The new cool kids, by Meghan Irons at The Boston Globe. Emphases mine.
Part of a rising counterculture, smart, black teenagers are flexing their intelligence instead of hiding it . . .
As for the Obama effect, [16-year-old Darnell Normil of Hyde Park] said: "Once he became president, it put pressure on me to work hard and strive more."
Youth trend specialists say groups like the Du Bois Society are part of a rising counterculture that is aiming to break the stigma among black kids that being smart is uncool.
"This is not the culture of low expectations" anymore, said Neil Howe, historian, demographer, and co-author of "Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation." "What's new is the fact that you have these growing islands of active resistance, the refusal to accept that."
The Rev. Eugene F. Rivers III, who co-founded the Du Bois Society in 2001 with his wife, Jacqueline, and facilitators of the program say their aim is to build young leaders by breaking down the "social isolation and feelings of conspicuousness" often associated with high-achieving black kids.
"One of the developments of the last 40 years has been the evolution of an antiintellectual culture that . . . rejected academic achievement as at best corny and at worst white," said Rivers. "What we are really dealing with in the Du Bois Society is not others' opinions of our kids, but their opinions of themselves, of each other, and of their culture. Our objective is to transform their image of themselves. . . . The fact that between 25 and 30 black students come together on a Saturday morning to study the work of such a distinguished collection of scholars is in and of itself revolutionary."
Smart kids, no matter their color, are nothing new. Many have triumphed against insurmountable odds - single parents, broken homes, crime, and poverty - to develop businesses, head establishments, govern a state, or lead a nation.
But some have paid the price as kids, suffering ridicule and rejection by their peers. In past years, and perhaps even now, smart black kids would hide their good grades and proper diction under a cloak of souped-up bravado, high fashion, and slang.
That is changing. Now, perhaps riding on the rise of prominent post-civil rights black leaders including Obama, more and more black kids are stepping up the smart quotient with a new level of pride . . .
Author E. Kinney Zalesne calls them "black super-achievers," teens rising under the radar and shattering stereotypes.
Lord Harry the Judge. I hope my single mother knows that she has been an "insurmountable odd." All she ever did for me is give me clothes and shelter, put food on our family, and pay for 17+ years of private school. According to The Boston Globe, that is equivalent to crime.
Does Ms. Irons think that the characters on A Different World, The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and those many other shows featuring educated black youths (I can't think any either) came from an LSD trip? No. They were based on actual black people who go to school and learn, just like everyone else.
BostonSuperMommy expresses some of my sentiments about the article, emphases mine:
I find this article to be offensive. There may be some with this ridiculous shame about being "smart" but it is not representative of the entire black community, nor can one even claim it represents the majority. As a matter of fact, I feel that this article is another unfortunate media tool that is perpetrating a negative view of black children in education. There are certainly issues in the black community (most communities have issues) but being ashamed of being smart is not the biggest challenge to educational achievement. Some of the comments that are showing up here are horribly racist. These misguided readers are actually buying this garbage and will now have strengthened misconceptions about black students--with the exception of the 35 you are giving kudos to. Shame on you Boston Globe for printing such nonsense and feeding the racism that is already well rooted in our city! I guess my 2 children for whom we paid thousands upon thousands to attend independent private school before they tested into the exam schools will have to bear the burden of the racism and ignorance perpetrated against black children by this widely circulated article. This newspaper owes the black community an apology. This article is disgusting.
Ms. Irons should read Our Kind of People by Lawrence Otis Graham. The book is completely up its own behind with elitism and snobbery, but it does present a side of American history that many Americans know nothing about, i.e. wealthy and/or educated black people. How else could there be a continuing network of Historically Black Colleges and Universities that has lasted for over 170 years? President Obama hasn't been in the White House for that long, so black people must have figured this education thing at some point before he got elected.