Brown’s most profound irony may be that answers to closing the achievement gap lie buried in the history of the schools that Brown’s implementation destroyed. What are the answers? Dedicated teachers. Strong principals. Order. Discipline. High expectations. Community and parental support. It is astonishing how many Black children attended schools during segregation that delivered on these objectives, and how few do so now.Turn the page.
As Black children were put into an environment perceived as controlled by whites, the phenomenon of young Black kids equating academic excellence with “acting white” arose. In the Black schools, Black students largely cheered their classmates for achievements. But after desegregation created a clear division of white and Black, the association shifted and Black students began to tease one another by pushing their smart peers into the ‘white’ category. Ever since then, we have seen that Black kids tended to perform more poorly when mixed with whites.That "perceived as controlled" is perceptive. Thus did "order" and "discipline" and "high expectations" and deferring gratification become racialized. The cult of authenticity and the poisonous illogic of social construction have deprived generations of young people, now, of the opportunity to develop the life-management skills of the middle class.