Black boys used to fail at school because of racism, now they fail because they don’t pay attentionby Tony Sewell / September 22, 2010 / Leave a comment
Published in October 2010 issue of Prospect Magazine
Tony Sewell: we’ve given our kids only the discourse of victimhood
Recently, one of my former students invited me to her inner-city primary school in London to give an “inspirational” lesson to her students. She was particularly concerned about a group of black boys who she described as “very bright but very naughty.” When I saw the class I immediately spotted her problem pupils, who were play-fighting at the back of the room.
I began my lesson by dividing the class into five groups. Their task was to draw “a wonderful African mask.” But there were a number of restrictions. I gave the first table, which consisted of well-behaved girls, lots of sugar paper, felt-tip pens, paint and glitter. Table two got a little less equipment, and I reduced the amount for each remaining table. Table five—let’s call it the “bad boy table”—was given one pencil, a pair of scissors and one piece of paper. They were, however, allowed to go to the other tables and trade resources.