by Gloria Dulan-Wilson
Juwanza Kunjufu’s name is one that I had not seen in quite some time. In fact not since my handsome son, Rais, was at least four years old, and attending a racially mixed elementary school in Altadena, CA. It was then that I read Juwanza’s books, “Raising Black Boys” and “Understanding Black Male Learning Styles.” His treatise on “the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys” helped me tremendously in saving my son from becoming one of those victims.
So when the article below appeared in the Black Star Journal – it already attention because of the subject matter – “Have Our Black Girls been Overlooked?” But then when I saw Dr. Kunjufu’s name attached I admit, I got very excited. I am proud to say that my husband and I read his book from cover to cover, as an antidote to the overt racism he was experiencing in the elementary school he attended. As a result, I was not only able to make sure he had positive supporting teachers, that the principal knew we were not a family to be messed with, but also became an advocate for other parents whose young sons were being sharply reprimanded for the smallest of infractions.
Along with Carter G. Woodson’s “MisEducation of the Negro,” Dr. Kunjufu’s book became our “Bible” for our educational principles in our home. In large measure, they are also the measure our children use in ensuring their sons (I have four handsome grandsons, one beautiful granddaughter), are getting the appropriate education they deserve so they can realize their full potential and maximize their talents, skills and abilities.
As a bragging parent, I am happy to say that my three (two girls and a boy) have grown into beautiful adults. There were so many contributing factors, of course, but for those of us coming through the Civil Rights/Black Power Eras, when things were in flux, our Black writers, historians, philosophers, as well as neighbors, associates and friends, made a great difference in their success stories.
I think also there was a balance in how we dealt with educating our youth **Black Males and Females were/are both equally important in making our village a successful community!!-There is no such thing as one being more or less significant. The appearance of so many divisive factors, with our own racial issues at the center, have caused us to blink – and while we did, the erosion of our principles accelerated. So here we are in the middle of a mess. One that we are responsible for resolving. We have gone from COMMUNITY to HOOD. We’ve got to get back to the quality of life so many of us fought, sacrificed and died for (I don’t know how much more I can emphasize this fact – so we need to stop trying to pit one against the other, or segregate them from one another as though they’re distractions or nuisances – GOD made both males and females; boys and girls, men and women – and they were meant to coordinate, cooperate, and complement each other. We’ve fallen into a real eurocentric moral mind mess here – and have put our children’s futures at risk as a result).
My concern is that we have dropped the proverbial ball, and are now facing so many revisions and reversals of what we fought so hard to provide for our children and their contemporaries, that it appears that we need to go back and start all over again. Many of our females and males have less of an education and command of the English language than field hands just released from slavery. And it’s so rampant in our urban communities that immigrants are able to come into the US and take jobs that they do not have the skill, knowledge or acumen to handle. Sadly, a great many of our young mothers are adamant about remaining in a state of ignorance, and have said it’s a part of “the Black culture,” and any attempts to change it is coming from a “bougie” perspective. We have some serious challenges ahead because our younger yet unborn will be depending on these first educators for guidance.
And it’s not so much that our young Black females don’t read, it’s what they’re reading that is problematical – the crappy, spurious and salacious subject matter that is making millionaires out of miscreants is having a deleterious effect on what they and their daughters (and sons) see, hear, and learn first hand.
That Dr. Kunjufu is focusing on the problem is laudable; that we all need to be engaged in this is obvious. They, our young girls are beautiful divas in the making, but they are suffering from a viral ignorance that has to be handled delicately in order not be exacerbated and spread even more by those would defend it as “inherently ‘black’,” when it isn’t. Negativity has no color; ignorance has no color; hostility generated within ones self is the height of self destruction, and must be eradicated and transformed into the highest and best positive qualities we, as an ECLECTICALLY BLACK PEOPLE, can muster. Our Young Black Girls are precious to us, and we cannot afford to overlook or lose a one of them.
Stay Blessed &
bullet Columnist Gloria Dulan-Wilson Is a veteran New York City Journalist. Her experiences, perspective & sense of history are an invaluable combination. “check out my blog:” www.gloria-dulan-wilson.blogspot.com