Talented & Gifted. And Brown.

In 1st grade I would get sent outside to read. It was because I would finish assignments early and then become a distraction to classmates. When she found out, this made my mother quite upset. The teacher didn’t have enough challenging work to keep me occupied. So, after a meeting with the principal and an IQ test I was set to start in a talented and gifted class the next school year. I was on the TAG track all the way to high school graduation. I graduated high school with some of the same friends I had back in 2nd grade and another set since 7th. We were always in classes together.

I look back on this experience and recognize it could have easily gone the opposite direction. If I never told my mom that I was going outside to read then the teacher could/would have further pathologized my behavior. I could have been labeled a problem child and tagged with behavior issues. An IEP later and I’d be set on a track based on a negative self image.

This happens all over the US. Black and Brown “gifted” students go through this everyday. They’re much less likely to be recognized as, assessed for, and placed in gifted classes. If you want a ratio or % then you can go research it, it's easy to find. I could make up a number right now and you wouldn't question it so I don't think presenting the data here is pertinent. 

Teachers are the gatekeepers. If a teacher is not attuned to blackness and isn't questioning their implicit bias then they are not seeing the great potential in their students.. Black and Brown kids can and do have high amounts of “giftedness” but it can easily go unnourished. Giftedness doesn’t always manifest as a child reciting all the countries of the world, solving rubik's cubes, quickly listing off multiplication facts, or reading at 2 years old. Sometimes giftedness looks like inattentiveness, anxiety, depression, learning disorders, hyperactivity... And in Black and Brown students, who are traditionally demonized and othered, a white woman teacher is more likely to see the problem and never the talent.

Shout out to my Black/Brown momma who was an involved (stringent?) parent.

I.Q. & I.D.

Anxiety, Panic, & College