Study: Bullying hurts black, Latino achievers

Bullied students’ grades slip, according to a new study (pdf) of high school students. High-achieving black and Latino students suffer the most academically, conclude Ohio State doctoral student Lisa M. Williams and Virginia Tech Sociology Professor Anthony A. Peguero.

The sociologists found that the grade point average of all students who were bullied in 10th grade dropped slightly by 12th grade. By their senior year, black students who had a 3.5 grade point average, on a scale of 0 to 4, as freshmen, lost almost one-third of a point if they had been bullied. The result was more pronounced for Latino victims of bullying: They lost half a point. That compares with a loss of less than one-tenth of a point for white students who had undergone such harassment, the researchers found.

Black and Latino students with high test scores are more likely to be harassed or teased at school, the researchers found in an earlier study published this year.  Another stereotype-busting group — low-achieving Asian-Americans –also were more vulnerable to bullying.

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  1. I hope they didn’t spend too much money to get this earth-shatteringly novel result.

  2. The real question should be who is doing most of the bullying of each ethnic group…

  3. Well, knowing a few educated blacks myself, I can tell you what a few of them told me about studying hard in school. They got put down by their peers (fellow black students) by being called ‘oreo’, ‘race traitor’, ‘sellout to the man’, ‘white boy’, and ‘uncle tom’.

    I didn’t know many latinos when I attended public school (but most of ’em that did were encouraged to do well by their parents), but I’m sure among some of their peers they got some of the same pressure (though not as bad as black students).

    I guess in some cases, it’s more fun to act the fool in class than to get an education.


  4. Deirdre Mundy says:

    So…. do the Asians who are bullied for low grades see their GPAs go up?

    “Hey, Tommy! Jack got a B again! Here’s 20 bucks if you smack him around on the bus!” “Of course, Mrs. Lee! Anything to help!”

  5. We have black friends who had to move their son (and later their daughter) to a private school because of that poisonous message that well-behaved, academically successful blacks are oreos. After buying a house in a high SES suburb with very good schools, they were not happy with the effect of the county’s socioeconomic integration program on their son; the imports from the city brought with them all of their dysfunctional behaviors and negative attitudes to academic success and hard work. The white and Asian kids were less affected but they really targeted blacks. Our friends’ son wasn’t bullied, but he sure was pressured to change his behavior; to the extent that his grades took a nosedive and he was also cut from his travel sports team (not one of the “right” sports for blacks) for constant misbehavior and lack of effort. The last straw was the time he was tossed out of practice before his dad could park their car. After a semester in a (very diverse) private school, he was back on track, but they would have bought in a good but not as expensive neighborhood, closer to both their work and the private school, if they had known the public school was going to be such a problem.

  6. momof4: a couple of my friends at the private high school I attended were from similar situations. One once expressed to me how much of a relief it was never to be called “Oreo” or made fun of for wanting to earn good grades.

    Which is really sad.

    Though I will say, as an American of Irish, French, and German descent…I did take some level of teasing at my public junior high for caring about grades myself. Not nearly as bad as what my friend faced I am sure. But I think there is a pervasive anti-learning attitude in some areas of the culture.

  7. I certainly was called a grind and so were my close friends, but there was no racial/ethnic/cultural component. Whatever the current term of art, I’m sure the category still exists, but it’s particularly poisonous when it’s attached to culture. Unfortunately, some cultural norms, behaviors and expectations are toxic in terms of their effect on upward mobility/success.

  8. If “oreo” was designated a hate term, maybe the PC apparatus could be employed to counter this bullying.  But as long as it’s black-on-black, I don’t see it happening.

  9. Thinly Veiled Anonymity says:

    To quote John Bender:

    “B. O. O. H. O. O.”

    Black and Latino achievers — whatever that means — need to suck it up and deal, just like all the other nerds. We don’t need new “hate speech” designations to protect them, and no force at school is going to stop the paleolithic dumbasses from picking on the really smart kids.

    The smart kids need to learn how to either ignore it and carry on, or fight back if it’s serious enough.

    Why on earth would you think that what a bunch of dumbasses has to say means a g***amned thing? Just because they happen to look like you?

    Please. That’s racist. Don’t be racist.

    Free your mind, your ass will follow. And you’ll never have to deal with those people again.