Tag Archives: African-American Manhood

Why a Relevant Education is the Most Critical Element Missing in the Liberation of Black America

One of my favorite Malcolm X quotes is “only a fool would let his enemy teach his children.” The power of this quote is two-fold, one the one hand it is simple, yet on the other hand, it communicates a multi-layered analysis of the very foundations of Black America’s primary problem. Anyone who has ever listened to Brother Malcolm knows very well that his oratorical style forced our people to take a serious look at themselves. Malcolm knew very well that if our people performed an honest introspection of their everyday behavior and decisions, even they would see that their foolish actions and decision-making process play a significant role in matters of nation building and racial uplift.

Considering the indispensability of education in both the analysis of our historic racial problems and the development of much-needed plans to address those issues, it has always puzzled me that education is not considered the foundational cornerstone to nation-building. Unfortunately for Black America, our people frequently ignore the supreme utility of education. Although many of my Black Nationalist peers will question the following assertion, neither political matters nor economic strategies supersede the supreme importance of education to black liberation. It is via education that we are able to illuminate all other issues such as the politico-economic misery that our people have endeared for centuries. I long ago realized that everything and I do mean everything, I do or say pivots directly off of my exposure to ideas, thoughts, and concepts learned via some educational endeavor.

There is little room for a reasonable debate against the fact that we each entered this world knowing nothing. Everything that we know, or better yet think that we know, was learned through observation or instruction. Make no mistake about it, a relevant education is the difference-maker between an individual wandering through life seeking purpose and a person who wisely decided to by-pass meaningless employment opportunities granted from a hostile white community and decided to embrace entrepreneurship with the intention of servicing and employing their own people. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense’s Ten Point Platform and Program beautifully articulates the utility of a relevant education for Black America.

We Want Education For Our People That Exposes The True Nature Of This Decadent American Society. We Want Education That Teaches Us Our True History And Our Role In The Present-Day Society.

We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of self. If a man does not have knowledge of himself and his position in society and the world, then he has little chance to relate to anything else.

A relevant education is a lynchpin between an individual who spends life aimlessly searching for where they fit in and a politicized individual who understands his indispensability to develop the politico-economic base that his people’s interests rest upon.

If we were to reverse Malcolm X’s assertion that “only a fool would allow his enemy to educate his children”, it would read, a wise man teaches his own children the past, present, and future direction of his people.

History indicates that the primary utility of a relevant education for Black America is found in its ability to generate solidarity and like-mindedness. One must remember that such matters are supremely important to African-Americans as many of us do not even agree on the ultimate goal of black liberation, let alone an appropriate path to reach that destination.

The historical record of any people that have successfully escaped the shackle of tyranny displays that group uplift follows solidarity of thought. Despite what many may wish for, the alluded to solidarity of thought does not miraculously appear, it is manufactured via educational institutions and social, economic, political, and cultural mandates. Consider for a moment that it is not accidental that the vast majority of students who emerge from the University of Notre Dame are pro-life as the school’s curriculum shapes their thinking in that regard. Nor is it accidental that the foremost issue on the agenda of Jews is the protection and sovereignty of Israel; every portion of that community’s socialization process is aimed at impressing upon succeeding generations that until Israel is free, they will never be free.

A similar teaching was advanced by the great historian John Henrik Clarke who admonished persons of African descent strewn throughout the West that “until Africa is free, you will never be free.” Unfortunately for persons of African descent, such teachings have failed to take hold as we have yet to develop an educational mechanism that convinces our people that such a worldview is the only reasonable one.

Any “leader” interested in the liberation of his/her people realize that their ability to manufacture consent is crucial to all of their endeavors. Although many may disagree with “the manufacturing of consent” via educational institutions, the truth is that there are no more efficient means of generating collectivism than controlling what is taught in school houses. If the above statement is valid, the opposite must also be considered valid as well; meaning that there is no more efficient means of guaranteeing that a socially fractured, politically disorganized, and non-collectivist economic people such as African-Americans continue along that path of inefficiency than by indoctrinating them with an irrelevant curriculum that busies their mental processes with items that have nothing to do with the development of an escape plan from their exploited status.

The painful truth is that the aforementioned process of “dumbing down” African-Americans via an irrelevant educational curriculum has been both the favored and most reliable tactic of white power brokers. As an educator, I will not be unduly harsh on teachers as they are little more than frontline soldiers who take their orders from higher-ups. My criticism is aimed at a non-responsive educational system that has succeeded at its real task of continuing the marginalization of generations of Black America. Put simply, white school curriculums do not now, nor have they ever, intended to aid Black America in mobilizing politico-economic resources in preparation for a surge to secure what Khalid Abdul Muhammad routinely termed “the liberation and salvation of the black nation.”

This is a critical moment for Black America as it is imperative that our educators turn inward and continue creating independent “freedom schools” that provide a relevant curriculum for African-American children. Black America must become extremely serious about taking ownership of its present plight, a crucial aspect of that process is finally accepting that no one is coming to help you in this endeavor, let alone to save you from an all too familiar misery. We must busy ourselves developing independent educational institutions that not only inform our people of their last place status in every social, health, economic, and political indicator but also work to scientifically address these issues.

The great Panther Party leader Fred Hampton once remarked that “War is nothing but politics with bloodshed and politics is nothing but war without bloodshed.” It is time that African-Americans realized that they are actually at war for both their continued existence on the planet Earth and the future place of our children in that world. I hope that we embrace this call to educate our own and stop being the fools that Malcolm told us we would be if we continued to allow our enemy to infiltrate our children’s minds. There is no doubt whatsoever that our children are our most valued and precious resource; a resource that must be protected ‘by any means necessary.’

James Thomas Jones III, Ph.D., M.A., M.A., M.A.

#ManhoodRaceCulture

Books published by Dr. James Thomas Jones III

Please support Independent Black Scholarship; it’s the only way that we are going to free our minds.

Creating Revolution as They Advance: A Historical Narrative of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense

‘Foolish’ Floyd: The Life & Times of an African-American Contrarian

The Unspoken Divide Among African-American Men

Make no mistake about it; there is a significant divide that exists between African-American men. In many ways it is amazing that the alluded to divide that cuts across areas such as educational level, socioeconomic status, political leanings, and religiosity/spirituality has not been commented upon more frequently.

On second thought, maybe it is not all that amazing when one considers that there is an unspoken agreement among African-black males 2American males who have found themselves the target of every type of attack imaginable, to not speak about our dirty laundry in public. Those who have wondered why such conversations have not been more prominent should be comforted by the reality that such matters are continuously discussed among ‘the brothers’.

At this late day and time, I find it impossible that we may have people who are ignorant to the plethora of issues facing African-American males. African-American males are facing a bevy of issues such as:

  • Escalating Incarceration Rates
  • Declining Graduation Rates
  • Unparalleled Unemployment Rates
  • Unparalleled Divorce Rates
  • An Epidemic of Black Children being Raised without Fathers
  • School-to-Prison Pipeline
  • Prison Industrial Complex
  • Black-on-Black Lethal Violence
  • And the list could continue into infinity

Despite these innumerable societal pitfalls that so many of ‘the brothers’ have fallen into, there is a significant segment of African-American men who have not fallen prey to such ‘traps’ and have flourished in the same environment that has curtailed, if not destroyed, the lives of so many of their contemporaries.

To this population’s credit, they have stared down and in many ways overcome the pernicious evils that we know as prejudice, discrimination, and racism.

Ironically, the aforementioned success of some African-American males over prejudice, discrimination, and racism serves as black malesthe catalyst behind the ever-widening divide that is currently found among Black males. This divide is best expressed by New York City educator Damon Thomas who publicly questions his contemporaries regarding their inability to replicate his success over the aforementioned obstacles. Thomas shared the following critique of this matter, “Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware that racism still exists in today’s society. However, I trace much of the present state of Black Males to their personal failings, poor decision-making, and a failure to plan for their, and their children’s, future.”

Thomas is most certainly not alone in his contentions, Columbus, Ohio businessman Eric Morris cites “laziness, foolishness, and silliness” as the actual reasons that so many African-American males are lagging behind educationally, politically, and socially. According to Morris, “There is no other explanation for why some of us have achieved a few things in our lives and others seem to be stuck in the same place. I simply refuse to wallow in pity and let life happen to me, I am the primary determinant in my success and also in my shortcomings and failures. I own both the good and the bad that occurs in my life.”

Individuals such as Morris and Thomas have no problem with addressing the shortcomings of other African-American males for one simple reason. They realize that all persons of African descent, particularly African-American males, are inextricably linked with one another.

According to Thomas, “When these brothers go out into the world and act a fool, it affects each and every one of us. Make no mistake about it; they have severely and permanently damaged what it means to be a Black man. Instead of blackness standing for intelligence, professionalism, and responsibility, these fools have made it stand for the exact opposite.”

Reporter Dan Freeman offered the following commentary regarding this matter. “Although I hate to admit it, I no longer view all ‘brothers’ Gangster Disciples1as ‘brothers’, if you know what I mean. I simply can’t afford to. I really don’t think that any Black man who wishes to accomplish anything has that luxury in today’s society. I have been burned far too many times trying to help my ‘brothers’ out. After a while, you simply decide that it is not worth it; I am certain that a little part of me died at that moment, however, I had to do what was best for me.”

Laying at the center of this rapidly expanding divide among African-American males is the realization that those to whom much has been given, the population that W.E.B. Du Bois would term our ‘talented-tenth’, have tired of dragging along brethren who behave as if they are not only oblivious to the perilous state that their life could be aptly characterized as, but also displaying copious amounts of anger and hatred at those who offer a helping hand.

Little do they know, such assistance will become much and much more rare as we move forward. And that is a reality that none of us should be proud of.

James Thomas Jones III, Ph.D., M.A., M.A., M.A.

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016

#ManhoodRaceCulture

IN THE WORDS OF MINISTER FARRAKHAN: A CRUCIAL YET OFTEN OMITTED INGREDIENT IN DEVELOPING MANHOOD

I must relate that I absolutely love my cousin Kareem for the man that he has evolved into, however, it is most definitely not accidental that he has evolved in such an impressive manner; his parents, my aunt Jackie and uncle Clarence, were extremely unique individual Farrakhanpeople who tailored a path for each of their children to succeed. Put
simply, save for some type of mental inadequacy or streak of immorality — things that he most certainly does not suffer from — he, and his beautiful, intelligent, and courageous sisters had no other choice but to turn out the way that they did; the person he is today is not happenstance, it was in many ways his destiny.

So I was not shocked today to see a post that he placed in OUR Facebook group — Manhood, Race & Culture — that explained so much about the role that a Black woman plays in the construction of a man.

His post today was one answer from an interview that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan had given that does much to illuminate how a woman can play a significant role in supporting the development of ‘Manhood’.

Responding to a question regarding his wife and her role in his development, Minister Farrakhan responded in the following way.

When you have a woman by your side who does everything she can to support you in your work, and as a wife, to speak to you when you need correcting or to make it clear to you where she is dissatisfied, but always in a loving and respectful way, that is what helps a man to be a man.

As always, Minister Farrakhan’s words are efficient and packed with tons of insight and wisdom. Far too often we hear a familiar lament from many African-American women that goes as follows: “Where are the men?”

Now there is most certainly a tendency for discussions regarding the role of women in the development of manhood to devolve into a foidebate that closely resembles the classic quandary of ‘which came first, the chicken or the egg’, however, I am most definitely seeking to avoid such foolishness.

Far too often there is a misunderstanding regarding the ‘development’ of manhood, most are totally unaware that the process is on-going throughout a man’s entire life. Now there is absolutely no
doubt that there is a sizable portion of males who have neither desired nor embarked upon the journey to embrace manhood and I must relate that this post has absolutely nothing to do with them, for all intents and purposes, they are lost causes in regards to becoming men and therefore should be considered traitors to the cause of racial uplift.

I am referring to those who possess both the potential and desire to put on the weighty cloak of manhood. It is this population that our women should be receptive to if for no other reason that they provide a path for her to display one of her innumerable superpowers; on this occasion it is propelling her man to unconscionable heights that he could have never achieved on his own.

I only wish that more sisters found quality male’s with the desire to be strong Black men so that they could implement Minister Farrakhan’s advice and ‘do everything she can to support him in his work’, ‘address him, in a respectful and loving way, regarding matters he is incorrect upon and could improve upon’. According to Minister Farrakhan, that is how ‘sisters’ could help the Black man be a man.

I can personally attest to the damage that a non-cooperative partner can have upon one’s life, it is stifling and suffocating. Instead of cooperation, they intentionally create moments of discord, rather than speaking in a respectful and loving manner, they say things that are intentionally designed to incite an uncontrollable rage. Put simply, many ‘relationships’ within our community are combative and therefore far from loving and supportive. Amazingly we are then surprised when our home’s, the building bloc of any nation, lay in ruin.

I am quite certain that there are many brothers who are currently imbued with a sense of pride and righteousness as they perceive this to be a backhanded slight at the ‘sisters’, they are in as much error as the ‘sisters’ who have allowed their expectations that this is a ‘typical’ posting aimed at disrespecting them to override their engagement in it. If you have read this piece and have come to that conclusion, either you need to increase your reading comprehension or I have failed at my task.

I was simply sharing some advice from a wise man regarding a path that he has already traveled with his beloved partner. I only wish that more of us, men and women, could be so lucky.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016.

#ManhoodRaceCulture