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cop (2K)Black Cops and Black Teachers

Leaving the principles of the doctrines of parenting; let us go on to community. The popular phrase among Black intellectuals "it takes a village to raise a child," seems to be only rhetoric, lacking actual action. Instead, the national focus is on the failures of Black parenting. Well what about Black cops and Black teachers.

Low-income Black parents have taken tongue lashings from Black elitist, authors, and so-called experts over the years but little light has been shined publicly on the liaison gatekeepers of urban youth, which are Black cops and teachers. Yes, there is a serious breakdown of family values in the country, but if the village theory has any validity, then we must take into account the network outside the immediate family unit.

We understand that the relationship between parents and children carry the majority weight in how a child sees the world and how serious that child takes life, but once the child is outside the home and goes to school, taking paths through the neighborhood they live and in association with the other kids in the community during school hours, then we have to look long and hard at that child's surroundings as well as their role models.

If children are guilty of possessing a despondent mentality toward learning or a lack of concern for their own lives and the lives of others, in what mindset are those in authority around them? What examples are being set, what means of communication, therapy or support do these children actually have?

Quite possibly, if it were not for those support systems around, there would be more children falling to the ills of society, but at what point do we hold community leadership accountable for the current rate of failure among Black children? We are taught - and so are our children in school - to trust in and respect immediate community authority, i.e., the local police and fire department, the teachers and principals in the schools, and to prepare for the workforce around us, but if there is a lethargic mentality toward life coming from authority, what do we expect our children to absorb?

teacher (4K)Education and Black Teachers
According to a national report, "Dropout rates are alarmingly high in the nation's urban schools. A recent study sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation concluded that half of students in many cities don't graduate on time." [Full text]

Could we, or should we honestly conclude that our children lack the intellectual abilities to learn basic cultural literacy or the simple lessons taught in our school system? Do we have faith in those lessons to give our children the skills and attitudes they need to actually make it in life? And maybe we should ask are the textbook lessons enough to make our children think seriously about life.

Supplemental intervention is needed to balance the learning load of our children and because the parents are away from their children most of the day making a living, our children spend more time in the presence of teachers and other community authority other than their parents. If our children are becoming lazy in learning, uninterested or apathetic to school more and more, then maybe we should question the structure of the schools and the teachings they receive in addition to parenting skills.

Maybe we should take a long look at the textbook content and see if it actually has any bearing on the lives of inner city Black children. For instance what if Christopher Columbus has no relevance to what a Black child should know. Maybe the War of 1812 is not comparing to the wars of the inner city gangs, and maybe the literature of 18th century white writers do not capture the minds nor reflect the views of our Black children.

Are Black teachers challenging Black children where they need to be challenged? Do Black teachers even care or are they too caught in the snare of lackluster individualism. Are they taking the extra time to tutor our children, set appointments of such, or calling the parents enough with updates? Or are they chalking our children's behavior up to criminal, filling detention rooms after school with children who simply need one-on-one attention? Maybe if textbooks were written for Black children relevant to their lives and futures, Black children would find purpose and do better.

Nevertheless, who dares challenge the field of education where it pertains to changing textbooks to fit the Black audience? If it has been tried, what were the results? Are publishers or the school boards in refusal of allowing Black textbook curriculum into urban schools? Maybe some Black teachers' unions should say to hell with them and authenticate a system for themselves. It was a reality during segregation and since the schools remain segregated, why not design Black textbooks.

Reality says that Black teachers are caught in the web of political correctness and are too dependant on the tradition of the education system and too afraid to make change. Or maybe the Department of Education is simply in refusal of granting Black schools the ability to grow for themselves. But if not challenged, then Black America will continue to suffer the lost of young Black minds.

Furthermore, if we continue to place the bulk of the blame on the parents, the teachers will never accept some of the responsibility and never attempt to make change. If school authority drags along continuing the traditions of the public school system in light of the changing atmosphere of the inner city and cultural trends, then year after year Black children will fall behind in learning.

arrest (3K)Crime and Black Cops
Are we to conclude that our children are born destined for a life of crime or that some genetic factor plays a role in forcing our children to steal and kill one another? Or should we look deeper into the social structure of our communities, the examples and or the role models around us?

In Baltimore, Maryland, there were "282 homicides in 2007, a slight increase over the previous year and the highest total since 1999, when 305 people were slain." [Full text]

The numbers are similar in many other urban cities varying higher or lower but the crisis is not only damning to the concern for life in Black children, but leads to higher incarceration rates. Of course, in many urban cities the color of the police force reflect the color of the children, this is how America works. So if there are high crime rates among Black children in urban cities and there are mostly Black police officers in those cities, what is the mindset of those police officers? Do they care or are they simply doing their jobs?

Most Black police officers do care about the state of Black children, and would rather not see them revolving through the doors of justice, but what percentage of Black cops simply don't care and will just as well shoot at or arrest a Black child quicker than a white cop.

We now know that white police officers have a serious vendetta against Black children; they will fill a Black child with as many bullets it takes to satisfy their thirst for Black blood. But knowing the hearts and minds of Black men and women, they will not take their personal frustrations out on Black children but would rather encourage them through tough love instead. At least this is what we hope and expect they will do.

However, are there any police-sponsored programs that help guide Black children from crime and drugs in inner cities, or do Black children simply answer to the batons and halting shouts of Black cops? Are Black officers actually stopping and talking to young Black men and women about their behaviors, talking to the parents and giving adequate warnings to the youth or do they simply follow orders and land the Black bastards in jail like the law says do.

If the latter is the case, then we have a serious Uncle Tom problem and can see why so many Black youth are in jail. Black men and women of the law should be trying to hinder crime among Black youth through intervention instead of using tactical force against a group of Black kids. Not to suggest the police should not do their jobs, they should, but their jobs could be a lot easier if they design prevention programs with children after school.

students (3K)Maybe the cities would allow community policing programs that actually train young Black men to patrol the streets instead of run them. Maybe more halfway houses can be put into place to deter children before the crime instead of housing them after their release from jail. Just maybe Black men and women of the law can work with teachers and school principals to intervene with students who are showing a decline in school work and at this point involving the parents.

The question is; are we as a community doing enough to stop downward mobility of the Black community? We cannot place all the blame on the parents when there are so many others involved in our children's lives. If personal and collective responsibilities are hot topics in American mainstream, where does this responsibility rightly belong? Our children are a reflection of us all, not just the parents.

If a Black child sees that a police officer is more willing to punish than encourage, that child will follow suit. If a Black child sees a teacher do the same, so will they. And as soon as a child feels that no one cares, they will take it upon themselves to strike back by any means necessary. And if the result is disappointing, then maybe we should look at our leadership skills and reevaluate our positions in addition to restructuring the village.

Politics is not always the answer to Black problems, so Black leadership must focus on grassroots efforts. Leadership branches off in many directions from politicians down to the local schools and police force. Protesting the courts, lobbying Congress, and marching around the Whitehouse get attention but does not address the root of the problem.

© Jan. 2008 By CR Hamilton

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