John Ogbu Critical Analysis

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John Ogbu discusses reasons why some minority groups excel better in what he describes as “acquiring literacy,” compared to Black Americans or “involuntary minorities.” Many theories have been made to address this issue. One theory suggests Black Americans genetically lack in literacy based off their IQ’s. Another theory suggests poor Black children are raised in homes that do not provide enough early childhood development skills to aid them in school success. Ogbu points out both theories are generalizations that are not conclusive. More theories propose, there are institutional and social class barriers that affect minorities. Ogbu responds that these theories do not account for the discrepancies that other minority students do better than…show more content…
Voluntary minorities, see these barriers as “temporary problems” that can be overcome with hard work and education. They are able to do this, according to Ogbu, because they can compare the life they could have had back in their homeland to life in the U.S. Immigrants believe they can achieve better success in America and endure barriers because it is seemingly better than the life they would have led in their homeland. Personally I believe this perspective to be true of immigrants based off my experience coming from an immigrant family. My father and his brothers left El Salvador to escape the civil war that was occurring at the time. My father believes his life in the U.S is definitely an improvement to life he had in El Salvador, and he worked hard to get a higher education believing it would get him ahead. He has endured and accepted discrimination in exchange for a better life for his family. In comparison, involuntary minorities do not get to have a homeland to look back on. Instead, they interpret the barriers “permanent and institutionalized.” They believe more is required to overcome barriers than getting an education and working hard; therefore, there has to be a collective effort to overcome
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