“Currently, it is the schools that are majorly responsible for socializing, instilling values, moralizing and instructing Black learners. I believe that in handing near total control over to the education system, we are allowing for the systematic annihilation of our intellectual and therefore future potential. We are inviting people whose best interests it is to keep us ignorant, docile and complacent to have control and dominance over our minds. We are permitting our children to be systematically and purposefully prepared to be “larger” society’s worker ants.
Why do we do this? Because during the civil rights movements we naively and ignorantly fought to assimilate our education along with those who did not want us on their school property let alone in their classrooms. Those who never intended “formal” education be extended to us and furthermore, we put the control of our “mind building” into the hands of people who did not know anything about us and had no interest in learning or sharing any knowledge with us in the first place. We know that this was a huge mistake and now it’s time to rebound from years of mis-education and mind control.”
My sister Rachelle aka Blacklit101, dropped some serious knowledge and enlightenment with her post a few days ago: “Eurocentric Brainwash: The Bain Of Black Existence In North America”. The above paragraphs which are from this post resonated with me as a father of two Black children who is personally involved in their education, particularly as a counter to the mis-education of the dominant culture’s educational system.
Not too long ago I was having a discussion with a friend about the lack of African/Black historical accomplishments and achievements taught to our children in schools. He stated that as a people, we should demand that the educational system teach this history. I asked him why as a people we don’t take the responsibility to do this ourselves!? Why as a people should we again… go with our hand out… and
beg demand that the “white man” teach our children about our history!?
I personally know people of other cultures, who take on this responsibility themselves to teach (and therefore empower) their children about their history, language, religious beliefs, customs, etc. I know of Jews, East Indians, Muslims, even Polish people who send their children to “Saturday” school to learn about their culture.
Not us “negroes”. On Saturdays we sit our children in front of the tel-lie-vision to watch cartoons, watch BET to learn the latest songs and dance moves, or to play videos games all day or go play sports. Then when they fail or lag behind in their academic endeavours, we cry: “it’s racism… the school is racist, the teachers are racist, the educational system is racist…blah, blah blah”. Instead of pointing the finger at ourselves, taking the responsibility for failing as parents… we blame the “white man”. The same “white man” you turned your children over to teach them.
I can say that in my household, my wife and I have taken the responsibility to teach our children about African, African-Canadian, African-Caribbean and African-American history and culture. For example, when we went to Nova Scotia for vacation this summer, my wife and I took them to the Black Cultural Center to expose them to African-Canadian history. We then went to patronize a restaurant in the community and also attended one of the historically black Baptist church that Sunday. We do regular African/Black history lessons and read books by and about African/Black people. My son has been to Jamaica to visit family twice and we are planning to take him and our daughter there next spring to visit their great grandmother before she passes on… God willing. Every morning on the way to school, my son and I go through this ritual… it’s our daily mantra:
Me: Where were you born?
Me: What is your heritage?
Me: Where are you ancestors from?
Me: Who you gonna marry?
Him: A smart, beautiful Black woman like mommy
Be forewarned! I became aware of this movement within the USA to challenge and ban books by and about African Americans. Check it out here. I have most of these books in my personal library, so my son and daughter will have access to them as they grow older. I am not aware that any of these books are apart of the Canadian educational system. However, I have no expectation that they would be. I have every expectation that my children will read everyone of them at home.
Nick Westbrooks said:
Reblogged this on The Manuscript.
“Not too long ago I was having a discussion with a friend about the lack of African/Black historical accomplishments and achievements taught to our children in schools. He stated that as a people, we should demand that the educational system teach this history. I asked him why as a people we don’t take the responsibility to do this ourselves!?”
Asa, I can only speak for my Black experience here in America of course, but after transferring to a public high school from our segregated private, Catholic school in our “movin’ on up” neighborhood after my parents’ divorce (which quickly became predominantly Black due to white flight) — I had the honor and privilege of being taught by a SLEW of unapologetically Black scholars. The school was public, and I suspect the white overseers said, “Let them teach what they want as long as they keep those little savages in line and we don’t have to teach their asses.”
I learned about those African/Black historical accomplishments and achievements you talk about. I have my Freshman English teacher, Mrs. Alfreda Jenkins to thank for Baldwin, Hughes, Giovanni, Brown, Angelou, Madame C.J. Walker, Shange, DuBois, Ellison, Morrison, Garvey, to name just a few. I had both, Mrs. Jenkins and Ms. Nevada Heyward (my Freshman and Sophomore French teachers, respectively) to thank for L’ouverture, Aimee, Dumas, Schomburg, Fanon, to name a few others. I have Mr. Brown, the band teacher (wanted to play the clarinet, didn’t — my brother played the trumpet) to thank for all manner of Black American music, from Louie to Sarah Vaughn, to Billie Holiday, to Thelonius Monk (my lived experiences with my family took care of the R&B folk). My white Civics teacher, Mr.Brietbart, marveled a my ability to regurgitate what he taught,all while never teaching us any true shit. It’s true, here anyway — we have to be twice as good as they are just o make it through.
I say all that to say that some of us Black Americans did learn a little about us back in the day and nobody had to “demand” it from the system — they weren’t afraid. But I agree with you, it certainly is our obligation to teach our history to our progeny.
I’m moving back home from the Belly of the Beast soon and my intention is to set up a “Saturday School” in the ‘hood where I was born and bred (should’ve done this shit long ago, but was too busy “pulling myself up by my bootstraps”) to include the research of my friend who built his Black History Center in The Gambia, along with most of the “banned” books at the link you provided (I have most all of them plus others in my own personal library). My cousin with whom I’ve been doing genealogical research on our family told me one day, “I do teach my daughters the truth, but they can’t take it to school or they’ll get in trouble and won’t pass.” Sad, no?
I’m creating the “Saturday School” to teach American Black children in SC the TRUTH — with all the documentation to back it up. It won’t be popular, but it’ll be real and I’ll feel I’ve given back something very valuable to the community that raised me.
(Okay, this is some crazy shitll!! I’ve been following that very, same Black Cultural Center in Nova Scotia to which you linked since August 2012 after stumbling on a link showing some kick-ass Gospel singing (my “Bucket List” includes visiting as many Black Cultural Centers in the whole, wide world as I can)!!
Sis. Deb, you are very fortunate in your experience. When I was growing up in Jamaica, the history we were taught in school was predominately British imperial history and it’s relationship to “us” as slaves and as our colonial superiors. We learnt a little about the “rebellious” Maroons (they weren’t presented as freedom fighters) and the names of our National Heroes, a little about their lives and struggle, however we weren’t instilled with their “fighting spirit” against injustice and oppression… especially as there were now “black faces” in high places. In fact, I learnt more about Marcus Garvey by reading biographies about him as an adult in Canada than I did in school in Jamaica. Bob Marley was reviled and looked down upon by Jamaican society, especially by the middle and upper classes, due to his religion (Rastafarianism) and the revolutionary political and social commentary in his music. Growing up, in no way was I allowed to listen to him or to Reggae music!
Once in Canada, I learnt nothing about African or African-Canadian history in school! The closest we got was learning about the British slave trade and slavery in America… and of course a little about the Underground Railroad, in that Canada was seen as a haven (a place called “Heaven”) for American slaves fleeing to freedom. We were taught nothing about slavery and racism in Canada or the history and contributions to Canadian society by African/Black people beginning in Nova Scotia.
Again as an adult, I read a book called: “Niggers, This is Canada”, a truer reflection of my experience and other immigrants from the Caribbean here in Canada. I read this fantastic book last year: “The Book of Negroes”, telling the story of a woman stolen from Africa, her life as a slave in America, her journey and experiences in Nova Scotia, her return to Africa and life in England.
Today, in the curriculum of the elementary and high schools here in Canada, it’s pretty much the same for my kids as it was for me. My son and daughter will be learning nothing about themselves in regards to our history or contributions to Canadian society. Where we live, there is one organization I found that has an African-centered programme for kids on Saturdays. When I enquired more about their programs, I was told that they play basketball and do lectures on healthy diets!! wtf!!! Nothing about history or political and social empowerment. Not surprisingly, since their funding comes from the government.
All that I know about African, Caribbean, African-Canadian, African-American, Afro-Latin and Afro-European history, I have learnt myself. For my children, I hope it will be closer to your experience than mine. Here in Canada though, I doubt it.
I pray for much success for the establishment of your “Saturday School”. Keep us posted. Who knows, maybe one day the family will be visiting South Carolina (visiting the “Gullah Islands” someday is on my “bucket list”) and I’ll be able to take them for some schooling at your centre.
@Asa…“All that I know about African, Caribbean, African-Canadian, African-American, Afro-Latin and Afro-European history, I have learnt myself. For my children, I hope it will be closer to your experience than mine. Here in Canada though, I doubt it.”
Don’t get it twisted, Brother. From kindergarten to 8th grade (it was a kindergarten to 12th grade school at the time), those Black nuns from the Oblate Sisters of Providence they brought down from Baltimore to teach us in our segregated Catholic school, didn’t teach us jack about ourselves — and they were Black! But for my parents’ divorce, I’d have never ended up at that public school with those wonderful, “I’m Black and I’m Proud” teachers. And one they got a hold of me, it was a wrap! 🙂
“I pray for much success for the establishment of your “Saturday School”. Keep us posted. Who knows, maybe one day the family will be visiting South Carolina (visiting the “Gullah Islands” someday is on my “bucket list”) and I’ll be able to take them for some schooling at your centre.”
Thank you, Brother. Trust me, I know my Black folk at home (white too) — I’m gonna need all the prayers I can amass to pull this off! 🙂 I will certainly keep you posted (writing is the only thing that keeps me sane!). Know that once I get settled (heading home next week in search of lot to build a house on, or a house I can afford — had both when my Mama died, but my brother screwed that up! Long, long story…) you and your family will be more than welcome to come down and stay with me so I can take you on a REAL tour of the Gullah Islands! None of that advertised, tourist bullshit! And who knows?! Maybe from there, we can plan a trip to my friend, Gerald’s Black History Center in The Gambia — that’d be cool as shit!! I’m heading over in late November to see just how much work he’s actually done. 🙂
I’d never known how much Canada was just like America when it came to Black History (I’m probably not different from many Blacks in America who rarely, if ever, get to step outside their familiar on that count!). A couple years ago though, I stumbled on a site that was doing crowd-sourcing to fund a documentary called, “A Past Denied” on exactly that! Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to raise enough funds to finish the project, but here’s the link to what it may yet still become, check it out and tell me what you think: http://apastdenied.ca
Blessings back atcha, Man…
Great piece Asa. You make a lot of strong and valid points.
So much important commentary on here I don’t know where to begin! This dialogue is vital to our advancement as a People. Like Deb – I too had the privilege of being taught by “av ante garde” Black teachers. I was exposed to various forms of Black literature and therefore the individuals who sacrificed to contribute to the struggle however; For many, this is not the norm.
I believe that in order to truly put the TRUTH into the ears and minds of our children, the onus of that exposure is ultimately upon us parents and “awake” members of our respective communities; This must become our normal. Once our children are also “awake” then they are empowered with the vocabulary to dispel the lies and propaganda that traditional education and society as a whole would like us to manipulate us with.
Keep us all this good work –
Man Deb, a Saturday school is a MAJOR deal. Thank you for that…
@blacklit101…“This must become our normal. Once our children are also “awake” then they are empowered with the vocabulary to dispel the lies and propaganda that traditional education and society as a whole would like us to manipulate us with.”
Sister, you are dead-on here! It’s never been our normal anywhere, ever! While I was fortunate enough to have a small foundation early on, like Asa, a lot of what I’ve learned since, has been by my own devices and now, I’m just bursting with the need to share it with the children, because you are right — once they’re awakened, they will be a force with which to be reckoned! If I can be even an infinitesimal part of that, I’ll die happy (No shit!). Don’t thank me, Sister — I owe it.
Hopefully, I’ll b able to call on your knowledge as I build. We all need each other, dontcha know? 🙂
We most certainly do my friend – WE most certainly do!
If ever you need anything at all, my contacts are on the page, use them should the need arise 🙂
Reblogged this on BlackLit101 and commented:
A personal dialogue on the importance of self-awareness and on who the overall onus of educating our children lies with.