September 10, 2007

Intelligent Outrage… They Just Don't Get It!

This article contains excerpts from Wise Intelligent’s forthcoming book … “"3/5 of an MC: The Manufacturing of a Dumbed-Down Rapper.”

Knowledge is the base of existence that I…
Build upon ya intelligence through the power of the real…
Wisdom is a purified word or an act…
That can bring rap back in fact I’m ill….

Get knowledge get the wisdom but in everything you gettin…
Hope you get the understanding so you’ll see the picture clear…”
- Wise Intelligent “I’m Him” from Wise Intelligent iz…The Talented Timothy Taylor

When I say that "Its No Longer Smart To BE Dumb" I am by no means referring exclusively to rappers and/or the Hip Hop community. Rather, I am speaking also of the greater "black" community and all of its parts!

In my hood, a.k.a. New Jersey, New Jerusalem or Dirty Jerz (which ever you prefer), the Department of Education (DOE) and all of its parts are doing more harm to black youth than the sum-total of all so-called "gangster" or "misogynistic" rap lyrics combined!

According to an August 17, 2007 Trenton Times article entitled "Schools Fall Short on Test Reports" we are informed that no less than 618 schools in New Jersey "did not meet their yearly progress standards." The report goes on to say that "517 schools went two or more years in a row without meeting the standards" and that "38 schools failed to meet the standards for seven years in a row." Seven?!

But here is the stinger for me. Trenton, NJ (a.k.a. The Land of Truth) which is barely 7.5 square miles in area has 15 schools on the list? This is damn near every school in the district. Not to mention that Trenton Central High School and every high school in the immediate suburbs (Ewing, Hamilton, Lawrence, Nottingham) are also on the list of 618 failing schools.

However this analysis is not to determine whether No Child Left Behind and its policy of policing schools works or not (we all no that it doesn't), the point is that the ineffectiveness of the American "educational" system at educating black youth was and has been a problem long before No Child Left Behind and is no new revelation. The heartache comes in seeing the doctors, ministers, and cremators of the black community launch national campaigns attacking the very same black children (the "Hip Hop" community) who have been failed by a system that is designed for them to fail!

I have heard all sorts of excuses to explain away the reality of the situation; excuses like "these children are uneducable" or that its "bad parenting" or simply "these children don't get it" or "their parents don't get it." Not once have we seen a thorough examination and evaluation of the system in which the children are embedded as the direct cause of their failure to "get it."

When we add the fact that 98% of all black youth attend these failing public schools the seriousness of the issue is made apparent!

In a 20/20 report entitled “Zoned Out of a Good Education,” John Stossel tells the story of 18-year-old Dorian Cain of South Carolina, who was still “struggling to read a single sentence in a first-grade level book” when he met him. This, despite the fact that his “public schools had spent nearly $100,000 on him over 12 years.” They squandered over $100,000, wasted 12 years of this boy’s life, and never taught him to read? This is a kid who’s trying to take advantage of Brown vs. The Board of Education [Mr. Cosby], but the system failed him. We are not talking about calculus, scientific notations or quantum physics, they couldn’t teach him to read?

Before you say that the child may have had a ‘learning disability” (excuse used by inadequate teaching staffs), lets see what happened next. So, Stossel says, the news program "20/20" sent Dorian to Sylvan, a private learning center, “to see if teachers there could teach Dorian to read when the South Carolina public schools failed to.” Astonishingly, the report tells us that this learning center “Using computers and workbooks, Dorian's reading went up two grade levels -- after just 72 hours of instruction.” In just three days the private learning center was able to boost this young mans reading by two whole grade levels?

“I was a seed with a seed, I mean a baby with a baby…
Half my teachers called me crazy when they failed to educate me…
They said I had a deficit, disorder of attention…
Couldn’t teach me to read so they pegged me for prison…”
- Wise Intelligent, “Go With Me” from “Wise Intelligent iz…The Talented Timothy Taylor”

The public school system is a joke, and an insult to parents and children who fail for want of a good education. It was Bill Cosby who went on an endless rant about how “the lower economic and lower middle economic people are [not*] holding to their end in this deal” and that “Brown Versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem.” I mean Mr. Huxtable went as far as mocking the broken English spoken by poor black youth, saying “It [your child] can’t speak English. It doesn’t want to speak English. I can’t even talk the way these people talk. “Why you ain’t where you is go, ra…” But, 18 year old Dorian Cain wanted to learn to speak English properly. His mother thought he’d be taught language arts and English literature in his 12 years of “taking advantage” of Brown vs. Topeka, but the system failed him miserably! Why are we so afraid to look at the root cause of our issues!

Dorian Cain’s mother, Gena Cain, summed it all up when she said that she was “thrilled with Dorian's progress but disappointed with his public schools.” With Sylvan,”she says ‘it's a huge improvement. And they're doing what they're supposed to do. They're on point. But I can't say the same for the public schools," she said. . “Gena Cain” the report says, “like most parents, doesn't have a choice which public school her kids attend. She followed the rules, and her son paid the price.” Yes, Gena Cain followed all the rules, but she had no idea that her son would end up dumber after twelve years of school than he was when he entered.

The large majority of today’s rappers – mainstream, underground, conscious or dumbed-down – are the product of the same machine that failed Dorian Cain. The average rap artist is Dorian Cain and Dorian Cain the average rap artist. No doubt, a young Dorian Cain entered the “educational” process willing and eager to learn, but the machine destroyed him. It mutilated his self esteem and devoured his self image and pride. Janice Hale in her study Learning While Black “compared the educational progress of children who had just entered Head Start with those who had been there for two years. She found that children who had just entered performed better, regardless of social demographics. The older children who attended Head Start the longest possessed lower scores.” After considering the results of her research Hale concluded that African American children do not enter school disadvantaged, they leave disadvantaged. There’s nothing wrong with children, but there is clearly something wrong with what happens to them in school.” – Jawanza Kunjufu, Black Students, Middle Class Teachers, p. 95, 2002

When we add the psychological effects of the racism and discrimination that many black youth have to deal with just sitting in most American classrooms throughout the school year the problem becomes even more serious. For all of us who are of the opinion that racism is no longer a factor in America’s schools just Google “The Jenna 6.”

Hell is the human bondage…suffered when inner conscious
Go undiscovered, due to ego and a lack of knowledge
You should go back to college, tell your professor’s for profit
They taught you nothing, then Molotov coattail bomb it!
Wise Intelligent “Intelligent Wise” for Wise Intelligent iz…The Talented Timothy Taylor

As it is our policy to never present a problem without presenting what we feel is the INTELLIGENT solution, here goes the solution. It is obvious what works and has been working in black communities throughout the country for the past 30 years and even before the 1960’s in some parts of the US. Wherever you find an independent black school with an Afrocentric curriculum educating black youth from a psychological perspective based on their history and experiences as a people, you also find a high percentage of exceptional students with high self-esteem and enhanced racial pride; two elements that are essential for any person or group of people to build! And if you don’t believe me then go ask every other racial group on this planet! From Jewish to Amish they NOT only teach their child Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, they teach them about their history (good and bad), the magnificence of their culture, and most importantly self-love and self-worth. Why are we so afraid to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done to fix our problems!

The Council of Independent Black Institutions (CIBI) ( is a national model of the kind of curriculum that works for black youth. With about 40 small schools nation wide this institution continues to churn out some of the best and brightest black minds in the country. However, it is the “guards” at the gate of the black community who quickly say “that’s segregation?” But, where have they been? America’s schools have been segregated since before and after Brown vs. The Board of Education. In a report done by the Community Service Society of New York we read the following:

Public Education: Still Segregated, Still Unequal

“70 percent of black students across the country attend schools that have a majority of minority students. One out of three is in schools with at least 90 percent students of color.”

America’s schools are, today, just as segregated as they were before Brown vs. Board of Education. “More recently,” says Edwin Schur, “the “Coleman Report” on equality of educational opportunity has made clear that, almost fifteen years after the Supreme Court’s historic school desegregation decisions, segregated schooling is the rule rather than the exception across the nation.” – Edwin M. Schur, Our Criminal Society, p. 48, 1969; James S. Coleman, Equality of Educational Opportunity, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1966

The argument that independent Afrocentric schools or curriculums are based on the practice of “segregation” is evidence of a pathological flight from reality. The reality is that segregation, as stated in the above report “is the rule rather than the exception.” Yes the report was from 1966 but I used it to compare with the present situation and the following report:

“Those who do not want their children to be handicapped by the learning problems of others who have suffered generations of oppression, ignorance, and neglect simply abandon the city schools that these students were being integrated into and fled to richer suburban schools. Over 52% of Americans live in the suburban areas surrounding the large metropolises (Elam, 1993, p.196). Today, Blacks, Hispanics, and poorer children dominate 23 of the nations 25 largest urban school systems (Frady, 1985, p.13). This has raised a permanent fissure in our public schools and has separated them into two separate and unequal class systems - one suburban, privileged and mostly white; and the other inner-city, poorer and mostly non-white.” - Amy Golba How Does Education in Urban Schools Compare to Suburban Schools? Communicated by Marsha Heck.

In light of the above reality we must EMPLOY WHAT WORKS by “ANY MEANS NECESSARY!” But let’s get back to what works.

One highly publicized example of what works was highlighted on an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show. On this show Oprah spoke with black educators from a Ohio school district I believe, who separated the black student body (who had lower scores than everyone else) and black staff from the rest of the schools students and staff so that the black students and teachers could really see what was at stake. This was effective because it allowed black students to step out of the system and view it from a perspective that spoke directly to their history and experiences. Today those same black children are well above average and in some areas achieving higher than their peers of other nationalities.

The point is that we have a severe and extreme crisis of inadequate, inefficient and incapable education that will require severe and extreme measures to repair. The ‘guards” that have positioned themselves at the gates of the black community must begin to employ what works for black youth regardless to who that course of action might offend. Our condition is too severe to burden ourselves with being “politically correct” or with upsetting the current power structure or some “underwriter.” OUR CHILDREN ARE DYING FROM THE INSIDE OUT!!!

This by far is the most important issue confronting the black community, but somehow Michael Vick, Akon and the rappers have garnered more attention and rebuke than a system of “education” that is responsible for creating more Michael Vicks, 50 Cents, Snoop Doggs, CamRon’s, Stan “Tookie” Williams and “Freeway” Rick Ross’s than all three decades of Hip Hop music combined!

And now the elders, act like we the reason why
As if our generation, fell from out the fu*kin sky
I guess the fruit are falling further from the trees
Cuz nobody wants to harvest, what’s become of black seeds”
- Wise Intelligent “Set U Free” from Wise Intelligent iz…Talented Timothy Taylor”

I guess the elders, leaders and guards of the black community, are like the black youth in my hoods public schools “THEY JUST DON”T GET IT!



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