In the education section of the London newspaper, the Daily Telgraph, a new reason why black schoolboys in Britian perform far below their white and Asian counterparts. According to a new study done by the Jamaican Teachers Association, black schoolboys underachieve in exams due to a cultural misconception that academic success is a sign of homosexuality.
The Head of the Jamaican Teachers Association, Adolph Cameron, claims that many Afro-Carribean boys do not want to appear studious for fear of casting suspicion on their masculinity. The alternative to academic achievement in Jamaica especially seems to be a hustle culture, relying on the tourism in both Jamaica and inner London to create a life. The boys who do rely on academic success are bullied more and only manage to sustain academics for only so long until peer pressure calls them away.
Afro-Carribean boys are one of England’s worst-performing racial and gender groups in schools. Last year, just 40 percent of Afro-Caribbean boys achieved five good GCSEs that included both English and Mathematics. This is compared with the British national average of 58.5 per cent. In addition, in Jamaica, boys are at least 10 percentage points behind girls in national tests.
Mr. Cameron told the BBC: “The notion of masculinity says that if as a male you aspire to perform highly it means you are feminine, even to the extent of saying you are gay.”
“But in the context of Jamaica, which is so homophobic, male students don’t want to be categorised in that way so that they would deliberately underperform in order that they are not.”
This type of homophobia will affect the later success of both groups, adding to the overall racism and white privilege that Britian’s educational system has tried hard to overcome. Mr. Cameron argues that misplaced views about masculinity needed to be tackled in schools in order to overcome these views and have academic achievement coexist with concepts of “black masculinity” in modern culture.
He recently gave a talk to educators in Bristol on this topic, and outlines some ideas that he hopes start a conversation within the community that may lead to a curriculum to address these issues. His hope is that this attitude can change within the next few years.
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