August 27, 2013

Forrest Gump goes to Berkeley

Thanks to all my readers who called attention to a long Los Angeles Times article by Kurt Streeter:
South L.A. student finds a different world at Cal 
Kashawn Campbell grew up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in South Los Angeles. Yet he became a straight-A student at Jefferson High School. But at UC Berkeley, he found challenges far greater than he anticipated. 

Education Realist offers a close reading of the article and comes up, in so many words, with the most plausible interpretation: Kashawn is Forrest Gump, a sweet kid who may have suffered brain damage during a difficult birth, but whom everybody around him has conspired to make things easier for him ever since because he's so nice. For example, his 91% Hispanic school, Roosevelt High in South-Central, voted him Prom King. ER writes:
You know when a slight, geeky, weird guy with awkward social skills is voted most likely to succeed and prom king? When it’s an act of charity, an act that makes a group of tough kids feel good about themselves—that is, when the kid in question is “special”. 

It's a heartwarming story. Of course, Forrest Gump was only a movie, and unless somebody gives Kashawn a bundle of Apple stock (Laurene Powell Jobs, I'm looking at you), it's not likely to turn out as well. Berkeley, for example, is not a nice college for nice but slow students. 

California actually has a pretty good system, set up around the Sputnik Era, for how high school grads can go to community college, then, if they flourish, transfer to UC schools. But, that long slow path isn't as heartwarming for those around him looking for the quick self-congratulatory fix of getting poor Kashawn into Berkeley.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

All black dormitory? Would they allow an all White dormitory or even an all Hispanic one? These people have no shame... or honor.

Anonymous said...

He doesn't look especially "special", although this excerpt from the article is telling:

"It was so rare to have a kid like Kashawn, especially an African American male, wanting that badly to go to college," said Jeremy McDavid, a former Jefferson vice principal. "We got together as a staff and decided that this kid, we cannot let him down."

Anonymous said...

This young man was thrown to the wolves academically.

African Studies will save him most likely. I hope he likes Franz Fanon and Chinua Achebe.

guest007 said...

Kashawn is the kind of students that the Asian students will laugh about behind his back. Asian students will also use such obvious affirmative action admits as reason for the decline of the U.S.

The Asians see Americans as being stupid to put someone like Kashawn in a top university while relegating others to lesser schools because of their being white (or Asian).

Anonymous said...

Kashawn is the kind of students that the Asian students will laugh about behind his back. Asian students will also use such obvious affirmative action admits as reason for the decline of the U.S.

The Asians see Americans as being stupid to put someone like Kashawn in a top university while relegating others to lesser schools because of their being white (or Asian).


It's not Asians, it's anyone with more than 4 brain cells, as in 2+2, not 2+1.

Anonymous said...

Poor kid. I mean it. Seems like a good dude. Just given way too much. Which wouldn't evoke pity except it will come at great cost. Literally - in the form of student loans, and psychically - in the form of crippling self doubt that will never go away.

He should have gone and been an OK student at a community college, and gone to work in some grunt level quasi white collar gig. A track that he could thrive in. Instead, he'll see himself as a failure for the rest of his life. A Berkeley grad (if he's lucky) who can't hold the kind of jobs his degree will entitle him to.

I hope this kind of story is told more often. Mismatch might be the single most palatable argument against affirmative action. Even lefties wonder about what they're doing to the young people they are over-promoting.

Education Realist said...

That's a brilliant allusion. I'm glad I didn't think of it.

Carol said...

If Kashawn is as "special" as all that, he wouldn't cut it at a CC either. Sounds like they ought to teach him simple custodial work.

Related, I suspect my flyover state flagship U of accepting borderline retarded and mentally disabled freshman as special probationary admittees, for their loan money. To keep the big U machine going. I mean, they'll take anyone.

elvisd said...




Well, he can always go to a Historically Black College and be treated to a, ahem, stimulating environment.

Anonymous said...

A lot of directional state colleges and even "state" second tiers accept people with low ability to keep numbers up and score the student loans.

Lion of the Blogosphere said...

Obviously it doesn't mean as much when one get's straight As at a school where the average IQ is probably below 85, but he seems like a decent kid, and I hope he manages to graduate college.

Anonymous said...

"I hope he likes Franz Fanon and Chinua Achebe..."

Chinua's not too bad. Least Things Fall Apart was good. As I recall. Fanon, I don't know..

Anonymous said...

Obviously it doesn't mean as much when one get's straight As at a school where the average IQ is probably below 85, but he seems like a decent kid, and I hope he manages to graduate college.

Maybe you could give him a job as an editor.

Geoff Matthews said...

Forrest Bump was not just a movie, it was also a book.

Anonymous said...

"Kashawn is the kind of students that the Asian students will laugh about behind his back."

Who cares? People like Kashawn and want him to succeed so he will get a break and if he has strong work ethic will probably do OK.

Those same people don't like Asian grinds with subzero personalities and severe teamwork deficit. They will end up on some hamster wheel for the next 40 years as high-tech railroad coolies.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm starting to see how black women name their kids - they just take a normal, everyday name and add a Ka- or a Da- or a Ja- to it. Voila!

Ka'Shawn

Da'Juan

La'Trina

Ja'Marcus

Etc.

Harry Baldwin said...

guest007 said...Asians see Americans as being stupid to put someone like Kashawn in a top university while relegating others to lesser schools because of their being white (or Asian).

As would any person able to think straight. (Granted that's a minority.)

Harry Baldwin said...

Geoff Matthews said...Forrest Bump [Bump?] was not just a movie, it was also a book.

Forrest Gump is an example of a movie that was much better than the book it was based on.

irishman said...

Why would a liberal newspaper like the LA times publish this at all? This is obviously conservative ground bait.

The best explanation I can come up with is that it is a passive aggressive way for them to oppose affirmative action.

I really feel sorry for Kashawn. He must be humiliated.

Anonymous said...

"Those same people don't like Asian grinds with subzero personalities and severe teamwork deficit. They will end up on some hamster wheel for the next 40 years as high-tech railroad coolies."

Pity for you that those Asian grinds are largely just reassuring figments of the imagination for aggrieved and under-performing bigots, and so many of the most dynamic successful entrepreneurs in the US right now are of Chinese, Korean or Japanese origin.

But hey, that's just a hurtful reality for some, right?

Mr. Anon said...

The State JC system in California used to be the envy of the nation. Are those schools still any good?

Anonymous said...

Who cares? People like Kashawn and want him to succeed so he will get a break and if he has strong work ethic will probably do OK.

You give people too much credit. What people really like above all is appearing to other people that they like Kashawn.

They want him to succeed, but not at their own expense, but at the expense of other people. They want other people to actually pay for the cost of Kashawn's success.

Anonymous said...

He has a really small head.

Anonymous said...

From the NYT piece:

'"Sometimes we feel like we're not wanted on campus," Kashawn said, surrounded at a dinner table by several of his dorm mates, all of them nodding in agreement. "It's usually subtle things, glances or not being invited to study groups. Little, constant aggressions."'

I dunno. Sounds like the kid is not such a slow learner after all. I see a bright future for him in the grievance industry.

Gilbert P.

Discard said...

Gilbert P: Gee, he chooses to live in a Black only dorm, and he and his fellow geniuses object to not being invited to White study groups. How obtuse to you have to be to shun others and then see glances as subtle aggressions.

Anonymous said...

I would not write off this kid at this point. A lot of students have almost traumatc feshman years. IQ aside, he seems to have faced a bigger culture shock than most upon entering an elite university. He clearly suffered from depression as well. I am not saying his prospects look great, but people may be making too much of this story as an indictment of the UC admissions system.

NOTA said...

I've never read anything by Fannon, but Achebe is definitely worth reading.

The reality may be exactly as it looks like from the story, but I have very limited faith in the accuracy of this kind of story. Facts that contradicted the story the reporter wanted to tell may very well have been cut from the story.

Silver said...

"But hey, that's just a hurtful reality for some, right?"

Strictly speaking, for "some" it would be. But I suspect that by "some" you really mean "all," that is, it's a hurtful reality, period; it's true and necessarily hurtful. Well, it's not. To the extent its true (and I say that because nothing is as common as ethnocentric exaggeration) it's laughably easy to accept.

What's really hurtful, though, and apparently impossible for you to accept, is white people liking other white people more than they like you. That seems to really upset you. But that's wholly unreasonable attitude to take. Look, can you even imagine yourself apologizing for liking asians more than you like whites? See what I mean?

Anonymous said...

I am not saying his prospects look great, but people may be making too much of this story as an indictment of the UC admissions system.

I think it's more of an indictment of grade inflation at NAM majority high schools. His HS GPA was over 4.0.

Anonymous said...

"Those same people don't like Asian grinds with subzero personalities and severe teamwork deficit. They will end up on some hamster wheel for the next 40 years as high-tech railroad coolies."

The liberal defenders of the stupid use these kind of arguments as if they were fact. The fact is that East Asian economies, societies and corporations are successful, productive and world famous. The Africans are not known for successful societies, corporations or economies. Strange how all this wonderful teamwork results in nothing but failure.

ollie1986 said...

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/aug/22/south-africa-universities-racially-skewed

Anonymous said...

"The liberal defenders of the stupid use these kind of arguments as if they were fact. The fact is that East Asian economies, societies and corporations are successful, productive and world famous."

Thanks, Chairman Mao.

Silver said...

Re "Liberal defenders"

In his defense, asians often do come across as quiet, withdrawn and "lacking personality" - not all of them, but it's easy to see how that impression would form. Whatever truth there may be to it, though, I think it's also partly a consequence of asians simply preferring to stick to their own, so what seems like a "subzero personality" to a non-asian is the asian's tendency not to intrude where he perceives he's not really wanted or to not get too social with people that, were it not for work, he would not have anything to do with. I can respect that.

SFG said...

"Gilbert P: Gee, he chooses to live in a Black only dorm, and he and his fellow geniuses object to not being invited to White study groups. How obtuse to you have to be to shun others and then see glances as subtle aggressions."

Sounds like he's picked up on the theory of 'microaggressions', a trendy left wing theory going around because they haven't got any guys walking around in Klan robes anymore (unless they're liberals trying to stir up trouble). Remember, he's at Berkeley.

I'm actually feeling more and more sorry for this kid. Instead of going on to comfortable mediocrity, he gets to fail at Berkeley, fall into all kinds of lefty silliness...

Jill said...

Campbell is not alone in being academically unprepared...
"The remedial numbers are staggering, given that the Cal State system admits only freshmen who graduated in the top one-third of their high-school class. About 27,300 freshmen in the 2010 entering class of about 42,700 needed remedial work in math, English or both."

http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_19526032

New York City is no better. According to the Schott Foundation for Public Education, New York City has the worst four-year high school graduation rate (about 60 percent) in the country. Of those 60 percent, nearly a quarter of them do not graduate after four years

Money is not the issue.The New York City school budget is approximately $19.1 billion dollars per year. Almost $4.7 billion dollars goes to pensions and interest on debt.
The system is a failure for a great number of minority students. New York City has a number of specialized high schools for which students compete based on academic achievement alone. For the 2013/2014 school year:
—Stuyvesant offered admission to 9 black students; 24 Latino students; 177 white students; and 620 students who identify as Asian.
—Bronx Science offered admission to 25 black students; 54 Latino students; 239 white students; 489 Asian students; and 3 American Indian/Alaskan Native students.
—Brooklyn Tech offered admission to 110 black students; 134 Latino students; 451 white students; 960 Asian students; and 5 American Indian/Alaskan Native students.

At Harvard, if tests become too challenging, just cheat...

"Harvard University revealed on Wednesday that nearly half of the undergraduates in the spring class were under investigation for suspected cheating, for working together or for plagiarizing on a take-home final exam. Jay Harris, the dean of undergraduate education, called the episode “unprecedented in its scope and magnitude.”

http://tinyurl.com/nj8e3x5

carol said...

I remember a JC system in California, brimming with PhD's, offering all sorts of academic and vocational courses. Easy to get in, cheap, flexible scheduling. They would have worked with him.

This take on the story reminds me of when my company hired a paraplegic and tried to pump him up for phone sales but he was really kind of retarded. So finally they realized they needed to get rid of him, after flattering him and giving him some monthly sales award as an incentive..it was a sticky problem but I think they learned their lesson.

These well meaning idiots tend to think if you treat someone like a star, they will grow into the part. It's pure blank state existentialism.

Cail Corishev said...

Obviously it doesn't mean as much when one get's straight As at a school where the average IQ is probably below 85,

It doesn't? Are they grading on a curve that openly? Do they give out a certain number of A's in every class no matter how badly the students do? It seems like if that were official policy, colleges would ignore high-school grades entirely.

Look, I'm sympathetic to a kid who really wants to learn but wasn't born with the brainpower to keep up with his peers. I'd be fine with taking some percentage of "disadvantaged" kids who can't make the grade but have shown a willingness to study hard, put them at a classical liberal arts school, and say, "Look, don't worry too much about your grades or a degree; just study what you're interested in and do your best, and we'll pick up the tab as long as you work hard and stay out of trouble." Learning for its own sake has value even if you're slow at it, and those who buck the anti-scholarship "learning is white" attitude of black culture should be encouraged. It ought to be possible to come up with private scholarships for such a program.

Unfortunately, we don't have many good classical liberal arts schools anymore to send them to. The universities have been turned into minor leagues for Wall Street and government, and everyone's expected to be driving toward a white-collar career. Would they have a place for a kid who took a few self-chosen courses every year without a specific degree goal in mind?

Cail Corishev said...

I dunno. Sounds like the kid is not such a slow learner after all. I see a bright future for him in the grievance industry.

Yeah, apparently he's already learned the lingo: glance==aggression. No normal person uses the word "aggression" to refer to a single act ("that look was an aggression"), let alone someone with a poor education.

Does he think no one ever "glances" at the Asian grinds? Or do they just ignore it, because they're too busy grinding?

Anonymous said...

Kashawn reminds me of Yalie cheerleader(*) George W Bush. Only without the family money and connections. Which is why
cultural marxists see nothing wrong with Kashawn, since all rich people got their wealth illegitimately, Bush has the same legitimacy being in Yale as Kashawn in Berkley. Kashawn is the perfect compliment to all those semi autistic Asian kids at Yale. They need him damn it.

* Cheerleader literally not figuratively.

Just Another Guy With a 1911 said...

Asian Culture is different than ours, but, as noted above, it does work. Sure, it would be great if our elites were not bent on smashing our borders and destroying the White Middle Class; and, believe me, when I am the local Walmart I hear the refrain of My City Was Gone pounding in my brain as I gaze upon the huddled masses yearning to be free, babbling in myriad languages, as they crawl up and down the aisles in search of cheap consumer goods with their numerous brood in tow. Always, always, with the kids. It is Idiocracy in action and, with a little imagination, you can see the world to come. But - if I could to choose (which, of course,I can't, as this is all being shoved down our collective throats) between mass immigration from Africa or, say, Korea. I would take Korea any day of the frigging week.

As for Forrest - he'll be fine. First, because of what I call the "Dave" factor, name changed to protection the idiotic. Dave was a wreck, his life was mess, he had no idea what his job was about, but yet, he never got fired. In fact, he would often go to lunch with the managers of what was a pretty big 401K TPA. He was not like Forrest in that he sort of just stayed in place, but he was legendary and everybody had a "Dave" story.

Anyway, the fact is this, and I think people who tend to analyze every little thing and try to figure the world from the outside in, as opposed to from the inside out, don't get it so easily: there are people in life who, because a fundamentally nice nature, seem to effortlessly dodge the bullets that the rest of us stay up late at night devising plans to avoid. These folks are everywhere and often quite amusing - but God help ye if one is administering your 401K or you are relying on them to cover for you while you're on vacation.

Second, the kid is black. The laws of gravity need not apply to his life course. AA studies and other propaganda classes will get him through Berkley. Some company will be happy to get the AA points and promote him to somewhere in the organization where he will do no harm, and trot him out from time to time as symbol to their commitment to diversity. People will clap politely and go back to their desks. Heck, some may even believe the lies. Welcome to America: Version 2.0, folks. Smoke 'em if ya got 'em.

pat said...

I think it's probably true that for the majority population of whatever race that 'niceness' correlates with mental ability. We seem to expect better behavior from successful people than from losers.

But clearly the neurological structures that potentiate a sweet disposition are different from those that do so for smarts. It is well known that Trisomy 21 (Down's syndrome) children are sweet and lovable. I'm told that if you go on a ward of such kids they crowd around you to hold your hand.

Williams syndrome kids are likewise adorable but dim.

In the animal world I'm told that squid are likely smarter than porpoises but squid are nasty and dolphins are nice.

I think being nice on occasion is a selective advantage, but being too nice too often strikes me as a semi-lethal attribute. Being too nice and too trusting gets you killed in the wild.

Eddie Murphy in his early stand up performances also used to adopt the same sort of 'shit eating grin' that we see in the pictures of this kid. It's funny as an affectation but tragic when it's for real.

Albertosaurus

Ichabod Crane said...

We should hurry up and decide who is better, asians, blacks or whites, or we will begin to look like a gaggle of honking racists!

Anonymous said...

What this poor boy is experiencing is nothing new and it isn't necessarily a racial problem.
Berkeley has always been a shock to bright kids from not so special high schools, and even from some that were.
I was there in the late '60s. I lived in Los Gatos, but had graduated from a Jesuit school nearby. I had a friend, and my sister had a boy friend, who both graduated from the public high school in Los Gatos. Both were accepted by Berkeley first try, and both were gone within a year, their tails between their legs. I imagine that both had IQs of 130 or so.
The point is that even then all that wasn't enough to make a success of a gloriously intimidating place. Berkeley accepted the best from the whole state, and proceeded to winnow them down to the very best.
I am glad to know that they still doing it.

dufus maximus said...

Carol said:

"Related, I suspect my flyover state flagship U of accepting borderline retarded and mentally disabled freshman as special probationary admittees, for their loan money. To keep the big U machine going. I mean, they'll take anyone."

So it's not just my state. I have a job where I come into contact with folks who are certified, documented retards, with IQs in the low 70s and GAFs in the 50s and below. If they are age 30 or below, almost every one of them has at least a semester of JC under their belt. So, yes, JCs will admit 100% certified tards, and I'm sure it has everything to do with money.

Truth said...

The salutatorian of a high school with 1,230 students is mentally retarded; is this your insinuation Steve. I guess from there, one could logically assume that since he got better grades than 1,228 others, he must be smarter then them. And from there, one could make the logical leap that at Centennial High School, AT LEAST 1,229/ 1,230 students are mentally retarded. Let's just say that there are 10 students who are underachievers, and tag 1,219 of the school's 1,230 students as "mentally retarded."

If I read your assertion correctly that's just brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Truth I think it is pretty clear that Steve means that he didnt deserve the grades he got because people were rooting for the "retarded kid." He is not saying that a retarded kid actually did better than every person but one at the school.

Truth said...

So a retard got so much pity that he got an "A" from practically every teacher in every class for four years?

Education Realist said...

So a retard got so much pity that he got an "A" from practically every teacher in every class for four years?

Perhaps you should go read the original, rather than put your own spin on a summary.

Special day students don't take the same classes as regular students--if he was special day. Special ed kids don't have to take the same classes, either.

I see two possibilities--assuming, of course, that the interpretation is valid. First, and most likely, he worked hard in classes where many other students didn't work, and the teachers rewarded him for the effort. No individual teacher would have had a thought other than making him feel good and what harm would it do? This is a school where many kids don't work at all, where classes are filled with disruptive students. You have a kid who works hard, and hell, where's the harm?

The teachers in question would never dream of anyone confusing his A for actual achievement.

But then the actual smart kids in harder classes don't get As all the time, and suddenly a bunch of teachers' well meaning pat on the head becomes the second highest GPA. Not because there aren't smarter kids, not because they think he's actually capable of doing the work.

The second possibility is that the school scammed his grades on purpose from his freshman year. I find that unlikely.

I do wonder if the school "helped" him write his admission essays a little too much. Or maybe someone else did.

The possibility that seems the most likely is accidental 4.0 GPA, Kashawn wants to apply to Berkeley, the school wants to do right by him, figuring Berkeley will look at the transcripts and figure it out and oops. They don't.

To commenters in general:

Remember the article about the holistic reading? How likely is it that they train the readers to look for "this kid is mentally disabled"?

So unless the school actively committed fraud, I don't see it as the school's fault. All blame goes to Berkeley and the people who wrote the essays for him. (which may have been the school).

This is not about affirmative action per se, but about the substitute for affirmative action--gpa. Definitely an unintended consequence. The Forrest Gump allusion is brilliant.

Finally, there's no point in sending Kashawn to community college if I'm correct. His cognitive deficiencies would not allow him the degree of academic or intellectual growth he'd need.

Anonymous said...

No one should have to beat themselves up over an educational program intended to put you in a job you'll hate for 40 years when the prospect of selling Detroit real estate is there for the taking.

Anonymous said...

So a retard got so much pity that he got an "A" from practically every teacher in every class for four years?

He was also the Prom King. Do you suppose he was the coolest guy in school?

What was his SAT score? That would be a better measure than grades for determining whether he's a retard or not.

Anonymous said...

The salutatorian of a high school with 1,230 students is mentally retarded; is this your insinuation Steve

According to the LA Times piece, he was delivered at birth in difficult circumstances. His mother thought he was stillborn. The umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around his neck, and this may have deprived him of oxygen. Depriving the brain of oxygen can lead to brain damage:

"When I delivered him, I thought he was dead," said his mother, Lillie, recalling the umbilical cord tight around his neck. "He was still as stone but eventually he came to. Proved he was a survivor. Ever since, I've called him my miracle child."

Anonymous said...

These comments are really funny, because they are so off the mark. First, the kid isn't actually "special". Seems obvious it was a sarcastic exaggeration. I suppose I could be wrong, but the kid worried about his grades, his mother, became depressed, was able to articulate why, understood the concept of micro aggressions, made friends, etc. Do "special" people have the capacity to do all of those things?

If he was around in the 70's, he probably would not make it past a JC. In today's reality, he probably would do okay on his own at a CSU, perhaps a 5th or 6th year graduate without much outside help. At Berkeley, his only hope of graduating is with intensive help.

Be nice. He'll probably end up running a city department someday.

Anonymous said...

"Special" people do not wear glasses and they are hardly ever skinny. Haven't you all heard of "retard strength"?

Anonymous said...

Frantz Fanon The wretched of the earth is undoubtedly one of the best analysis of the psychology of colonized peoples.

Anonymous said...

"Ever since, I've called him my miracle child."

Sheeeeet. From magic negro to miracle negro.

Anonymous said...

"So a retard got so much pity that he got an "A" from practically every teacher in every class for four years?"

It be an age-old tradition.

Time to call it Afromative Action.

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2449/was-martin-luther-king-jr-a-plagiarist

"Did he plagiarize most of his writings? He plagiarized a lot of them. An investigation conducted by Boston University, where King got his Ph.D. in theology, determined that he had appropriated roughly a third of his doctoral thesis from a dissertation written three years earlier by another graduate student. Curiously, the same faculty member had been "first reader" of both theses, leading some to wonder whether King's faculty advisers at BU were incompetent or just guilty white liberals who gave a promising young black leader a pass."

MLK done think he be entitled to be given a pass even if he done plagiarize stuff from other folks cuz negroes be owed everything.

Anonymous said...

Once with some time to spare in front of a news stand I skimmed the Forest Gump book.

The book is a good big different from the movie, but one thing the movie kept, but didn't draw attention to, is that Gump is supposed to be an autistic savant. He's always saying exactly how much money he spent or whatever. He knows what key numbers were at every point in his life and he repeats the numbers while telling his story in the movie.

If you look for it in the movie it's easy to spot.

In the ambush, he's the only one that executes the drill to drop and get out of his combat harness before firing, exactly like he was taught, in spite of the situation. So he can then run fast when ordered.

He apparently astounds his drill instructor with his rubic's-cube ability to rapidly field-strip a rifle, a simple task but one that might approximate some quick IQ tests, etc..

Athletically or intellectually, he's able to repeat exactly what he's been taught, in detail.

Anonymous said...

"What's really hurtful, though, and apparently impossible for you to accept, is white people liking other white people more than they like you. That seems to really upset you. But that's wholly unreasonable attitude to take."

I'm not the same anon above but this is dumb. The comment being reacted to is the one about Asian kids laughing behind the black kid's back. What makes that comment amazing is the cowardice. This thread started out with a comment by "guest" who enjoys seeing blacks fail in a blog full of people who get a kind of uplift from black failure (because of the worthlessness of their own lives). Despite their racial hostility people like "guest" are still too much of a coward to admit their feelings and instead attribute it to a standin for themselves from someone of another race.

Anonymous said...

I don't think he was retarded, just a little doofy with just the right amount of self-awareness to carefully pick his classes for easy-A's and gather rapport with all his teachers. I knew a black kid in high school exactly like this. Doesn't at all have to be a black student, but I suspect it helps.