Education

Outraged on R. Kelly, but missing outrage over Black, White performance gap

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Dr. Steve Perry is the educator Oprah Winfrey, Sean “P-Diddy” Combs, Bishop TD Jakes and Steve Harvey call on to offer insight to parents and children. A diverse array of politicians and groups, from the Urban League to ALEC, have reached out to Dr. Perry to better understand what matters to Black parents.


ANALYSIS | Nehemiah D. Frank, Founder and Editor-in-Chief 

When I saw the publicly displayed outrage on social media from Black Americans, concerning musical-artist R. Kelly’s predatory behavior and a White homeless man’s assault on a Black Mc Donald’s employee, I simultaneously thought about why the same communal disapproval of America’s abysmal educational treatment of Black students hasn’t been equivalently shown.

I thought about how transformative the movement to improve K through 12 education for Black students would be if our community of Black folks publicly demonstrated widespread resentment towards America’s consistency in failing our Black students.

After an unsatisfactory score on a standardized test, the segregation in access to magnet schools, college and jobs have been the consistent narrative for America’s Black students since the US Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education to integrate schools racially. 

Although America tried to improve equity and access for Black students on that landmark case, America has yet to witness the integration of academic competitiveness between Black students and their peers.

Consider this, the mean total score for students who took the SAT in 2017 is 1060, the overall mean score for Black students for that year is 941, indicating that Black students tested below the national average.

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Black students had the lowest score out of all racial groups that year.

There was no visual public outrage on social media for the fact that our Black students continue to lag behind their white peers, 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education.

People may argue that I’m comparing apples to oranges; however, if our schools don’t improve, we will continue experiencing a portion of our Black boys and girls reaching adulthood uneducated, which significantly increases their chances of ending up in jail, prison, or desperate and in the hands of an R. Kelly type. 

R. Kelly disgustingly ‘played’ with our Black daughters, causing trauma that may last them a lifetime; nevertheless, America’s public education system simultaneously has ‘played’ and continues to ‘play’ with Black children’s future by failing them academically and suspending them at astronomical rates.

When will we as a community operate with common sense and equally get outraged when we see public schools failing our Black students?

At the beginning of 2019, we collectively held a Black musical icon, or former icon, accountable for his actions by demonstrating our public outrage through social media and news publishing companies.

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We called out R. Kelly on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; we held him accountable.  

Now let’s do the same for the public school system’s school-to-prison pipeline and these school districts that are failing our Black kids. 


Nehemiah FrankNehemiah D. Frank is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Black Wall Street Times. He graduated from Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science at Oklahoma State University. Nehemiah is an Editorial Community Advisory Board Member at the Tulsa World, in Tulsa, Oklahoma and a Blogger for Education Post in Chicago, IL. He has been featured on NBC, Blavity, and Tulsa People. Nehemiah is also an Educator and Administrator at Sankofa School of the Performing Arts in Tulsa, OK, a 2017 Terence Crutcher Foundation honoree, a recipient of the 2017 METCares Foundation Community Impact Award, and TED Talk Alumni.

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1 reply »

  1. Glad I’m not the only one who gets outraged that the average black male graduates 4 years below his white peers in reading. We have a long way to go and too many people are silent.