Malcolm X once said “as long as you are convinced you have never done anything, you’ll never do anything. That didn’t quite resonate with me until I was able to reflect on my life and the many shortcomings I had faced. See, once I hit middle school, we were never taught valuable history or knowledge of self. Now feel me when I say knowledge of self, because the question you must ask is “whose self?” and “whose knowledge?”
I attended a predominantly African – American school up until 6th grade when my mom uprooted our little life to another town. This meant new friends, and a new school. Talk about culture shock. I had never seen so many white people in my life. For this, I hated school. I felt as though I did not belong. I eventually came around and did pretty well. However, I never felt that sense of empowerment that I had I felt at my old school. Middle school years are the most critical and can really shape how a young person thinks and internalizes. These are the years where you begin to identify who you are. To be taught who you are as an individual and the role you play in society/civilization, can mold you into the adult that you will become. I say that to say……….I didn’t get any of that.
I’ll never forget my 7th grade teacher. She was a Jewish woman that was a little feisty and only cared about the holocaust. When I say only, I really mean ONLY. I couldn’t tell you one thing we learned in that class other than the holocaust. As a current educator, I can’t for the life of me understand how she got away with that, without failing her evaluation LoL! But anyhoot, at that time you could have asked me anyyyythinggggg about the holocaust and I would be able to tell you. Heck, I would’ve been able to debate anyone down to a “t”. At the time, I had no true knowledge of self and I believed that she was doing what was best for us as a teacher.
February rolled around and I remember her giving us pictures of a few black leaders to color (mind you this is 7th grade and we’re coloring). Maybe the next day, we were right back to learning about the struggle of HER people. It was almost as if she was sending a message to say that what happened to my people wasn’t important enough to spend time on, BUT we better not forget what happened to HER people. That is what I internalized and subconsciously functioned on. But, I never forgot the deprivation I felt once I came into consciousness.
Since integration, black people have been embedded with lies, beliefs, distortions, and deceit. This is what we acknowledge as mental warfare. To keep a people disconnected from who they are, will forever keep them dependent, faithful to the enemy, docile, and miseducated. This has been our reality for a very long time, and contrary to folks believing that we’ve somehow overcome systematic and systemic racism, we are probably worse off than we were back in the 50’s. Here’s why. Harriet Tubman said, “I freed a 1000 slaves. I could have freed 1000 more if only they knew they were slaves.” This is relevant today because black people are so willing to accept everyone’s lie as their truth. We can watch our enemy kill our children with our own eyes, but because that same enemy tells us to pray to their God, and their God will come save us, we remit them of their villainy. We are mental slaves to a society that views us as disposable, and still we accept anything they push our way.
The oppressor will and should never be able to teach those that they oppress. WE… OUR… US…. WE must learn and teach truth of who WE are, OUR contributions to society, and why OUR presence is such a threat to those that do not look like US.
Unmask the truth, to unlearn the lies.
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