The first article I recall addressing the switch from normal kids eager to learn to the sullen and underperforming black male child pegged the transition to third or fourth grade. Thinking back to my own experience in third and fourth grade, this was an age where I started to experience a perceptual shift with some of my classmates or friends. I did not feel any pressure to emulate "classic male behavior" perhaps because my father wasn't a dumb stump who sat around talking about baseball all day. He was literally a rocket scientist and a boat builder and the time I spent with him was participatory, not spectator.
Originally Posted by SaintLouieWoman
Regardless of my value judgements about their interests, I can't recall any of my classmates admiring criminals or criminality. Perhaps that's because our families were held to standards of respectability. Christianity may teach forgiveness, but a small Christian town can be very unforgiving, especially when there is "an order to things" and disrespect for that order can cost you your standing for the rest of your life. We really did believe that anything bad would follow you the rest of your days, even if "anything" is a bit broad. Of course that's where expectations come in. If you expect to succeed, and your success is contingent upon social acceptance, then you tend to obey the rules (as much as anyone does).
That's why the pattern of the black community is so hard to break. When you don't expect to succeed, then you don't have to follow the rules. When you will be accepted even if you have done something criminal, because your community blames your choices on oppression rather than self, then you don't fear being shunned. If you live in a big city where you can burn lots of bridges before you run out of bridges, then you don't worry too much about burning bridges. If your parents, relations, and social contacts are people who have low standards, then you will have low standards. It takes a very strong and independent person to break out of that. I don't know that I would, what with the comfort of the familiar in play.
When I was in 9th grade, I used to sit next to this black girl in Algebra class. We got along great and I considered her a friend. She had a twin brother I was friendly with as well. Then half way through our sophomore year, she and her brother moved to Atlantic City who's high school is predominantly black. I ran into her when our 2 schools played each other in basketball and although she recognized me, her demeanor was completely opposite when we were in class together. She acted like my saying hello to her was an affront to her. I just gave her a 'it was nice seeing you' and walked off.
Originally Posted by Novaheart