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Breaking The Miseducation Cycle by African people

Breaking The Miseducation Cycle by African people

von Dr. Conrad W. Worrill

One of the most important challenges we face as a people, is to continue our efforts at offsetting our continued miseducation of the contributions of African people from ancient times to the present in all subjects-such as mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, art, and music.

When we use the term education it is important that we define this term, that is so loosely used, to describe a process that has been established in the world for people to acquire levels of knowledge.

Education is a process or system that imparts the dominant values, principles, and beliefs of a given society. Training is the process of learning skills- such as reading, writing, and computation. So we must be clear that there is a difference between education and training.

It should be quite obvious to all conscious African people, in America, that as Dr. Carter G. Woodson pointed out in his book, The Miseducation of the Negro in 1933, that we have undergone a tremendous miseducation.

Consider a few points that this great educator and historian made in this book, that should be required reading for all African people in America interested in the upliftment of the race. Dr. Woodson's analysis is still relevant today. Woodson said, "*the mere imparting of information is not education. Above all things, the effort must result in making a man or woman think and do for himself or herself just as the Jews have done in spite of universal persecution."

Woodson also said that "Highly educated Negroes denounce persons who advocate for the Negro a sort of education different in some respects from that now given the white man. Negroes who have been so long inconvenienced and denied opportunities for development are naturally afraid of anything that sounds like discrimination. They are anxious to have everything the white man has even if it is harmful."

Further, Woodson observes, "...the so-called modern education with all its defects, however, does others so much more good that it does the Negro, because it has been worked out in conformity to the needs of those who have enslaved and oppressed weaker peoples."

For example, he says, " ... the philosophy and ethics resulting from our educational system have justified slavery, peonage, segregation and lynching. The oppressor has the right to exploit, to handicap, and to kill the oppressed."

Finally, Woodson explains that "No systematic effort toward change has been possible, for, taught the same economics, history, philosophy, literature, and religion which have established the present code of morals, the Negro's mind has been brought under the control of his oppressor. The problem of holding the Negro down, therefore, is easily solved. When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions."

Because of what we see of ourselves often influences what we do about ourselves, the role of education in controlling our thoughts and actions is more important now than ever before. For the last 500 years, the history of African people throughout the world has been told through the slavery experience - only a short period in our life, considering that we are the oldest of the world's peoples.

One of our great historians, who recently made his transition, Dr. John Henrik Clarke instructs us that we need to look behind the slavery curtain in order to see what African people achieved as an independent people before slavery.

Dr. Clarke points out that, "Because this independence existed for thousands of years before Europe itself existed, we should examine the far-reaching power of the European created educational system over the minds of most of the world."

In this connection Dr. Clarke observes that, "Prior to the slave trade and European colonialism, which began in the fifteenth-century, most of the peoples of the world had a concept of God shaped by their own culture and their own understanding of spirituality. They generally saw God, or any deity, as a figure resembling themselves. The expanding presence of the European made them consider not only a new God but a new image of God as well."

Obviously this has caused great harm to African people and is at the core of the miseducation cycle we must break.

It is in this spirit that the Kemetic Institute in Chicago, like many other groups across the country, is sponsoring a two day memorial celebration for Dr. John Henrik Clarke. Dr. Clarke spent his life trying to help African people break the miseducation cycle. Dr. Clarke made his transition on Thursday, July 16, 1998. The celebration will be held September 18th and 19th, at the Center for Inner City Studies at 700 East Oakwood Boulevard in Chicago. You can contact our offices for details.

We must break the miseducation cycle. One way you can help in the continued movement to break this vicious cycle is to come out and participate in the memorial celebration for Dr. Clarke. Our survival as a people is dependent on recapturing the African mind. Only the recapturing of the African mind will lead to the destruction and breaking of this miseducation cycle.


[Association of the Study of Classical African Civilizations]