On Education

I spoke with an admissions person from Duke University yesterday via an exchange of email who found this blog piece below to be of great interest. Our conversation pretty much addressed less the Duke Lacrosse issue and more the inequalities In education. I am waiting permission to  publish a few comments from a highly interesting exchange. Here is the piece:

The District Attorney recently exonerated all members charged with sexual assault in the Duke University lacrosse case. There were clearly no winners here. Moreover, the Duke lacrosse case illustrates both the racial and class resentment that exists in America. Just like the O.J. murder case, Duke lacrosse brought to life both the social and economic problems Americans tend to ignore. Because inequality in education exists, many minorities do not receive the proper education needed to attend a Duke. Think about the number of elite private schools in the country that have a very small number of black students. Often enough, blacks are victims of educational slavery in that many live in low property tax communities. Thus, minority public schools are faced with the challenge of hiring elite faculty members as well as providing each student with adequate resources for learning. This type of class division creates resentment and hate towards those who are privileged.

For one, as popular as Duke University is with its $ 5 billion endowment, its elite faculty members, and its popular sports team (basketball), many residents living in the Durham area dislike Duke because of its perceived lack of investment in the local community. Locals contend that Duke is nothing more than a temporary haven for rich white kids. Moreover, black students who attend Duke have had to create their own social environment. Campus festivals and activities are built around fraternities and “white cultural endeavors” that would clearly make blacks feel out of place. Just like the O.J. case, many of America’s black population were supporting the black female who claimed rape as a show of solidarity. Blacks want white America to see how race and class is still used to subjugate not only blacks, but non elites too. Most black Americans knew O.J. was guilty; they supported him as a form of protest against white America. Some black Americans feel as though whites in power have turned their backs on the racially abusive culture long promulgated by elitism. For example, in the minds of black folks, white supremacy is prevalent in all institutions of power, especially police departments. In Cornel West’s Race Matters, he states that

white America has been historically weak willed in ensuring racial justice and has continued to resist fully accepting the humanity of blacks. As long as double standards and differential treatment abound — as long as rap performer Ice-T is harshly condemned while former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates’s anti-black comments are received in polite silence, as long as Dr. Leonard Jeffries’s anti-Semitic statements are met with vitriolic outrage while presidential candidate Pat Buchanan’s anti-Semitism receives a general response — black nationalism will thrive.

Unlike the connection blacks feel towards the black female, they never felt any connection to O.J. He was viewed as a black elitist who turned his back on black folks, much like that of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who continues to attack affirmative action.  Blacks exploited the O.J. case to show America how much racism still exists in society. As for the female who claimed rape, it appears that blacks are supporting her because there were clearly signs of racism found among the lacrosse players. Many of them admitted to using racial slurs as well as being abusive to the black co-ed. In the end, here are the clear losers in all of this:

  • Women – feminism took a step backwards here. It is my understanding that rape victims are slow to come forward. Imagine if you are a college female who was date raped — will people believe you after this?
  • Duke’s lacrosse coach — he should not have been fired. According to an internal investigation, he did everything by the book. I feel for him.
  • Durham — race relations on Duke’s campus are pretty sticky.
  • The defendants — some left campus, lost a year of eligibility, and are faced with rebuilding their reputation (thanks for this point Rob Kernodle).

12 thoughts on “On Education

  1. “Just like the O.J. case, many of America’s black population were supporting the black female who claimed rape as a show of solidarity. ”

    Excuse me while I puke.

  2. You say that “many minorities do not receive the proper education needed to attend a Duke.” I’m sorry, but I don’t think that most people, regardless of color or gender, are smart enough to attend a Duke, and beyond that, I don’t think most of America receives the proper education needed to attend a Duke. Perhaps that’s why people like you should stop hiding in elite private schools. You want the minorities educated, you educate them. It’s just like the way I want the minorities, particularly women in children in my case, to have health care, so I’m finding a way for them to have health care; I’m finding a way to be part of the solution, not just making noise. I’ve never understood your position on teachers like you remaining in the elite private school sector, particularly when they want, or at least talk as though they want to be such a champion for the rights of minorities. Perhaps someday our system will change so that minorities can afford elite private schools, but until then, if you want minorities educated, shouldn’t YOU educate them?

    Carson, sorry if this comes off as harsh. You know my view though. I just want other people to see it and then maybe they can call you on it too. Have a great day and maybe we can have dinner when you’re up here later this month.

  3. So, according to the post, in effect, the attitude of black Americans is:

    “Racism exists in America, so I’m going to support someone who is obviously lying, just because we happen to share the same skin color.”

    At least on some level, I understand the thinking, but really, that attitude doesn’t help things.

  4. After reading this (from an RSS feed) I didn’t expect the comments to be this harsh. I don’t know too much about Carson, but I know that he is a highly educated man who is passionate about teaching his students. It’s probable that his talents would be wasted anywhere but an elite academy. He is most certainly not hiding in an ivory tower. He is an active educator and scholar who dialogues with some different minds from across the globe in an effort to become a better educator.

    Carson may not be sweltering in the educational trenches but he affects the future of education as a whole.

    And to Roland:

    Not until very late in the case was it apparent that the young lady was not telling the truth. It’s not like you don’t immediately side with someone like you before all the information comes out. Get off the high horse, chief.

  5. I guess you and I have different viewpoints: see, I know Carson well. I have for several years. Also, I grew up at one of those private schools.

  6. I am going to have to insert myself here. I agree with Ian. I have known Carson for about 2 years now. He takes plenty of cheap hits from those who feel he is an elite or that he is running from his past by teaching in private schools around those who are not really like him. I have found that it is those who have removed themselves from certain positions to be the best to assess the matter. Though this article is not offering solutions, it is point to the fact that the Duke matter was more about class and education than many realize. Why not be honest an address the fact that many minorities and people in general (esp poor people) are not ready because of class issues.

    I love you Carson, so you know I am going to defend you here. In the end, I think you are 100% right.

    I appreciate your thoughts Ian.

  7. Teacherwoman- It wasn’t a cheap hit. Sorry if you read it that way. Incidentally, I’m quite removed from the situation as I never went to public high school and yet I see it differently, so your point doesn’t quite work. Again, I’m sorry I sound harsh. I’m actually a nice and warm person, I just get fired up during a debate. I don’t think less of anyone or anything like that.

  8. I like this discussion here.

    Ian: Thanks for the awesome words. You are right in that everything I do I do for my students. Sure, many of them come from really good backgrounds. I do not see why that changes the dynamics of an education. Kristi and I have had this conversation before; I teach because I love my subject and I believe I am contributing greatly to social change. I am also one who thinks it is important for students to see someone in the front of the room that looks like them, but they should also see someone who is not like them. It is sad that the Duke situation did not highlight matters of education and inequalities enough. Moreover, I am amazed at how few took noticed. I wish it was that easy to just take a job in an under-funded school. But, for what I do it would not be best. I would not be the most productive teacher.

    Luke: The attitude is sad. And, it is one that I teach against. I think we should see color and appreciate the beauty of difference. But part of liberalism is also moving past such ordeals. This does not mean we should not discuss them on some type of academic level. Discourse is very important.

    Roland: The issue of black support, I suspect, is from years of police brutality and abuse.

  9. I have said it before, nn 100 years people will no longer be racist, homophobic, sexists, classists, etc. They will look at the period the same way we look at slavery. We must help society reach that point. But education in America will never be equal.

  10. Inadquate education begins with America’s public school systems. The potential, challenges, and obstacles that currently litter the public education landscape are discussed in the novel, The Twilight’s Last Gleaming On Public Education . You may view a portion of this intriguing, socially relevant, and enlightening story online by contacting the publisher at http://www.Xlibris.com, clicking on their Bookstore link, then Searching by title. This fascinating story possesses many of the elements commonly found in just about every school system throughout the United States. Check it out for youself. Discuss it with your friends. See if you agree with the proposed solutions. How can you help improve the situation currently facing American youth?

  11. Interesting discussion developing here. I won’t add my five cents, since I live in such a different place that I can’t really have an opinion about this. Keep up your writing, your articles are always thought provoking.

    Any news about the seminar schedule? I hope you will be able to defend your paper!

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