The Talented Tenth

It has long been one of my life goals to join the ranks of the Talented Tenth. I hope to do this by making contributions to the thinking of my community and by advancing the thought processes of my students; it is important that they not conform to rules of textbooks and tradition, but to extrapolate both truths in a deconstructive way as well falsities that will permit them to challenge the problems of the 21st century. W.E.B. Du Bois concluded that this problem is one of race and economics: “for the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line”-a prescient statement. Setting out to show to the reader the strange meaning of being black here in the dawning of the Twentieth Century,Du Bois explains the meaning of the emancipation, and its effect, and his views on the role of the leaders of his race.

What is the Talented Tenth?

It states (read all of it here): The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men. The problem of education, then, among Negroes must first of all deal with the Talented Tenth; it is the problem of developing the Best of this race that they may guide the Mass away from the contamination and death of the Worst, in their own and other races. Now the training of men is a difficult and intricate task. Its technique is a matter for educational experts, but its object is for the vision of seers. If we make money the object of man-training, we shall develop money-makers but not necessarily men; if we make technical skill the object of education, we may possess artisans but not, in nature, men. Men we shall have only as we make manhood the object of the work of the schools � intelligence, broad sympathy, knowledge of the world that was and is, and of the relation of men to it � this is the curriculum of that Higher Education which must underlie true life. On this foundation we may build bread winning, skill of hand and quickness of brain, with never a fear lest the child and man mistake the means of living for the object of life.

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7 thoughts on “The Talented Tenth

  1. Interesting post, I like your teaching philosophy.

    You strike me as the phd type; Dr. Carson has a nice ring to it. Ever thought about pursuing it? [sarcasm] You do not seem busy enough. [/sarcasm]

  2. It is in the works as i write. I still prefer Carson. I too like the ring. Joy App had some great stuff to say about you today. It is good to hear you will be in my course next year.

  3. Yes, I was in her office when you accidentally called her…

    By the way, I just finished “Race Matters,” I want to stop by sometime and chat about it with you. Great book.

  4. On a side note, my parents were watching Jay Leno tonight and a segment came on, “What kids think about the election.” Basically, Leno had this quiz given to a bunch of elementary students around Burbank and read the best responses on the show. One of the questions was, “What is the difference between a republican and a democrat?” A fifth grader responded, “Republicans are elephants, and trample the American people. Democrats are donkeys, and carry America on their backs.” I thought you would appreciate it.

  5. Carson, I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and really like what you have to say about education. You sound like the sort of teacher I wish I could be. Sometimes I feel like I’m just throwing facts at them as fast as possible just so we can get through the chapter, just so we can take the midterm, just so we can teach them how to read a map, just so they can score well on the state exam, just so we can make AYP, and on and on – you get my drift. Anyway, just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog, it helps me look at my teaching very critically and give thought to making changes on how I can challange my students they way you challange yours.

  6. Carla:

    That is nice of you; your thoughts and reflections on what we do motivates me to want to share my experiences with my students and fellow colleagues such as you. I enjoy my job and what I do. This is what I have wanted to do for a while. That is not to say that I do not have my days — we all do, but I have found that I have few of them. Yes, getting students to think about history and the process of history is tough. I too feel at times that I am moving too fast so that my students are ready for the AP exam in May. I often tell them that I am not teaching to a test; I am teaching you about today’s problems that started a while back. Thus, we all must take some part of our current conditions with us to every class meeting.

    If you get a chance and do not mind, I would love for you to send me an email introducing yourself to me. I hope to hear from you again and I am most pleased to hear that my blog is making a contribution.

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