A new book begins with a quotation from Barack Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2004: "Go into any inner-city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can't teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to teach, that children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white." The book is Acting White: The Ironic Legacy of Desegregation by Stuart Buck. Buck argues that -- per his subtitle -- the "acting white" phenomenon is the result of the desegregation of America's public schools mandated by the famous 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education (decision, Wikipedia). Taking this book as a jumping-off point, John McWhorter and Richard Thompson Ford have a 36-minute conversation about the "acting white" phenomenon and its connection to desegregation. (In addition to that video dialogue, or "diavlog," you can download the conversation as a podcast.) [more inside]
The 'Acting White' Myth. When smart black kids try hard and do well, they are picked on by their less successful peers for 'acting white.' But it isn't true.