Minority and the Educational Implications
To begin with, the problem of minorities either succeeding or failing in education has been of great interest for scholars for many years. While researching this issue, such articles as Exceptions to the Rule: Upwardly Mobile White and Mexican American High School Girls by Julie Bettie, Behind the Model-Minority Stereotype: Voices of High- and Low-Achieving Asian American Students by Stacey J. Lee and Variability in Minority School Performance: A Problem in Search of an Explanation by John U. Ogbu have been taken into consideration. This paper argues that the minority’s attitude to education is not static, as it is closely connected with the relationships and experiences inside and outside school.
In his article Variability in Minority School Performance: A Problem in Search of an Explanation, Ogbu states that the success or failure of the minorities in studying does not depend on their communication, language or communication style differences, but rather on the subordination, exploitation of minorities, and their history. Reflecting on Ogbu’s article, my opinion was that there no single valid reason concerning minority’s success or failure. As a result, we cannot claim that the history of minority groups, subordination, or exploitation is the main reason for the minority’s performance in life. The majority of the group members agreed with my point of view. Hanal and Doyonn claimed that there exists no universal rule that can be applied to every human being. Moreover, Doyonn proved that a person himself/herself decides whether to succeed or fail. In support, he mentioned the famous quotation by Henry Ford stating that whether a person thinks he/she can or cannot do something, the person is right. On the other hand, the rest of the group agreed with Ogbu’s point of view, especially concerning societal forces that influence minority’s performance at school. As the author of the article mentions, black people were always deprived of superior education and good jobs regardless of all the efforts they made. This reason made them pay less attention to the school performance as they got used to the fact that they could not reach a good position in the world even if they worked very hard.
Bettie, in her article Exceptions to the Rule: Upwardly Mobile White and Mexican American High School Girls, concentrates on the reasons why those who are considered as exceptions to the rule become upwardly mobile. Having taken into account the results of the experiment she conducted, I agreed with Betty’s opinion that the main factor that contributes to the successful performance at school is the dissatisfaction with the present state. Hyejin and Doyonn supported my point of view and mentioned that the majority of the surveyed upwardly mobile girls admitted that their parents did not study at college; therefore, they did not get well-paid jobs. Having concluded that the lack of good education was the main reason why their parents were not successful, these girls prioritized education and became upwardly mobile.
The last, but not least, Lee conducted a research among Asian American students revealing how their personal identities can create a different attitude towards schooling within the same minority group. According to the research, the Asian American minority group is subdivided into two smaller groups – Koreans and Asians. Having analyzed the article, I have found out that the characteristic features of the subdivided group were the main factors of influence. For instance, Koreans were brought up programmed to imitate authentic Americans or “whites” and, therefore, succeed in life. Although, almost all members of our group admitted that the family considerably influences children’s performance and attitude towards education, Hanal argued that it could not be the main factor. She proved it claiming that if a person does not have some skills necessary for successful mastering of a particular subject, the family’s opinion and influence will have no results.
While researching this topic, I have talked to three random people from the street asking them about minorities and immigrants. The question I have been most interested in concerns the image that immediately appears in people’s mind when they think of minority or immigrant groups. Moreover, I have asked the members of my group what they thought about these issues. As our group has found out from the articles mentioned above, there exist such types of minorities as autonomous, immigrant, and involuntary. All people from our group agreed that being a member of immigrant minority is better than being a member of involuntary group. The main difference between these groups is that immigrants leave their homeland searching for better social, cultural, and financial life, while members of involuntary minorities are brought to other countries through colonization, slavery, or conquest despite their will. Hanal, Bokyung, Doyonn, and me agreed with Hyejin’s point of view.
The first person questioned was a girl, who emigrated from Ukraine. It was obvious that she knew a lot about minority groups and immigrants as she was the part of these communities. I asked her about the reasons why she immigrated to the USA and whether cultural, historical, or language differences caused any problems. I was very surprised with her answer, as she told me that she never encountered any difficulties neither in communication with others nor at school, college, or job. Concerning the reason why she left her country, she answered that it was not her choice, as her parents decided to move to another country seeking for better life conditions.
The next two participants occurred to be pure Americans, who believed that minorities are those who are discriminated because of their race, gender, or number. When I asked them what image occurred when they heard about “immigrants”, they thought of people who had to leave their homeland because of instability, bad life conditions, or for some political reasons.
In conclusion, there are many factors that affect the minority’s performance at school, university, college, or life in general. These could be cultural or historical differences, as well as personal apprehension of the way leading either to failure or success. Taking into account everything mentioned above, we came to a conclusion that despite all the factors that influence either success or failure, the main thing is the person’s attitude towards the situation. It is not only the matter of minority groups; it concerns people as a whole.
Bettie, J. “Exceptions to the Rule: Upwardly Mobile White and Mexican American High School Girls.” Gender & Society 16.3 (2002): 403-22. Web. 13 March 2015.
Lee, Stacey J. “Behind the Model-Minority Stereotype: Voices of High- and Low-Achieving Asian American Students.” Anthropology & Education Quarterly 25.4 (1994): 413-29. Web. 13 March 2015.
Ogbu, John U. “Variability in Minority School Performance: A Problem in Search of an Explanation.” Anthropology & Education Quarterly 18.4 (1987): 312-34. Web. 13 March 2015.