“When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary”– Carter G. Woodson
In the Great Education Debates in Houston, Dallas and other cities across America, the age old question since Brown vs. Board of Education has been what is the best way to educate our Black kids.
Desegregation of schools did not fix the problem. It made it worse, especially when you focus on drop out rates, crime and incarceration rates and teen pregnancy among young people, it has been a dismal failure.
We still grapple with inequality, limited resources, substandard performance scores, school closings and remnants of the era of separate, but equal.
In Carter G. Woodson’s book, Miseducation of the Negro, he points out that Black people of his day were being culturally indoctrinated, rather than taught, in American schools.
He contended that this crude conditioning caused African Americans to become dependent and to seek out inferior places in the greater society of which they are a part. His great challenges called on Blacks to his readers to be self reliant and “do for themselves”, regardless of what they were taught.
Much of Woodson’s book is a self fulfilling prophecy as 2014 reveals the flaws and failures of an education system that is adrift without an anchor and caught in the whirlpool of foolish thinking and experimentation that is leaving generations of Black children unprepared for life. They know little about how to live or how to make a living.
Many of these children grow up and cannot read, can barely write their names legibly and still fewer have the simple social skills needed to function or hold jobs at the bottom of the job and career ladder.
Since 1933, not much has changed. Some of the struggles facing African-Americans mentioned in the book still hold true now.
Our miseducation and misapplication have led us down the road to the highest unemployment and poverty level percentages and the highest incarceration rates of all ethnic groups.
We MUST Understand that it is time to refocus on the things that can start bringing us out of this deadly tailspin that threatens to wipe us out as a people.
The education of any people should begin with the people themselves.
For years, Black children have been indoctrinated on history focusing on the intellectual heritage that begins with the Greco-Roman tradition, on one hand, and the Judaeo-Christian tradition on the other. No where in school curriculums have educators considered the value of teaching Black history or the Black struggle.
I have reminded Black America many times about the dangers of not knowing or forgetting what has happened to us as a people. Where there is no knowledge, people perish for lack of pride, lack of knowledge and heritage. That lack of basic training and understanding of ourselves creates a serious role problem and an identity crisis because Blacks go from the cradle to the grave not really understanding their purpose in life – who they are, where they come from or where they are going.
History books do not help and are insignificant because of the lack of focus on the Black experience.
They fail to tell the whole truth of the Black experience and how Black people shaped the economy, growth and progress in this country with our blood, sweat and tears.
Short of a few handpicked heroes, our history and contributions are dismissed and many youth never know or learn how intertwined Black history is with American history.
We are taught early that we cannot achieve and that we are inferiors to society, rather than superiors whose forefathers and ancestors were kings and queens.
This leaves young Blacks lost, perplexed, looking up and admiring and revering history that is not ours. They also walk through life with an selfish, defeatist attitude that we have not done a damn thing to contribute to this world, except be liabilities, users, spenders and consumers – That is the lie perpetrated on us as a people. The sad part is many of us believe it.
We MUST Understand it is time to wake up and take a second look at the misinformation that has misdirected our youth and threatens to lead us back to the chains that once bound us for over 400 years.