David L. Evans wrote in Paying Kids to Study? Not a Crazy Idea that black students often have a difficult time when they decide to go against the norm and attempt to be good students. The author uses the examples of Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters to demonstrate that quite often, being a successful black student makes one a rare commodity. When a student decides to work hard in the classroom, that student will often be singled out as a “nerd.” He will be accused of “acting white.”
All in all, the experience will be largely unpleasant for these students. Evans notes that just as Tiger Woods had lots of barriers to success, and just as he needed lots of positive reinforcement in order to stay on the path to success, successful black students need the same kinds of reinforcement. Ultimately, the author is arguing that it is just not crazy to think about paying black students as a reward for success. Tiger Woods, it seems, has been rewarded financially for being great at golf. He has earned millions of dollars in addition to the green jackets and other trophies that he has won. This had to make it easier for him to stay focus despite the difficulties and all of the things that could have led him to hang up his golf clubs.
Venus Williams has also earned millions of bucks, and in addition to her help from her father, she has certainly benefitted from this monetary incentive. The author proposes that if the educational system wants to reinforce the idea to black students that being a valedictorian can be “cool,” then the system needs to think about paying those students. After all, with merit scholarships, paying students for success is already an idea we are comfortable with to some extent.