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Do Black Children Think That White Children Are Smarter Than They Are?

By Marlon Aldridge, Sr.

This is a discussion that I have been having mostly with myself but would like to put it into the public domain.

In general, I do not think that black children think that they are smarter than white children or that they value doing better than average or “C” work in school. My opinions are based on my own observations in limited settings. To wit, I have taught over 18 years in 8th grade, 9th grade, and college classrooms.

My 8th and 9th grade students were mostly black while my college students were mostly white. I have routinely asked my students what grade they expected to get out of my class. The majority of white students expected to get a “B” or better while the majority of black students were satisfied with a “C”. I asked my 8th and 9th grade students the following question: Who were smarter black children or white children? The majority of them stated that white children were smarter.

Psychology informs me that values, in part, dictate attitudes and behaviors. Without the proper values, attitudes and behaviors may not be optimal to be successful at a desired goal, e.g., doing well in school. If this is true, then it is reasonable that black children will not do well in school regardless of policy, curriculum, pedagogy, social supports, etc. until they acquire the necessary values that allow them to appreciate (“attitude”) and strive (“behavior”) for academic excellence.

Since my opinions are just that “my opinions”, the following questions need to be answered in a scientifically rigorous way:

  1. Do black children think that white children are smarter than they are?
  2. Do black children think that Asian children are smarter than white children?
  3. Are black children satisfied with getting C’s in school?

If the responses to these questions are answered in the affirmative, then the next question becomes how do black children come to believe these assertions especially when the vast majority of them are in segregated schools? I suspect that the environment has something to do with it. If the second question is answered in the affirmative, then my hypothesis is strengthened because by-in-large black children do not go to school with Asian children.

Here are a few more examples of beliefs that notable people have had about members of society.

Bill Clinton“A few years ago, this guy [then senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama] would have been getting us [former President Bill Clinton and Senator Ted Kennedy] coffee” (Bill Clinton, 2008, taken from the book, “Game Change” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, See article)

Reggie WhiteWhen you look at the black race, black people are very gifted in what we call worship and celebration. A lot of us like to dance, and if you go to black churches, you see people jumping up and down, because they really get into it.

White people were blessed with the gift of structure and organization. You guys do a good job of building businesses and things of that nature and you know how to tap into money pretty much better than a lot of people do around the world.

Hispanics are gifted in family structure. You can see a Hispanic person and they can put 20 or 30 people in one home. They were gifted in the family structure.

When you look at the Asians, the Asian is very gifted in creation, creativity and inventions. If you go to Japan or any Asian country, they can turn a television into a watch. They’re very creative. And you look at the Indians, they have been very gifted in the spirituality. (The late Reggie White, Defensive Tackle, Green Bay Packers, 1998, See Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online article)

Bill CosbyThey're standing on the corner and they can't speak English.
I can't even talk the way these people talk:
Why you ain't,
Where you is,
What he drive,
Where he stay,
Where he work,
Who you be...
And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk.
And then I heard the father talk.
Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.
In fact you will never get any kind of job making a decent living.
People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an Education, and now we've got these knuckleheads walking around.
The lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal.
These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids.
$500 sneakers for what?
And they won't spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics.
I am talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit.
Where were you when he was 2?
Where were you when he was 12?
Where were you when he was 18 and how come you didn't know that he had a pistol?
And where is the father? Or who is his father?
People putting their clothes on backward:
Isn't that a sign of something gone wrong?
People with their hats on backward, pants down around the crack, isn't that a sign of something?
Isn't it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up and got all type of needles [piercing] going through her body?
What part of Africa did this come from??
We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don't know a thing about Africa....
I say this all of the time. It would be like white people saying they are European-American. That is totally stupid.
I was born here, and so were my parents and grandparents and, very likely my great grandparents. I don't have any connection to Africa, no more than white Americans have to Germany, Scotland, England, Ireland, or the Netherlands. The same applies to 99 percent of all the black Americans as regards to Africa. So stop, already!
With names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap.... And all of them are in jail.
Brown or black versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person's problem.
We have got to take the neighborhood back.
People used to be ashamed. Today a woman has eight children with eight different 'husbands' -- or men or whatever you call them now.
We have millionaire football players who cannot read.
We have million-dollar basketball players who can't write two paragraphs. We, as black folks have to do a better job.
Someone working at Wal-Mart with seven kids, you are hurting us.
We have to start holding each other to a higher standard.
We cannot blame the white people any longer. (Bill Cosby, 2008, See article)

Again, if we can determine how values, beliefs, stereotypes are hoisted onto our children (and society in general), then we are in a better position to correct the educational problem so that all children value education and thus excel in the classroom.

About Marlon Aldridge, Sr.

Marlon Aldridge, Sr., is the founding president and CEO of the Black Man’s Think Tank (, a physics professor, and entrepreneur. He brings his love for knowledge and his passion for constructive critique to bear on problems which affect Black people locally, nationally, and abroad. In his work with the “tank”, he works with others to plan and develop processes and systems which lead to greater organization and competitiveness within Black society. He may be reached at (937) 732-5316 or by email at [email protected].

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Roger Madison
Monday, October 13, 2014 5:46 PM
Marlon, the questions you ask are provocative and thought-provoking. However, the quotes you share are also "just opinions" as you state your views are. Our struggle is unique in this country. However, we have come to a point where our self-critical analyses seems to me to exacerbate some of our problems -- poor academic achievement, poverty, low self-esteem -- to name a few.

And now this question adds to the victim-bashing by suggesting that academic performance is the result of others being "smarter than Black children." The questions are suggestive, even though you indicate that "proper values, attitudes and behaviors" may be the root cause.

Starting with these questions seem to be looking at the glass as half empty instead of half full. When we simply aggregate all the negative stereotypes, there is a tendency to confirm the viewpoint of our historical oppressors. I would rather lift up your success as an academic leader as a role model instead of asking what is wrong with our children. The short answer is that they may not hear enough about people like you repeated over and over. Instead, we tell them over and over that others are smarter. HMMMM!
Marlon Aldridge
# Marlon Aldridge
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 5:30 PM

It is never my intent to victim bash as you stated but to offer CRITICAL introspection, debate, and exploration. In my world, no question or phenomenon is off limits. I simply conjectured a hypothesis (e.g., took a position whether I believed it or not) with the intent that maybe someone would take it on as a research project.

The answers to such a set of questions would illuminate the values, attitudes and behaviors of our school-age children, which would be important in determining how best to motivate and instruct them.

On a deeper level, I believe that our children's attitudes and behaviors, as well as ours, are being systematically manipulated by media propaganda and racist institutional policies and practices. If my hypothesis is proved right, then the next question becomes why do they have these noncompetitive attitudes and behaviors?

Lastly, I am not impressed with so-called successful blacks including myself because they have not heretofore remedied ANY of the problems we face daily in our communities. We are simply breed for service in white America.
Kory Wright
# Kory Wright
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 9:57 AM
I can say for sure, speaking from a first-hand experience, that I've always thought that white kids were smarter. My parents never came straight out and told me this, but it was something that my ignorant discernment derived on its own. It wasn't until high school that I figured out that I was just as smart as the other kids their. If I grew up with this assumption, I'm pretty sure others have as well

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