Teachers who look like themselves

I recently got into a heated debate about the importance of having “people of color” as teachers. My opponent, a relative of mine  and a school teacher, claimed that it’s a well-known fact that black students do better with black teachers, and Hispanic students with Hispanic teachers. He became exasperated when I challenged this – but he did look up a study or two that seemed to support this claim.
He mentioned how one of his Hispanic students, upon being assigned a Hispanic teacher, expressed his joy at having a member of his own ethnic group as a teacher.  My relative’s take on this was that having teachers who “look like themselves” helps students of color overcome their default attitude that they’re destined for failure. Seeing black/Hispanic teachers is a living reminder that they, too, can succeed.
I challenged his assertion because it just so happens that the teacher who most inspired me in high school was black. He taught geography so well that I gained the ability to draw a map of the world by memory, and I even gave him a gift to show my gratitude. It was a crude medal made of coins from around the world; I had collected coins as a child. If he’s still alive, I’m certain he still has it.
I also brought up Yo Yo Ma, the famous musician, born in France and of Chinese parentage. I’m fairly certain that he had no Asian school teachers as a child, his main role model being his father. Though he’s Asian, he seems to have had no issues with “culturally appropriating” classical European music, and making it his own.
My relative countered that children of “privileged upbringing” don’t count. Only the children of downtrodden minorities need role models who “look like themselves.” I suppose the lack of fathers is one factor that makes so many American blacks “downtrodden.”
Since our discussion, I’ve given the matter much thought, and I’m willing to concede the likelihood that children learn better, all else being equal, from teachers who “look like themselves.”
However, I do not accept his assertion that the reason for this is that black/Hispanic students suffer from low self-esteem. It’s well-established that blacks have higher self-esteem than do whites.
One of my objections to his point of view is that this may well be a self-fulfilling prophesy so to speak. Schools, government and the media put a lot of effort into building ethnic consciousness, and pride, among non-whites. From Dora the Explorer to Black History Month, students are bombarded with the message that their particular ethnic group is an essential part of their identity. If kids were not constantly reminded that they are “Hispanic students” or “African American students” or “Asian students,” perhaps they would simply view themselves as “students” – and then there would be little need for race-specific role models. They would then be free, like Yo Yo Ma, to have role models from any background, and learn the best from anybody.
Instead of interpreting the “teachers who look like themselves” phenomenon as evidence that “students of color” are disadvantaged, we could just as easily interpret it as evidence that ethnicity and race are overemphasized in our schools, and by the media.
When I attended ghetto schools, back in the 70s, we were inventoried by race. I remember our gym teacher going through each of his pupils, clipboard in hand, and marking us off: Black, black, black, black, Mexican, Mexican, white, black, black… And then he got to me, and asked me “what are YOU?” I told him I was just a regular American. He looked confused, and asked if I wasn’t Mexican. When I gave no more information, he just shrugged his shoulders and marked something on the clipboard. Yes, we were inventoried, as if we were products on the shelf. I’m fairly certain that this state of affairs has gotten even worse over time, especially with the “No Child Left Behind” act. Schools are required to racially inventory their students. What kind of message does this send to the kids? That they wear their ethnicity like some sort of barcode on their foreheads. Is it any wonder, then, that they learn better from teachers of their own group?
What if we were all the same, except for eye-color. If some of us have brown eyes, while others had blue eyes – and the entire educational system, and media, identified us as either “brown-eyed” or “blue-eyed.” Studies would then show that blue-eyed kids learn better from blue-eyed teachers, and brown-eyed kids learn better from brown-eyed teachers. This would be the criterion for in-group and out-group.
Of course, race has far more significance that eye-color. Recognition of racial differences appears to be built into our psyche. Most likely, this is for our own safety; recognizing your own people could mean the difference between life and death. People care for their own families more than they care for strangers, and one’s race is one’s super-extended family. By giving preference to your own race, you’re actually protecting your own genes.
While the jury is still out when it comes to the benefits of having “teachers who look like themselves,” most of the concern focuses on “students of color.” Nobody seems to care about white students, and I took my relative to task for this. For all the concern about black/Hispanic students in school, I’d like to see some concern for white students. Does their academic performance suffer when they’re forcefully integrated with blacks and Hispanics? What about their safety? The silence of academia speaks to their neglect, neigh, their hatred toward whites as a group.
If black and Hispanic students benefit more from having teachers who “look like themselves,” perhaps it has nothing to do with their own so-called “marginalization,” but with the fact that the default condition of humanity is to learn better from those who “look like themselves” – but since white students are taught, almost from birth, that they’re not allowed to have a white group identity (this would be “hate” and “racism”), their natural inclinations are suppressed. At the same time, the preference for teachers who “look like themselves” is exaggerated among “students of color.”
To assume that the reason “students of color” benefit more from same-race role models is that they’re “marginalized,” while white/Asian students are “privileged” is a clear sign of prejudice and dogma not of any scientific analysis.
What if we eliminate the dogma, or at least most of it. What if we examine whether boys learn better from male teachers, and girls from female teachers? Unlike white students, the Establishment actually does care, somewhat, about boys as a group, and it’s not hard to find studies, in mainstream publications, that show how boys do better when their teachers are male. This is not considered controversial. If it were, then USA Today, for example, would not have published it.
We might also examine the situation in parts of the world where race and ethnicity are not national obsessions. I’m not aware of such studies, but I did ask a couple of my coworkers, one from Kenya, and another from Iraqi Kurdistan, whether the skin-color of their teachers would have made a difference for them when they were growing up. The Kenyan told me of a Zimbabwean teacher who was black as coal, but his speech, and mannerisms were very British. He said the students couldn’t relate to him. His appearance made no difference to them, but his speech and mannerisms did. The Iraqi Kurd told me that some of his teachers were Arabs, and their Arabic-accented Kurdish was a distraction. There was some animosity due to the fact that they represented an oppressive regime, but their sometimes darker skin made no difference to the students. Of course all this is highly anecdotal, but it does have the virtue of complying with common sense: If adults don’t make a big fuss over the racial/ethnic affiliations of students and their teachers, then neither will the kids.
The Left Establishment DOES make a big over it, so it would be surprising if students didn’t do so as well.

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14 Responses to Teachers who look like themselves

  1. Phil says:

    My belief is that perhaps it isn’t that a White teacher can’t or shouldn’t teach students of color, but rather that there are requirements that a teacher should possess that are necessary to teach a class of a certain ethnicity. Robert Lindsay has written an article of when he worked as an sub in the Ghetto and while the class was Pandemonium when he was teaching an Black teacher whose been working there longer managed to shut them up without trouble according to him.
    So I think there is a correlation with race but an even bigger one with mannerisms of the class and teacher capability.

    • Phil says:

      I also had a white media teacher (female) who actually taught Blood and Crips who they learned to really respect and at the end of the year they each gave a her a bandana. She was sort of white trash but cool and smart.

  2. Yes, fat kids need fat teachers. Boys certainly need boy teachers. Oh no, boys are also privileged, does not count.
    We have a thing called scientific method. These things are solved by scientific method.
    You make this hypothesis and test it: black kids get better school results with black teachers. Verfied by objective testing like PISA or SAT.
    It probably has been done, and probably the result was not to the PC establishment’s liking, this is why it is not mentioned. Also, is that not an argument for apartheid?? The horror!
    Segregation+Apartheid, German police chiefs suggests!
    Why do they bus black kids to white schools with white teachers then? Stay in your ghetto school with low qualified black teachers, then.
    It is also quite likely that black teachers favor black students and thus cause more success.

    • Phil says:

      “It is also quite likely that black teachers favor black students and thus cause more success.”
      That sounds like it makes sense with the logic of Males doing better in male only environments, but it actually seems very unrealistic that Black teachers, good ones anyway, would actually PREFER black students. However I do think that the reverse, Black students wanting Black teachers, would be a likely hypothesis.

  3. Thanks for the link from USA today about same gender teachers.
    Here we have a good example how PC people think their unqualified opinion and comments trump statistical research. And how one lone anecdotal example of the desired kind cancels research data of the undesired result
    Greenberger said she found Dee’s conclusions to be questionable and inconsistent. More broadly, she said, boys and girls benefit by having male and female teachers as role models.
    “I don’t think there are many parents or students, looking back over their educational careers, who haven’t been inspired by a teacher of the opposite sex,” she said.
    “And many have had very unhappy experiences with teachers of the same gender that they are. We have to be careful of too many generalizations,” Greenberger said.

  4. missattempts says:

    How about black students who really care about learning, who are malinged as
    “Poindexters,” and “sell outs.” In some communities, blacks have to have 3X the
    determination plus a lot of luck, just to make it through the school system REGARDLESS
    the race of the teachers. Besides, many white teachers are now afraid to come in to
    black communities because of the lawless climate inspired by radicals and white liberal
    do-gooders. It’s just as difficult for black teachers to teach in such enviornments.
    Sorry to say, blacks DO NOT have high rates of self esteem unless it is based on
    solid achievement, and that requires disclipline which is now DISCOURAGED by
    media, political whores and the “It’s-always-somebody-else’s-fault crowd.”
    It isn’t that difficult for black people to be loved by the white majority, (Which is soon to
    become the minority.) Here’s how:
    1) If possible lighten your skin. Lighter is considered more prettier. The boxer Mahamad Ali
    refered to himself as “pretty.” He meant light skinned.
    2) Try to excell acidemically in a way that will take take you out of the slum. It’s a known
    fact that if you remove a person from a hostile enviornment they have a chance to succeed.
    It doesn’t always work. There have been reports of spectactular “fails” but it can work.
    3) If you look like you’re making a sincere effort you will find friends.
    I asked a black woman what she would do if she found herself in a hostile Southern town.
    She said she would bank on the fact that not everyone in the town would be of the same
    opinion and find help that way. There is no ORGANIZED conspiracy to keep the black race
    back. Jewish agitators just want the black community to believe it.
    4) Nice (appearing) guys DON’T finish last.
    Sidney Poiter was the first black leading man in movies. He was lucky to come along at the
    right time. He played saintly roles. Liberal Jewish directors put him in films. O.J. was
    loved by all strata of society. He came off as a nice guy. Sammy Davis Jr. (While not
    really black) made his rise to sucess into a story that every “fair minded” white person
    would support. Tug at their heartstrings! It’s easy to do IF they think you are sincere.
    The media will help you.
    5) When people undergo a common struggle, a state of comaradery develops.
    That’s what ferternities are about. They’ll never be able to stamp out ferternities.
    That’s why blacks have done so well in the military. Blacks take to disclipline.
    Even gangs can be discliplined. Blacks have a crying need for disclipline. Listen politicans and Jews.
    Whether it be sports, the military, you name it.
    People will be sympathetic to you if they know you try.
    The first black navy diver was treated unfairly because they wanted him to wash out.
    The white divers knew he was giving it his best. So he won their respect, and resented
    when he was treated unfairly.

    • Phil says:

      Actually Black do have generally have high rates of Self Esteem in the sense of how they see themselves, it’s just that it is mostly belief rather than say actual achievement so it’s to a degree of delusion. What they DO LACK in is comprehension, the ability to assimilate. Those who do are likely from parents who were able to appreciate white values of community.
      While I think you are given rather great ideas on how to get the White pop. to accept blacks, something I wish, I don’t consider that the absolute necessity. I stand by a strong belief that nobody should improve solely for people to like them, but for them to improve to help themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I would like an effort for better relations with white and Blacks with Blacks committing to efforts to help themselves, but I think it is more likely that Blacks would improve for themselves BEFORE they would improve for someone else.
      Better relations though would be a great side effect though.

    • Phil says:

      However your comments on discipline are very coherent based on both my observations with decent Blacks and precolonial Blacks skills.
      The closest to “professional” Blacks back in Africa and in Slavery times were those who were pretty good in trades that require apprenticeship, teachers, priests of sorts, etc. Thing like initiations were also done to modulate responsibilities when working in a village as they grew older.
      Though if I want to comment on one thing, skin lighten will likely not happen and to be honest I only advocate it on their choice. Like I said, Blacks are pretty centric about themselves so if they won’t even learn for their OWN sake because it seems “white”, then it seems pretty unlikely that they will bleach their skin.
      Like both dark and light skin,but I do admit that light skin gives off an impression of being overall more “civilized” but I like how it’s still brown. I’m light skin though and while I’m brown in some light I’m a bit yellow looking while my twin brother is more reddish looking.

    • Phil says:

      Oh another precolonial occupation I forgot was soldiers as well. Though interestingly the Blacks (Sahelian ones) that went outside Africa the most aside from Slaves were mercenaries. I imagine they would be of a similar mindset of like a gang leader.

  5. Pingback: Police officers who look like themselves | Jewamongyou's Blog

  6. missattempts says:

    It IS possible for blacks to lighten their skin. This is usually done as a treatment
    for Vitilogo. (Pigment malfunction) Michael Jackson did so. I’m white and I had it.
    Most blacks can’t afford the proceedure anyway. They use make-up.

    • Phil says:

      Oh I know the process exists, but all I’m saying is that reading is seen by many Blacks to be a white thing so actually looking “whiter” would be an even lesser likely outcome.
      However, I don’t think their will be no candidates though.

  7. Universities promote this same idea. The problem for them is that black math and econ profs are rare birds, so to get the black students into classes with black profs, the blacks have to enroll in African-American studies, a worthless major.

  8. It used to be that black students didn’t perform as well because they were segregated, we were told. Then we found out that they still don’t perform as well as whites after integration. It must be because the schools are integrated, and they have white teachers who can’t teach, and who blacks can’t relate to!
    Blacks will never perform as well as whites and east asians academically, but the establishment left and right, refuse to recognize the reality of racial differences in IQ. Conservatives blame it on single parent homes, or “culture” as though culture is something that just drops out of the sky without any biological basis!
    Any cause for these test score differences can be entertained, as long as the cause isn’t a racial difference in intelligence. I am happy to see the pendelum has swung back in favor of seperation however! If we accept the narrative of liberal academia that all whites are born racist, isn’t sending racial minortiies back to their own nations an urgent humanitarian issue? No doubt they are in for a life time of misery, having to live in a racist white society! It remains a mystery why so many millions of non-whites are trying to get into racist white countries, where they have no chance of avoiding the sting of constant racism and discrimination in their everyday lives.

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