Day 21: Ignorance is a Cure for Nothing
Now is the accepted time,
not some more convenient season.
It is today that our best work
can be done
and not some future day
or future year.
It is today that we fit ourselves
for the greater usefulness of tomorrow.
Today is the seed time,
now are the hours of work,
and tomorrow comes the harvest
and the playtime.
-W.E.B. Du Bois
After the Egyptian and Indian,
the Greek and Roman,
the Teuton and Mongolian,
the Negro is a sort of seventh son,
born with a veil,
and gifted with second-sight in this American world,
—a world which yields him no true self-consciousness,
but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world.
It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness,
this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others,
of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.
One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro;
two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body,
whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.
-W.E.B. Du Bois
among all kinds of men always has had, and always will have,
an element of danger and revolution,
of dissatisfaction and discontent.
-W.E.B. Du Bois
Almost anyone in the Free World should be able to tell you about how Dr. . E. B.) Du Bois was the first African American to earn a doctorate from Harvard University and how he cofounded the NAACP in 1909, in which he insisted use the word colored instead of black, to include people of all complexions.
He is also widely known for opposing Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Compromise, which called for Blacks to work submissively for whites, while whites promised to provide Blacks with basic education and economic opportunities. Honestly, the notion of my ancestors having to work submissively, in order to be given the right to obtain an education is completely harrowing. This is one of the main reasons why it bothers me that today's youth fail to take full advantage of their education. Hell, in my youth, my closest peers and I didn't take advantage of our opportunity to learn as much as we could either.
One of my students recently told me that up until he started middle school, he believed that white people were naturally smarter than black people. He went on to explain that he gathered this assumption from experiences in which white students would be the only students who remembered the lessons that the teachers were reviewing. He said his black counterparts would get the answers wrong or worse, they would be off task, getting into trouble.
I showed no emotion to his words but its been two days and I am still replaying his confession in my head. You know, my blog's entire Black Love Challenge was created to guide and inspire people to meditate and reflect on the plight of African Americans. Now here I am, reflecting in the midst of my post.. It's finally occurring to me that my students, just like me at their age, do not understand what leaders like Du Bois stood for. As a child, I couldn't grasp the term legacy. This speaks volumes to my practice as an educator today. As a teacher, I have to understand that the reality is: My students are struggling to comprehend the concept of the same exact term. I, along with my fellow educators, have been empowered with the responsibility to help our students fully understand why they should take pride in their education. There is no reason why any of student should be unable to articulate learned information, no matter what ethnicity they are.
I have to make sure that my students leave my class as learners who are self-motivated to discover all there is to know in this world. I want them to make a difference, change their city, and continuously find new ways to better theirselves, for no other reason than their own awareness that,
"ignorance is a cure for nothing".
So I will continue teaching .. and learning.. and teaching.