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Gil Scott-Heron On Black History
A Transformative Research
and Action Agenda for the New Century
Edited by Joyce E. King
African people are not empty vessels. We are not new to the study of and practice of education and socialization that is rooted in deep thought. We will not accept a dependent status in the approach and solution to our problems.
Ten Vital Principles for Black Education and Socialization
1. We exist as African people, an ethnic family. Our perspective must be centered in that reality.
2. The priority is on the African ethnic Family over the Individual. Because we live in a world where expertness in alien cultural traditions (that we also share) have gained hegemony, our collective survival and enhancement must be our highest priorities.
3. Some solutions to problems that we will identify will involve differential use of three modes of response to domination and hegemony: a) Adaptation—adopting what is deemed useful, b) Improvisation—substituting or improvising alternatives that are more sensitive to our culture and c) Resistance—resisting that which is destructive and not in the best interests of our people.
4. The “ways of knowing” provided by the arts and humanities are often more useful in informing our understanding of our lives and experiences and those of other oppressed people than the knowledge and methodologies of the sciences that have been privileged by the research establishment despite the often distorted or circumscribed knowledge and understanding this way of knowing produces.
5. Paradoxically, from the perspective of the education research establishment, knowledge production is viewed as the search for facts and (universal) truth, while the circumstances of our social and existential condition require the search for meaning and understanding.
6. The priority is on research validity over “inclusion.” For research validity highest priority must be placed on studies of: a) African tradition (history, culture and language), b) Hegemony (e.g., uses of schooling/socialization and incarceration), c) Equity (funding, teacher quality, content and access to technology) and d) Beneficial practice (at all levels of education, from childhood to elderhood).
7. Research informs practice and practice informs research in the production and utilization of knowledge; therefore, context is essential in research: a) Cultural/ historical context, b) Political/economic context and c) Professional context, including the history of AERA and African people.
8. We require power and influence over our common destiny. Rapid globalization of the economy and cyber-technology are transforming teaching, learning and work itself. Therefore, we require access to education that serves our collective interests, including assessments that address cultural excellence and a comprehensive approach to the interrelated health, learning and economic needs of African people.
9. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims, and the UNESCO World Education 2000 Report, issued in Dakar, Senegal, affirms that “education is a fundamental human right” and “an indispensable means for effective participation in the societies and economies of the twenty-first century.” We are morally obligated to “create safe, healthy, inclusive and equitably resourced educational environments” conducive to excellence in learning and socialization with clearly defined levels of achievement for all. Such learning environments must include appropriate curricula and teachers who are appropriately educated and rewarded.
10. African people are not empty vessels. We are not new to the study of and practice of education and socialization that is rooted in deep thought. We will not accept a dependent status in the approach and solution to our problems…