Tonight on THE TERRORDOME: William H. Watkins discusses the thesis of his book on the American education system, The White Architects of Black Education, while author Robin Stone discusses another form of child abuse, as she discusses her book No Secrets, No Lies: How Black Families Can Heal From Sexual Abuse.
6 PM Mountain Time
The White Architects of Black Education
In any system, those who control information control everyone. Although some conservatives attack the educational system by claiming that it fails to teach values, it’s actually impossible for education to be free of values. The very act of teaching something confirms that those who teach it consider it valuable. What they really mean is that the values that they want highlighted are not highlighted. But just because ultra-conservatives are unhappy, that doesn’t mean progressives should be happy. Like any social institution, the educational system not only reflects, but is designed to maintain the existing social order.
While some classes in some schools may broach difficult or controversial topics, very few teachers anywhere teach the means by which students can effectively challenge injustice and build alternate systems. In fairness to teachers—and I’m one—teaching a pedagogy of liberation would be no small task, especially with an already packed curriculum. Who offers a blueprint? Who publishes the textbooks? Who could design the projects, and how? How would students be graded and receive credit?
Given all that, it’s not surprising that education systems are inherently conservative, whatever the political ethics of the teachers involved. Such systems will preserve the existing balance or imbalance of power, including the supremacy of big business, gender supremacy, and racial supremacy. For instance in our country, millions of Canadians from coast to coast to coast have attended twelve years of public school and some with additional years of university, without ever having been required to read a single book by a First Nations author, research an aboriginal culture, history or figure, or learn a native language. If the minds of the oppressors—that is to say, us—don’t change, the lives of the oppressed almost certainly never will.
If Canadian education reinforces a system of racial supremacy, then certainly so does American education. Tonight we’ll hear from a school teacher and academic who’s devoted his life to dismantling the oppressive aspects of the system and turning them towards liberation. According to Professor Manning Marable, educational researcher Dr. William H. Watkins has produced “an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the complex relationships between white philanthropy and black education.” William Watkins is a professor of education and the author of The White Architects of Black Education: Ideology and Power in America, 1865-1954 (Teachers College Press, $36.00) among many other works, and was the lead editor of Race and Education: The Roles of History and Society in Educating African American Students.
No Secrets, No Lies: How Black Families Can Heal From Sexual Abuse
One of the gravest horrors in human society is the sexual abuse of children. Its effects are far ranging; some people never heal from the damage. The abuse can become a pattern, in which those who were harmed later on inflict that same harm upon others.
Inside some Afrikan communities, a certain attitude has developed—that sexual abuse is, for lack of a better term, “a White thing,” which doesn’t affect us. But that attitude is not only inaccurate, it’s dangerous, because it provides cover for those who prey on children and destroy lives.
Robin Stone, executive editor and founding editor of Essence.com, is the author of No Secrets, No Lies: How Black Families Can Heal From Sexual Abuse. A survivor of sexual abuse herself, Stone recalls that her attacker transformed her from a lively and exuberant young girl into a desperately shy and afraid young woman. She discusses her book and how she reclaimed her life.