*Deionte Jones also contributed to this article*
Recently a senior from McKinley High approached me with an email asking that I do a story on minorities in education. There was no way that I could refuse, as this topic is something that needs more light shed on it.
Washington D.C. a city that was once labeled as “Chocolate City” in the ‘90s and early 2000s, has transformed into city that is composed of less African Americans and more Caucasians, Asian Americans and others. The word gentrification has arisen, the cost of living has proliferated and the poor working class of African Americans has been forced to move out a city they once prospered in. During the past decade the African American community as endured a harrowing time in a democracy where “all men are created equal” and are granted their fundamental rights; there has a been a long battle with the justice system, education system, work force and society as a whole. Portraying American Americans as uncivilized, naive and complete savages.
Deionte says, “growing up in the era of gentrification and seeing how it has transcended, it deeply touches me and grows concern for African Americans and our future in the younger generation. As a group we are not valuing education and life continues to worsen for us because we are either thrown in jail or have any other alternatives for success. Often I plagued myself with the question ‘What’s next for the black man in society where politics and white supremacy stand at the root of all evilness?’ I delved into the roots of society during the early stages when Blacks were rising and analyzed where we have come today. I’ve gathered an answer. This question can be interpreted into many forms, but there’s only one right answer. Education. Some believe knowledge is power, I believe otherwise, I believe knowledge is leverage one has over the less informed it’s the difference between the rich and poor, it separates the overachievers from the mediocre.”
As a nation, it can be argued that the education system has failed African American males, but more work must be done to better public schools, assist more funding and seek mentoring programs and other community organizations. Education must be the sole priority on a kid’s agenda, not sports or any other curriculums, education. Secondly there have to be an increase in graduation rates, according the Blackboysreport.org ,“In 2009-10 the national graduation rate for African American male students was 52% oppose to the 78% graduation rate for White, and non-Latino males.”
We must see a shift in numbers as a country in order to compete globally with other countries. Thirdly the education system must serve as the helping hand for its students. A vast majority of African American kids grow up in abnormal situations, they are faced with poverty and other factors such as not having resources, bad parenting or even single parent households. The system should work to help kids in times of challenging situations and serve as home, instilling strong pillars like courage, unity and confidence in a kid. Such small words matter and having someone to call on will make a difference. Lastly the education system must work with local businesses and corporations along with the justice system, in order to one teach kids life skills, professionalism and the fundamentals to doing the right things. The businesses and corporations can give kids opportunities such as internships, summer programs or mentoring giving kids a glimpse of how things are ran and even inspiring them to possibly become the next Steve Jobs.
Considering the deaths of young African American males in America, we must put our differences to the side, stand as one and fight for what’s right in order for our country to grow no matter our age, gender, race or preferences and education is the solution. As John Dickinson once said, “Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!”
Peace, love, toodles.