“Does America Need A New African American”
Commented by Malcolm X in 1960 radio interview and still relevant in
Malcolm X made this comment in relation to the direction of African Americans
in America. He did not use the word African American he used the world Negro,
but the premise is the same.
The 21st century has offered tremendous opportunities for African Americans to
grow and excel through education. Educational opportunities from elementary
education by teaching youth from age 3 (early education) to age 21 (higher education)
the skills necessary to ultimately compete in a highly competitive world.
Children are being taught to read and write by Pre-K and kindergarten so why are
African Americans still lagging behind?
Integration of higher order thinking skills, critical thinking skills and problem solving
skills by middle school. Teachers are integrating technology to change the dynamics
of education from teacher centered to student centered instruction so the student
not only takes responsibility for their learning they take ownership. Students can
collaborate and cooperate on projects that are multi-disciplinary in nature and
guide them to be thought leaders not just in their schools, but in their communities.
The wealth of any culture is their children; African American communities are
allowing their wealth to be stolen by systems that have detrimental effects on
youth, teens and young adults, especially African Americans. The criminal justice
system is competing with the educational system for educating African American
youth either in legal means to support themselves or illegal actions that are leading
to continuous imprisonment and death. It seems that African American parents are
not teaching their children, they are being taught in the jails and prisons of this
nation showing that slavery is still alive and well.
Examples are seen daily by the actions of our teens, what young man opens and
holds the doors for senior and elder women, let alone their own mothers and sisters,
what African American young lady understands that using profanity in public is
disgraceful and disrespectful, why do African American girls need to appear half
naked to get young African American males to notice them and these same young
men are unemployed and uneducated.
When viewing Social Media there are more fights and the use of profanity from
African American girls than there are of them in school; reading, studying and
showing themselves as productive and progressive. The profanity that comes
from too many African American young ladies will make a seasoned sailor
cringe and the description of sexual positions and partners can make an adult
porn star either excited or leave them blushing. This is not to say that the
majority of African American girls and boys are engaged in these actions, but
the display is being played on network news, on Social Media and the statistics
show the incarceration rates, dropout rates, and even homeless rates of
youth, teens and young adults, that are African American. What is to become
of African American children that cannot function even at a minimum level
of productivity, what is to become of the families that are growing in number
and need services and resources that they cannot find because they do not
have the appropriate educational levels?
My statement – “Does America Need A New African American” provides
a foundation for discussion on re-defining African Americans. Watching
“SELMA” you can see the determination to gain denied freedoms, not
to be white, but to gain the same rights. Watching this emotional and
thought provoking movie there were defined goals of equality in services,
gaining equitable educational resources and voting rights that allowed for
access to a fair judicial system, it seems that in the 21st century these are
the same issues, not because of “the white man,” but because of African
Americans forgetting their history, denying their history, cultural racism,
cultural denial, and the loss for the value of education and the sacrifices
to be able to be tolerated in white schools or schools outside of the hood.
Parents are the first educators, parents are the first motivators for success,
parents are the first models of cultural pride and family morals and values.
During the recent Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. parade there were too many
displays lacking the real reason for marching. One display that was positive
was an organization handing out books, those dedicated to education and
knowledge were going into the crowds to provide mental freedom.
If America needs a new African American would they be a shadow of the
African American’s or the Negroes of the past? African Americans when
they attended parades and marches were dressed with dignity, not having
girls have naked and young men with their pants down around their behinds.
They dressed to show cultural and community pride, not trying to impress
those who had equal to nothing. The freedoms we have came with a cost
and sacrifice, parents seem to have forgotten the sacrifices and the
continued costs that are needed to educate and prepare their children
for the future. The results of failing schools can be attributed to parents
failing to continue to sacrifice and pay the cost of bearing children.
Parents do not attend PTO/PTA meetings, parent and teacher conferences,
and other educational opportunities. Is anyone thinking about what the
African American society is creating for the future? I think the criminal
justice system is planning decades in advance, but parents are not
planning for each year of school for their children.
Questions like “Does America Need A New African American”
because of the lack of effective community leaders nationwide?
Too many African Americans still cannot qualify for high tech jobs that
are coming into their cities, African Americans are graduating, but
how many with worthless degrees of “Attendance” or “Special Diplomas”
that are not even worth the paper they are copied on when applying
for a job? Too many have lost and are losing their rights to vote thus
losing power in the court rooms and in politics just as mentioned in
What have African Americans truly gained in cities like Jacksonville and in
states like Florida in employable skills, career preparation and strengthening
the family structure and even African Americans health and mental health
issues? All is not lost, but more work needs to be done. Selma, is just a
moment in the movement of African American history, it should be
viewed by high school students, especially African Americans
nationwide, but this maybe too dangerous because what would happen
in African American communities if they were truly motivated to do better
for themselves, their children, their grandchildren and the future of
African Americans in America? Can America survive African Americans
that are educated, intelligent, intellectual, driven, culturally educated and
educationally successful? Will we ever find out is a fearful question?
The efforts of the School to Prison Pipeline seem to indicate that
African Americans are still feared if they are ever to “get it together”
and truly follow the dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Carter G. Woodson, Fredrick Douglas, Malcolm X, Barbara Jordan,
Shirley Chisholm, Phillis Wheatley and even President Barack Obama.
“We black men have a hard enough time in our own struggle for
justice, and already have enough enemies as it is, to make the drastic
mistake of attacking each other and adding more weight to an already
unbearable load.” Malcolm X