Why should we not question the value of Black History Month as such? Why should we not study the true value of a month dedicated to teaching measured snippets of the past, when the children of the present go uneducated?
I am not opposed to the teaching of black history. I am opposed, however, to the charade Black History Month has become. American black history is not dashikis and pan Africanism – nor is it Arthur Haley’s mythical account known as “Roots.”
Black History Month’s goal – properly taught as originally intended – was to teach factual history with the inclusion of blacks who contributed to same. One could also make the case that we need a Shakespeare month, a Mark Twain month, a Founding Father’s month and a history of war month to compensate for the fraudulent revisionist exclusionary teachings in most public-school classrooms today, but I digress.
Black History was initiated (as Black History Week) as a method of inclusion. Today, it has become a tool to further self-imposed separation and exclusion. But again, I digress.
Black children in disturbingly large numbers are receiving an inferior education. And while it is easy to blame everyone from the president down – ultimately the fault lies with the parents, children and academic culture of the National Education Association.
It is more important children are able to spell the names of Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Dubois and Malcolm X (albeit I personally consider these least worthy of recognition) than it is for them to simply hear about same. It is important they can recognize those names on the printed page, which means it is more important they can read.
I know I am treading on the holy grail of “blackdom,” but it is time we view things in their proper perspective.
I recently observed students leaving a local inner-city middle school. It was deeply disturbing watching black male child, after black male child exiting the school with pants below their hips, hats cocked to the side and /or scarves tied around their heads, gaudy fake jewelry and over sized jackets or hooded sweat shirts … but with not one book to be seen.
It could be argued, I suppose, that perhaps they did their lessons in study hall, but I wouldn’t be inclined to make “book” on that bet.
I submit it is time to pull the curtain back and reveal the wizard pulling the levers of failure for these children. Black children must be equipped with competitive math and science skills. They must possess communication skills that exceed Ebonics. They must, without question, possess social skills beyond those embraced on the street corner. Black children must be taught that the world doesn’t end at the corner of their neighborhood – nor does it begin with rap music, drugs and violence.
It is an incomparable injustice perpetrated on these young to waste a month with TV commercials and charlatans fomenting a prescribed history of social injustice when the children being indoctrinated are unable to read, write or comprehend at their grade levels.
When Carter Woodson initiated Black History Week, black children took pride in being able to read and write. Today the polar opposite is the case. It is the lack of marketable linguistic, social and educational skills that cause the disproportionate rates of unemployment and income disparity among blacks.
The primal cry is more money will cure these ills. But decades of bowing to those voices have produced naught save higher property taxes, as evidenced, for example, by the District of Columbia, New York and Philadelphia. Better parenting, discipline and less social progression is needed. An insistence upon increased levels of academic performance and more time spent teaching in the present are critical keys to success.
Apart from these, teaching history from a distorted perspective for one month – while ignoring the urgency of our present – is a promising way to further marginalize and promote the lack of opportunity that isn’t based on pass, punt, hit or kick.