Educating Black Boys

Educating Black Boys

Ratings: 6.84/10 from 37 users.

Educating Black BoysTony Harris takes a personal look at Baltimore's inner city and an education system that has failed black Americans.

Baltimore, Maryland has come to be known as 'Charm City' because of its harbor, which attracts a vibrant nightlife and thriving tourism business. But just beyond the harbor's calm waters is one of the toughest and most violent inner cities in the US.

Baltimore is also home to Harris and he takes us on an up close and personal journey to his old neighborhood to witness the challenges facing black youth today as they struggle to get out of the dead end of life on inner city streets.

Most of the crime in Baltimore is committed by black males with other blacks as victims, making black males an easy target for the police.

And many believe that the stereotyping of black kids starts at an early age in the US - as early as grade school. In this film, Harris examines how the education system has failed black boys and reflects upon why he managed to make it out successfully while so many of his friends did not.

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7 years ago

As for the Rapper comment above, lol. Most rappers at the top ain't been in the situations of which they rap for a very very long time. That comment is utter pigswill.

7 years ago

The answers to all of modern Americas problems is witin the alarming stats surrounding AA and their negative effect on society. I wish people would just say it rather than trying to pc doat everything that comes out of their mouths.

Gloria Chalvet
8 years ago

Good documentary. I think one thing has been left out. Rappers are good at rapping because they believe what they are talking about. I'm not condoning the bad language. My point is what is being taught in school makes it look like African Americans didn't contribute anything to society; that our life before slavery was living naked in a jungle and everything we have we owe to the white man. Since we know they are not going to teach us our history , it's up to us to teach our children our real history before the interruption of slavery.

10 years ago

Please read the new controversial book" The Unfinished Business of the Civil Rights Movement: Failure of America's Public Schools to Properly Educate its African American S

10 years ago

Everything is someone else's fault these days eh? The blame game we see
in this film should it's self be rejected at hand. I don't know why but
the black community has hooked on to this belief that everything that
has a negative effect on the community is whiteys fault. That within
itself is both untrue but even more so, its an unbelievably racist way
to look at life. But for me, the blame game has lost its effect, for too
long its been other peoples fault and its time to reclaim your
adulthood and reclaim your RESPONSIBILITY! Your racist claims about
whitey just ain't gonna cut any longer and the sooner other white people
stop excepting that garbage, the sooner the people can focus on the
real problem. Which in my opinion is the lack of both parental guidance
and parental responsibility for their children ( Fathers Here's Looking
At You ), negative behavior and individuals making bad choices in life.

10 years ago

There should be no excuses made for them. The blacks have more educational opportunities handed to them than any other race. Just look at Affirmative Action and see what it's done to the quality of the education of this country.

Simply put, blacks need to stop looking for someone to blame. Every person has no one to blame but themselves. If people tried to blame others for everything, then Irish will still be slaves, Chinese in this country will have been extinct, and the U.S. Japanese will still be in poverty. And I don't see American Indians, the true victims of our society, going around committing crimes because of their circumstances.

Black men do not take responsibilities for their lives. Here is a cold hard statistics for you, from Child Trends Databank:
"In 2011, 33 percent of black children were living with two parents, compared with 85 percent of Asian children, 75 percent of white children, and 60 percent of Hispanic children. (Appendix 1)"

Most of the immigrants from poor countries had it a lot worse than blacks, yet most thrive and their kids are educated and successful.
I can speak for myself that where I came from, the Government do not take care of you, you are on your own, and we were just trying to survive. . Here, no one starves to death and anyone who wants the education, gets it.

So stop expecting the society to give it to you. You are given all the opportunities here, and if you don't use it, then it's shame on you.

10 years ago

The first 10 minutes says it all. The woman blames the system and the school because her child cant count to ten. Its not her fault that she didnt try to teach him and educate him before he went to school. Here he was in third grade and she blames the teachers because he cant count to ten. I do not have any sad feelings at all for these people. As alot of comments on here have clearly stated, asians and many other cultures come into this country and excel even in the worst areas. The parenting is a very very very large part of the problem. We are not accepting the system or the man as an excuse anymore.

10 years ago

I enjoy the film, but I'm sorry, I think that some of the people in the film need to stop blaming the police, "the system", and school as their reason for failing in education. Everybody in America, from Asians to Hispanics are sick and tired of all these programs being catered to inner city blacks students who cannot keep up with the school's minimum standards. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of smart and successful blacks who feel the same way and are embarrassed when the state call for a dumbing down of the SATs or creating a special language for black students to comprehend test questions. Well, the truth of the matter is Black people need to get with the program like everyone else. For example, stop laughing at the "squares" in school, focus less on being a rapper or an athlete, take responsibility for the kids you've produced, and learn to be respectful to others that are different. Look at the Asians....they came here with little and no English but are progressing so much in America without much help or complaining. These people know what it's like to live in countries where education is not free. A few years ago, the university of California had to put a halt on the number of Asian students enrolling in school just to save room for more Hispanic and Black students. Wake up Black people and stop making excuses!!!!

10 years ago

As an African-American male, I can relate a lot to the subjects and themes explored in this film. Like most of the students profiled in this documentary, I also grew up without my biological father. However, I was fortunate to have a disciplinarian for a mother, who kept me on the right track and ensured that I took my education seriously. I also had a stepfather, some uncles, and some black male teachers to provide me with positive male influences.

After serving in the Army, I returned the college recently and finished my Bachelor's degree. I was considering returning to school to pursue a Master's degree in Education to help fulfill the need for more black males in the classroom. That's what prompted me to watch this film.

However, I don't think the problem facing these young men, especially those in the inner cities, can be solved simply by having more black male teachers. Like others have stated, it starts at home, and as a society, we need to examine and look to solve the long-lasting social issues that have created these hazardous environments in the first place.

10 years ago

The systematic stereotyping of black boys does NOT begin in 3rd grade, it begins to moment the boy is born and continues until the boy dies. The main stereotyping forces are other blacks.
As long as we try to dodge this fact and blame some thing or some one else, our efforts to remedy will not help.

10 years ago

There was no concrete evidence or examples of how a school fails african american males. Yes, there is a problem. Yes, there are boys who read below grade level. But it is a fact that the biggest obstacle to success in school is a lack of emergent literacy. Emergent literacy is something that occurs in the home, before a child ever enters school. When a 5 year old enters school, depending upon socioeconomic status, that child may or may not even know that an alphabet exists. For the child that was read to, and taught his abc's and can count to ten...who even KNOWS that a number is a thing that EXISTS, that child will enter school up to 2 years AHEAD of a child that did not have access/experience with emergent literacy opportunities. Characteristically, a middle class child will have had those opportunities, but with a child of poverty, where the father is gone, and the mother is working up to 3 jobs to put foodon the table, who cannot afford a daycare where these things are taught, and instead is just put into a babysitting position, therein lies the foundation of the problem. The lack of language development is another variable that affects a child's education. The film touched on this very lightly when it talked about being "bi-lingual". But the connection to a reason why black males are behind in school was not made. I am a 4th grade teacher in a high poverty area of my city, and I see how behind the children are as compared to a middle class school. The teachers at my school are well versed in many teaching techniques to try and catch the student up, but when they start 2 years behind their middle class peers, it is difficult to catch up. What is sad is the children do not even know that they are behind, and there is no urgency in wanting to catch up. They want to play their computer games instead of read. This is typical of any child. But for the one that is behind, it is critical that he reads reads reads - OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL.

10 years ago

Grasmick whines about how black children are treated in schools? Wasn't she in charge of them for 2 decades?

10 years ago

Thank you, Tony Harris. This needs to be seen by everyone in this country. It especially needs to be seen by everyone in Baltimore. I am a white woman who worked in those neighborhoods and schools, teaching art through a non-profit. I would drive through those boarded up houses - they stretched as far as the eye could see, in all directions. And the kids? The kids were having their lives and their futures stolen from them. But what was more horrifying was the indifference, the willful indifference, of the white people in that city to the conditions their poorer, black citizens live in. Everything in this film documents the truth, and it is a truth people there, white people in power there, want to deny.
It is truly a crisis. And it is sustained by the aquifer of racism that flows in that city.
I went to high school there, then left. I returned for three years, thinking things had progressed. Coming from life on the West Coast, it was like stepping back into plantation days of the old south. The hopelessness is so deep. Baltimore's motto, "BELIEVE," should be just "LEAVE."
Thank you Al Jazeera, and thank you Mr. Harris, and thank you to all the people in your film, who show such perseverance and strength.

10 years ago

i don't get it. what's so hard about reading??? every kid in my school, whatever skin-tone could read fluently within one year. except for one simple white girl..

Sieben Stern
10 years ago

i think this docu let the dads off the hook and put the blame completely on the school and teachers.

ladies need to pick fathers, not sperm donors to make their babies.

10 years ago

Rev. Jesse Jackson, at the Keep Hope Alive speech
during the Democratic National Convention (19 July 1988)

"There is nothing more painful to me at this
stage in my life than to walk down the street
and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery.

Then look around and see somebody
white and feel relieved....

After all we have been through.

Just to think we can't walk down our own streets, how humiliating.

10 years ago

"Most of the crime in Baltimore is committed by black males with other blacks as victims, making black males an easy target for the police."

Why would the police target other coloured people if most of the crime is done by black males? I'm not trolling, its a serious question. The whole political correct, non racial profiling thing get kinda silly when you purposely ignore a certain demographic because you dont want to offend. This just leads to wasted time.

Perhaps they should recruit large amounts of black males and females into the police force in those areas to help stop the crime AND give a positive role model for the community. But what do i know, im just some white guy.

10 years ago

Seems like the blame for all the difficulties with today's youth is given to the educational system. The amount of time that a student is in the education system equates to 12% of their total week. Tell me how a teacher is supposed to make the most difference given that ratio. Let's try paying doctors only when they cure the ills of their patients. I expect the outcry heard from that scenario would be that the doctor doesn't have control of what his patient does or has done to create or rectify the situation.

10 years ago

I'm all for educating black boys but i am even more for educating black girls, so they don't end up pregnant and uneducated raising uneducated black boys who will get uneducated black girls pregnant.

10 years ago

ANOTHER excellent piece of work by AL JAZEERA.
Might want to take care you don't get too depressed watching it, though. Despite a mostly upbeat soundtrack and narration, you really can't escape the bleakness.

10 years ago

A terrific doc. The United States is supposed to be the richest country on the planet yet their education system is a disgrace. Americans should be embarrassed by their performance in the education of its citizens, especially black America and the poor.