The Mis-education of the Negro
This book ought to be required reading for every teacher, educator, administrator, and parents who intereact with children of African descent. Woodson's work helps us understand that African peoples are truly mis-educated. We largely receive an Eurocentric or White middle class, elitist education that by and large does not serve the needs of our communities. This mis-education creates a serious identity crisis on the part of African youth and it causes many Black "educated" middle class people to spend more time trying to reach the consumer American Dream rather than working toward a real self-determination agenda of African peoples. Thus it's of little suprise today that most African students never enroll in a course on African/African-American studies. In fact, these courses are becoming more rare in high school and colleges across the nation. Even with the current renaissance of Black literature in this country, the study of African/Black culture, politics, and spiritual life are rarely discussed. In Woodson's words: "Real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better, but the instruction so far given Negroes [and still today] in colleges and universities [and elementary and secondary schools] has worked to the contrary. In most cases such graduates have merely increased the number of malcontents who offer no program for changing the undesirable conditions about which they complain. " Woodson's book is clearly not out-dated. In fact, it reads as if it were published last year, instead of 1933. I would like to close this response to Woodson's work with another classic quote from him: "If you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a person feel that he/she is inferior, you do not have to compel him/her to accept an inferior status, he/she will seek for it. If you make a person think he/she is a justly outcast, yoiu do not have to order that person to the back door, that person will go without being told, and if there is no back door, the very nature of that person will demand one."
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