Teachers - is it true that when a black child defies you, this is a right of passage for blacks male children?

I am reading a book by a black author who is apparently very prominent in the school system of the USA. He describes something called the "show down". He states that black male children in particular will be very likely, once they get big enough, to stare down the teacher and refuse to follow an instruction. He implies that a black student is especially inclined to do this to a white female teacher since such a teacher does not understand or respect his culture. He states that this "show down" is simply a black male rite of passage that should be understood and respected by the white female teacher. He explains that many white female teachers are not familiar with the black community and are probably afraid of black males. He states that white female teachers have low expectations of black children and that the black male students pick up on this very easily and resent it very much. Do you agree with this? Is this "show down" a rite of passage? Is it a stereotype to say that black male students are more likely to engage in the "show down"? Is he stereotyping his own people? Should we even consider race important at all when such a show down occurs, or should we simply punish such behavior as unacceptable whether it comes from a white child or a black child?

*Note - if you are afraid to answer this question and if your first response is to criticize such a question as racist, please keep in mind what our new Attorney General Mr. Holder has just said about most people in the USA being cowards when it comes to talking about race. We must start having an honest dialogue and stop being afraid to talk about it. If you ignore the problem it will never go away.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    I don't agree with it and I don't think this "show down" thing is a rite of passage for anyone of any race or culture. I do think that this author is stereotyping his race and as well as the white race - it's not right to lump all black people together and all white people together. I have no doubt that there are some white female teachers out there who are like this and don't expect much from their black students, and I'm sure that goes for black teachers with white students. Everyone is different and everyone has their own individualized opinions and it's dumb to generalize people the way this author has.

    As for this "show down" thing, it's stupid. I've never actually seen this happen in real life (and I've attending very diverse schools), but it just sounds like some sort of excuse for such behavior. Your teacher is your authority figure while in school and you should treat your teacher with respect regardless of race or culture. If your teacher is not treating you with respect, you, as a student, have the right to go higher up to your counselor or principle and explain your situation and get the problem worked out properly. No student should be singled out and favored or disrespected by a teacher, and teachers should punish any student who treats them with such disrespect.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think this "show down" can happen in many contexts, and not always a black male student to a white female teacher. I think this happens with many male student/female teacher relationships, no matter the race. I think it is, however, more likely to happen to a teacher who does not hold students accountable or believes in them. Maybe it is a rite of passage for some black students in some communities, but I think it all comes down to the relationship between teacher and student, and the student's upbringing (both at home and school). I can tell you I'll have a black (mixed) son soon, and if I ever find out he did that to a teacher, he will be in some serious trouble.

  • neniaf
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I haven't noticed it with regard to female teachers of any race, but I have noticed it in response to white male teachers. I would imagine that any teacher with low expectations of any student would be resented, and if you keep in mind that most of the schoolteachers in the U.S. are, in fact, white females, there may be a disproportionate number of them who have that kind of attitude.

    I do think we need to consider where a student is coming from in his/her unacceptable behavior, but that doesn't mean that we accept unacceptable behavior from anyone. The boundaries have to be made clear, but we can do that in a caring way, rather than being incredibly harsh with punishments. Certainly anyone who teaches teens and cares about them realizes that you need to recognize certain rites of passage which will occur, but that doesn't mean that you just allow them to behave badly without calling them on it. In fact, if you fail to punish a student for breaking the rules, you are in effect demonstrating low expectations of that student, which is what this author says is the problem to begin with!

    It helps to treat each student as a human being, and to recognize that a student's race, and the history of that race within society, is a part of that human being. It is our job as teachers to help students succeed in society, with recognition of all of the expectations, assumptions, and biases that they (and we) bring into that society. That means both acknowledging who they are and recognizing what society is. You can set rules for everyone and get different reactions to those rules from different students. You can't bend the rules for some people because they react more negatively to them, but you can be understanding of what those rules may represent to them.

  • 1 decade ago

    They can't be allowed to break rules just because of their race or rituals. If it were an Asian "right of passage" to spit on the teacher would we put up with it?

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  • 1 decade ago

    Wow this makes so much sense now that I think back.

    Funny how they don't realize our culture to earn your way through life with mutual respect.

    How do you desegregate people, how do you incorporate them into the rest of society with a mentality like that.

    I don't think it's possible, but then it's easier for a civilized person to act uncivilized, then it is for an uncivilized person to act civilized.

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