Category Archives: Ontario Curiculum
Yesterday a fellow parent and I had an intriguing discussion on the issue of respect. It got me thinking about how important it is for our children to fully comprehend words and their value as necessary tools for efficient communication. Most adults understand the power that words hold but, are we truly transferring that knowledge onto our children? I often hear the teenagers, who manage to takeover our house on most days, talk about respect; who they do and don’t respect, and about being disrespected. It occurred to me that children often hear and use words most of which, they don’t understand the definition.
Consider this possibility; That we lack basic knowledge in terms of the language we use to describe ourselves and the ways in which we view world around us. Because of this, our perception and worldly views can be easily shifted askew which impacts our interactions and ultimately our experiences.
For instance, the word respect is defined as a feeling of deep admiration and also as expressing admiration therefore; the word respect is both a noun and a verb at the same time. Respect is both that which it is and it is that which we do. If our children do not understand the basic premise for the term respect, how can we then expect them to display it, practice and regulate their behaviors according to it?
Arming our children with an extensive vocabulary is one of the best things that we can do to proactively equip them with the knowledge they will need to be successful in life. Remember knowledge doesn’t only mean power, it also equals confidence. When a child possesses the vocabulary needed to accurately express their thoughts and feelings, it becomes natural to feel better about themselves and their place in the world. What are the words for that? To name a few: self-esteem, self-awareness, self-image and integrity. Integrity happens to be my very favorite among all of the words and I use it often with my students for literacy and self-awareness exercises.
There are many ways that we can help enhance our children’s expressive lexicon. Encouraging reading not only enhances a child’s literacy skills, it is nourishment for a learner’s vocabulary. “Can you even spell that and what does it mean?” is a running line in my house and the kids are often eager to show and prove that they can and do. In fact there are countless “teaching moments” to impart vocabulary lessons into your child’s routine and it’s really easy to make it silly and fun and educational all at the same time. You see, educate is a verb too and it’s inevitably what we do that helps to shape the future for our generations.
Thanks ever so much to my grade eleven Black literature teacher for instilling this powerful quality within me. Ms. Tynes, you really were a gem. I’m big on vocabulary, in fact, when I swear my mother is known to remind me of how much money was spent on my “first rate” vocabulary and that “cursing” only wastes it. I’m a scrabble-literati-words-with-friends-crossword playing word nerd. Needless to say, I can hold my own in the realms of oral and written communication and that dear reader is why sometimes, the pen really can be mightier than the sword.
What’s your favorite word?
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
I’m writing this article in response to the Paula Deen n*gger incident. First of all, let me start by saying that I am not the least bit surprised that a sixty-something year old Southern white woman is admitting to using the word n*gger. I’d be more surprised if she claimed that she’d never used the word in her life. I’d be even more surprised if this was never brought to light at some point in her career and I’d be extra surprised if it wasn’t causing a boisterous buzz within the Black community.
Now, this is not a pass and I’m not inferring that she should get away with what she did because our expectations of her should have been lower in the first place. What I am saying is that we must tire of these distractions and focus on the things which will inevitably propel us forward. Yes, I do believe this is a distraction. If this woman and her family are the biggest bigots in America; So. That’s their prerogative. As long as she isn’t cooking up and serving Black folks with some cheese grits and steamed collard greens, I couldn’t care less. She’s a branded millionaire. She can retire into obscurity and disappear from the public eye forever and my heart will never miss a beat. It effects me in no way and it effects you in no way either however; what it does do is spark useful dialogue to enhance the pixels of the bigger picture.
Get this angry when you spot structural racism within your respective cities, suburbs and communities. Cry foul when your local school district is still teaching Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” when Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is just as beautiful a love story and with just as challenging language vernacular to boot. Cry foul when your local business solicit our patronage yet they have nobody which looks like us working within their establishments. Which is why I prefer to support Black business but as usual, I digress.
You want to see change? Stop your own Black children and your friends from using this word. Stop giving our own people a pass! Black people have fought and struggled for freedom and to be physically free from bondage yet mentally enslaved with the verbal remnants of degradation is pathetic. I hate the word n*gger. I grew up in a black community where it wasn’t just taboo, it was unfathomable to utter such filth.
How degrading and I truly believe that when Black people say it, they are out of touch with their pride, identity and personal integrity. Further proof that re-education ought to be at the top our our collective priority list.
All in all, I’m upset that I can no longer cook along with Ms. Deen because I can’t in good conscious support an admitted bigot and I hear they fired her anyway. But, one monkey don’t stop the show and I refuse to allow this distraction to get in between me and my good priorities and those are to do my part in shaping a positive future for myself and the loves of my life; My People.
Oh and one more thing, the media is calling for her to donate millions to the NAACP and other “ethnic” institutions in retribution for her actions. I say BS; If money is accepted from the same hand that was only yesterday trying to dress Black folks up like a scene out of “The Help”, then we should stay on mute an sit idly by while the Paula Deens and the Ms. Hilly’s of the world say it like they mean it while we eat their sh*t.
Always remember, Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
For the last few weeks my articles have focused on the mis-education of our children so today, I’m going to postulate my antithesis.
I want to talk about my platform of re-education and the benefits that I believe will help re-define our social conditioning, strengthen our communities and broaden our cultural perception as Black Canadians.
When I talk about re-education, I’m speaking in terms of the following.
Through exposure to Black literature and the teachings of Black professionals, scholars , authors, experts, social commentary etc., we can better guide our children along the pathways for learning with examples of scholarship from those who came blazing the trail before them. We can then introduce a multitude of career options that may not be offered or advertised within the traditional education model. For example, agricultural science; we elders ought to educate and encourage our children about land ownership, commercial farming, nutritional, environmental and dietary sciences. These are career paths which are not typically encouraged and but, why not when most of us came from agrarian and agricultural societies?
2) Economic & Financial Sciences:
“The definition of education for Black students is the; The art of teaching our children to acquire, protect and maintain power.” (Dr. U. Johnson) This is where we need to focus on the shift from working for to owning and operating their own successful business ventures. We must encourage entrepreneurship and calculated risk taking in terms of building viable Black owned business and not simply training them to be employees. We must encourage our children to support Black owned businesses, enterprises and social services so that we can begin to acquire financial and therefore political power within and over our communities. Remember, children grow up and being fully functioning, productive, pro-active and capable citizens is their right and the essence of truly being free.
3) Understanding Political Science and The Law:
There simply isn’t enough representation for Black people BY black people in Canadian politics. Other ethnic groups seemed to have realized the importance of political visibility but, even with the election of Barack Obama to the US presidency, this is slow to become a priority within Canadian society.
We must start seriously learning about the laws that govern this land if we are to ever slow the rate of our youth falling off the beaten track and landing in jail cells. Our children need to learn about the correlation between poverty, crime and punishment so they can practice critical and logical thinking about their choices and ultimately their futures.
4) Social Sciences:
Unifying, appreciating and protecting the family unit. Understanding acceptable social etiquette, manners, behavior and teaching our children to practice a standard of conduct which dispels negative stereotypes about our youth and Black people in general and also discourages racial discrimination. Learning to be good denizens of our communities, the environment and socially responsible people is the foundation for their personal integrity and cultural pride. We need to build and encourage solidarity.
I believe that a focus on re-education in these four areas but not limited to these four areas is a great way to forward a healthy and bright future for Black Canadians.
I believe that “Black History Month” and it’s inadequacies should be done away with and instead, principles and foundations for permanent Black Cultural Education instilled at every step of the education and learning process. The Blacklit101 workshops that I am designing for the fall 2013 will be a step in the right direction for our children.
It takes a village to raise a child so if you can contribute to this educational venture in any way, please reach out to me! Any input, assistance, time and insight is welcomed and truly appreciated.
One day, our children will likely be better parents than we are because of it.
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
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I believe that OUR Black children are dying. (Now that I have your attention, I want you to start following this blog right now… Continue.)
When God blesses us with the gift of our children, God also passes the responsibility of educating those children into our care.
But they are dying Mentally, Spiritually and Physically.
Their minds and spirits are being systematically murdered and it is inevitably leading to the physical death of our children. When our children die, our generations are assaulted, denigrated and further subjugated. It’s as simple as that and as Black Canadian people, we should take major issue with this phenomenon. We are not helpless. We must not continue to stand so placidly by. We can do something.
As parents and as responsible community members, we must put an end to the destruction of the minds of our Black children.
The purpose of this forum is not to debate the goings on of the past nor to discuss things for which we have no control over however, putting an end to the systematic mis-education of our children, our most valuable commodities, I believe is of the utmost importance.
I do believe that it is our God-given onus to educate and thus save our children. I believe that if our children are going to stand a chance at becoming adequately prepared to hold complete free agency over their own destinies and not merely prepared to be employees and the unremarkable hired help; We must take up the torch.
First and foremost, I think that it’s time we rewrite the definition of education for Black people.
I quote Dr. Umar Johnson, “Education for Black children should be the art of teaching our children to acquire, protect and maintain power.” I concur. We must consistently work to see the shift from working for to dominating. It’s happened across the spectrum from sport to sport and in the entertainment industry so why not in the classroom and then on to the boardroom?
Why are we allowing our children to be taught to work for XYZ company instead of arming and equipping them with the knowledge and power to create, build and control businesses that compete with XYZ company?
We need to build a new educational environment for our children. Remember those Cultural Comfort Zones I wrote about creating a few weeks back? This is what I was getting at people!!! I have long believed that education should be a function of the community and it’s members and therefore, as parents we need to be talking about taking education reform into our own capable hands and building our own schools.
When I say this, I’m speaking metaphorically, somewhat anyway. Schools, learning, teaching and ultimately EDUCATING can happen in a variety of places. But, in order to teach our children what we believe they need to be learning, it’s time we took matters into our own hands and revolutionize something that has simply never worked for us and that is putting the responsibility of our education into the hands of those who have an alternate agenda.
As a Black parent of Black children, I feel that I am qualified to hold an opinion on this crisis and I invite You dear reader to mount up and fight the good fight with me.
We simply need to stand in the gap for our children.
In my upcoming articles, I will be revealing plans for a pilot program in the fall introducing our kids to some important Black Literature standards and getting the wheels turning for some grass-roots learning right here in Brampton Ontario! I’m very excited about this private venture into Black education.
I’m interested to know what you think about these ideas and your input is welcomed, valued and appreciated.
As always, light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
~Rachelle About Me