Voice of the Village
By Lissa Jones
“The ‘educated Negroes’ have the attitude of contempt toward their own people because in their own as well as in their mixed schools Negroes are taught to admire the Hebrew, the Greek, the Latin and the Teuton and to despise the African.”
— Carter Godwin Woodson, The Miseducation of the Negro (“The Seat of the Trouble”)
Note to self: What do I think of the African? Where did I learn it?
As I continue to endeavor for greater Black consciousness, I have become more aware of what I am reading, become more aware of what I am listening to, and increasingly aware of what is informing my beliefs.
For those of you who know me, you know that I pride myself on doing my own homework. I love the Internet and paperback books!
At the same time, anyone who uses the Internet knows that not all of the information that is available is accurate, or even true. One of the downsides of this information superhighway is that anybody can post literally anything for the world to see.
When James Baldwin said, “Education if you’re White is indoctrination, and if you’re Black, subjugation,” he was talking about how Blacks and Whites are educated about the ideology of supremacy and its beliefs. The education system feeds the beliefs about Black inferiority and White superiority that are still alive and well today.
Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum sign onto a pledge that says Blacks were better off in 1860 (under slavery) than we are now… Wow. Rand Paul wants to repeal the 14th Amendment, the amendment that gave Blacks our citizenship. Slaves were brought to these shores in 1617, and our citizenship wasn’t determined until 1868, after 251 years of waiting. I would argue that we are still waiting.
Carter G. Woodson (quoting another unnamed source) said, “To handicap a student by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless is the worst sort of lynching.”
We need to be conscious about where we are getting the information we are spreading in the village. We have too many of “our own” on local television, on blogs and in newspapers spreading garbage, mostly half-truths or unfounded rumor and some outright lies. Although many of us speak of being aware of these untruths, still we read, we log on and we watch. Why?
These very people, and others like them before, have contributed to the tremendous amount of misinformation and misdirection of our people for, in some cases, the last four decades. If we don’t read it, log on or watch, they will have to find someplace else to spin their “mess.”
What we read, watch and listen to informs the way we see the world, James Baldwin’s “system of reality.” At 43, I know this: garbage in, garbage out.
Woodson’s wisdom calls me to a higher responsibility to educate myself, but the real question is, does it call you? Do we read and watch and take it for fact? Do we do any research to see whether any of what we are reading is rooted in fact?
Do we like to see people of the village being disrespected based on rumor and innuendo? Do we want people who are working to destroy rather than to build the village to be the people giving us our information?
Pick up a book. I don’t care if you read Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Papers or Malcolm X’s The Ballot or the Bullet — just pick up your paperback, NOOK Book, Kindle or Mac and read.
Ask yourself what you believe about the value of Black people. Then ask yourself who gave you the information. Then ask who gave them their information.
Colin Powell said, “Many interviewers when they come to talk to me think they’re being progressive by not mentioning in their stories any longer that I’m black. I tell them, don’t stop now. If I shot somebody you’d mention it.”
Can you dig it?
Hear Lissa Jones of Urban Agenda on 89.9 KMOJ-FM Thursday nights at 6 pm, stream her live at www.kmojfm.com, or read web posts from Lissa at www.kmojfm.com. She welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.