Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Ethnic Studies
In this comprehensive and well documented study on the minority education in America, Ogbu approaches the question of poor minority performance in school from a different but a powerful crosscultural perspective. His major hypothesis is that lower school performance on the part of blacks is an adaptation to their social and occupational positions in adult life, which do not require high educational qualifications (p. 213). The dominant white caste maintains the adaptation by providing blacks with inferior jobs. The adaptation is also maintained by certain structural and cultural features of the black environment which have evolved under the caste system. The job ceiling and other caste barriers influence the course of linguistic, cognitive, and motivational development of black children. He rejects categorically the explanation that attributes this academic retardation and asserts repeatedly that the parish caste-like status is powerful though subtle and hidden - determinant of behavior of black children. “What does affect black education is the fact that American society, through its political, economic, administrative, and other institutions, restricts blacks to menial social and occupational roles, low income, and poor residential status” (p. 214).
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1980