Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Mis-education of the Negro!

-->July 18, 2013        
BH 432

Many people are discussing and writing about the Trayvon Martin travesty and the acquittal of George Zimmerman but I want to discuss another issue. I want to focus on the Fourth of July holiday that we recently celebrated, and the continuing mis-education of a people.

Hundreds of thousands of persons of African ancestry had their picnics and the air was thick with the smell of charcoal, and BBQ, and the sounds of fireworks, and crowds fought for a good position to watch a parade. It’s a national holiday. Everyone should enjoy a holiday, and I am not suggesting that you should not find merriment and celebrate among family and friends.

Do you consider what Frederick Douglass asked regarding this holiday? He asked ‘What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.

To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy -- a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.’

Something we should remember that 2013 marks the eightieth anniversary of the publication of Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s book “The Mis-Education of the Negro”. It was first published in 1933 and what Dr. Woodson wrote 80 years ago is relevant to this day.

Amazon.Com. describing Dr. Woodson’s book says ‘The thesis of Dr. Woodson's book is that African-Americans of his day were being culturally indoctrinated, rather than taught, in American schools. This conditioning, he claims, causes African-Americans to become dependent and to seek out inferior places in the greater society of which they are a part. He challenges his readers to "do for themselves", regardless of what they were taught: History shows that it does not matter who is in power... those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they did in the beginning’.

Dr. Woodson stated "when you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his 'proper place' and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.

Dr. Woodson also noted “Negroes have no control over their education and have little voice in their other affairs pertaining thereto. In a few cases Negroes have been chosen as members of public boards of education, and some have been appointed members of private boards, but these Negroes are always such a small minority that they do not figure in the final working out of the educational program.

The education of the Negroes, the most important thing in the uplifting of Negroes, is almost entirely in the hands of those who have enslaved them and now segregate them.” 

A Woodson quote that is often referred to says “the thought of the inferiority of the Negro is drilled into him in almost every class he enters and in almost every book he studies. As another has well said, to handicap a student by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless, is the worst sort of lynching”.

So, I hope that you enjoyed the 4th of July and had fun, but did remember the foundation of the holiday and remember the decades that have passed since Dr. Woodson told us that we must learn our own history, even if we have to educate ourselves at home?

We are not in control of our children’s education and therefore we are partly responsible for their lack of knowledge of their history. Our story is ignored and distorted while European history is glorified and overhauled. Also, flash back and review Frederick Douglass’ holiday speech. By the way, did you celebrate Juneteenth?

I hope you had a Happy 4th of July!

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at:
Be Ever Wonderful!

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