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Education, African American males - Essay Example

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Introduction An analysis of the progress of African-American males makes for some intriguing reading. Reports carried in the show that at the beginning of the 21st century they made only 10% of those on whom bachelors degrees were conferred (Thomas, & Prettyman, 1996)…
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Introduction An analysis of the progress of African-American males makes for some intriguing reading. Reports carried in the show that at the beginning of the 21st century they made only 10% of those on whom bachelors degrees were conferred (Thomas, & Prettyman, 1996). This number may have gradually increased but non other than President Barrack Obama reminded the African-American community that they had to pursue education on a serious note if they ever hoped to live the American dream and there were no shortcuts to that end. Approaches There are many approaches through which studies on this trend where only a small percentage of the community bothers with higher education can be carried. One is the based on Emile Durkheim’s functionalist approach to the study of society (Poggi, 2000). Durkheim pointed out that institutions in the society played specific roles and became redundant once these roles became outdated or overtaken by events (Poggi, 2000). Higher education to the African-American was historically a preserve of the Caucasians hence the reason why some African-Americans still regarded it as alien and serving no real purpose in their lives. This could have accounted for their apathy towards education in the early days though this situation is gradually changing (Poggi, 2000). There were limited opportunities in the early days for the African Americans whose only employment was in the form of domestic and farm work hence there was no real need for advanced level of education for them. Consequently they developed the attitude that only basic education was necessary for them. With this came the latent factor, the blacks began regarding education as alien and part of their education. This formed the basis of their indifference towards education (Baird, & Walter, 2008). This situation only changed when the liberation movements of the early 20th century resulted in more opportunities for the blacks. This was compounded by liberation from slavery which begun in the southern free states and gradually moved northwards (Thomas, & Prettyman, 1996). Due to the changed circumstances the African Americans begun to appreciate the value and opportunities that higher education brought to their lives hence they begun pursuing it (Liamputtong & Ezzy, 2005). Nevertheless, old habits die hard and culture with its attendant attitudes change only gradually (Ryan, & Stevens 2010). Consequently the number of African American males who undertake higher education has only increased gradually. As a result they still have lower numbers than their Caucasian counterparts. The emergence of scientific research methods has helped in gathering most of the evidence used in sociological studies such as this one (Liamputtong & Ezzy, 2005). The methods require that one observes society from a detached point of view even though he belongs to the same society and is subject to its belief and value systems (Liamputtong & Ezzy, 2005). Phenomena such as the apathy of African-Americans towards higher education have been extensively studied using this method. References Baird, F, E. & Walter, K. (2008). From Plato to Derrida. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. Liamputtong, P. & Ezzy, D. (2005). Qualitative Research Methods. New York: Oxford University Press. Poggi, G. (2000). Durkheim. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 2. Ryan, M. & Stevens K. (2010). (Eds), Introducing communication theory analysis and application. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp.76-91. Thomas, K. & Prettyman, A. E. (1996). Education: Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. vol. 2. New York: Macmillan. pp. 846 Read More
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