LC’s Commentary

Listen To The Voice of Reason

The Black Man Must Read

The Black Man Must Read!

I recently became the proud owner of a book titled “The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass”, Supplementary Volume 5 1844-1860. Although somewhat familiar with Frederick Douglass’s writings, perusing this book has given me a totally new awareness of the life of this man, his writings, as well as his speeches.  His presentations regarding a whole host of subjects pertaining to this nation and its relationship with a segment of its people are spellbinding and quite enlightening.  I keep going over the same passages, time after time — just in case I missed something. This book is a must-read for anyone remotely interested in how Frederick Douglass viewed the lives and condition of black folks, slaves and free men from 1844 to 1860.

Douglass, not to let the ruling class escape criticism, openly scolded and appealed to them to unchain black brethren — remove the shackles of slavery and let all men, no matter their color or stead in life, enjoy all the promises made in the Constitution.

I could write a book about what I learned from reading this book. However, I see no need to try and put my awakening and enlightening to pen and paper. Although I have read many books regarding the life and times of black folks during the period mentioned in Frederick Douglass’s book, not one of them captured my attention the way this book did.

If I listen carefully, I can almost hear Douglass saying the following to a group of people gathered at the Odd Fellows Festival in Rochester, New York in January 1854:

”As a people we are poor, and are limited in point of mental attainments.  We must improve our condition, and here the work is ours. It cannot be done by our friends.  They can pity as they can sympathize with us. But we need more than sympathy-something more than pity. We must be respected. And we cannot be respected unless we are independent or aiming to be. We must be as independent of society as society is of us-and lay society under as many obligations to us as we are under to society. We cannot be paupers and be respected, though we may be paupers and be pitied.  The fact is, my friends we must not only work, but we must make money-not only make money, but we must save it, and when we use it, use it wisely. Knowledge too, we must get it. We must get it by exertion, by patient study and perseverance. It is fortunate for our down-trodden race, that knowledge is power, and that this power is accessible to us, as well as the rest of mankind.”

People, what Douglass said in 1854, rings true today.  In his speech in the court house at Chatman Canada on August 3, 1864, he discussed a whole host of problems facing the black man. Of special significance were his comments on reading. Douglass said:

“[t]he colored man must also read.”

It was true when he made this speech. It is true today. The colored man must read!  Douglass knew that knowledge was a key of a sort. Knowledge — and proper use of — unlocks the doors to progress. Reading is one of the main ways to attain knowledge. Ignorance is a hindrance to progress, no matter the color of a man’s skin. It is unrealistic to have high expectations in life if one has not put forth the effort necessary to attain knowledge and skills demanded by society.

It is difficult to understand how a black man living in the time of Frederick Douglass could recognize the need for this thing called reading.  Why do I say this? Since reading and writing instructions were severely limited during his lifetime, his interaction with other blacks who could read and write was probably limited. Nevertheless, his interaction with many whites who had mastered this thing called reading and writing, and how they used those skills, persuaded him to unceasingly seek ways to give blacks the opportunity to learn to read and write. Keep in mind, teaching blacks to read and write during the Douglass period, was frowned upon in many quarters, especially in Southern states. Inadequate, poorly funded, understaffed, and segregated schools in the north left many ill-prepared for intellectually-equipped society. Despite having to overcome obstacles of every imaginable nature, many blacks strived to learn to read and write.

Fast forward to 2012. What has convinced so many black children and their parents that learning to read and write well and pursuing a decent education is unnecessary? It is difficult to imagine what they see and hear that promotes this mindset. On what is this mindset predicated? It just does not make sense.  There was a time when black schools were burned, teachers intimidated and chased out town to prevent blacks from learning to read and write. These actions are no longer problematic. Black children, their parents and the black community are busy putting obstacles in the way. Sure, the buildings, books, teachers and students are present. However, the very foundation necessary for getting a good education, somehow, some way, became irrelevant. Somewhere along the way, these things called reading and writing became secondary to everything else offered in schools. Many students, for whatever reason, do not read or write very well. One can tell by their speech that they do not read well. In many instances, it is difficult, indeed impossible, to converse with them because it is virtually impossible to understand what they are saying. Broken English is the norm rather than the exception.

What will it take to get our children interested in education? Is there a counter to television, internet, iPods, video games, cable television, and cell phones? Is society willing to take the necessary actions to eradicate some of the things that school children have to wade through and process daily? It is more than their immature minds can handle. Therefore, they spend most of their time watching and listening to what they want, rather than watching and listening to what they should.

There is no easy fix, nor should there be. The current situation black families face, especially their school children, is monumental. It has taken many years to reach the current level of decay.  Do not expect the problem to disappear overnight. Additional dollars dedicated to under performing schools will help. However, money alone will not eradicate the problem.

Everyone has a stake in this problem. All who are remotely involved in this thing called education must pull their fair share of the load.

September 9, 2012

September 10, 2012 Posted by | Black Youth, Decline Of The Family, Educating black children, The Black Family, The Black Man | Leave a comment

Someone is looking down on us.

I truly believe that the man whose life was taken at a very young age as he attempted to make life better for all mankind would be visibly shaken, were he to observe current behavior in this nation. It would especially sadden him to see young black men sauntering about with their pants dangling off their butts. He would wonder what in his teachings contributed to their behavior. He would look at the rampant violence taking place in our communities and just shake his head. It may bring a few tears to his eyes.  He would ask the question: why has my message of non-violence suddenly lost its flavor and been replaced with all kinds of unimaginable violence?  The sheer number of violent attacks and victimization of innocent people would deeply trouble Martin. Yes, I am talking about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  He might, for a fleeting moment wonder if his work and dying was all in vain. After all, much of what he fought and died for has been lost and replaced with all kind of stupid acts.  Martin fought to see all had access to the ballot box. Today’s voting percentages are dismal and shows no sign of improving.  There are those who think not exercising the right to vote is no big thing. Yet they continually grumble about what takes place in the world of politics.  Fact is; ignorance is the biggest impediment to exercising the right to vote.  Martin fought for equal access to a quality education.  Guess what. Taking advantage of the opportunity to access good schools and take advantage of what lies within has been lost to the Hip Hop culture and mass media.  Little effort and emphasis is put on getting a quality education. Education opens minds and doors.  Martin understood the purpose for getting an education. As Richard Tawney put it, the purpose of education is not happiness, social integration, or political system. Its purpose is at once the discipline of the mind for its own sake.  It is often said-a mind is a terrible thing to waste; so is time. Waste neither.

Martin would look at the makeup of the family and wonder; where have all the fathers gone. As the song says;” has anyone seen them? Society looked up and they were gone.”  Where are the fathers? Look around. Many are the ones wandering the streets with their pants dangling off their butts. Martin would wonder if they would ever become a real men and not just grown boys.  Somehow, someway, many of us have lost our moral compass. As Lewis Mumford, American writer so aptly put it: man’s chief purpose…is the creation and preservation of values; that is what gives meaning to our civilization, and the participation in this is what gives significance to the individual human life.

Martin was a man of peace. His message was always one of no-violence. He felt an educated and enlighten people would make more gains than a people utilizing violence as a means of seeking improvement in their stead in society. Gandhi preached the same message.

 

January 21, 2011 Posted by | Angry black youths, Black Youth, Decline Of The Family, Educating black children, Respecting learning Institutions, The Black Family, The Black Man, youth crime | Leave a comment

Behold

Behold!
Behold means to watch, take a look at, consider, observe, and view.
Let us apply each one of these synonyms to what is taking place in black society. Are blacks keeping a watchful eye on their children? If they are indeed watching, do they realize what they see? Have they really taken a discriminating look at black men wandering the streets with their pants dangling off their butts? If black folks are really looking, do they realize what they are looking at? When blacks consider the impact of uneducated black males wandering the streets with their pants dangling off their butts, do they devote adequate time mulling over the negativity this behavior causes? Is adequate time devoted to observing the behavior of black males? Is the black community willing to scrutinize their own and arrive at an unbiased conclusion regarding the problems black males causes in the community? Have blacks seriously considered how black male behavior affects the community and how outsiders view it? How does the black community really view its black males? Is it willing to closely examine black males, analysis discovered problems and take all actions necessary for corrective action? Are black communities up to the challenge of doing all that is necessary to regain control of its black males and the community at large? What will it take to motivate blacks to the point where they will bring about positive changes in neighborhoods? Surely, it is not satisfied with the status quo. Well maybe it is. Lack of real and sustained action rectifying problems suggests many black neighborhoods are satisfied with what takes place within.
Some suggest many problems facing the black community are results of neglect. I read somewhere that we sometime neglect what we do not like to see, and sometime we neglect because we do not see at all. We have to be careful what we neglect. Someone penned the following; the luxury of neglect has to be enjoyed very carefully, or it will make a problem worse. We neglect to deal with many problems in hopes they will go away if we do not pay attention to them; that does not work very often. Look closely at many black communities. Does neglect stare you in the face? Are many problems ignored or shoved aside in hopes someone will come and take care of them?
Behold black people! It is time to stop, look, listen and closely scrutinize what is going on in our communities!

September 12, 2010 Posted by | Angry black youths, Black Youth, Decline Of The Family, Educating black children, The Black Family, The Black Man, youth crime | Leave a comment

Things must get better

Academia has spent countless hours trying to get at the root causes of blacks, especially black boys poor performance in school. On the surface, it appears they are not putting forth the effort to do well in school. Some people question their intellectual ability to do better in school. Are they doing the best they can? This is doubtful. One young school age black boy said they have difficulty dealing with distractions. He said girls and sports take their minds off class subject matter. His sister, who was a part of the conversation, said it is very difficult to motivate black boys. Factor in an insatiable appetite for cell phones and baggy clothes, sports and music; distractions from schoolwork become more acute.
Is there easily recognizable factors negatively influencing black boys ability to learn and graduate from high school? Entirely too many people underestimate the negative impact the Hip-Hop culture has on our children. It has a devastating affect, especially on the black community. It has highjacked the minds of millions. I, along with many others hope this recess from reality will end and end soon. Many young black boys, ill prepared to cope with difficult yet expected obstacles inherent in one’s quest for education, knowledge, wisdom, manhood and independence, are fully in the grips of this thing called Hip-Hop. Many black boys total outlook on life changed with the invasion of Hip-Hop. Their family values changed, so did their behavior toward the opposite sex. Interest in obtaining a good education, which usually leads to decent jobs, waned. Disdain for self-improvement, self-motivation and self-support is apparent. Constructive behavior, the expected norm, has been replaced with harmful behavior. Behavior in many black communities has many people scratching their heads as they search for solutions to the problem.
There is a role for all concerned citizens to play in resolving this quandary for the last time. Surely a people who went virtually into the bowels of hell to end slavery, Jim Crow laws, gain access to decent schools, end Separate but equal laws and a myriad of other situations which denied equal access to public education, can get together and fix the pitiful graduation rate. Has the black community lost the desire to insist that their children perform well in school? Has it given up hope in the face of unrelenting pressure from sources that do not have the best interest of black people in mind? Has the black community caved under the pressure of Hip-Hop and the mass media? Does it ignore what is taking place in the community? Has disinterested children caused parents to become disinterested in the necessity of getting a decent education? One thing is certain-things will change. Question is, will things change for the better, or change for the worse. Those who have a vested interest in educating our youth, including the youth themselves had better get off of their butts and get about the business of improving graduation rates of all American children-especially black boys. It will not fix itself. The problem cannot be adequately addressed until it is clearly defined, no matter who or where it points. Merely tossing more money at the situation does little to resolve it. Placing all of the blame on school systems and asking them to rectify it is wrong. Affixing all of the blame on family structures and communities sounds good, however, we know the problem goes deeper than that. It is a societal problem fueled by many things. None of the problems seems insurmountable. It will take time-lots of it and effort to correct this terrible blight on black boys, black families, black communities and our educational system.

September 10, 2010 Posted by | Black Youth, Educating black children, Respecting learning Institutions, The Black Man, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Been down too long

The days of sagging pants must end
As the number of Black boys and grown men wearing their pants conspicuously low grows, the number of people wondering why , grows even faster. This ridiculous display of total disregard for one’s appearance defies common sense. When sagging pants came on the scene, most people felt the trend would quickly die and dress that is more appropriate would again become the norm. Guess what-they were wrong. This sagging pants thing has gone well beyond any right-thinking individual’s wildest imagination. People exposed to daily scenes of black men proudly sauntering about with their pants dangling well below their butts must be wondering-what in the world is going on in the minds of these folks. As the sagging becomes more daring and adopted by increasing number of men-especially black men, society is becoming increasingly tired of staring at the butts of black men. Some truly believe that those that dress like this have lost touch with reality. Others believe they do not have the intellect to discern what is wrong with the way they dress. Still others believe they have little else on their minds except sagging pants, since they do not work or stay in school. Vendors selling this style of pants make it plainly clear that they feel there are plenty blacks willing to buy and wear this stuff and keep shelves piled high with this style of merchandise. Vendors rational for stocking it goes as follows” As long as there are people foolish enough to buy the product, and come shopping for it, we will keep it on the shelves. We are not making anyone wear our product. Our customers demand it. If we do not sell it, blacks will seek it elsewhere.” One thing for sure-it is certainly an attention getter. After all, attention getting is what it is all about these days.
Surely, there are other more appropriate ways for blacks to get attention. They seek attention by the way they dress, the way they speak and the foul language they use. Loud blaring music is another attempt to garner attention. Seems to me, this segment of society would not seek additional attention, given the fact that their graduation rate from high school is around 50 percent and low as 25 percent in some major cities is now out there for all to see. These pitiful and appalling statistics are getting an awful lot of attention and prominently displayed in print, on the radio, television and the Internet. Black men-you want attention, now you are getting it. It is easy for people to equate stupidity with lack of intellect and knowledge. If your dress suggests stupidity, you act stupid, and speak in a stupid manner, what is a reasonable conclusion? It if often said that clothes do not make a man. Maybe not, but they have a way of influencing one’s behavior.
Several years ago, I penned an article titled; how low can you go. The gist of the article suggested that as black men pants sagged lower on their butts, other things followed. Reading and writing skills are lower. Black men without criminal records are lower. Black men as head of household are lower. Graduation from high school is lower. Enrollment in college is lower. Meanful employment is lower. Is it possible all of the above would reverse themselves, if black men would only figure out a way to pull up their pants?

September 9, 2010 Posted by | Angry black youths, Black Youth, Decline Of The Family, Educating black children, The Black Family, The Black Man, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Save the children

Dumbing down!
Recent pictures and stories portraying the state of school age black boys is cause for alarm in all sectors of American society. Graduation rates are as low as 25% in some cities. A 25% graduation rate suggests something has gone wrong. How and when did graduation from high school at this rate become acceptable? Who in our society are responsible for improving graduation rates? Is there a simple fix, or is it so complex, current educational systems, society, parents and black boys are not capable of fixing the problem?
Anyone paying any attention to what is taking place in our institutions of learning knows there are innumerable problems-problems scanning the entire spectrum of educating black boys are monumental and troubling. Who is to blame for black boys dismal rate of graduation from high school? The blame game has run its course. Therefore, another course of action is required. Individuals, school systems, parents, black boys, society and any group not mentioned in this article must accept blame where it is appropriate. Each group or individual must actively seek ways to rectify problems it or they are responsible for and have necessary authority to do so. Many people put the onus squarely on the shoulders of school systems. Those blaming school systems, suggest schools are not set up to deal with the special circumstances many black boys interject into a school system. A portion of society blames the homes from whence black boys emanate. They feel black boys growing up in fatherless homes come to school ill equipped to understand and accept disciplinary and behavioral requirements required in learning institutions. A significant segment of society blame the entertainment industry. Hip Hop music, videos, and those manufacturing clothing for youngsters is blamed for many of the ills of society-especially the attitude, aptitude and behavior of black boys. A small number of people put the blame squarely on the backs of black boys. This group feel black boys are no longer capable of being motivated to learn and look for any excuse to drop out of school.
It is foolish to even suggest there are easy fixes. It has taken years for this problem to reach its apex-if indeed it has. It will take time-lots of time to regain control of the many components of the total educational system. Remember, a child’s education begins well before it enters into a school setting. Problems will certainly arise if this fact is not taken into consideration. A child must not be allowed to enter a school environment ill equipped to accept imposed and expected disciplinary and behavioral requirements. How a child behaves in school is usually an indication how it behaves in the home.
The problem will not fix itself. Immediate action is required. Mere rhetorical words at this junction are useless. It may be years before appreciable improvement is noticeable. However, now is the time to address this problem-head on. We must stop the blame game and get about the business of getting it done. It will be painful, costly and all involved requires sacrifices.

September 6, 2010 Posted by | Black Youth, Educating black children, Respecting learning Institutions, The Black Man | Leave a comment

Pathetic

As I searched for words to adequately describe young black boys walking around with their pants sagging off their butts, several came to mind. Disgusting, pathetic, asinine, mental retard, stupid, lost; uninformed, misguided and unlearned are a few of the words that define their dress and mannerism.   The way they dress is certainly disgusting since it is revolting and repulsive. Their dress is asinine because it is stupid, unintelligent, and idiotic. How they dress is uninformed because it suggests a lack of education, ignorance, and unawareness of public perception. Does mental retard take this subject a little too far and suggest something that is not remotely possible in these folk’s lives. Is it irresponsible to suggest that folks that wear their pants dangling off their butts are lacking something in the intelligence department?  Mental means intellectual and retard means held back.  Put these two words together, and you get my point. Intellectually, these folks have not matured to the point where they perceive what is wrong with the way they dress.

The black community must get serious about eradicating this problem-this eyesore.  The way our young boys dress reflects badly on the black community. The mere fact few blacks have made public statements condemning our young boy’s dress should be a cause of concern.  Is the black community comfortable with the way its young boys dress? Does black communities’ want this picture displayed on the Internet, television and in printed media? How does it justify it seemingly non-concern about how the world perceives black boys?

I am at a loss to explain why a problem with such a seemingly simple answer has become so complex. It does not take much effort or imagination to pull up your pants. Has the mere fact that we are allowing our young boys to set dress codes and standards exacerbated the problem? Why has the elders and parents in the black community allowed young boys to usurp their authority?   Blacks who were active in the civil rights movement during the fifties and sixties took on issues and people they felt were harmful to their causes. Never mind the threats of violence and other forms of intimidation-they never gave up. Why have the black community given up on taking back the streets from their boys. Why have black communities become comfortable with what takes place therein?

There is a time to all things. It is time to reestablish the normal pecking order in the black community. Boys must again be put is a boy’s place, and black men must behave in a manner that places them at their rightful place in the community. Black men must be providers and the protectors. They must not shirk either of these responsibilities. One does not have to look very hard to see what happens in homes and communities when men are no longer in their rightful place.

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Black Youth, Decline Of The Family, Educating black children, Respecting learning Institutions, The Black Man | Leave a comment

What are you looking at

What do we see when we see? This question must be answered!

Tell me “what do we really see?” “Do we look, yet not see?”

I continue to struggle to gain some insight into the thinking of young black men that rob, maim and kill at will. Is there one ounce of rational in their thinking as they go about the business of robbing, maiming and killing?  What goes through their minds as they seek out potential victims? What are they thinking when selling drugs?

When surveying a possible hijack victim, do they just see the automobile? Do they really see the individual they intend to hijack, or do they only see themselves driving the automobile they are about to take? Can they see far enough in the future to see a picture of the hard time they will face in a penal system when apprehended and convicted?  Is the family of the victim ever considered? Is one second devoted to considering how hard and how long the intended victim worked to get the automobile they are about to take possession of in a few minutes, at the point of a gun? Have they ever considered getting an automobile the same way their intended victim got it?

When preparing to invade homes, do thieves take into consideration, the lives of homeowners, their children and other occupants? What possess them to think that all they have to do to have wide screen televisions, computers, cameras, jewelry and an assortment of other nicites is just wait until someone else buys and then take them. To them it is just that simple-just take them at the point of a gun. To make matters worse, many criminals are not satisfied with just taking stuff; they see a need to take lives at the same time.

What do we see when we see drug dealers openly plying their wares on street corners? Do we see the dealers riding around in expensive cars, or do we see those who use their wares walking the streets, seemingly in another world? Do we see the dealers sauntering around with large gold chains dangling from their necks, or do we see the users wandering the streets, looking for a way to get a few dollars to support their habits? Do we see substances sold in our neighborhood that sucks the life out of them? What does the drug dealer see when a buyer looks to score. Is one thought ever given to how the buyer got the money? Does the dealer ever see, or think about children going hungry because the few dollars their mothers get is spent on crack cocaine? What do drug dealers see when they see people high on the drugs, sleeping on cardboard, in the streets and under bridges?  What do drug dealers see when they see mothers and little sisters selling their bodies to support crack cocaine habits?  What do they see when a mother tries to sell a child to get money to buy crack cocaine?  Do drug dealers, for a fleeting moment, look into the bleary, bloodshot, and sometimes pleading eyes of crack addicts? Are drug peddlers harden to the point that they cannot see the carnage and devastation they and their wares inflict on communities?

What does crack dealers and gang members see when they walk and loiter on streets littered with all kinds of trash?  What do they see when they observe buildings and signs defaced with all kinds of graffiti, including gang signs?   What do they see when they see convenience stores and other businesses in their communities heavily shuttered and protected with Plexiglas, metal shutters and razor wire? What do drug dealers and gang bangers see when they see businesses pack up and leave neighborhoods that become gang and drug infested.

What do we see, when you see black men wandering the streets with their pants dangling off their butts? Do we see a segment of society that has forgotten how to put their pants on correctly? Maybe we see a segment of society whose main claim to fame is to wear their pants so low that their belt line is dangerously close to their knees. What do we see, when we see young ladies, scantly dressed, parading around for all to see?  Maybe we see a segment of society that is lost in every sense of the word. When we take a real good look, do we see a segment of society who has lost their ability to discern what are generally construed as societal norms, relating to proper and improper dress?

What do we see, when we see young girls standing in lines at grocery store checkout counters, having to put back baby supplies because they do not have enough money to pay for them? What do we see, when we see these same young ladies getting in their cars-cars frequently occupied by young black men all laid back in the passenger’s seat?

What do you see when you see? Have you given up and stopped looking? Is the sight to unsightly to look at? Are you afraid to look because you may see something that you disagree with, are unwilling to tolerate any longer, and might try to do something about it? Are you afraid to look, because you might see you son, daughter, husband, wife, sibling, best friend, enemy or others you know doing things that damages the community?

What do we see when we see entirely too many of our black men behaving in ways counter-productive, destructive, and immature at best. Do we see the future of the black race in black men? Do we see something that society, especially black folks, unwittingly created through a lack of oversight and or unwillingness to get involved in community activities?

Tell me brother, tell me sister, tell me mother, tell me father, what do you see when you see?

September 19, 2009 Posted by | Angry black youths, Decline Of The Family, Educating black children, The Black Family, The Black Man | Leave a comment

Recess is over!

Back to the books!

I spoke to a young man about returning to school after summer vacation the other day. I asked if he was excited about the prospect.  He quickly answered” No.” I ask why not, His answer was simple and straight forward. “You have to work too hard.” This young man did not stop to consider the long-range implications of his attitude towards education.  After spending some time with my brother, he gave different answers to the same questions.  This illustrates the importance of thinking before you speak or act. After some discussion of possible consequences of not getting an education and how it limits and hinders one’s mobility and attainment of goals and objectives, this young fellow appears to have a change of heart. It also illustrates the importance of the child having access to someone that can make a persuasive argument in layman’s term, regarding the importance of pursuing and attaining an education.

 Getting the minimum required level of education necessary to function fairly well in today’s society becomes more difficult with each passing day. There was a time one could do fairly well with a Junior High education. Not any more. In today’s world, many who have attained a college degree struggle to find employment commensurate with their education.

Getting and education is not easy for most the majority of our children. You will find the occasional gifted ones who can breeze through most subject matter with little or no difficulty. However, the majority of our children must devote a lot of time and effort before they attain the degree of learning and understanding that truly qualifies them be promoted to a higher grade. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of the child being able to function at its grade level.  Promoting a child into a grade-level where it can barely function, (reading, writing, etc,) serves no purpose except to keep the child among its peers, age wise. It funny how parents, children and school systems have no problem placing children of different ages and sizes on the same sports teams, but take a different position on  putting them in the same class rooms to get an education. 

All we can ask of our children is that they give themselves a chance. We must demand that they do not create their own roadblocks. Life will do that for them.  We must demand that they take advantage of opportunities offered and not be side-tracked not distracted by things that hinders their growth in all respects.  We must admonish our children to go back to the books and away from the television. Spend less time on the computer. Put away the cell phone and I-pod. Finally, we must demand that they return to being children and once again, display the demeanor and disposition expected of our children.

August 13, 2008 Posted by | Educating black children | Leave a comment

A sacred place

Consecrate

An individual by the name of Scott penned a short article titled Dedication.  The article puts into perspective the purpose of schools. The article spells out in plain English why schools exist and the role they play in the lives of children. The writer says” lets consecrate the school building.” When you consecrate something, you sanctify it. Not only do you sanctify it, you also set it a part and in some sense make it holy. Making it holy suggests purity and hallowed ground-an institution that is not to be defaced, abused or misused. Schools are to be revered-revered for what they offer our children, communities and this nation. The writer sees schools having a high and holy purpose. What is this purpose? The purpose of schools is to provide a place for our youth to gather and receive instructions in knowledge and training in virtue.  Schools are not places to just show up and spend the day doing absolutely nothing to prepare oneself for the future. Schools are places of learning-learning what one does not know and learning how to behave as one does not know how to behave.

 

Can one truly say our children find what they need in our schools? Are schools devoid of issues that make teaching and learning difficult? Does violence in our schools and our communities contribute to the poor academic performance of many of our kids and the schools they attend? What can and should be done to create an environment in our schools that is conducive to getting a proper and enlighten education?

Can one say without any hesitation and reservation that the majority of our children truly understand the mission of schools? Do they really understand why they are required to attend school? Judging by behavioral patterns, dress and general attitude of many kids while in school; serious questions arise why they think they are in school.

Many things are passed on in schools. Children learn from books. They also learn from observing the behavior of their teachers. Learning also takes place when children observe the interaction between parents and teachers. When children see a parent all up in the face of a teacher, it leads them to think it is acceptable behavior. The character and scholarship displayed by a teacher sets examples for kids. Given this fact, it is imperative that teachers be at their best behavior while in the presence of children.

The author summed up the article by saying the following” may these rooms always be pervaded with an invigorating atmosphere of mental and moral life, and may no child pass from these schools to higher grades or to the outer world without having been made more intelligent, more thoughtful, more courageous, more virtuous, and in every way more capable of wise and just, of useful and noble living. To this end, may the blessing of God be upon child, and parent, upon pupil and teacher, upon principal and superintendent and upon every one whose influence in any degree affect the work of education as it shall be conducted within these walls.”

Simply stated, the author is saying, and I agree whole heartedly, do not mess with our schools. Do not tinker with them in any way that will diminish their ability to train our kid in the way they should go. He further emphasized, do not let them leave the confines of these institution without learning the important things in life. Learning the ABC’s are certainly important. However, if you do not know learn to properly use gained knowledge, it is of little use.   Someone said experience gathered from books is of the nature of learning; the experience gained from actual life is the nature of wisdom; and a small store of the latter is worth vastly more than any stock of the former.

Let us put our schools and what takes place within back on the pedestals back they truly belong. We can no longer let our schools take a back seat to the teaching our kids to Hip Hop music, gangster rap and the streets. Our kids deserve better. Our schools deserve a higher place in the training and upbringing our kids.

June 16, 2008 Posted by | Educating black children, Respecting learning Institutions | Leave a comment