Thursday, 22 March 2012

Raising Black children in America

Raising black children in America is a daunting task for so many reasons. The main reason is you have to burden children with understanding racism as more than a concept. It’s not enough to unload the history of the Atlantic Slave Trade. You have to discuss how black skin and male gender equals danger in America in the mundane.
It is with sadness as I write this piece. I just finished reading the story of the latest victim of racism in America. Trayvon Martin, a teenager, was walking home when he was shot in the chest by a volunteer cop. As I read the article, like many Black parents, I was hoping to learn from Martin’s mistakes to protect my children from falling victim to the same fate. Surely he must have done something to be killed. I was reading for clear signs of what Martin did “wrong.” Did he run? Was he looking like a hardcore rapper? Was he holding a stick like object such as a pencil? I read to know what Martin did “wrong” so I could protect my boys from EVER doing the same thing. And yet, similar to the other senseless deaths before him; Martin’s only crime was not being white skinned.
Nonetheless, I did pick up some mistakes. First, Black people should realize that they cannot live freely in just any part of the United States. They need to stick in towns/cities with a sizeable Black population. This is because the white dominated towns/suburbs further marginalize Black people living in a white dominated country. Black children, as young as kindergarteners, are suspended out of school more than their white counterparts. It’s no wonder that home schooling is growing fast among the African American community. The second flag was that Martin was walking home wearing a hoody. While any white kid can walk around with expensive Tommy Hilfiger hoodies indicative of their style and class, Black children walking with hoodies represent danger and violence. Living in a racist country means you have to pay attention to how color influences everything; from what we experience to what we consider threatening.
What a burden to be black in America! The Black population has to be on guard all the time. Those of us with children have to be worried twice as much as white parents. It’s not enough to worry about their general safety and health. A Black parent has to worry about whether the children walk or run in the street. Both can lead to their death.
It’s not just whites who are threatening the lives of Blacks in America. A racist society makes everyone fear each other and themselves. So Blacks would have the same, to some degree prejudices against black males, as their white counterparts. They are socialized by the same media and Hollywood/MTV. While some blacks would be discerning to the news, it is typical that others in the society would be influenced by receiving similar education. Black security guards would trail a Black child in a store with the same instincts as a white security guard.
In the blog, black and married with kids, the blogger list rules that govern the lives of most Black children in America. One of the rules is:
Know who you are. You can’t do everything they do. In other words, just because your white friend does something that doesn’t mean you can do the same. Whether it’s hanging at the mall or going to a house party, police, teachers, and other authorities treat white children differently than black children. …
No child should have to live with the concrete examples of what it means to be marginalized. Are Black people free in America if you cannot go where you want?
This is one reason why I chose to raise my children in Ghana. I did not want to burden them with racism. I also wanted them to live in a country where they can be as free as any other citizen. It’s so sad that many African Americans do not realize that they have an option to live elsewhere. It’s unfortunate that they have to contemplate leaving a country built by their ancestors’ blood, sweat and tears; however, the reality is that those who dominate are running a country whose mission and vision is to wipe out the Black population. Did we not learn anything from the native population? How many African American males are rotting in prisons for offenses most white boys would get a verbal warning for? We know the numbers.

Friday, 9 March 2012

The Parent Revolution

Parents of the world unite! Californian parents are voting on whether or not parents should be given the mandate to take over a school district. This historic moment can add much momentum to the home school movement. As more parents get involved, they are bound to realize that they can do more than just affect a school district. They might even start a global revolution with the need for educational reform at its core.
The world is buzzing about educational reform; so much that Hollywood has already responded with an upcoming movie entitled, “Won’t Back Down.” To learn more about the Trigger Law and become inspired to begin our own movement towards parental take overs in Africa’s education, visit
This movie and the documentary “Waiting for Superman” did what the rest of us in the home and Unschool movements were doing on a small scale. “Waiting for Superman” voiced the concerns of millions of un-united and frustrated parents and students. As opposed to seeing educational reform from the lens of conservative religious and political groups on the periphery of society, this documentary centralized the debate on human right issues. Why should children, our future, have but the best in education? How do we protect their futures and ours, if we are not invested in providing them the best of education?
The film “Won’t Back Down” is about parents and teachers uniting to take back a school district. They unite to fire teachers and other ineffective administrators. Parents and teachers are often perceived to be on different sides, but this film unites them. Parents are not alone in feeling dissatisfied with what our children are given. The teachers, the face of the system’s failures, surely do not feel empowered being put in such a position.
It’s fantastic that the world is responding to education reform in this way. This battle is not limited to the hallways of UN bodies, but is fought daily in the homes and schools of people fighting for the very best for all of our children.