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By: Roy Douglas Malonson, Publisher of African-American News & Issues & Author of column series We MUST Understand

“The greatest indictment of such education as Negroes have received, however, is that they have thereby learned little as to making a living, the first essential in civilization. Rural Negroes have always known something about agriculture, and in a country where land is abundant they have been able to make some sort of living on soil even though they have not always employed scientific methods of farming. In industry where the competition is keener, however, what the Negro has learned in school has had little bearing on the situation, as pointed out above.” These words are an excerpt from the, introduction to the chapter, Failure to Make a Living, of Carter G. Woodson’s, The Mis-Education of the Negro.

In 1933, Carter G. Woodson personally printed these words, and over eight decades later, his words still reign prophetic and factual in the lives of African-Americans throughout these United States. For years, I have been writing and telling members from our community about the disservice some of us are doing to ourselves and our communities, attempting to go out and get mis-EDUCATED. However, first and foremost importantly, I want people to understand that by no means am I conveying a stance of being against education, especially the “proper” form of education. But at the end of the day, if all you got is a piece of paper and a funny accent you developed from listening to folk that don’t look like you; then all you got is a piece of paper and a funny accent.

We MUST Understand that, mis-EDUCATION ain’t gon feed you, your children or nobody else. These days, we got Africans living in America, running around getting all these degrees with no sense, work value or ethic to compliment it with. Everybody else, including the Hispanic-Americans and other minorities are benefitting their communities, by making a living off of the jobs and positions that African-Americans once filled, but have now become too mis-EDUCATED to do so. As a result, they are getting further ahead and we are staying further behind. Many mis-EDUCATED members from our communities feel as though these things are beneath them.

One of the biggest questions I have is, ‘how the uneducated Blacks were able to do so much, with so little, back in the day and, these educated-mis-EDUCATED Blacks ain’t doing nothing, with a whole lot?’ Our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, on back to the slave ship; were able to accomplish a great deal, with all of the odds and injustices stacked up against them. But here in 2017, our communities have access to so much but are negating all of the potential and opportunities they have readily available and accessible to them, simply because they are running behind mis-education. Many of them have been programmed to get mis-educated and neglect the basic fundamentals of, simply learning how to make a living. Hence, they do not realize, once they retain all these degrees; they still have to go out and compete in a global economy, with folks who don’t look like them.

We MUST Understand that, due to the color of our skin we already enter an unleveled playing field, in mostly every aspect of life within these United States. Therefore, when members from our communities go apply for high-profile jobs and positions, with their mis-EDUCATED degrees and personalities, things do not easily come. It is essential to always have a strong history of hard work ethics and a sense of knowing how to use a little “elbow grease”. Attaining simple and basic skills such as: knowing how to wash cars, do construction and janitorial work, cooking and cleaning, amongst other tasks can really carry you a long way in life. After all, it really is not about the amount of money that a person makes, it is the investment and choices that are exemplified, that really determines the value of the dollar.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I understand that some of this “mis-EDUCATED syndrome” has effects dating back to the days of slavery and oppression amongst Blacks. I understand that there was a time when it was against the law for us to read and write. So I can understand the obsession that some of our people have with it. But the attitude of thinking that degrees will feed you and your family, just because you have them truly is mis-EDUCATION. Because degrees alone will not feed you, you have to learn and know how to make a living for yourself.

Concluding, I have to echo the words of Carter G. Woodson once again. In Chapter Five, of The Mis-Education of the Negro, he states that, “so-called education of Negro college graduates leads them to throw away opportunities which they have and to go in quest of those which they do not find.” This is simply the effects of members from our communities, not understanding what’s really going on. It’s sad to say, but the more mis-EDUCATED, we get the more unemployable we become. So, I really want to serve notice on our faithful and loyal readers in hopes that you will truly understand that, mis-EDUCATION ain’t feed you!