The thesis of [the Fordham and Ogbu article (1986) and subsequent research, such as Ogbu and Simons (1998)] was that (a) discrimination by society (e.g., denial of minorities' adequate rewards for their educational accomplishments through employment barriers and lower wages), (b) discrimination in the education system (e.g., school segregation, inferior curriculum, low teacher expectations), and (c) Black American responses to the mistreatment by society and school (e.g., disillusionment, lowered academic effort, mistrust of the schools) all result in low school performance; however, (d) an oppositional collective identity and an oppositional culture frame of reference also contribute to low school performance because minority students avoid (so-called) White attitudes and behaviors conducive to academic success (pp. 3-4). Ogbu believed that his critique was much broader than a focus on the disposition of involuntary minorities toward academic achievement itself; he expressed concern here with the disposition of such students toward a cluster of behaviors that would enhance the likelihood that the student would be successful in schooling.\n I realize that critics of Ogbu's thesis have very reasonable concerns; chief among them are that: (a) there are those who are concerned that the thesis places most of the burden for the achievement gap on Black students rather than on school reform and (b) there are those who are concerned that Ogbu's thesis focuses too much on culture at the expense of examination of the role of national ideology, disparities in political power, and disparate economic interests that may militate against Black achievement.
Response to Shelby Gilbert A Response to Shelby Gilbert’s “A Study of Ogbu and Simons’ Thesis” C. Matthew Hawkins1 University of Pittsburgh
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