How Do We Reverse Self Denigration in Our Community? KTSCW
To control a people’s culture is to control their tools of self-determination in relationship to others. Like educational leaders of other cultures, proponents assert that what educates one group of people does not necessarily educate and empower another group — so they assert educational priorities distinctly for the Africans in a given context.
Education was understood to be a process of harnessing the inner potential, and thus it is imperative to equip the youth with an awareness of their identity. The term “miseducation” was coined by Dr. Carter G. Woodson to describe the process of systematically depriving African-Americans of their knowledge of self.
Dr. Woodson believed that miseducation was the root of the problems of the masses of the African-American community and that if the masses of the African-American community were given the correct knowledge and education from the beginning, they would not be in the situation that they find themselves in today. Dr. Woodson argues in his book, The Mis-Education of the Negro, that African-Americans often valorize European culture to the detriment of their own culture.
Are African-American students being taught to perceive the world through the eyes of another culture and unconsciously learning to see themselves as an insignificant part of their world? Take the Gabby Douglas hair issue, for instance: Why did her hairstyle become such a negative topic of discussion and self-hate in our community? Instead, it should have been a discussion about the cultural uniqueness of her hair.
It seems that the African-American community and culture puts each other down more than any other ethnic group on the planet, which is why it is so very important for us all to Know Thyself!
It is time for a movement for African-centered education based on the assumption that a school immersed in African traditions, rituals, values and symbols will provide a learning environment that is more congruent with the lifestyles and values of African-American families.