Monday, November 5, 2007

Black youths and Education

Black Boys

Where are we now

Once a fortnight someone dies. Five times a week there is a shooting involving some kind of black man somewhere in the UK and yet there are no concrete initiatives, programs or advertising campaign helping these kids out of the squalor they find themselves in. Its as though we have washed our hands of them and leaving it to the government to help our children. Yes Our children. I've yet to see a program asking the youths why they resort to such violence against one another. I'm not talking about the show with Grant Mitchell, where he looks like he is about to get merc'd by one of those young brey's. I'm not talking about blaming these youths who shoot and kill. Everyone else does that. Love for others is about offereing solutions without condemnation. I want to try and understand why we do what we do.

where does it start

It starts at an early age, even before going to school. I don't want to venture down the stero-typical paths of blaming single parents, because they have a hard enough job with millions of other things and to lay the blame firmly at single mothers is unfair to them and us as a race. The problem is more complex than that, but I will try to simplfy what I believe to be the main cause of the issue. I see children, mainly boys as young as four, displaying acts of insilence, rudeness and total disrespect for themseles and their parents. Gone are the days when you use to see a youth as old as 14 get a beat down in the street, while you were on the top deck of the number 171 bus. Those days need to come back, not that I condone discipline against children but if there is no deterent, the youths run riot. Hence the current severity of gun violence. The current crop of gun youths, have grown up in an environment where they did not get licks, or witness a friend's father dropping two licks on his friend. I'm not talking about a clap around the back of the knee, I'm talking licks with curtain wire and broom handle. I'll give you a simple scenario. Little Johnny is three and as yet does not read or write, because, hey, he only goes to playcentre so let him enjoy life, is the mantra that is propogated. By the time little Johnny attends primary school at five, he is already boystrous, cocky and knows the latest Nike trainers, he SHOULD have. This in-discipline does not work in a classroom of 25 other children. So little Johnny, aware he has more lyrical skills than academic, will show-off at every convient moment, disrupting the class, so the young criss beans (aged 4) at the back will think he's funny.

If your child displays a lack of attention, the inablity to stay focused and concentrate for 15 minutes to 30 minutes, how do you expect the teacher to deal with that? And, because ALL parents believe their young child to be perfect, the numerious letters from the school and requests to meet the head are ignored or played down. Roll forward until Johnny is eight/nine and he has learnt that his friends find him amusing, bad-boy, trendy and the only people that question him about his education are those stupid parents and that idiot teacher. They know at this stage what is right and wrong, so it's just a matter of what they can get away with. He finds learning to be a chore, boring and non-purposeful. At twelve and such, trying to be the man is far more important than thinking about career development or knuckling to down to passing grades. At the time of taking GCSE's and O'levels, if it's not football or girls then, it's more to do with the latest versace and prada outfit. If the parent does not have a strong enough, protective hold then Johnny, at the most hormoneous stage of his life looks for that in certain friends, which can in turn, lead to gang activity. Within a year Johnny knows all about guns, drugs, making money, girls etc, but with the mind of a fourteen and fifteen year old. After the first visit to borstal and young offenders instituition the path is inevitable. All the parents can prayer for is that they do not have to bury their son or be in court when sentence is passed. I do not believe this is as wide-spread as indicated by the capitalist media, however it is a stench which has no place in our society and failure to eridicate this smell of death, will ensure our environments become no-go areas, where you will require a stamp, on the back of your hand, similar to visiting Sinatra's. Start with having discipline and respect in the home. You, as a parent need to be supervising homework and educational matters. That's part of your job as parent. There's a difference between respect and fear and with no respect being taught in the home or the school, at youth clubs or anywhere else children attend these days. Again is it any wonder they have a difficulty interrpretting basic respect?

what we need to do

The first thing is to stop blaming other races, other people or governments for our own quadmire. It may well be the fault of the politicians, who have failed over the pass thirty years to adequalty provide neccessary funding into areas of destitute. It may well be the fault of the churches who have failed to provide a suitable religious and spiritual program to help black Carribean families cope with the systematic institutionalized racism, we face on a daily basis. It may even be the fault of previous and past generations who considered throwing the pardnor more important than whether we had the ability to get on the housing ladder or make proper paper's in the jobs that we do. However unless we take responsibility for our own actions today and stop looking for other's to provide suitable answers and solutions, then we may have to get used to reading more and more shootings and killings, involving OUR black youngsters. The only hope then, is that it does not happen to someone close to you. And as they say, there are two types of hope - and I treat both those imposters with the same distain.

Like all goods things in life, this starts with education at an early age. Again it's a simple solution. You have to remove the pressure from the teacher of educating your child. YOU as a parent must take resposnibilty for educating your child, not the teacher. I have two children and have never sent them to school to be educated. I take responsibilty for that. At the end of day, it will not be the fault of a teacher, why my children do not make it in this world. The teachers are more interested in trying to find somewhere decent to live, on their meagre £6.25 per hour wages, other than above the carpet shop on Walworth road; to worry about educating your child. How you expect another person on less money than you to be resonsible for where your child will be in this world in beyond me. If you think this sounds crazy, watch the Asians function. They interact with the school system but do not place the school above what Mummy and Daddy know. Ever! How many years and times have we seen asian children at Oxford and Cambridge or go on to become Doctors, Accountants and Lawyers? How many times do we see young asian children pass qualifications at six and seven, while we still getting to grips with sending little Johnny to cubs. A simple ideology they have, is to educate your child two years above their age. In simpleton terms, this means, if your child is four years old, they should be reading, writing, spelling, maths, all the basics, at an age akin to a six-year old. And why should they do this? Because it breeds a win-win situation. For example when your four year old is able to do school work, capable of that to a six year old, when he goes to school, most of the things he's taught, will have been explained in the comfort of home, by you, the parent. By the time teacher tells them, your child is displaying an inner peace and confidence of a subject he has already covered with his parents. The pressure of performing in front of his peers is diminished and they'll attend school, as they should. Without the drama of he-said-she-said business and learn to interact with people young and old. This also ensures, you the parents know how your child thinks, reacts, concentrates etc, before any teacher is telling you about you child and you want to give them a beat-down.

This continues throughout their school life. At ten and twelve they will be looking to take GCSE's etc and have a clearer insight in the role they want to play in society, rather than be dictated too. Leaving your child, especially boy children, exposed, to the demands of the education system, withtout a staple diet of constant homework and supervison, all the while, their hormones are playing rampant with them, is like asking our footballers to taste plantain. So forth and so forth. A simple way to get started is for them to pick up a book above their age and read a paragraph to a parent on a nightly basis. Or try teaching your child the times table, once a week and have an inner glee when your child is reciting the seven times table in the back of the car. We have too many of our children who can play us adults like chumps because we lack their smartness and knowledge of modern days tools. Don't laugh, we used to be the same back in the day. It's called evolution. However I'm positive there are things in Charlie and Lola, that tells the child how to fool the parents. I'm not exempt, as I get my five year old daughter to change my screen saver on the mobile. So we need to move and grow with our children. It's about installing a set of measuring tools to be able to effectively monitor the growth of your child. This is just one of them. If I had a euro for the number of parents I hear say that their little Johnny is doing OK because he can now spell his name at six, I would be in Koh Samui, living a life of Riley, with Thai girls building up a spliff every ten minutes, locksing my hair. Use reward charts, to gage their progress and decide on the level of punishment should they fail or not perform tasks satisfactory. And if you still getting the bottom-lip hanging and the attitude, simply explain that they are lucky to have you as parents, because if you were of Nigerian decent, they would not know the meaning of 'play outside'.

Once you have got to this stage the rest is straight-forward. You have something to work with. You can always build from here. But when you are always playing catchup, or heaven forbid have no idea where your child relates to eduation then it can only be an uphill battle, which in turn leads to pressure for both parties. Aided with the invention of these modern day telephone hot lines, where the child can call 0800-my-dad-beat-me, then is it any wonder that sooner or later the youths only go to school to make contacts and deh pon runnings? Boy, my Gran should a been alive in this day and age .... "Gran, I forgot", whoosh.... never even get to end of sentence.. "You have pickney fe make you forget"?..... End of argument. I never forgot another thing for 38 years. (translated: this means as a teenager of 13, I am not married or have children, therefore should not be forgetting things because life is simple for you now). And you could get beat for forgetting something. I try to explain that to my children today and they look at me the same way as when I try to explain there was black & white TV. nah man...) So grow with them. Set the goals they need to obtain. Show them the clear path from school --> college/univeristy --> work career --> happiness = peace and tranquality and not some warpred view that only lucky people are successful. Again it's not about partioning blame, it's about taking responsibility for our own. And don't get me started about whether this is racist. Ignorant M.....!

what happens next

Open your eyes and see if the Asians or Nigerians treat education like this. Then ask yourself why not? The answer has more to do with dressing in sari and giving you the wrong change in the local newsagent. It's to do with knowledge and intelligence. Knowledge of what is required as a parent. The plan you implement for the developement of your child. You will not see many Nigerian children playing outside, on the back grass, and when you do eight out of ten times, they are the first to be called in and to 'pick up a book'. When we provide our children with something more than hope then you will not need so-called role models telling children to stay in school. We are an intelligent set of people how know what qualifications and good grades are required to get above the Polish man, never mind be equal with Mr Denton-Baxter. It is obvious to those who have travelled the world, that living and growing in a capitalist society only breeds more capitalism and makes people, notably youngsters without guidance, adopt the wrong kinds of role models. There is no easy way to change this other than to go back to ways which work. We live in a cosmopolitan society, so it's only fear and ignorance, should you fail to learn the good things from another set of people.

If Nigerian's cook chicken different from Jamacian's and you enjoy it, then don't be shy to ask Binto for the ingridents. It's the same with education. People around the world are portraying us black people in London and its cities as dumb and senseless. Like savages with no Tarzan to fight. It's tiresome to explain to people in europe, why black guys kill and shoot other black guys. They understand that not all black guys are drug dealers, we don't all clamour for the latest fashion trends or only play G Unit music. But many of there people in Italy or Warsaw do not come into contact with people like me, who have to time to explain the good things we do and are therefore left to what they see on CNN and SKY News. I try to be honest, honest I do, but after a while you see the depression on their faces and the bemusement looks that they cannot comprehend the thought that we are not educated to the standards of others. I see a huge part of this circle has to do with environment.

In europe there is not the numbers of housing estates (rightly or wrongly) that we have in the UK. The young children do not grow up in a sense of entrapment, but wake up singing the French, German, Dutch or Italian version of Glenn Jones, "I am somebody and the universe is mine". These Children posses a strong sense of belonging and community spirit. They grow as normal children and those born, where they open the shutters and see mountains , lakes and vast acres of fields, which aids them to posses a humblness that when you first meet them, could be mistaken for aloofness or niaevety. Opening your eyes to the constant and endless screetching of police cars and arguments involving baby-mother payments does not help matters. Couple this with the pressure to succeed at school, and we are not giving our children the best possible start or any clear direction. The clamour to hold down a job in Britan, coupled with its desire to pursue sensless materialism puts a pressure on children, not displayed anywhere else in europe. Instead of concentrating on one single career path in medicine or pharmacy they are instead, studying to be fireman, electrician and technician as a backup career, in case there are too many applicants in pharmacy or medicine. We then brand them as failure's in this archacic contribution to society, which leaves them more ostraschied than Lloyd Honeyghan. In an era of globalisation, internet expansion and an IT driven workforce, why we (black people) allow someone as foolish as Tony Blair and his clan of idiots, who live in million pound houses, to guide and dictate the educational path for our children borders on the criminally insane. Change that outlook and we change ourselves. Change ourselves and we change our children.


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