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Combat the illiteracy of black boys

Black educators declare the uneducation of black boys an “emergency.” (Photo by Santi Vedrí/Unsplash)

Rashard Thomas

(Word In Black) — As a black boy, I watched movies like “Boyz n’ the Hood,” “Paid in Full,” and “Menace II Society.” A scene from the 1992 film The Menace II Society still haunts me.

In the scene, Grandpa asks, “Cane, do you care if you live or die?”

“I don’t know,” Kane replies.

If you keep telling them you don’t care, eventually they will believe you don’t care. Black boys are often told they are lucky to meet them when they turn 18. I believed myself to be a threat to society and didn’t know if I wanted to live or die, which negatively affected my grades in school.

I didn’t know it, but I was uneducated.

What is non-education?

Non-education is a systematic method of making a person appear to be continually incapacitated.

Black boys are exposed to many forms of non-education. For example, in 2014, former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot dead his 18-year-old Michael Brown, who had just graduated from high school. The media repeated how America disrespects black boys by repeatedly showing Brown’s dead body lying in the street for about four hours.

Black boys across the country are being uneducated and re-educated because they believe their lives are meaningless. That is why the California Association of Black Educators refuses to ignore the inequity of educating black boys. In July, educators from across the country met in Napa, California, for the second annual CABSE Institute to address black boys’ abandonment of education. During the meeting, they discussed policies and various forms of guidance that yielded best practices. Eventually, attendees declared a state of emergency over the lack of education of black boys.

“We chose to focus on black boys,” said Compton Unified School District Superintendent Maika Ali. because it shows that they are

Influence of non-education

Malcolm X once said: And that low-paying job allows me to live in a poor neighborhood again. So it’s a very vicious cycle. ”

Given the weight of anti-black racism, those alumni end up whitening their resumes and doing whatever it takes to get hired. Ultimately, however, only her 19% of black boys reach the top income distribution as an adult compared to her 40% of white boys. And given the school-to-prison pipeline, a low-income black man is incarcerated five times as often as a white man.

criminalization of black boys

Criminalizing black boys is a form of psychologically and physically alienating them from education.

“I’m a child of society. This is how they made me and now I’m saying what’s on my mind, but they don’t want it. It’s America,” said Tupac Shakur.

It is well known that the American education system condemns rather than encourages black boys. Schools criminalize black students with harsh disciplinary measures. A black student is twice as likely to be referred to law enforcement as a white student for similar offenses.

The digital age has allowed schools to employ non-educational policing strategies. A Center for Democracy and Technology study, conducted from 2020 to 2022, concluded that student surveillance tools harm black students. Students reported that they or their peers got into trouble because of activity monitoring. This reveals a significant racial inconsistency.

what does this look like? For example, Baltimore City Public Schools uses GoGuardian to monitor student activity nights and weekends. Schools work with law enforcement to monitor when GoGuardian flags student activity.

Combating illiteracy among black men

Society tells black men that their ticket out of poverty is to become a professional athlete or a music artist. America is constantly telling black boys through movies and music that they are worthless, violent and disposable. This pattern is nothing new. Ever since enslaved Africans arrived on these shores, white supremacy has forced black men to be labeled red-bordered.

“We have to stop blaming people for their situation,” D’artagnan Scorza, executive director of racial equality for the County of Los Angeles, told 2Urban Girls in a recent interview. Told.

Scorza not only provides critical analytics, it also provides solutions. His Social His Justice Learning Institute (SJLI) is located in Inglewood, California, and is a summer training program that teaches educators how to use education to achieve social equity in their schools and communities. SJLI hosts educators for training workshops to discuss culturally relevant curriculum and academic support through a social justice lens.

The Maryland Board of Education is also considering solutions. This is a pilot program that encourages schools to create mentoring programs for black men.

In Detroit, The Hidden Genius Project created a project for black male youth in grades 9-11. The project focuses on training to transform their lives and communities through mentorship, technology leadership and career development.

The state of emergency declared by CABSE’s black educators confirms that it’s up to the black community, not just America, to change the situation.

“We look to the long term, our long term goals, and ensure a variety of models for implementing innovative educational solutions that continue to produce results well beyond what we see. ’ says Ali.

To reverse the effects of ignorance on black boys, change must begin within the black community.