I teach in a 98-99% inner city, low income, African american public school. I am white. Here are some thoughts I have on what I see:
There is a TON of disrespect towards each other, themselves, and adults by the students. When someone in the community (often a former drop out or graduate) dies, instead of being sad about it the students most often treat it as some interesting and exciting news. The value for life in this community is drastically lower in comparison to higher income environments.
The kids, for the vast majority of them, do not care about their grades. No matter how many times we, as adults, try to point out the importance of it, no matter how many times we describe how this could be there way out of this way of life, they just don't care. To them, dropping out or failing doesn't matter (we do have students that do care, but most don't).
There are fights all the time and there are legit gangs (based on streets the students live on around the school). We have had weapons, drugs, sexual activity and we've had the cops in the school and around it when these events go on, chasing down the students that are trying to flee.
When I look at this (and this does connect to the white privilege thing) I start to ask why. I have a history background and teach government in this school. Why do I (and let's just be honest here) see black people doing this stuff so often in these types of environments? It doesn't take long to find the answer. You look at the families and realize the truth. In education, it's common for us teachers to say to each other that we are powerless if the home life isn't aligned with us. If the family has fallen to pieces, then we have no shot at helping these kids most often. When I look at the families of the students I work with, so often is there no dad or grandma is in charge because mom is on drugs or dad is in prison, dead, or was too scared to be a baby dady and ran.
So it's easy to just blame the families, but then I have to think why are they the way they are? I have a good friend, from Nigeria, that I was roommates in college with for a couple years. He NEVER acted like this. He contributed to society. He had a whole and wonderful family and now has a wife and a baby on the way and is living the dream, if you will. He was and is extremely respectful, cares about his future, and cares about life. What makes him, and many other Africans I knew, so different in their morals, values, and educational focus than so many African Americans?
Slavery. When Africans were stripped from Africa and forced to become slaves, we beat them down and made them feel inferior. We took them away from their families and split them all up. There entire race has been basically shut into an insane asylum and then, after a LOOOOONG time, were set free. Did we do anything to help them adjust to this freedom? Did we issue national programs to help them reconnect with their families?
Any race, if given what Africans Americans went through, would degenerate similarly. It isn't their fault and many of them are ignorant to why they are what they are in the first place. We are all subject to conditioning. Their conditioning started hundreds of years ago. As a race, white people totally screwed up the mentality of African Americans through slavery. This is the reason why we are "privileged" and why we owe them until their race is restored to the same playing field as any decent African (intelligent, family focused, and concerned with helping themselves and others have good lives).
Listen obviously you are thinking about this deeply and i can respect where you are coming from but the black family survived hundreds of years of slavery and was still going strong, slavery did not do that. It was a hundred years after slavery that the black family started to fall apart and it has been a slow process over the last 50 years. I could go on further into reasons why but i'm just gonna leave it there.