Holler If You Hear Me: Where Are The Black Male Teachers?

by Roosevelt Mitchell III


According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education the percentage of black male teachers statewide is 1.18% of the entire teaching force. There are about 74,000 total black boys statewide K-12. What is even more eye opening is that there are only 73 African American male special education teachers in the entire state of Missouri which is .11% of all teachers statewide. This figure should be troublesome to any member of the African American community who cares about our children being that there are roughly 15,000 black boys in special education statewide. Gone are the days of the all black school houses where black students taught by black educators who not only made sure they could read but made sure they knew how to act in public while being black. These days so many children do not know how to read, which is called an “achievement gap,” nor do they know what’s acceptable in public or most importantly, how society views them. We need more black males to enter the teaching field at the elementary and special education level to shape and groom our young men to not only survive in American but to compete at a high level in professional fields other than athletics. It’s a known fact that black boys are disproportionately overrepresented in special education but what is the effect when the boys do not have a role model that looks like them and are taught primarily by other races and gender? Not too state that it’s impossible for black woman or men and woman of other races to teach and role model for our young black men but it’s like society expecting black men to teach young white males about white privilege, it’s more insightful coming from a person who lives it on a daily basis. The effects and consequences are lethal because as the Mike Brown situation has shown us, there is a particular way that society wants black boys to act without society and law enforcement feeling threatened. No parent wants to face their child leaving home and not returning like the parents of Emmett Till, Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin and a whole host of others that did not make the national news. Black men teaching and role modeling at the elementary and special education level can mentor and teach these students at a young age on how to survive this society as a black man and instill in them confidence. If as black men we continue to turn the other cheek to this epidemic, then more tragedies and the prison industrial complex awaits our black boys.

Roosevelt Mitchell III, M.Ed is an educator, speaker, writer and author of “Diary of a Disability Scholar.” Contact him at DisabilityScholar.com or on Twitter