Category Archives: Education

Inspiring The Black Learner.

[in-spuh-rey-shuh n]
1. An inspiring or animating action or influence: I cannot write poetry without inspiration.
2. Something inspired, as an idea.
3. A result of inspired activity.
4. A thing or person that inspires.

What inspires? What calls the young mind into action and sets alight the flame of creativity, original thought, focus or the intention to send something meaningful into the universe?

I believe that for black students, inspiration is as essential to learning as emotion to love. Without inspiration, young minds are not called to action and set to work.
Inspiring black youth can be as easy as introducing them to the notables of old…

Richard Wright was a controversial author, poet and overall personality. In the 20th century his literary contribution to the African American diaspora helped to ignite the spark of change for race relations, or lack thereof, in the United States. By today’s standards, Wright would be considered “gansta” on many levels; He wrote contentious poems and short stories about his thoughts on being black. When he wrote Native Son, he was accused of making the character Bigger Thomas, a statement of white society’s stereotypes and confirming their worst fear of black men. In an already tumultuous, racially charged and conflictual society; Wright was a Black man unafraid of his voice, his power, his masculinity or his Blackness. He was even a registered red card carrying communist.
Richard Wright was a rebel because had the courage, the intellect and the communication skills to vent his frustration of the status quo and subsequently, influence the change he wanted to see to it.
He is a hero because he used words as weapons. Almost a hundred years later, we are still inspired by the historical and sociological impact he made on the literary world. By using his mind, his time and his pen effectively, he was the change that he wanted to see in his world.
Wright was one bad mutha-shut-yo-mouth then and still is today.

I guess my point is that Canadian Black youth are inspired through various contemporary outputs and arguably, much rap and hiphop music are just as lyrical, poetic and socially relevant as anything that Wright ever gave us; He was one of the greats who paved the way but if you think that JayZ, Kanye or Talib Kweli do not understand the significance of Richard Wright or that they have not been lyrically inspired and called to action through the remnants of his social commentary, you must be smoking and not even the good stuff.

Richard Wright is one author of many and to our black learners, we must unmask our literary trailblazers one by one so that their light in the world ignites and inspires the potential in each one of our children.

Light reflected is enlightenment infinite…

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Filed under Black Youth, Education, Literacy

To Be A Young, Gifted and Black Canadian…

“‘Cause you know in the whole wide world There’s a million, a million boys and girls Who are young, gifted, gifted, and black…and its sho’nuff where it’s at.” ~Donny Hathaway

No introduction needed. If you’re reading this, it’s because I’ve asked you to so, we’re already somewhat “connected”.
I decided to begin this BLOG because as a concerned parent and as a “writer”, this seems like the best vehicle to share my woes while simultaneously becoming part of the solution instead of just complaining about the problem. Hopefully.

I’m learning that being a young, gifted and black Canadian living Ontario can be a whirlwind of confusion…
Donny Hathaway is rolling around in his effing grave.

Problem: Our Black Canadian youth are not being formally exposed to North American Black Literature and therfore they are not learning from the very foundation for a healthy Black Canadian identity.

“Why is this a problem?” you may find yourselves asking. In my humble opinion Dear Reader; Through no fault of their own, many of our children are completely in the dark about what it truly means to be Black in Canada. They lack the pride, protection and feeling of belonging accociated with the connection to a community. This gap in their idendity as young Canadians is at a detriment to their entire sense of self. This is a problem no?

Solution: Exposing our children and PEERS to the vast body of historical and contemporary literature writen by black authors, poets and play writes dedicated to documenting and thus preserving the North American cultural black experience and the African diaspora.

“How is this a solution?” again you may find yourself questioning. Once again in my humble opinion Dear Reader; By and through educating our children and PEERS who may ultimately engage in educating their children and the children of their peers, we begin to build and promote positive self image and a knowledgable, healthy connection to the Black Canadian identity. My friends, that community is beautifully vast…

Where to begin? Hopefully this “BLOG” might be the catalyst for conversations which need to be held, for support which needs to be given and for the universe of black literature to open up and immerse our children and help them to become well-rounded, confident and WHOLE individuals.
I want to start here. I want to share here.


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Filed under Black Canadian, Education