My Quest To Teach

November 8, 2013

Are Things Falling Apart In The African American Community

Chinua Achege

Chinua Achege


Are Things Falling Apart In The
African American Community

Influenced by the writings of Chinua Achebe
(Nigerian Author of  “When Things Fall Apart”)

“We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without
devaluing our own. The Igbo, always practical, put it
concretely in their proverb Onye ji onye n’ani ji onwe ya:
 “He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in
the mud to keep him down.” Chinua Achebe


There is a critical need for African Americans to take charge
of their communities and work against the
injustices of issues that threaten the destruction of African
American communities. Issues such as increasing incarceration of
men and women, economic poverty, devaluing of education and lack of
political influence. The value of life and living is not the same as it was
decades ago.
The growing community violence and cultural disintegration on
the community level must be stopped before the very life blood
drains from the AA communities that are still an important part
of this nation.

Despite the efforts to eliminate segregation during past decades
many communities are still segregated by zip codes, community
boundaries, places of religious worship and even schools.  This
maybe an unconscious or even a conscious effort to maintain
cultural or ethnic heritage within communities, but actions
create boundaries of limitations, economic decline and societal
isolation. African American youth are still not graduating high school
in the numbers they should be and too many make excuses why they
are not. Students that are scholars are teased, ridiculed and bullied by
their peers.
America is already colonized and conquered; an established nation
even at its young age.  African Americans have survived slavery, civil
wars, biological experimentation, world wars, attempted sterilization
and the continuing struggle with incarceration and educational
priority. Sometimes the root is not in the schools, but in the homes of
students whose parents are not doing their jobs. Too ready and eager
to run the streets to the clubs, crab house, dance floors, malls, but no time to
take their children to the library, museums and other learning opportunities.
When tutoring is available too many parents make excused not to participate
and their children continue to fail and be left behind.
The community needs to start listening again to the elders and the
educators of the community.
Achebe states about the elders, “When old people speak it is not
because of the sweetness of words in our mouths; it is because
we see something which you do not see.”

The solutions are as diverse as the generational blood lines of Africans
brought here during slavery; their offspring are US now called Blacks
or African Americans.

Just as Chinua Achebe author of
“Things Fall Apart,” states, “something
needs to be done.” His story for his people
of Nigerian African heritage,
the systematic colonization as
Achebe describes, “the gap in the
bookshelf” related to a missing piece
of information.  A Gap in connection
for his country, there is a gap in the African American community that is
growing, a sink hole slowly growing with increased poverty, continued
generational curses and the birth of babies by children that have
no foundation of life for themselves. Why have a child when you’re a child?
The cure in one direction of inoculation is the injection of African American
African cultural knowledge. To discuss the illnesses in the African American
community, but related to the past greatness of a heritage that was great
even before there was European history.  AA students need to learn their
history. Too many have false teachings by those that do not look like them
but paint a picture that Africa is savage, dangerous, and evil. Learn the truth
for yourself. Don’t rely on the colonists trying to change and manipulate your
history as an African American.
The growing poverty levels, homelessness of children, decline of political
power, reversal of educational success and the reliance on governmental
subsidies is placing African Americans in a position of slavery again.
The focus should be on educational opportunities, not increasing of EBT
funding (these are being drastically cut); the need for diverse job training
not governmental welfare and a refocus of HBCU – Historically Black
Colleges and Universities in the areas of STEM and STEAM.  GED programs are
increasing their fees and only accessible by computers. In 2014 GED programs
will be digital and more expensive.

The “Silence of Blackness” has been too long because there are issues not
being addressed and the dialogue is inconsistent and even silenced.
Just as in “Things Fall Apart, “ Nigerian visionaries, African American
visionaries like Malcolm X, Asa Philip Randolph, Medgar Evers, and others,
they saw injustices in law, lack of community programs, Black on Black crimes,
un-involved parents, children giving birth to another generation of EBT
babies and continued systemic slavery. Visionaries made a decision to change
the subjugation, segregation and address the true issues of cultural heritage
and cultural pride. The recent Omega Psi Phi dedication to education shows
there are those concerned and active, but African Americans must want to
change to improve.

America has faced its time of
slavery and segregation that comes
with colonization, facing the same
challenges in many ways  expressed in
“Things Fall Apart.” Issues are still
challenges for People of Color,
psychological and emotional bondage
imposed by African Americans is
powerful from African Americans, breaking their own spirits.
All is not lost when looking at programs active and developing, African
Americans need to read about their history, their accomplishments and
promote their young not just to athletics; to academics, science,
technology, the Arts, STEAM. Don’t just buy BootLeg videos, buy Bootleg
books to teacher your children to read, Bootleg math books so they can
learn to think critically, BootLeg science books to teach higher order thinking
skills. “Ignorance is not Bliss in the 21s century, it is dangerous to cultural growth.”

The publication of “Things Fall Apart” (1958) is over 50 year, even though it
is an African story it can still be applied to American story of struggle,
sacrifice, death and re-birth.  Cultural unity and family division, educational
value or the decision to live in ignorance and denial.
Chinua Achebe paints a picture that is not singular to Africa, it is a global
perspective that is dynamically played anywhere in the world when any
type of colonization is attempted.
“…when we are comfortable and inattentive, we run the risk of
committing grave injustices absentmindedly.”  Chinua Achebe
African American injustices start in our communities because AA allow
them to happen.
Are Things Falling Apart In The African American Community??



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