The racial education gap is narrowing because of the general development of society, but it is still present. Perhaps its complete eradication will never happen since there are many reasons for this. The main one is the historical component, the times when blacks were perceived as illiterate slaves. In fact, this is true since blacks were not given the resources to learn, and no one thought to do so. It has led to a racial achievement gap, which consists of different levels of education between ethnic groups.
Additional factors are contemporary cultural characteristics and language barriers, which lead to different views. In mixed schools, blacks are minorities more often than not; therefore, it is more difficult for them to learn and interact with other students. African American children are now more likely to get poor grades in school, lower test scores, and are less likely to go on to college. Scientists consider many reasons for this phenomenon, such as genetic predisposition, environmental pressures, and imperfect schooling.
Genetics can give a large set of qualities to a child, but not intelligence. The advent of IQ tests has given rise to a fierce debate about the relationship between hereditary predisposition and mentality. It has happened as a result of vastly different outcomes across diverse races and cultures. Both popular science and scientific research literature have raised this issue and sought an evidence-based relationship between the two components. The impossibility of accurately measuring the intelligence level was because of the lack of an only indicator. However, the creators of the test argued that its result does not depend on environmental factors.
In other words, the developers assumed the pointer could be considered general and that people of the same age should show a similar result regardless of race. A common argument against the connection between genetics and intelligence is a different set of values, including mental ones, depending on the culture. It means that alternative skills are motivated and valued in black people, and therefore intelligence develops differently. Based on the preceding, it can be concluded the relationship between genetics and intelligence is not evidence-based but conjectural.
Research by scientists on the genetic predisposition of the black population supports the theory of disconnection using multiple variations of other factors. Nisbett (2011) examines the historical events after World War II when black and white soldiers bore offspring with German women. Germans are a white nation, which is why their children have European roots. The question was how much the genes of white people and their mixed offspring affect intelligence.
According to the test results, it was revealed that children of only white parents, raised in a similar environment, have an IQ of 97 points. At the same time, the average scores for children with mixed genes of black and white people were 96.5. Another indicative theory is the presence of European genes in these children; thus, the result is similar. To refute such speculation, scientists decided to identify the best on the IQ test among black children and find out about their origins (Nisbett, 2011). As a result, it turned out that the degree of their association with European genes is small. Genetic predisposition is not related to the level of intelligence, which several different studies have proved.
The environment is one of the main factors in the development of an individual and his or her intelligence. As stated earlier, the black population has historically been slaves, and they were not allowed to show their intellectual abilities. Then the struggle for racial equality began continued for many years and is still present. This environment forces blacks to spend their energy thinking about injustice rather than developing intelligence. They may feel oppressed by their peers, which reduces their productivity and desire to develop. Children are fragile, emotional creatures who are prone to follow the culture and principles of their parents.
African American parents are not as concerned about preschool education as American parents; therefore, children are more likely to end up in school with less advanced skills. It plays a key role since there are different games and developmental activities for babies that help them adapt to society and establish their adult life. In addition, African Americans are more likely to grow up in single-parent families, which does not allow them to receive ample attention and help with their homework. The black environment is not conducive to narrowing the learning gap.
An alternative external influence on the level of intelligence of African Americans is socio-economic inequality. Most blacks are of low social status with which they cannot do anything. The prevailing inequality during the previous generation limited them from developing and receiving a good education. Now, children are forced to live in unfavorable conditions and try to achieve everything on their own. The authorities take many steps to eliminate racial discrimination and restore justice. However, after many years of separation, this process is complex and time-consuming. More HBCUs are being built to achieve an early result, identifying and working out problem areas.
It was a huge step forward since the gap narrowed. However, this was not enough because of the continuing socio-economic divide. Black children from poor backgrounds, most often African Americans, go to isolated schools in confined areas. As a result, racial segregation mixes with social division, exacerbating the problem (Rothstein, 2015). Eliminating the influence of the environment requires many resources and efforts from the government and society.
The imperfect educational system of blacks affects the general level of education, which shapes the future destiny of the individual. As stated earlier, HBCUs has helped narrow the gap, but many other types of schools contribute to inequities. Educating blacks requires a unique approach that should be based on their cultural characteristics. In other words, if African Americans come to school more unprepared than whites, then they need a reinforced curriculum in their early years. It can be achieved through educational reform, which will be a big step towards progress. However, changes in the education system may not be enough since black children, like whites, have different levels of education in preschool age and unique opportunities. In research by Ogbu (2002), “the Black community must assume a proactive role in closing the academic gap by helping its children to develop a better academic orientation and effort” (p. 27).
It means that parents should provide their children with additional education when needed and pay more attention to preschool development. To close the gap in schools, it is necessary to tackle the problem collectively, while this will lead to better results.
There is an opinion that dark-skinned children try less to achieve success since they are convinced from childhood that they are worse than whites. It is partly the fault of a society that supports segregation and outdated moral principles. Democracy prevails now, and open oppression is prohibited both in schools and on the street. On the one hand, teachers try to convey new patterns of behavior and opportunities to children. On the other hand, they cannot pay more attention to African Americans since there are particular programs and performance standards. As mentioned earlier, one aspect is not enough to change the situation; hence, several measures are needed to prevent the gap.
First of all, society must completely abandon the idea of racial discrimination. This path is long, requiring the intervention of the authorities and media sources since old principles have taken root in the head of the adult population. Further, it would be worthwhile to amend the educational policy of all schools and coordinate them with the Black Community. These steps may not completely close the racial education gap, but they will definitely narrow it.
The academic achievement gap between blacks and whites has many causes and theories that scientists have explored over the years. They were able to find out that genetic predisposition does not affect intelligence in any way, and IQ tests cannot give an accurate result because of the lack of a single indicator. Intelligence depends on the child’s development; hence, the environment plays a vital role in forming personality. The socio-economic factor of black poverty contributes to their oppression in schools. The solution to this problem is intervention from the Black Community and educational reform. Intelligence is something that people develop throughout life; therefore, it is essential to give everyone the same opportunities.
Nisbett, R. E. (2011). The achievement gap: Past, present & future. Daedalus, 140(2), 90–100. Web.
Ogbu, J. U. (2002). Black-American students and the academic achievement gap: What else you need to know. Journal of Thought, 37(4), 9–33. Web.
Rothstein, R. (2015). The racial achievement gap, segregated schools, and segregated neighborhoods: A constitutional insult. Race and Social Problems, 7(1), 21–30. Web.