Critical Race Theory and the Perspectives of Black Men Teachers in the Los Angeles Public Schools

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Equity & Excellence in Education

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When asked why he teaches in urban schools, a respondent softly uttered these words: “I teach ‘cause I keep seein’ me’’. This is an emotional and revealing statement made by a 35-year-old Black man who worked as a middle school teacher in South Central Los Angeles. Having grown up in impoverished conditions in South Central Los Angeles, his schooling experience was less than optimal. Here, he expresses in plain but powerful language his commitment to teaching Black1 children, particularly males, who live amidst difficult circumstances. If one takes the statement at face value, it might appear as if he is simply suggesting that he has made the choice to work in an environment where there are large numbers of students who have racial and ethnic characteristics that are similar to his own. While a deeper analysis of this statement reveals this to be the case, it also reveals something much more complex. It suggests that conditions for Black children in America’s urban schools have not changed much in the twenty to twenty-five years since he attended elementary and middle school in a neighboring community.


Copyright (2002) Taylor & Francis.


*At the time of publication, Marvin Lynn was affiliated with the University of Maryland, College Park.



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