Sunday, July 23, 2006


Some day last week this article jumped out at me on the front page of the Toronto Star. In case the link dies or you choose not to read it its about the implementation of an "Africentric" curriculum at certain schools in Toronto.

Now I'll be honest my first thoughts when I hear about these special programs for Black students is why is all of this necessary? Its probably definitely a bias on my part since I figure hey I grew up learning more British history than Caribbean history and it didn't negatively affect me why cant these black kids here deal with the teaching system and just put their best foot forward and do what they can do.

But then I realize like I said its a bias on my part. I haven't been through this Canadian school system so I cant shouldn't make direct comparisons. Plus from the statistics offered it just seems as if there is something lacking here as too many of our black youth are falling by the wayside. Of course this could be due to attitudes, systems, parents, teachers, society and a host of other factors but hey we need to get these kids back on track and we need to start somewhere. I guess if Afri-centric programs can save some of them then hey I say more power to them and lets get it going full speed.

The part of the article that threw me for a loop though was this section:

And we're looking at a data-management unit that would use statistics about police and racial profiling
A who with a what? Ok is this only disturbing to me? I don't know about y'all but to me this just sounds like the draft for a bad Chappell show skit. I'm all for the Africentric curriculum but ummm just leave the race stats and police profiling out of math class please. I'm just imagining questions like "Over the past 5 weeks Lil Johnny has been harassed by Po Po 8, 10,5, 3 and 12 times. What is the likelihood that Lil Johnny will be harassed by Po Po more than 6 times this week?"

Ok so it probably wont be stuff like that but still I just find it a bit disturbing to have a stats course featuring racial profiling stats and I also question how or whether that is going to encourage black kids to study harder or put in a greater effort in stats class. I mean the point was to use stuff the kids are familiar with to help them learn right? But shouldn't it be stuff that they like to learn about? Yea maybe the kids are familiar with racial profiling but I'm sure they don't want to be dealing with the stats in math class. Shouldn't the stuff that the kids are familiar with be something positive not something negative?

I know I'd be right pissed if I was in stats class and we were calculating how often police stop black men while driving or how often blacks were arrested for minor crimes compared to other races. Man a couple of hours dealing with that and I'd be about as upset as I was when I left the movies after watching Rosewood.

I hope these folks realize that sometimes in trying you can go just a bit too far in attempting to incorporate this whole Africentric stuff in the curriculum and sorry I just don't see how that helps anyone.

p.s: For those interested HiphopQuotables been updated.


Anonymous said...

maybe the problem is that they are attempting to single out black kids. why not, just incorporate curriculum, that ALL students take, that has a afrocentric focus (and other cultures too, for that matter) - so everyone learns that we're not all thiefs and drug dealers (just a bit facetious ;-) and that we have inventors and doctors and great educators, etc. in our past (and future).

Leon said...

Wow, another way to make black kids feel inferior. I think this is an isult, because it says that the regular curriculum is beyond the abilities of black kids. Why don't they make a special curriculum for Asian kids?

inciquay said...

That's ridiculous! I'm like you, having had more than my share of Eurocentric history thrown at me, but I managed to persevere. In fact I made it my business to know my own people's history. I haven't had a chance to read that article and you're link is now defunct (damn Torstar) but I cut it out at home and I'll be back to bitch later!

Amadeo said...

My problem is they never deal with real history anyway. I busted down many history classes with the facts before we even got to black history month.

Ravenbajan said...

I agree with the first commentor that the problem is attempting to single out black kids... or ANY race / culture for that matter.

As somebody who went through the Canadian school system, yes it is true that we didn't study a lot of black history in history class in school, but we didn't study alot of Chinese history, or Polish history, or Spanish history either... the reason being has absolutely nothing to do with racism. It's because Canada's history is mainly European based. Therefore we studied mainly Canadian history, British or French which makes absolute sense.

Here, American history is a seperate class (which does encompass black history in the U.S). As for the other cultures, World Issues takes care of that.

Seperating one race/culture from others is a bad idea in my opinion.

Luke Cage said...

I cosign with Amadeo. The history that they teach in school is the "only" ones they seem comfortable enough to touch on and make part of the rotation to learn about. I mean, history should be about everything that can be explored and learned about regardless of the subject matter, regardless of how painful that subject matter is.

It shouldn't be about what they "choose" for you to know about. Our history is rich with stories, inventions, tales of survival and conquest, and has a right to be told in every fashion imaginable. Not to mention that some of the blame also falls on these kids themselves.

We had the Roots, and such movies on tv, considered essential viewing but where are those programs today? There is a hold on having them seen on network television. So in a case like that, we should attack Blockbuster and rent Roots. Or go out and buy the Malcolm X tapes and so forth. That's the only way singling us out won't matter. We'll have done all of the scudwork in learning about our history anyway man because "THIS" is what's out there waiting for us. Another way to make the black kids feel inferior indeed.

Miz JJ said...

Toronto is such a melting pot are they going to just focus on black people. Or is going to be how many egg rolls does a Chinese family eat and how many tablespoons of curry does the East Asian family use a week of they use 2.2T a to make one pot of curry and they eat three pots a day. Gack. They should just stop.

brooklyn babe said...

It's a big topic over in the states, as many parents are arguing for Black History to be a part of the school cirriculum, just slavery was a big part of the History of the US... and now, as they have made spanish a mandatory to take.

I think as kids we were so busy trying to hurry and study so we can play, we never really thought about the content of what we were learning...
That's what parents are for.
So get to parenting Jdid... lol!

obifromsouthlondon said...

draft for a bad Chappell show skit

definitely. we are across the world yet our black youth share the same problems and proposed "solution".

still cant figure all that business on the battle of waterloo. didn't i need that history in skool? colonial hangover

Guyana-Gyal said...

It would be great if they can incorporate everybody's history when studying a particular country.

Maybe this is where historians can get to work, it seems there is a need for the history books to be re-written.

Here, we've had the history of Guyana in the form of The Children's Story of Guyana.