(Note: I wrote this last year before the establishment of the Black Lives Matter Movement. My questions still remain.)
Because it is Black History Month, there are more posts on Facebook sharing our history. We were involved with the advancement of many different industries. We were involved with many different activist’s agendas. But of them all, education was the primary focus. Our people realized education was our key to real freedom.
The first thing taken was education about ourselves. It was unsafe to talk about our African family roots. Many of our ancestors wanted to disassociate themselves from Africa. The focus was getting educated in this new system, new world. Survival was most important. At some point we were made to believe education of any kind was not cool. More black kids dropped out. How did this happen? First the school system doesn’t fulfill the learning style needs of the majority of blacks, men especially. We, they are not stupid nor do they have learning challenges. it has been shown that they are usually tactile, visual or kinesthetic learners. Our public school system does not cater to those styles. When they did there were fewer drop outs. Suddenly, music and art were removed. Out of the box science experiments were not encouraged. Students of color (euphemism for black) were told to follow a menial career path. You’d make a good janitor some were told. Don’t aspire to be an inventor or something that requires brain power. Somewhere along the way we believed the lie. We once again were only good enough for the most subservient jobs. We allowed ourselves in our anger to miss needed education or skill development to do what we really wanted. We bought the lie. Now we as a people are discouraged, defeated and slave material, again. (Now, it’s called prison)
We bought another lie. Some of us believe because we are educated and have good careers, live in nice neighborhoods and seemed to be accepted, we have different rules than those other blacks. News flash. You are black. The bottom line that is all some people see.You have a greater responsibility than you realize. You have the means and ability to help solve some of these problems. But you think the problems don’t affect you until you realize that store personnel that seem to be so attentive are following you just like they would those other blacks. The cops will stop you in your fancy car. Clearly you stole it. You are black. You bought the lie.
How do we change this? How do we change our thinking and our kids thinking? How do we destroy the prison pipeline en masse? There are groups working hard to do it but we need a national campaign. Something to reach across the nation like Ferguson. Any ideas?