I have two sons. One is a young adult who has taken the scenic route to college, while carving out a career in art. In this way, he has taken an unconventional path unconventionally. I am not being repetitive here. Not only is he taking a unconventional path- the artist’s path. He has even shaken the few conventions of that path and turned them on their heads. He has a perspective of the world that is expansive, complicated, and utterly uncomfortable. Fortunately for him and for us (by “us” I mean the world as a whole), he is able to relieve some of the over-crowding in his head by allowing it to spill out onto paper. As his mother, I believe him to be brilliant and gifted and totally beyond me intellectually.
In the 1850s, American psychiatrists believed enslaved blacks who ran away from white enslavers were suffering from a mental illness called drapetomania. This illness, psychiatrists maintained, could be cured by excessive whipping. (here Madsen-Brooks quotes Melissa Harris-Lacewell’s article, Who You calling crazy?.)
African American males are overrepresentedin most categories of learning, emotional, and behavioral disabilities. They are most severely overrepresented in areas of disability that are descriptive of disruptive and inappropriate behavior at school compared to categories of disability that describe specific learning problems (Colpe, 2000). Although they comprised only 15% of the U.S. population in 2001, African American children were overrepresented in specific learning disabilities (18%), mental retardation(34%) and emotional disturbancecategories (28%) (Office of Special Education Programs, 2005). African American males also make up a majority of the students identified as emotionally disturbed in the U.S. (Colpe) and are far more likely than their Euro American or female peers to be suspended, expelled, or subjected to corporal punishment (National Center for Education Statistics,2001)
What else can I say?