, etc. 
Paul - i enjoyed reading your essay - the considerations within it coincide with my own questions regarding the construction of educational experience for minority students of color that is culturally affirmative and supports student academic success.  often i find myself overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of the work and being mindful of the myriad of pressing concerns and anxieties.

your initial citations of John Ogbu's work took me back to his last book,  Black American Students in an Affluent Suburb: A Study of Academic Disengagement (2003), which i found to be a fascinating ethnography and deeply rewarding study.  i think that Ogbu's work done in shaker heights, a suburb of cleveland, ohio, offers a far more nuanced examination and theoretical understanding of the whys of the lack of academic success of black american students, than you give him credit for.

Ogbu used a cultural-ecological theory to examine multiple related closely connection factors affecting black student academic success and engagement.  he looked at the history of american institutions and racism, minority responses to that treatment, as well as black student beliefs and actions in relationship to schools, ways of identity construction and how students, faculty, administration and parents explained their interactions.

i'm not going to go through the book, but i think that it's important that Ogbu does not use just a oppositional culture hypothesis. 

certainly Ogbu calls for greater degrees of trust between our black american community and our thus-far white mainstream oriented educational community.  that's certainly a tough call - and i think that the extreme difficulty of the engendering trust demonstrates all the more its necessity.

Ogbu did have policy suggestions: school choice; performance contracts for teachers and merit pay; cooperative learning as a necessary component of classroom learning activities; culturally responsive pedagogy.

i do think that Ogbu would support your findings that "underachievement ... is a mismatch of linguistic structure and social-class function", which you directly attribute to the capitalist social structure of class inequality.  which is true, i think, but too deterministic.  too cause and effect.  for all human social organizations are congeries of inequalities - such is the human condition.  

more importantly, i'm greatly interested in your research results demonstrating a narrowing of the achievement gap between our various racially designated groups of students.


Phillip White, PhD
Urban Community Teacher Education Program Site Coordinator Montview Elementary, Aurora, CO phillip.white@ucdenver.edu or pawhite@aps.k12.co.us