Education

My Christmas Gift from Michelle Smith – my New Soul Sister. 

Just before the holidays, most teaching professionals gripe about grading papers on social media. Professor Smith’s experience is going viral and garnered at least two articles by online publications, besides the entry in her own blog entitled, “Maybe We Do Need White History Month or Millennials Don’t Know Shit About Slavery or Picking Appropriate Essay Topics or Being a Black English Adjunct Sucks Sometimes–Merry Christmas”.

Smith reviews an essay on the benefits of slavery turned in by one of her students with a thought provoking essay of her own. For a young adult to determine any social or political benefit from slavery to African Americans is disturbing. We have not done our jobs. Do we seem too complacent in our damage and recovery? Smith’s essay lays groundwork for new national conversations, if we would only listen.

This is definitely going to be a Merry, Merry Christmas.

Source: Maybe We Do Need White History Month or Millennials Don’t Know Shit About Slavery or Picking Appropriate Essay Topics or Being a Black English Adjunct Sucks Sometimes–Merry Christmas

The Unspoken Response to Black Lives Matter vs Black on Black Crime and Other Maladies Black | Habari Gani, America!

A worthy read is “Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond” by Marc Lamont Hill, Morehouse University professor and new addition to the morning radio show the “Breakfast Club.”

In an interviewMarc Lamont Hill for AOL BUILD, Hill said it. Within the few minutes allowed, he said what many of the socially conscious are thinking when sidelined from the Black Lives Matter agenda with the discussion of Black on Black crime and Black disobedience.  Hill states that “People who even if they don’t get killed by state violence through the form of bullets, they’re still committed to … slow death row – the death of poverty…

I  read at least five newspapers per day. Electronic media allows not only the authors response to a situation, but included are the public responses as well. From the death of Trayvon Martin in February 2012 to the more recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile, journalist and public commentators spoke within the confines of police and victim, prejudice and privilege, law and order. The policy driven isolation and destruction of Black economy creating targets of Black men and women never came into focus during these discussions – until now.

Before we continue our discussions of policy and practice, read “Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond.”

View a snippet of Marc Lamont Hills AOL interview here at NewBlackMan (in Exile):

Source: Marc Lamont Hill Talks New Book ‘Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable…’ | NewBlackMan (in Exile)

‘Free State of Jones’ | Review | Habari Gani, America!

Free State of Jones is one of the most overlooked films featured this summer. Matthew McConaughey as Newton Knight, an AWOL Confederate soldier and Mahershala Ali as Moses, an escaped enslaved African lead the tensions in this Civil War period piece. I viewed this film once for the overall story line and a second time for the details. Sorry, no spoilers here.

Historians and film producers often lean towards either the burdens of old slave narratives or the glorious Civil Rights Era when depicting the African quest for true freedom in America. Besides John Singleton and Gregory Poirier‘s Rosewoodfew mainstream films have touched in detail on the post-Civil War/Reconstruction Black Lives timeline as Director/Writer Gary Ross and Writer Leonard Hartman in the Free State of Jones.

The film juxtapositions the strong presence of self-determined ‘free’ Black lives amidst slavery and segregation against the sub-civil war between wealthy Confederates and poor families, black and white.

The films weakest transitions are forward flashes to a future trial determining the racial identity of Davis Knight, Newton Knight’s second son. The outcome would determine the legality of Davis’s marriage to a White woman according to post-war segregation laws.

Other considerations are the relationship shifts as Blacks are legally free in 1865. Jones County, Mississippi grapples with Military Reconstruction in response to the South’s attempt to re-enslave Blacks through indentured servitude, Blacks gaining voting rights through the 15th Amendment and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.

The Free State of Jones is a worthy film for any historian or film buff to have in their quiver. Below is an excerpt from author Richard Grant’s Smithsonian Institute article regarding the film’s historical value and present day Jones County’s varying sentiments toward Newton Knight and the film.

“ [Professor Wyatt Moulds] described Jones County as the most conservative place in Mississippi, but he noted that race relations were improving and that you could see it clearly in the changing attitudes toward Newt Knight. ‘It’s generational,’ he said. ‘A lot of older people see Newt as a traitor and a reprobate, and they don’t understand why anyone would want to make a movie about him. If you point out that Newt distributed food to starving people, and was known as the Robin Hood of the Piney Woods, they’ll tell you he married a black, like that trumps everything. And they won’t use the word ‘black.’”
[Moulds’s] current crop of students, on the other hand, are “fired up” about Newt and the movie. ‘Blacks and whites date each other in high school now, and they don’t think it’s a big deal,’ said Moulds. ‘That’s a huge change. Some of the young guys are really identifying with Newt now, as a symbol of Jones County pride. It doesn’t hurt that he was such a badass.’ “

“In the Lost Cause mythology, the South was united, and secession had nothing to do with slavery,” said Moulds. “What happened in Jones County puts the lie to that, so the Lost Causers have to paint Newt as a common outlaw, and above all else, deny all traces of Unionism. With the movie coming out, they’re at it harder than ever.”

Source: The True Story of the ‘Free State of Jones’ | History | Smithsonian

#BlackExcellence: Alice Walker Pens Beautiful Poem For Jesse Williams — HelloBeautiful

Source: Walter McBride / Getty Jesse Williams’ recent BET Awards speech on Black liberation and racism woke up America and garnered new fans–including famed writer and activist Alice Walker. The Color Purple author inspired by the Grey’s Anatomy star, she wrote a powerful poem and posted it on her website. Here It Is addresses the…

via #BlackExcellence: Alice Walker Pens Beautiful Poem For Jesse Williams — HelloBeautiful

Ivory Toldson Taking the Lead in Educating Black Students | Harbari Gani, America!

Dr. Ivory A. Toldson declares himself the “myth buster” when it comes to researching the implications of racial biases on the education system serving Black students. He supports this claim by debunking well-worn biases and treading new ground that few within that system approach for solutions.

Black students are the most challenged population in America’s education system. They are examined through a kaleidoscope of negative stereotypes accumulated over 400 years and are fortunate to have a champion like Ivory Toldson, former Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Howard University Professor changing the tides.

In his new position as President and CEO of the Quality Education for Minorities network, Toldson will have the opportunity to expand his research, providing educators across the nation with resources to strengthen minority education goals.

As a newly free agent, Toldson stretches his wings serving as the keynote speaker for the National Education Association Conference on Minorities and Women’s Conference on Racial Justice and Education, Closing Plenary. Toldson understands present research processes and practices are made toxic by societal and personal biases, but he offered jewels enabling educators and administrators to reached beyond these borders with his “10 myth busters” for your edification below. He says,

“…these are what I call the 10 biggest lies that I hear about young, black males. And the reason why it is important to understand that they are lies is because these are often used as the excuse for why certain people in our field aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do for our children.

Number 1 — There are more Black men in prison than in college.

  • In fact, right now there are more than 600,000 more black men in college than in prison.

Number 2 — 50% of Black boys dropout.

  • Most people believe that because of their interpretation of some very popular reports, including the Shot Foundation‘s report with a looked at graduation rates and not dropout rates. You have to understand the difference between graduation rates and dropout rates in order to interpret that report responsibly, but the true dropout rate among black males as characterized by the National Center For Educational Statistics is right around 12%. Now, that is nothing to clap about, but when we look at a room full of Black males and we think that one of them are going to drop out, that is not the type of perspective or mentality we want our teachers to go into the classroom with.

Number 3 — Black boys can’t read.

  • Now, most people are identified as non-readers because of our standardized tests. There are all kinds of reasons why a student who may be able to read functionally won’t do well on a standardized test, and if we don’t understand those reasons and just use these blanket indicators from the NAEP exam to say what percent are not proficient, and then interpret proficiency as their lack of an ability to do the things we need them to do in the school, then we are not going to exercise the best practices when we work with the students.

Number 4 — Black youth of today are more violent than any generation in history.

  • When in fact, crime among Black youth escalated in the 80’s, reached its peak by the mid-1990’s, has been going down since the late-1990’s, and this is generation of youth is the least violent of any generation of youth since before the 1960’s.

Number 5 — One in three Black boys will serve time in prison.

  • In fact, most of the reports that have claimed this have never looked at Blackmales as they exist right now. They use projections. The article that most people cite or the study that most people cite is by someone named Thomas P. Bonczar that did something called the “Double-Decrement Life Table” that looked at the year someone was born and then projected their odds of going to prison. He did this report over 10 years ago, and the only group of cohorts that had a one in three chance were those who were born a year before he wrote the report.
  • So, in other words, he was looking at 2-year-olds and saying they would have a one in three chance of going to prison based on what he thought would be an escalation in the crime rate, not a de-escalation, which is what we actually got.

Number 6 — Black boys are at a natural disadvantage because most are from single-parent households.

  • I have written two articles in this regard, but the summary of those articles is it doesn’t matter the composition of your household. It matters who your parents are. It matters the value they place on education, their engagement with the school, the socialization of their child to the academic environment,and it has nothing to do with who is in their bed.

Number 7 — Black students purposely underachieve because they associate being smart with acting white.

  • Now, there is a lot I can say about that, but I have written an article on it. You can see the evidence. That is not true. And in fact, among Black girls, most of the strongest surveys show that Black girls actually have the highest regard for education than any other group of students out there. And in fact, there is a lesser known function that has been constantly found in the literature, and that is called the “Attitude Achievement Paradox.” That is the fact that in most survey research Black students actually show a higher attitude about the abstract notion of education, but their achievement is not measuring up to that.

Number 8, Black males are avoiding the teaching profession.

  • Again, I have written an article about all of these. You will get the link soon. When you look at young, Black males who are college-educated, teaching is actually the number one profession. So you ask, why is it less than 2%? That is because we are only 5.5% of the population. Of that 5.5%, only 17% have at least a bachelor’s degree, and among those who go on to get their degrees in education — and this is a little-known fact, but it is in the report that I have written — Black males are more likely than any other race group to be promoted out of the classroom into administration.

Number 9 — Black men are underrepresented at institutions of higher education.

  • The nation has 12.7 million Black men who are 18 years and older, and we make up about 5.5% of the adult population, and 5% of those who are in college. Where we are underrepresented is the most competitive colleges. So, those colleges with selective admissions criteria have an underrepresentation of Black students. And those that have open admissions criteria, like community colleges, have an overrepresentation of Black students. And that is largely because a lot of the factors these students talked about earlier, especially a young lady who says she was advised to go to a community college when she clearly had the academic credentials to go to Michigan State.

Finally, Black men are a dying breed.

  • Now, one of the things we have to understand is that when we are in a nation that only refers — only uses the terms breeds, endangered, and species for black men and animals, then that is a problem. But in fact, black men have an increasing representation in the population. Our numbers are growing. White males, their numbers are decreasing. Now that doesn’t mean either one is in danger. But when all we are doing is using these types of terms to deal with humans, then we are dehumanizing them. “

~ Conference on Racial Justice and Education, Closing Plenary (Video)
More on Ivory Toldson Leaving White House Initiative on HBCUs Post – Higher Education

How Jesse Williams Stole BET Awards With Speech on Racism | The New York Times

The most talked about experience Post-BET Awards 2016 is Jesse Williams acceptance speech for the Humanitarian Award. Black America will never forget this one.

The BET Awards Sunday featured tributes to Prince and Muhammad Ali, and a performance by Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar. But this year, the actor Jesse Williams commanded the spotlight with an impassioned speech calling for an end to police killings, racial inequality and cultural appropriation.

Please click here to view Jesse Williams’s speech in its entirety: JW BET Awards 2016

Source: How Jesse Williams Stole BET Awards With Speech on Racism – The New York Times

Howard University Commencement 2016

Click on this link for the LIVE presentation. http://player.piksel.com/s/n131asj0

WHUR 96.3 FM in collaboration with WHUT broadcast via live web stream the 2016 Howard University Commencement Convocation with President Barack Obama delivering the keynote address.

Source: Howard University Commencement 2016

On – Melissa Harris-Perry’s mistake was that she didn’t “own her masters” | Blavity

Our greatest frailty – pimping someone else’s ride. Whether you have a booth in a flea market or a record label – own it. The prevailing dialogue for the weak, especially during the economic downturn has been jobs. But between the rhetoric has been the plea for Americans to become what they once were – creators, builders, and owners. “… the importance of legally owning your work” has never become more important for especially minorities.
The greatest shame to me is that Melissa Harris Perry bit into the same poison fruit that most of our relish. We have been trained to pimp the master’s ride and be glad – even boast because we are riding in the front seat.
Oprah Winfrey owned a portion of and eventually all of what she helped to create during her decades-long run on ‘Oprah.’ She turned its success into the OWN network. The co-founder of Blavity, Morgan Debaun, OWNS this site and everything that happens to it. Alexa von Tobel, founder of LearnVest.com OWNED her product and sold it for $250 million.
The poorest African American should have learned going to the corner store and supporting people who do not look like or respect us, – the power of ownership. But access is access we say. For the 20th century – yes. For the 21st Century – no. We should pledge that from now on, every job should lead to ownership.

Source: Melissa Harris-Perry’s mistake was that she didn’t “own her masters” –

#MLKNOW Brings Out Chris Rock, Harry Belafonte, & More To Honor MLK | News One

2016 MLK Now

Blackout for Human Rights, Riverside Church

Click on the Link Below for the performances in the entirety.

Blackout for Human Rights and The Campaign for Black Male Achievement

On the week that would have marked the late leader’s 87th birthday, social justice groups Blackout for Human Rights and The Campaign for Black Male Achievement celebrated Dr. King’s legacy and more with MLK Now at the legendary Riverside Church in Harlem, New York. Monday night’s event highlighted historic speeches by civil rights heroes like MLK, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Sojourner Truth, and Shirley Chisholm, recited by Lin Miranda-Manuel, Andre Holland, Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, and civil rights icon Harry Belafonte.

Source: #MLKNOW Brings Out Chris Rock, Harry Belafonte, & More To Honor MLK | News One

Be color brave, not color blind: Mellody Hobson at TED2014 | TED Blog

Hobson wants to make clear, “I’m not here to complain. I’ve been treated well by people of all races more often than not. I have succeeded in my life more than my wildest expectations. I tell the uniform story because it happened. I tell the race stats because they are real.” And furthermore, those continuing problems threaten to rob future generations of their opportunities.


Source: Be color brave, not color blind: Mellody Hobson at TED2014 | TED Blog