What Images Are Your Children Seeing In School?
William Jackson, M.Ed.
How often in our elementary, middle, and high schools
are children of color and culture provided icons, symbols,
visual acknowledgement and even photos of successful
women and men of color and culture? How often are these
images culturally relevant and inspiring?
African Americans, Latinos Mexicans, Haitians, Caribbeans,
Cubans, and other people of proud color and culture should
have images of successful people their children can identify
with. The question should be where are the photos, the icons,
the pictures and the inspiration that can motivate youth to
move to graduate?
If you show a child successful images they can identify with
and model after, their behaviors will change. If you show
children that people that look like them, have and do live like
them, struggle with some of the same issues they struggle
with, but climb out they can relate.
Too many schools have “old” images of outdated thinking
that needs to be removed and discarded. Remember that
the images your child sees every day does make a difference.
How many parents have Michael Jordan, Jerry Rice, Walter
Payton, Venus Williams, those of Olympic athletes,
wrestlers and other athletes on walls, ceilings and in
closets to inspire and ignite passions for sports?
How many parents have posters, or images of intellectuals,
the “smart creatives,” “budding innovators,” “gifted students,”
“Blerds,” and just plain smart and talented people of color?
Why are there no images for them to model after?
Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, Dr. Umar Johnson,
Dr. Neil Degrasse, Dr. Kaba Kamene, or Dr. Joy DeGruy.
If parents and even teachers do not know who these
people are, time to do your homework and change the
walls of your children’s schools and even the walls on homes.
To make a difference people of color and culture get your
butts up and attend PTA meetings, School Advisory Meetings,
School Board Meetings and other events in your child’s
school and your community. You can make a difference now.
If you think that you don’t have the time, the energy or the
motivation look at Charlotte, Ferguson, Chicago, New York
and other places. Why wait for death to happen before you
decide to try and make a difference “after” someone is
killed or another child of color drops out of school, gets
arrested or bullied and takes their life.
Black Lives Matter only works when Blacks get off our
collective butts and are proactive and not reactive in the
improvement of their own homes and their communities.
Black Lives Matter only when Black parents work with their
children’s teachers to cut out the foolishness of class
disruption, disrespect of teachers and work to improve the
reading and comprehension of Black students. All students
have a right to equal access to education. Protesting, and
profanity are not the correct ways to build community leaders,
Parts taken from:
The Rise of the Black Intellectual in the 21st Century
People of color and culture, their spirits, self-pride and
recognition of their historical success have been taken
away by the ravages of slavery, the disconnect with cultural
references to history that shows people of color were
intellectuals before Europeans had established civilizations.
People of color are smart creatives, evolving intellectuals,
thought leaders, and developers. They must stop themselves
from being distracted by the trinkets that give them false
pride and self-actualization. Being creators is more
important and long lasting than being consumers.
People of color have intellectuals, but they need to be
recognized and shown to youth, teens and young adults
just as do the athlete’s and intellectuals. Unfortunately,
“like many other signs of progress made in the Civil Rights
Era of the 1960s, Black Society’s path seemed to take a
left turn.” The thirst for knowledge, understanding, growth,
progress has diminished and faded.
There are still those that thirst for knowledge, but more
needs to be done to encourage their presence and influence
in schools across this nation. It can be seen across the
nation that kids that are smart are not cool, but should be.
They are ridiculed and bullied, this has to stop. Our
brilliant lights of children of color need to shine brightly to
be a guiding light for others that are not into athletes
The Harlem Renaissance showed the influence of the
Arts and Entertainment, but it showed the respect for the
Intellectuals. The authors, poets, spoke word artists,
educators and even those that created make believe worlds
that encouraged thinking in the early science fiction.
Children of color should be taught that entertainment is
not the only way to be a success, sports are not the only
way to earn respect and status in this nation. There need
to be venues of intellectual sharing, encouragement and
growth.” A segment of Black Society has been formed in
which the Brothers and Sisters refer to themselves as
“Blerds“, or “Black nerds”. This should be a badge of
honor, respect, progressiveness and unity. There needs
to be a continued resurgence of intellectual
development in the elementary, middle and high schools
of color. Bullying of African American Intellectuals must
stop and it needs to begin in the homes of African
The advancement of African American intellectuals will
be the ones to propel African Americans into the future.
It will take parents, educators and communities to take
pride in their thinkers in the African American society.
In order for African American communities, society’s,
schools, churches, and reinvestments to grow it must
come from African Americans. The only way others will
invest or reinvest in African American communities is
when people have planned to take African American
homes and communities from African Americans.
“The seeds of the future” for African Americans,
“must be planted with ingenuity, inspiration, and
empowerment into the minds of our builders. The days
of celebrating ignorance and buffoonery must go the
way of the dinosaur. Being smart must be cool,
crunck, funky and fresh.” There needs to be a growth
in Blerds if our communities will live in the future.
The Rise of the Black Intellectual in the 21st Century
Beyond High School Seminar
Career Expo and Community Outreach
Blacks Are Tired of Being Shot – Why are Black lives not important?
EdCamp for the National Association of Black School Educators
NASBE Twitter: https://twitter.com/EdcampNABSE
Find an EdCamp Near You