Black History Month 2022 we are holding back no punches. We have to be real about the state of the world and the miseducation of Black people and Americans on Blackness.
The issue is we don’t really want to deal with racism because it’s too embedded into capitalism which unfortunately views and uses Black people as a commodity.
Education is the passport to freedom, so if public school data reflects Black children failing in high numbers, then are we really free?
We know the answer to this is that economically and educationally many Black Americans are still in shackles. They are still in bondage to the negative stereotypes, the labels given to them in elementary school as low performing, lower income, disadvantaged, and targeted.
Many Black kids are trained early through public education. They are low performing so that they don’t complain about low wages that classifies them as lower income. They are used to being labeled as lower income from public schools, so when they enter the workforce they accept lower offers for compensation.
Black students are trained to perform as they are disadvantaged so they don’t step out with hope but walk with hopelessness because they are constantly being told they are behind.
But if Black male educators in many states are now less than 2% of the education force, which is still majority white women, then who is telling this to Black children?
White allies are often seen as those white Americans who are working in what’s called “white guilt” regarding the harsh realities of racism in America.They serve in public schools often sharing stories they chose to work at a “Title I” schools to give back.
But what this says to Black kids is that they chose to work at Title I school because Title I equates to poor Black kids from the hood, kids from lower incomes communities, lower performing students, or kids that can’t read at grade level or perform basic skills.
Black kids don’t want a white savior . . . and they don’t want a Black face funded by white dollars to tell them they are less than either.
It’s simple. Black students can read.
We have to teach them how to read and support outlets for advancing literacy in their daily lives. Black students can learn. We have to stop targeting, limiting, and policing them. Tracking behavior more than learning successes isn’t advancing Black kids in education. It’s monetizing their development for more funding and more dollars.
Black kids do want a good education. They do want good experiences at school and in their communities. It’s important that we listen to Black students in what they are saying in words, art, music, fashion, social events and civic engagement.
Teaching the whole child, embracing the fullness of Blackness and elevating learning autonomy for teachers is what a good education for Black students encompasses.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.