Would it be fair to assume that in the era of our ancestors, such as Mary McLeod Bethune, W.E.B. Dubois, and Benjamin Banneker, that because they wanted and obtained an education that they were acting "white"? It is upsetting to know that society has instilled in our young African American students that to excel in academics means to turn your back on your race. However, African American students are filled with pressure from both sides. Pressure to do well in order to succeed in life and pressure from peers to only do enough to get by so that they will be accepted into the "click." What happens in many schools where there are low expectations is that mediocre performance is acceptable.
Since the beginning of time, our African American ancestors have excelled in every aspect of history. If the perception, or idea of not wanting to learn or not needing to gain knowledge (being lazy, as our ancestors were labeled by their oppressors) was felt by our ancestors so many years ago, we would not have the opportunity today that so many of us do not take advantage of, the opportunity to receive an education.
We have to teach our children to be proud that they had ancestors who paved the way for them to be able to receive this "gift", and to appreciate the fact that so many lives were discriminatorily lost because of it.
Benjamin Banneker once wrote in a letter to Thomas Jefferson dated August 19, 1791, "One universal Father hath given to us all...Endowed us all with the same faculties... We are all of the same family." If a black man wrote in this capacity two hundred and fifteen years ago, why are our children still made to feel inadequate when all they want to do...