Education is defined as the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction or an enlightened experience. “Mis” is defined as ill, mistaken, wrong or incorrectly. So when you hear the word mis-education, your mind should immediately reveal the absence or the misinformed structure of the word education. I first saw this term on the cover of one of the most prolific albums of all time, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. However, it was the genius of Mr. Carter G. Woodson that would ultimately unlock my subconscious on what mis-education really means. His groundbreaking book, The Mis-Education of the Negro, sparked African Americans to begin to “do for themselves” as opposed to becoming dependent on others. Woodson believed that through the educational system, African Americans were being culturally indoctrinated.
“When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.”– Carter G. Woodson
It’s been almost eight decades since this masterpiece was created and we are still facing some of the same issues within the educational system. The school system is still designed to teach our youth how to work for others as opposed to having that entrepreneurial spirit to work for themselves. With schools increasingly removing the teaching of trade from the core curriculum within the school system, it strips some kids of the opportunity of learning a skill that could potentially provide monetary wealth for his or her family.
I remember my parents used to tell me all the time, “Go to school, make good grades and get a good job.” While I do believe that we should be excelling in our academics, I would have rather the message been, “Go to school, make good grades and strive to open your own business.” Am I naive to think that everyone will and should be entrepreneurs? I will answer that with a no.
The current school structure often leads to a roadmap for what I call “CORPITALISM”. I define corpitalism as corporate America’s way of keeping the rich—richer. It’s almost as if there is ‘classism’ within the confines of the workplace. While I know that being an employee is vital and you can make a decent living following this roadmap, I’m just challenging the educational system to at least stimulate our kids to begin to think about having some type of entrepreneurial spirit. There are some teachers who are still battling the good fight. I don’t want to solely put the blame on just teachers, as parents and pillars in the community; we should be instilling this as well.
So, how do we begin to build communities like ‘Black Wall Street?’
I believe it all starts with your mindset. We have to begin thinking from a community state of mind as opposed to an individualistic one.
Remember, united we can conquer…but divided we shall fall!
Let’s unite brothers and sisters.
Mario D. King
Editor: Hip-Hop University Magazine (HHU Mag)
(Photo Credit: Lacy Atkins via the San Francisco Chronicle)