Afro-centrism, the Offspring of Euro-centrism?

Whatever the name, Black Studies, Africana studies, or African American Studies, university disciplines designed for understanding African history have a problem of attempting to be too Black. When I say “too Black” I’m not saying that Africana culture (relates to both African and African-Diaspora culture) is annoying, but that the way that scholars handle it can be ridiculous. Most programs are afro-centric, (they teach that everything originates from Africa) so every discussion feels heavy on the criticism of how un-African everyone and everything is. In the case that American education still fascinates itself with European culture disproportionately, I can understand the normal procedures of Africana studies. Regardless though, these programs were set up to help lead the political agendas of Black folks. And as it stands it forgets that the struggle of Black people is the same struggle of enslaved peoples and self-proclaimed masters worldwide.

Is Race to the Top Working?

Is Race to the Top Working?
Cynthia Gordy, The Root | March 30, 2011

There’s a new conversation bubbling up these days at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, Delaware.

“We’ve been researching best practices, visiting other schools to learn about programs that have worked for them, and we are constantly talking about what’s best for our students,” says assistant principal Clifton Hayes. “Vice President Biden coming by last week to celebrate was just the icing on the cake.”

It’s been one year since Delaware, along with Tennessee, won the first round of the Obama administration’s Race to the Top competitive grant program. Funded by the Recovery Act and designed to spur bold education reform, the program makes $4.35 billion available to all 50 states — but only if they agree to certain guidelines for improving their education systems, such as raising academic standards and boosting support for the lowest-performing schools. Winners of the competition’s second round, announced last August, include Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C.

“In each successive round, we’ve leveraged change across the country,” President Obama said in a speech at the National Urban League conference last summer, extolling Race to the Top. “It’s forced teachers and principals and officials and parents to forge agreements on tough and often uncomfortable issues — to raise their sights and embrace education.” (Read more)


Black Flight

You ever get on a plane and as you head to your economy seat slow down to look at the people in first class? I mean, we are all heading to the same place and at least for the course of the flight, we all live in the same neighborhood. But up front, they got options. More than you can imagine. Back in your hood, the economy section, you gotta scrap with the flight attendant for a pillow and pay her two bucks for headphones so you can watch the same channel as everyone in your section. Up front they have big screens on each seat and can order films, watch news, and connect their computers to exclusive wifi.

Over the course of the flight, there are several reminders that you ain’t up front. When the peanuts are being handed out, you can see the passengers receive champagne and warm face cloths.  While you are practically living on top of your neighbor in the project-like accommodations of economy class, they have a ton of extra perks.  At the end of your flight, you push forward through slow people hoping to escape your little cubbyhole as soon as possible. Up front, they are taking their time. There are empty mini-wine bottles, thicker covers, eye masks, extra pillows, and I’ll be damned, is that a New York Times?

Black People Don’t Play/Like Hockey

Working in sports has its advantages and disadvantages. With my last team, the first question anyone ever asked when they learned where I worked was: can I get tickets? Now, the reaction is completely different. “YOU work in hockey?”

Yes, I work for a hockey team. “Are you the ONLY Black person in the office?” No, I’m not the only Black person in the office. “Do you guys have any Black players?” Yes!

Security heightened at Port Huron school after hit list targeting black students found

Security heightened at Port Huron school after hit list targeting black students found
Detroit Free Press | March 29, 2011

Extra security is in place at a Port Huron high school after school officials discovered a hit list targeting black students.

The list of seven to nine students was found written on a bathroom wall at Port Huron Northern High School in Fort Gratiot Township a week ago, Port Huron Schools Superintendent H. Ronald Wollen said this morning.

The note said something would happen today, Wollen said.

“They didn’t really get specific,” Wollen said. “That’s why we’re going to have the police patrolling.”

District parents received a letter at home on Monday from Port Huron Northern Principal Chip Mossett alerting them to the threat.

“Even though it is difficult to accurately assess the credibility of the threat, the Port Huron Area School District and the Port Huron Police Department take this type of threat very seriously,” the letter said, according to the Port Huron Times Herald. (Read more)

South Africa, a Poem and a Moment to Look Back


Amandla…Ngawethu. This is a poem for South Africa.

This is a vocal articulation of tones that ring sounds and

speak clicks for the rainbow nations eleven languages.

This is for Amaqabane, Comrades, and Abuntu.

This poem is for the 27 minute boat ride to Robben Island jail,

where Mandela spent 27 years before becoming

the president of a country that once shackled his ideas,

like locks on the lucrative minds of a child with unlimited potential

this poem is Nelson Mandela’s empty jail cell that

blatantly echoes the insurmountable potential of humanity,

when hate sets like suns going down at the point where two oceans meet.

Boy Saves Local Library From Closing

Fox Atlanta | March 29, 2011

Budget cuts meant a DeKalb County library branch was set to close at the end of this month, but then a 12-year-old boy stepped in.

It was a first person civics lesson for 12-year-old home schooled sixth grader Sekondi Landry. The DeKalb County boy spent hours at the library everyday and he stepped up to save it.

Why black students struggle with science

Why black students struggle with science
Janelle Richards, The Grio | March 24, 2011

Black undergrads are struggling in science. It’s a myth that they don’t like the subject, or just aren’t interested.

In fact, in their freshman year of college, black and Hispanic students have the same degrees of interest in science careers as their white peers, according to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

But black and Hispanic students are less likely than white and Asian students to major in or obtain a doctoral degree in science career fields, a study from the commission found.

In 2000, black students in science and engineering fields received about 35,000 bachelor’s degrees. In 2009, the number had gradually increased to about 45,000, compared to about 540,000 recipients from all races and ethnicities, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

“The real wealth generators in today’s global economy are people with technical skills. A recent report by the U.S.Labor Department suggests that over the next 10 years, the need for technical people in this country is going to grow by 50 percent,” Robin Willner, vice president of Global Community Initiatives for IBM said in the commission’s report.

Black students struggle for different reasons; some say they feel isolated in the classroom at universities, get left behind with the coursework, or don’t have a strong connection with their professors.

Jayson Stone, 22, entered University of Maryland, College Park as a computer engineering major in the fall of 2006.

“I did engineering for two years, but I kind of didn’t like it,” Stone said. “I decided I was better suited for business aspirations I also had, so I switched to economics.”

Stone was valedictorian of his Baltimore high school; he was involved on Maryland’s college campus and describes himself as an extrovert. Math was his favorite subject since he was young, but his engineering courses in his freshman year of college shocked him.  (Read more)

Men who nip, tuck and suc..

If you don’t already know, time is a cruel mistress who demands her “pound of flesh” by yearly ripping away our youth and vitality.   Among my close circle of friends, all in our mid-to-late 20s, we have each begun taking action to thwart her evil plan.  The telltale signs of aging are starting to become visible for each of us, which has lead to my group of friends and myself taking up arms.  I have friends who make frequent visits to the church of skin ..uh sorry..derm(atologist)’s office, as well as others planning to have different surgeries to “touch up” what time tends to “touch down,” because there is nothing like removing a 20 year “touch down” line off of your face.   Even I have entered into the fray, exploring vitamins, dietary restrictions, and looking at different non-invasive procedures (i.e., I sleep in a cryostasis pod filled to the brink with the perservatives found in Twinkies and McDonald burgers). This is a war people! If you aren’t ready to fight, then be prepared to die (read: decline like a property value or a car driven off a lot)!