Countering the deseducation of black boys

Black educators say the deseducation of black boys is a “state of emergency”. (Photograph by Santi Vedrí/Unsplash)

by Rashaad 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 movie, “Menace II Society,” still haunts me to this day.

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

“I don’t know,” Cane replies.

If you constantly tell a person that they don’t matter, they will eventually believe that they don’t matter. Black boys are often told they’ll be lucky to see an 18-year-old. I believed that I was a threat to society and I didn’t know if I wanted to live or die, which had a negative impact on my school results.

I didn’t know it, but I was de-educated.

What is deseducation?

Deseducation is a systematic method of tricking a person into believing that they are continually losing their intelligence.

Black boys are exposed to many forms of de-education. For example, in 2014, former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate. The media reiterated how America devalues ​​black boys by repeatedly airing Brown’s lifeless body lying on the street for about four hours.

The country’s black boys are being de-educated and re-educated to believe that their lives have no meaning. That’s why the California Association of Black Educators refuses to ignore the inequity in the education of black boys. In July, at the 2nd Annual CABSE Institute, educators from across the country gathered in Napa, California to address the diseducation of black boys. During the conference, they discussed policies and various forms of teaching that generate best practices. In the end, the participants declared a state of emergency on the de-education of black boys.

“We chose to focus on black boys because much of the qualitative and quantitative analysis reveals that black boys are chronically failing,” said Micah Ali, chair of the Compton Unified School District.

The effects of deseducation

Malcolm X once said that “When you have a bad education, you can only work in a low paying job. And this badly paid job makes it possible to live again in a poor neighborhood. So it’s a very vicious circle.

Given the weight of anti-black racism, these grads end up whitewashing their resumes and doing whatever they have to do to get hired. But in the end, only 19% of black boys end up in the top income distribution as adults, compared to 40% of white boys. And, given the school-to-jail pipeline, low-income black men are incarcerated five times more than their white counterparts.

Criminalize black boys

Criminalizing black boys is a form of psychological and physical de-education.

“I am the child of society. That’s how they made me and now I say what I think and they don’t want that. This is what you made me, America,” Tupac Shakur said.

It is well known that the American educational system condemns black boys rather than raising them. Schools criminalize black students with harsh disciplinary action. Black students receive twice as many referrals to law enforcement as their white peers for similar offenses.

The digital age has allowed schools to adapt deseducational policing strategies. The Center for Democracy and Technology survey conducted surveys from 2020 to 2022 and concluded that student surveillance tools are harming black students. Students reported that they or a peer had gotten into trouble because of activity monitoring, revealing significant racial differences.

What does it look like? For example, Baltimore City Public Schools uses GoGuardian to monitor student activity at night and on weekends. Schools work with law enforcement to monitor when GoGuardian reports student activity.

Fighting black male deseducation

Society tells black men that the way out of poverty is to become a professional athlete or musical artist. America constantly tells black boys that they are worthless through movies and music and that they are violent and disposable. This model is not new. Since the arrival of enslaved Africans on these shores, white supremacy has imposed deficit labels on black men.

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

Scorza not only provides a critical analysis, but it also offers a solution. Its Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI), based in Inglewood, Calif., is a summer training program that teaches education practitioners methods to achieve social equity using education in their schools and communities. community. SJLI hosts educators for training workshops on culturally relevant curriculum and academic support with a social justice lens.

The Maryland State Board of Education also thought of a solution. He created a Task Force on Achieving Academic Equity and Excellence for Black Boys, a pilot program that recommends schools create a mentorship program for black men.

In Detroit, The Hidden Genius Project created a project that targets young black males entering grades 9 through 11. The project focuses on training them through mentorship, technology leadership and career development to change their lives and their communities.

CABSE’s Black Educators’ State of Emergency Declaration confirms that it is not just up to America but up to the Black community to make a difference.

“We will look at the long-term perspective, the long-term goal, and secure the different models for implementing an innovative educational solution that will continue to deliver results far beyond what our eyes can see,” says Ali.

Change must begin within the black community to reverse the effects of diseducating black boys.

Comments are closed.