American Public Education System: Black Children Are The New Cotton

turning Black children over to white America for their daily education
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Photos: Twitter\JSTOR

W.E.B. Du Bois warned us in 1935 that turning Black children over to white America for their daily education risked making them “doormats to be spit and trampled upon and lied to by ignorant social climbers whose sole claim to superiority is the ability to kick ‘niggers’ when they are down.”

We didn’t listen. More than a century later, the majority of Black children sit in classrooms with mostly white teachers who think very little of their potential and humanity.

Years ago, civil rights leader Julian Bond told us, “violence is Black children going to school for 12 years and receiving six years’ worth of education.” The six out of 12 years’ worth of education that he said our kids get is — in my estimation — little more than rote memorization and state-sponsored cultural suicide intended to vaccinate young Black minds against free thought and self-determined lives.

Violence, indeed.

Historian and journalist Lerone Bennett Jr. wrote about the post-slavery years, saying “in 1865, when emancipation became a fact, about one in every twenty Negroes could read and write. Thirty-five years later, more than one out of every two could read and write.”

122 years later, less than one in five Black fourth graders are “proficient” in reading.

You may be surprised to learn that none other than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself warned us against blind trust in public schools and their teachers. Two of his parishioners, both Black high school educators, said he told them “white people view Black people as inferior. A large percentage of them have a very low opinion of our race. People with such a low view of the Black race cannot be given free rein and put in charge of the intellectual care and development of our boys and girls.”

Yet, here we are, every morning turning over 8 million Black children, the minds of our race and hope of our future, to an education system owned and operated by white governors, billion-dollar textbook companies, 3 million mostly white teachers, and 14,000 school boards composed of members who are generally whiter, wealthier and more Republican than the students they supposedly represent. Read more.

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