Monday, December 5, 2011

Is Reading Really Good For The Black Mind?

Knew I'd get your attention...

This may seem like a no brainer to answer but there is something that lies at the very core of our problem as a whole that is almost directly linked to the ability for us to read and write.

Let us build...

Here is some information I found on the internet about when Blacks were first allowed to attend public school.

"The first schools for Negroes were private ones, which preceded public schools everywhere. Samuel Thomas undertook the instruction of certain Negroes in the Goose Creek Parish in Charleston, South Carolina, as early as 1695. Elias Neau founded a school for slaves in New York, on May 20, 1704. In 1758, the Anglican-affiliated Associates of Dr. Bray opened a school for free blacks in Philadelphia. The African Free School was an institution founded by the New York Manumission Society on November 2, 1787. It was founded to provide education to children of slaves and freemen. But education for blacks was very different when it came to the ***** slaves of the South. Even though schools had been set up in even the most remote counties of each of the confederate states by 1867, by the 1830s, it was a criminal offense in most Southern states to teach a slave to read or write. Things gradually began to improve in the South after the Civil War. But it wasn't until May 17, 1954 that the Supreme Court declared in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas that racial segregation in public schools unconstitutionally deprives students of equal educational opportunities. This ruling paved the way for significant opportunities in our society—especially for equal justice, fairness, and education.

Founded in 1837 as the Institute for Colored Youth, Cheyney University is the oldest African American school of higher education, although degrees were not granted from Cheyney until 1913. The founding of Cheyney University was made possible by Richard Humphreys, a Quaker philanthropist who bequeathed $10,000, one tenth of his estate, to design and establish a school to educate people of African descent. Born on a plantation in the West Indies, Humphreys came to Philadelphia in 1764, where he became concerned about the struggles of free African Americans to make a living. News of a race riot in 1829 prompted Humphreys to write his will, in which he charged thirteen fellow Quakers to design an institution "to instruct the descendents of the African Race in school learning, in the various branches of the mechanic Arts, trades and Agriculture, in order to prepare and fit and qualify them to act as teachers...."

From as early as the 1600s, it seems that African Americans had access to public education.  So learning how to read and write, which are two basic staples of education in Western society, has existed for quite some time.  Even though for a large majority of African Americans who were subject to less than human living conditions, learning how to read and write was not only rare, it was fiercely prohibited.  "Slave owners" felt that this would be counter productive to the very reasons they purchased "slaves" for in the first place.

Not to get into a lecture about "slavery" so I'll get into my point...

Reading has always been a very important aspect of Western society and many African Americans took great risks and sacrificed much so that future generations would be able to navigate through society without the barriers and limitations that they had.  Learning how to read allowed the African American and all other immigrants who came to the shores of America the opportunity to carve out a means and a method for a "better life" for themselves and for their families.  The road wasn't a smooth one but in the end, most would think, in light of the fact that there is an African American president in office today, that is was well worth it.

But is there a dark side to knowing how to read?

I talk to a large number of parents and educators who always stress the importance of a child learning how to read.  In quick thought, it only makes sense for one who is being groomed in the ways of society, Western society.  It is only upon further introspection that one can see that it isn't all roses and glory when the African American masters the process of reading in the English language.

When we look into the origins of the English language we find that most say it developed a little after the year 600 AD.  You find that Latin as well as Nordic had a lot of early influence in the development of the language and that after a period of time the language was divided into three major eras (Olde English, Middle English and Early Modern English).  It was here that the major structuring and propagation of the language took place.

But I digress...

In looking deeper into the origins of the language of English, you do NOT see any ties to African or even Asiatic tongues which were much older and upon deeper research actually gave birth to all the European languages through migration and mixing in.  So in essence, the English language was not developed with the African in mind.

So why is it so important to learn, study and master this language?  Why is it so important to stress learning to read at such an early age?

For the parent or educator concerned with the progress of the African American child, the first thought is so that the child has a better chance at "success" in Western society.  

However, the true reality is that the sooner the English language has matriculated into the minds and psyche of the youth, the easier it will be for that child to develop the Western concept of thought.  Reading in the English language is also important to this process because throughout the entire history of the European, much time was spent writing books, scripting tales, poems, stories and scriptures so that the European would become the authority on all things.  

Remember, the library at Alexandria was burnt down which contained the ORIGINAL scrolls and texts that told the TRUE accounts of history, their story and OUR story.  That is why whenever we see a show or documentary on any culture or part of Earth, you see the European as the major presenter.  Even if an African American voice is narrating, the language is English which cycles through the mindset of the European.

Whatever language you are raised speaking will be the language that you think through.  The language that you think through develops and shapes your consciousness.  Whomever is the mother and father of the language that you think through is who your mind will be shaped after.  What does this mean?  If you think through the language of English, your mind state will be developed after the mind state of the father's of English who are all European, so you will think like the European (no matter how you want to interpret it).  

So, I'll ask my question again with a little more added...Is reading in the English language really good for the Black mind?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Picture This...

Many of us are aware of the many methods of visualization techniques that exist.  Some of us use them on a consistent basis in our own lives and have seem measurable amounts of success.  The concept of visualization is creating a mental picture of something that you want to manifest and focusing on that picture as you move through the universe towards the tangible realization of what you see in your head.

With that in mind, I would like for you to picture something for me.  This isn't for the purposes of meditation (even though it can be) but just for observational concerns.  I would like to know if what I'm about to describe can truly be pictured or if we are so entrenched into a particular type of thinking that this type of visualization is not even possible.

Here we go...

Picture this:
- a place where the best of our experiences as Humans on this planet makes up the backdrop
- a place where our children are completely protected and impervious to the constant and relentless approaches of the thousands of distractions presented by Western society and the modern world
- a place where the traditions, values and principles of who we were as a tribal people have been restored
- a place where rights of passage rituals for our youth are an integral part of our social order
- a place where the wisdom and experience of our elders are catalogued and perpetuated for generations to come
- a place where we as "grown ups" respect each other from a Human level enough to come together and build for the future of our generations
- a place where we share a tonal unity
- a place where we control the economics and where the economics are not based solely on capitalism
- a place where our spirituality is based on our connection with Nature and the Universe
- a place where we honor the best of our ancient cultures without losing sight of the forward progression of Humankind
- a place where we control our educational legacy
- a place where we create, direct and control our media
- a place that is protected from the worst of us as well as the worst of the world
- a place where we govern ourselves justly with all the true principles of Ma'at
- a place where when our youth complete their education, their major focus in on expanding the legacy of their village, community and nation

there's more...

but let's start here...

can you picture this?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Can We Fix What Has Been Broken?


Our family has been broken...

Our Community has been broken...

Our men have been broken...

Our women have been broken...

Our youth are being broken daily...

Our education has been broken...

Our economy has been broken...

Our spirituality has been broken...

Our culture has been broken...

Our homes have been broken...

What will it take to fix this?

First, we must stop talking...

stop trying to BE so many things...

stop trying to outdo each other...

stop trying to KNOW so much...

stop trying to hurt each other...

stop trying to think so hard...

stop trying to pull each other down...

stop trying to hurt our women...

stop trying to hurt our men...

stop hurting our children...

stop hurting our elders...

stop placing everything else above each other...

stop disrespecting each other...

STOP...and breathe...

After this, then we build...

Ask me what do we build?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tonally Raising Our Children

Every culture on the planet except Africans in America who only speak English share a tonal unity amongst themselves.  They weather the storms as a people and are always in leagues with each other on issues that concern them as a whole.  Sure, they may squabble amongst themselves over petty matters but when it is time to represent as a whole body, there is no question about that.

Africans who have been born in America who only speak the English language brag about how conscious, how aware, how intellectual, how spiritual, how healthy and how supreme they are.  All of this, however, is done from an individual status, meaning, I am conscious, I am aware, I am intellectual, I am spiritual, I am healthy and I am supreme.  When it comes to the perspective of the African in America as a whole, it's a different story.

When it is time to build as a people, all cultures on the planet can come together and put aside indifferences for the cause of the growth of all except Africans born in America.  Sure we will build for everyone else, whether willingly or unwillingly but when it comes to building with each other, we have stipulations, we have conditions and if our own personal wants and needs aren't met, we are reluctant to build at all.

This is a nice brew for a heated debate on the topic of the status of the African American but that would only further prove the initial point.  The purpose of this post is not for that.  We are seeking to build on a much more important issue that the above discussion directly affects.

Why it is important to raise our children tonally...

The reason for our lack of success in establishing ourselves as a strong nation is because we don't share a tonal unity.  Tonal unity is what a people share when the language that they speak links them together.  The language is the foundation of your cultural practices and through your language, you develop through time a similar brain pattern vibration that makes you as a people unique in the world.  So much so, that in many cases, you begin to look similar and even act similar.

All of this shows that through a tonal unity, a people can learn to truly respect, honor and love each other not because it SHOULD be done, but because vibrationally, it just NATURALLY happens.

How do we raise our children tonally?

We have to make the conscious decision as a parent and as a community that we want this type of unity and that we will honor it.  After that, the process is as easy as developing a good habit.

An environment must be created where this language will live.  The environment must be protected on the outside from any other tones that will seek to dissipate the energy that is being established.  All who maintain the environment on the inside must be staunch in their dedication to the advancement of the purposes of that environment.

The language that is established within this environment must be in league with the genetics of the people.  It's easy to just pick an African language but does everyone who will participate in this environment link genetically to that language?  The language has to be all encompassing genetically and has to be a language that links locally, then globally.

There is more to it than this but we must crawl before we walk right?

More to come...

Peace, light and love

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What is KaLu?

My first two sons Alu and Karum were the inspiration for KaLu.  The combination of their names gave birth to KaLu which originally represented art and graphic work that I did (KaLu Arts).  A few years later, I found out that the word KaLu in my native language translates as "both".  
My sons Karum & Alu

That was interesting to say the least.  When the KaLu concept for education began around the year 2000, I took the concept of "both" and expanded it to represent focusing on a structure that prepared our children for BOTH physical success and spiritual success.

Today, KaLu represents a legacy, a legacy for all children who are and will be influenced by it.  This legacy is the establishment of a bright and beautiful future where these children can feel comfortable being proud of who they are and knowing that the world that THEY are running has their best interests in mind.

KaLu - for every child, a legacy...
The first KaLu Skarabs (Alu, Safiyyah & Karum)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Where Does A Parent Go Wrong?

Whenever a child develops the stigma of being "bad" or "unruly" or "disrespectful", a riptide of blame shoots out in all directions.  The child is blamed, the neighborhood is blamed, the parents are blamed, the schools are blamed, the media is blamed.  Blame flying in all directions and then treatments for the cause are applied.  The result is handled like a case of the chicken pox or a common cold.  Apply these, take this, drink that, stay away from that and you should be fine.

The sad part is that the treatments used for handling a troubled child, like a disease, leave long lasting effects on the child with the root or cause of the behavior never being addressed.

So in all of this, where does the parent's responsibility lie?

When a child ends up on the "wrong side of the tracks", at what point did the parents slip up?

First of all, a parent is different from a mom or a dad.  A mom or dad is just the participant in the bringing of the child to this plane while a parent is one who is going to be responsible for that child until the child is able to handle themselves in the world.

From this point, the answer to the above question is...A parent doesn't slip up.  Mom's and Dad's slip up.

The first two years of a child's life are very important in that the imprint of the mother is placed on that child for life.  Whether that imprint is of love, devotion, care and concern or of indifference, apathy, distance and enmity is completely up to the parent unit.  This is when the mother gives the child their first education.

From ages 2 to 5, the child begins to develop a relationship with the world around them.  If the mom was successful in bonding during the first two years, the next three years will be a piece of cake.  If not, the mom and/or dad will have to deal with what society calls the Terrible Two's, Three's and Four's, and by the time the child reaches five, they already have an estranged relationship with their parents.  These are the children who continuously talk without listening, constantly asking questions so that they fill their mental arsenal for constant attacks on the psyche of the parent.  These children become disrespectful, answering "What?" when they are addressed and are on a path to "the wrong side of the tracks".

Some manage to get turned around before it's too late but who they are turned around by get the respect and love that was supposed to be directed towards the mom or dad.  This is why our children fall in love with all the outside institutions that Western society has set up that pulls them away from their parents (boy and girl scouts, schools, organized sports, ymca's, malls, etc.)

This is the fracturing of the family unit that has been happening for hundreds of years for the sake of capitalistic control.

These children who are becoming latchkey younger and younger become the teenagers that society warns us about.  The dangerous beings who have no concern for human life and no respect for authority.  This gives them all the reasoning they need to build more jails and detention centers and since we as the population have become so content with being governed instead of governing ourselves, we watch it happen then complain when it encroaches upon our lifestyles...weird...

So in essence, a true parent doesn't get it wrong because they are hands on in the family and how their children turn out is a direct reflection of that.  It's the mom's and dad's who drop the ball when it comes to the grooming and upbringing of our children.

So, the real question is...Are you a Mom/Dad or are you a Parent?

peace, light and love

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Creating Cultural Based Activities For Our Children

When we say culture we actually mean quite a large variety of things.  Culture relates to traditions of our ancestors, rituals and ceremonies that define who we are through our lives, clothing, dance, art and many other particulars that make of the vast panorama that is Human society.

Depending on where you genetically descend from, your cultural practices and preferences may vary.  However, at the core of who we are as Humans we find that we have a connection to culture in general as a whole.
A yearly event created for our children as an alternative to Halloween

So, in reference to preparing for the cultural future of your child what do we have to keep in mind?

We live in a society that mixes cultures from all over the globe into one big pot.

We live in a country that teaches culture from a Eurocentric point of view so when an African American says culture, society can label that person as a racist because there are two different definitions of what culture is in modern society.

We as Nubians (African Americans) in the West have been taught to shun our own culture for the pursuits of a pseudo culture that doesn't connect us as a people genetically.

We have been programmed through tonal conditioning to dislike each other and to compete with each other for things that neither define us culturally nor connect us as a people.

We have also conformed into accepting every facet of society other than ourselves as viable centers of development and grooming for our children.

So we are working from a deficit...

When it comes to creating cultural resources for our children, we must not allow the ego of which culture is the best to cloud the simple fact that we are connected to all cultures.  We must be studious enough to research all available resources about culture.  We must be diligent in our study and not be distracted or discouraged by Western society in its attempts at keeping us under our current way of thinking (which has gotten us as a people nowhere).  We must be creative in devising concepts for our children starting with the simplest and establishing a consistent pattern until we have covered all age ranges.  We must also be humble enough to work with each other and not worry about competing with each other so much.

If we can maintain the above basic principles we will be well on our way to creating a cultural backdrop for our children that we can build a truly great society off of.
A game created for our children by Dr. Marvin Ellis

Remember...talking leads to storytelling which leads to singing which leads to songs which leads to dances which leads to plays which leads to scripts and eventually movies.  It doesn't take much...

peace, light and love