Thought-provoking discussions! Click on image and article below:
Over the past few weeks, I’ve focused on a lot of topics, but have strayed away from my primary focus and goal which is in re-education; Today, I regress.
It has occurred to me that many of our daughters are being painted with the broader stroke of mediocrity and unjustly so. Young Black girls are often pressured by outside influence as to what they should look like, act like and who they should be liked by. During the tumultuous period of adolescence, it’s easy and natural for our daughters to be conflicted about their identities and sense of self. We parents are often confused as to who this new person is that we find ourselves living with. Someone we knew for 16 years and who was sweet and innocent only yesterday is suddenly argumentative and wanting a bum-length weave, false eyelashes, a lip tattoo and permission to drive your car. She’s undoubtedly finding herself and disturbing your reasonable enjoyment in order to do so. The princess of your loins has become a near stranger in personality as well as physical appearance.
Now, imagine this same character in the classroom for 8 hours a day already feeling conflicted about who she is and who she wants to be. Picture this person in a class with 30some other 16 year old freaks of nature with raging hormones, body odor, acne and attitude problems and then, imagine yourself as the teacher who has to deal with all of them at once for days at a time. Scary isn’t it? Makes the reality of having to deal with one at a time seem like a blessing doesn’t it? I understand, I’ve often taken it for granted too.
Teachers bear the burden of having to facilitate learning in environments best navigated by The Joint Task Force, this is the reality. Good teachers try to balance calm and stimulation while maintaining an atmosphere conducive for thinking. A good teacher innately understands the challenges of kidulthood and adjusts his or her teaching curve to deal with the ebbs and flows of the teenaged attention span. A good teacher cares that our children leave the school day knowing one thing more than they did the day before and that their personal arsenal of critical thinking and mass communication skills are being cultivated in abundance. A good teacher notices when your child is expressing both fluency and difficulties in subject matter and coordinates with parents accordingly to address the situation in either case. This is my short list of good teacher qualities and in a perfect world, our children would have the luxury of being placed in classrooms with caring individuals who are passionate about education however; This is not the reality. In many cases, what our children are experiencing is the complete antithesis of this dream.
Parents, be aware that our daughters are often left in the shadows of students who require more attention due to behavioural issues. Our daughters are being neglected in the classes because they don’t draw any special attention to themselves academically or attitudinally. Sadly, our daughters educational needs are being ignored because of how they look. If they fit the description of a young-Black female-who-isn’t-destined-for-much-of-a-future-anyway, many teachers will not invest the time it takes to cultivate trust and respect in order to help to inspire her to reach her full potential.
In terms of the traditional education system, unlike our sons, as long as Black girls behave well and keep their “attitudes” in check, regardless of whether or not they complete their assigned tasks or are up to the class median, they pose less of a threat and therefore are treated with less interference. They can be virtually invisible.
Parents, this is an issue. Our girls need to be challenged, included and regarded as visible within the classroom environment in order to reap the benefits of academic exposure. We must ensure that our daughters are aligned in fully exploiting the full value of her education as this will help to assure the completeness of self-esteem, her confidence in her abilities and her future success. Be ever vigilant of this phenomenon and commit to protecting our daughters from it. Demand parent teacher reviews and interaction. Get to know what her teacher thinks about her. Demand that her teachers actually get to understand her needs and challenge her accordingly. Demand homework, it’s practise. Encourage her to get involved with school citizenship and extracurricular activities and not only sports. (Unless it’s Girls rugby!) Support her to join the debate team, teen political and mock parliament societies. Encourage as much academic exposure that you can so that her brain grows at the same rate as her interest in boys. If you can’t limit her distractions, participate in them! Trust me, your teen won’t feel the need spend 23 out of 24hrs a day Tweeting her random musings if you become one of her followers…
Parents, especially us mothers, we must be good to our daughters. Our rule of thumb ought to be the role model she needs so that she can breathe life into her dreams and passions. Help her learn and express her abilities. Teach her to understand the implications of being overly sexually provocative. Show her how a lady acts and dresses while still accepting her need to explore her less than desirable fashion sense. Teach her the classic approach to sexiness: Sometimes less is more. Make your good demeanor the prime example of how hers should be. Allow her to be sensitive and express her feelings and softer side. Teach her to embrace and develop her natural gifts and talents. Teach her to be a good friend. Be the one true person who advocates for her when she needs it yet demonstrates how she must advocate and assert for herself.
She will be a better woman for it. She will have better learning experiences for it. One day, she will become a better mother because of it. Don’t be her friend, be her mom; Her good teacher.
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
“You have no program because you have no power. Your program is rhetoric and rhetoric never won a revolution yet. Until we begin to use our brainpower to rattle this structure, they’re only going to laugh.”
“If you truly understood what power is, you would learn the weaknesses and strengths of what you’re fighting. You wouldn’t go out there and say: ‘I’m going after Whitey.’ You’re going after Whitey’s what? You can’t change the system or anything else unless you know what you’re about. You’re just wasting energy.”
I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. I’m in this zone right now where I’d rather be reading than writing… recharging my batteries. Just before I read this autobiography of Shirley Chisholm, I had just completed reading The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick. It painted the “actual” political and social backdrop in the U.S. at the time of Shirley Chisholm… particularly the Nixon years. It provided me with a deeper understanding, respect and admiration for the accomplishments of this remarkable woman.
I had heard of Shirley Chisholm but never knew much about her, other than she was the first African-American woman elected to Congress in 1968 and she ran a campaign for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination in 1972. I have always had an interest in knowing about the lives of women of African descent who were just as important in the struggle for our freedom and empowerment as a people, as the efforts of men such as Marcus Garvey, MLK and Malcolm X. I have read biographies on the lives of Queen Nzingha, Sojouner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Angela Davis and Elaine Brown. My daughter’s middle name is Nzingha, after the African warrior queen. I have all these biographies to pass on to my daughter and son to read, so they can also have a knowledge, appreciation and be inspired by the struggles, sacrifices and accomplishments of these exceptional women, as well as instill in them a desire to learn about other women of African descent.
Shirley Chisholm’s life was remarkable. She was definitely a fighter, as a Black person and just as importantly… as a woman. She learnt to navigate and manipulate the political machine of her district to fight for her constituents: the poor… particularly women and children, all who were primarily Black. She made it to the New York State Legislature and to Washington as a Congresswoman, but never lost or sold out her convictions, nor her determination to work for what she believed in, i.e, to better the lives of the oppressed, disadvantaged and the displaced. Unbought and Unbossed, she transformed rhetoric into action.
A documentary of her presidential bid, Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed was made in 2004. It’s on my “must-see” list. This autobiography should be on your “must-read” list.
The significance of Barack Obama and Eric Holder placing Assata Shakur on the FBI “Most Wanted Terroist List”, with the likes of Al Qaeda’s number two leader Ayman al-Zawahiri (I guess now number one since Bin Ladin’s death), the ONLY (black) female on this list, is and will be lost on most African-Americans. These two “Black” men are sending a signal to their “White” masters that they not only repudiate the struggles of Black people against oppression and for their own empowerment, but that “Black Militancy” itself, is a form of TERRORISM! Further they are now declaring a “war on terror” against the backbone… the heart and soul… of the Black Liberation Movement: The Black Woman!
Unlike the murdered teen Trayvon Martin, whom Obama stated “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon”, he sees no connection of his black daughters and black wife to Assata Shakur. Regardless, isn’t one of the primary roles of a man (in most if not all cultures and throughout history) to protect the woman of his community from the unwarranted and unjustified attacks of men from a rival community? What does it say about these two black men who are willing to sacrifice this black woman on the altar of white supremacy? As an American citizen, is she now a legitimate target of an extra-judicial drone killing like Anwar al-Awlaki?
The sad thing is, regardless of this latest blatant act of once again turning his back on the African-American community and perpetuating the system of injustice and “terror” against them, 99% of these same negroes would vote for Barack Obama for a 3rd term as President if they could! smh!
Black Women in Europe™ blog announced its first-ever Black Women in Europe™: Power List that includes 58 women in Europe in six categories. The categories are business, lifestyle, media, politics, social entrepreneurs and NGOs.
This year’s Black Women in Europe™: Power List 2010 were chosen from nominations from the general public and editor Adrianne George and co-editor Mark Derek McCullough based on their achievements and sphere of influence. “When Michelle Obama was named the most powerful woman in the world this year I noticed that of the 6 other black women on the list none of them lived in Europe”, George explains. “I was inspired to create a list of our own”.
Women on the Black Women in Europe™: Power List include seasoned politicians, accomplished performers, and champion athletes as well as social entrepreneurs and rising stars in the business world. “This list will serve as a source of inspiration to black women everywhere”, George says. “In all arenas we are known to excel”.
View the complete list: http://bit.ly/bwiepowerlist .
View the list on video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUdZByVWvvA
View the list on Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/ageorgegal/black-women-in-europe-power-list-2010
View the list on Sribd: http://www.scribd.com/full/44580253?access_key=key-1v18prhcav8230uxwyqh
View the list on Goggle presentations: https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=df96vcrm_91hhhwxhcr
Black Women in Europe™ Blog
Black Women in Europe™ Blog is an award-winning blog founded in 2006 by Adrianne George. It aims to celebrate the lives of the ordinary and extraordinary black women living in Europe. To learn more about the Black Women in Europe™ Blog visit us at: http://blog.blackwomenineurope.com/