Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Educate To Elevate and Empower

Educate To Elevate and Empower

“The present system of education is calculated to subjugate the majority and elevate the minority. The system was devised and has been promulgated by agents of the minority. This system was carefully thought out by those who desire to control others for their benefit and the disadvantage of others to the extent that the others would not immediately rise into happiness and enjoyment of life simultaneously and equality with them. It was never originally intended to all the people equal at the same time and more so was it not intended to elevate the darker races to the immediate standard of the white races from whom the minority sprung to establish the system of education. All textbooks and general literature therefore are coloured to suit the particular interest of those who established the system of education and they group they represent as against the interest of others whom they did not want to immediately elevate to their standard.” Marcus Mosiah Garvey

As we look at our communities, world wide we see a disproportionate disparity in educational attainment. In Neocolonial African many countries have been forced by IMF, the World Bank and US AID loan shark policies to alter their domestic agenda to de-emphasis literacy, public health and infra-structural development in favor of disadvantageous trade polices and privatization of public utilities and natural resources favoring the West. The masses of our people are being kept illiterate, poor, sick and exploited on behalf of the multi-national corporation’s ruling elites and their governmental minions. Here in AmeriKKKa the education system is in shambles. Despite the landmark Brown v Board of Education of Topeka Kansas education in modern AmeriKKKa is just as racially and economically incommensurate as it was in 1954. Spending even within the same school district is grossly unequal. A cursory review will reveal the per capita spending is higher for predominantly white schools than it is for black or Hispanic schools despite the added infusion of Title One monies for many inner city and poor rural schools. Even many of those who graduate from high school are functionally illiterate in the inner cities the drop out rate is high which is also reflected in the high unemployment rate although many of the factory jobs our people were able to get in past generations no longer exist or have been outsourced overseas. During our sojourn in this country Africans have always recognized the importance of education, both formal and informal. Prior to the Civil War “free” Blacks in the South endeavored to found their own schools due to prevailing class biases against education in general for the masses of poor whites and especially for blacks, the efforts of Africans to educate themselves were usually within the context of European religious organizations or Sabbath or Sunday Schools. In the North the few schools started for blacks were established by whites Following the US Civil War and during the period called Reconstruction one of the goals of African community leaders was to establish public schools to educate all the children, a radical notion at the time; a notion that ran counter to the prevailing class values of most of the planter aristocracy. Sociologist E Franklin Frazier in his seminal work The Negro In The United States writes, “When one turns to the question of public tax supported schools for Negroes in the South, one finds opposition on the part of all the state legislatures. This question was due partly to the aristocratic tradition in the South that had always been opposed to the education of children at public expense. During the years prior to the Civil War the poor white classes had become more articulate and insistent in their demands for public support of education. Some success had been achieve by poor whites in the Piedmont regions of Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina where Negro slavery was being undermined by soil exhaustion and the decline of the plantation system. But on the whole, the aristocratic slaveholding class had succeeded in nullifying the attempts of the poor whites to gain more than statutory provisions for a very limited support of public education.” Page 423. Those same class dynamics are still in play in 2005. It is the poor who suffer because of inequity in school funding, supplies and programs.
What is the solution? For us we must use very means at our disposal to educate and elevate our people formally or informally. Charter schools are an option although in most states charter schools receive less money per student then regular schools ( a variation of the separate but (un)equal theme we have witnessed throughout the history of public education in AmeriKKKa). We can found and fund independent schools. This is more than a notion but they will be truly independent and under our control. We can start after school and Saturday programs to tutor and supplement the Eurocentric white supremacist garbage our children are receiving with self and group affirming curriculum material, media literacy and current events so we have a common foundation to build upon for our survival and liberation. We can home school our children but this requires effective time management and a love of learning ourselves, traits we seem not to value at this time in our existence here. We must realize and recognize we are in a war for the hearts, minds, souls and bodies of our people. The primary lesson of Hurricane Katrina is, our government doesn’t care whether we live or die! Marcus Garvey understood the importance of fully educating our people to survive and thrive despite the political realities of their time. Garvey like Booker T Washington was a proponent of self-help and self-actualization. “As you shouldn’t expect anther man to give you the clothing that you need to cover your own body so you should not expect another race to give you the education to challenge their rights to monopoly and mastery to take for yourself that which they want for themselves...Trust only yourself and those you know and those that look like you and are related to you ought to be known first before you know others.” Marcus Garvey Life and Lessons Robert Hill editor University of California Press page 265. This is sage advice. Now is the time to rethink our positions about everything. Just as the US abandoned our people in New Orleans they have long abandoned us with regard to quality life and liberation affirming education. We must now before it is too late move to educate elevate and empower ourselves to reflect and demonstrate our innate genius and divinity. Anything less is an affront to the CREATOR, our ancestors ourselves and our progeny.

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