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John Ogbu Essay

Ogbu was an American who attempted to explain ethnic school failure in America, by highly rejecting ability theory in minority child development. He ignored genetic causes but emphasized on culture based explanations. Ogbu found out in his research that academic success and ethnic consciousness were not mutually exclusive within minority child development. In expressing his line of thought, he argued performance among minority is not based on ability, but first, on the ability to distinguish the differences within different kinds of minorities.

He identified three kinds of minorities; involuntary, voluntary and autonomous. Involuntary minorities are the minorities incorporated within the society without their will and then relegated to menial status. In America, this group was by then represented by Native Americans and African Americans. Voluntary minority join host society aiming at improving their economic, political and social status. Autonomous minorities are not subject to subordinate status in society and are primarily in a numerical sense (Mogga, 2007, p. 10).

According to his arguments, minority development is effective in whereas involuntary minority is not. He said these facts are supported by system forces and system factors of schools and societies, impeding minority development. The circumstances of the minority were based on community forces. The involuntary minority in the United States was faring poorly and the systems claimed that their development was based on ability. He however said that Africa Americans and Native Americans were intimidated on cultural aspects, and were absorbed in learning institutions for menial purposes.

For equal and fair development among all minorities in America, he advised that the society should treat minorities and equally and grant them equal opportunities to development programs such as learning. In my own opinion, Ogbu’s argument holds to a certain percentage. This is because there are other factors that determine the development rate of a child such as health, mental ability, the level of development, age and then cultural aspects pop in (Mogga, 2007, p. 12).

Reference: Mogga, O. (2007). Educational Expwerience of the Sudanese Refugee Children in the United States. Phd. Dissertation: Miami University. Retrieved on 21st February, 2009 from, http://209. 85. 229. 132/search? q=cache:_6qa_CAaQKcJ:www. ohiolink. edu/etd/send-pdf. cgi/Mogga%2520Oliver%2520Kenyi. %2520A. pdf%3Facc_num%3Dmiami1187793319+Ogbu+rejects+ability+theory+in+Cross-Cultural+Roots+of+Minority+Child+Development. +What+is+his+rationale&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=ke

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