Robotics, not the future; they are the present. Are Black & Latino students absent?

If you are preparing solely for the present employment environment…you will be left behind.

Strongest Robot: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-21630212; Fastest Robots:            http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-17269535; http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-19506130; Guard Robots: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15893772

FIRST Robotics (http://www.usfirst.org/) Black and Latino students need to get involved!

An article about Michelle Obama, that pretends that this “Post-Racial” thing is a reality. (The Brother should know better)

For Michelle Obama, the Oscars were an unbecoming frivolity…… http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/for-michelle-obama-the-oscars-were-an-unbecoming-frivolity/2013/02/26/57d2105c-8050-11e2-a350-49866afab584_story.html

 

An article about Michelle Obama, that pretends that this “Post-Racial” thing is a reality; the Brother (Courtland Milloy) should know better. Sure Mrs. Obama is very smart, well educated and is a great communicator. And I would think she has a wealth of ideas and solutions to many of the challenges that plague our nation. But the reality is that if she were to shift her “themes” away from topics that force even the craziest bigots among us to sound stupid to everyone (who could be for something like childhood obesity?) she would face an avalanche of critical and distracting noise. The main point, and fact here is that it does not matter what Mrs. Obama does; she will come under severe and unprincipled criticism. What she is doing is very strategically smart; take a “no-win” situation, and minimize its deleterious affects on the Obama administration. She could very well take on a “controversial” topic. And the loud and distracting response would create additional work for the POTUS and his team; and thus taking them off task and off message for a considerable amount of precious time. Mrs. Obama is correct in serving as an asset rather than a liability to the POTUS. The same POTUS you remember, who does not “schmooze” enough with members of congress; translation: he is acting (uppity?) like, like the President of the most powerful nation on the planet! He should “schmooze”? Mr. Obama and his team have their hands full with the “Fear and Resentment of a smart Black President”; what they don’t need is to add to that fear and resentment with the actions of a smart FLOTUS who is not elected, and is not in a formal policy position. Do your thing First Lady; not the news media’s thing, which is to sometimes start, watch and then write about fights! Mr. Milloy is wrong; no one is more gracious, becoming and representative of the position of FLOTUS!

“Some Black Folks Are Already Post-Past Racial”

            “Now, don’t go out there and embarrass your family, or your race!” ….As a youngster growing up in in the 50’s and 60’s I was often given that charge before leaving the house. There was this sense back then that your personal behavior reflected not just on you; but on your family in particular, and on Black Americans in general. Growing up in Brooklyn you would always meet elders who may have had little interest in Baseball; but spoke with great interest and admiration for the pioneering major league baseball player Jackie Robinson. There was a sort of “race pride” that was more protective and inspirational, then militant. It was a social improvement movement not an exercise in political action; and it was not anti-anything; it was simply the hope that Black Folks could and would do better in America. It was a belief that each generation sacrificed to empower the next generation to “do better”; better meaning educationally and economically. Neighbors, church members and elder family members encouraged you in the pursuit of education, by slipping  you a dollar bill (a dollar was a lot of money in those days!) into your hands for academic achievement, for recitations, for memorizing the books of the Bible, for books read (never for dancing or sports). As a voracious reader of books I was a prince of hope for the neighborhood. That meant I had a large and dedicated snow shoveling and bottle redemption clientele (no plastic bottles back then, and each bottle redeemed generated a nickel; which was half-way to my purchasing a 10 cents comic book). I did not understand it then, but the community was sending a message: “this is what we want from and for our young people”. I was however old enough to understand that like the great Jackie Robinson; I was not in the “game” for myself.  And even now, many years away from those learning moments in Brooklyn; I can still see the faces of those family, neighborhood and church elders who expected that I would one day become: “A Credit (not deficit) To The Race”. I can never, it seems, escape that haunting urge to serve my community. And even after I officially became “Black” in the late 60’s; I could still hear and heed the challenge of a Deacon Philip Walker to do some good, and uplift the Colored or Negro people as he called them; Black or not, I knew exactly what he meant. That primary directive first delivered by my mother to not embarrass the family or the race; and, its underlying directive of “don’t Betray” the same, set the tone of my life, for life. As an educator I have often reflected and I must admit, with a bit of misguided envy at the young people I encountered who were not laboring under that awesome weight of personal responsibility to the Black community. I wondered if their personal freedom to act purely in their own self-interest was a curse or a blessing, I now think it was a curse on them and on all of us.  And this brings me to the sad stories of two young men in the news this week; one Rep. Jessie Jackson Jr. and Paul Winfield, the mayor of Vicksburg Ms.  Mr. Jackson pleaded guilty to: not stealing from the rich to feed the poor; rather he stole luxury items to simply enrich himself and his immediate family (we have moved from “don’t embarrass” to, “do enrich” your family). The mayor of Vicksburg was arrested and jailed this week by the FBI for allegedly taking a $10,000 bribe for a city contract. My first thought; what a waste of an opportunity to do some good; a wasted opportunity to serve. My second thought focuses on the Black children of Chicago and Vicksburg; what are they thinking today? I now live in a city (D.C.), where Black appointed or elected official have plundered the public’s funds; and appointed and enriched family members and friends. In too many cases they are not just forgiven; but hailed as community heroes; who in some cases were “tricked or entrapped” by “the man”. It seems that these individuals have no thoughts that are visited by spirits of the elders who struggled to provide us with the opportunity to help the least and the left out of our society. They seem unmoved and untouched by a history and heritage of struggle and sacrifice. Their Focus is the enrichment of themselves; they hear nothing of the long line of sorrowful hope that begins in the dreams of our enslaved ancestors; they hear nothing but the sound of their own twisted greed blowing wastefully in the wind of time.

Reading Into The True Meaning of Black History

(With gratefulness and appreciation to Al Vann and Milfred Fierce; who taught a reluctant teenager about the importance of studying Black History. And to John Henrik Clarke and Kenneth Clark who taught a “knew it all” undergraduate at CCNY, that there was a great deal more he needed to know to call himself educated; thank you all for your patience, with a growing me)

“The more I read, the more I was led to abhor and detest my enslavers. I could regard them in no other light than a band of successful robbers, who had left their homes, and gone to Africa, and stolen us from our homes, and in a strange land reduced us to slavery…..” –Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas

“When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.” –Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro

 

Teach the children a history that includes the struggle for freedom and dignity; and why the ability to read a book, to know and master mathematics, science, writing, technology, the arts, music are the best and most feared weapons in the hands, and heads of the disenfranchised and disinherited.  And so celebrate this month by (a) Reading a Powerful Book. (b)Teaching a child to read. (c) Strengthening a child’s reading skills. (d) Providing a reading child with a powerful reading level appropriate book. I ask you the adults to extend your “Gifted Hands” (Ben Carson) and explore “The Souls of Black Folk” (W.E.B. Du Bois); knowing “They Came Before Columbus” (Ivan Van Sertima);in “Precolonial Black Africa” (Cheikh Anta Diop); and “Before the Mayflower” (Lerone Bennett), to understand “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” (Walter Rodney) and thus gave birth to “Capitalism & Slavery” (Sir Eric Williams); And yet we fought to come “Up from Slavery” (Booker T. Washington), and “From Slavery To Freedom” (John Hope Franklin); for “There is a River” (Vincent Harding) and “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” (Langston Hughes) and crossing over into freedom. All this has taught me that “Nothing’s Impossible” (Lorraine Monroe), and that I always have “A Choice of Weapons” (Gordon Parks) to take me above and beyond the “Fences” (August Wilson) and barriers that hold me artificially captive “In the Castle of My Skin” (George Lamming). Nothing worthwhile is easy, and there will be some setbacks. However, “The Struggle Is My Life” (Nelson Mandela), and sometimes “Things Fall Apart” (Chinua Achebe); yet despite “The Wall” (Gwendolyn Brooks), we continue to try; at times, we feel we are the “Sport Of The Gods” (Paul Lawrence Dunbar) and hide our failure inside “The House Behind the Cedars” (Charles W. Chesnutt); and sometimes it is with great sorrow that we still try, for it is “Not Without Laughter” (Langston Hughes), for “Behind the Mountains” (Edwidge Danticat), behind every obstacle is “A Love Supreme” (John Coltrane) and our “Ancestral Memories” (Romare Bearden) of being “Born to Rebel” (Benjamin E. Mays). And we may be “A Long Way From Home” (Claude Mckay); and yet “Here I Stand” (Paul Robeson), knowing “The Measure of Our Successes” (Marian Wright Edelman) is the success of “Other Peoples Children” (Lisa Delpit); not just our own, that counts in the end. This may mean raising a lot of “Cane” (Jean Toomer); drawing and letting loose “The Arrow Of God” (Chinua Achebe) upon the forces of denial; but “In Love and In Struggle” (Alice Walker) we must push on as “The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born” (Ayi Kewi Armah). So “Weep not Child” (Ngugi Wa Tiong’o), for the “Interpreters” (Wole Soyinka) have given great thought as to how a “Native Son” (Richard Wright), an “Invisible Man” (Ralph Ellison) could become “No Longer at Ease” (Chinua Achebe) in the land of his birth. How could a man be convinced to become a “Boy” (Ferdinand Oyono) in the land of promise? And yet “Still We Rise” (Maya Angelou) to every challenge, to every setback. “If Beale Street Could Talk” (James Baldwin) and offer us the “Revelations” (Alvin Ailey) of our sprits, they would say that this is “The Price of the Ticket” (James Baldwin) and the reason “Why We Can’t Wait” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) or get discouraged; for we must “Believe” (Desmond Tutu) and gather “Quiet Strength” (Tony Dungy) from each other; because even in the worst of times there were shining examples of “Blacks In Science” (Ivan Van Sertima) and a “Parable of the Talents” (Octavia Butler);and in those horrible difficult times we saw the brilliance of “Banneker” (Rita Dove). The “Strong Men” (Sterling Brown) and “Our Mothers Who Gave us Birth” (Sonia Sanchez) planted “God’s Bits of Wood” (Ousmene Sembene) that blossomed into “Afrolantica Legacies (Derrick Bell); this gave us the strength to struggle and the “Strength to Love” (Martin Luther King). And so “Lord, the people have driven me on” (Benjamin E. Mays); our great intellectual traditions enshrined in the “Ark of Bones” (Henry Dumas); We keep these sacred truths “On Call” (June Jordan) in our memory of promise. And so I pass on my work in progress, to those “Coming of Age in the Hip-Hop Generation” (Askia Davis Sr. & Jr.) and the generations to follow; I live in, and with the hope that they will always have “The Courage to Hope” (Cornel West); the very “Audacity of Hope” (Barack Obama) that will lift even the “Whispers from a Continent” (Wilfred Cartey); they will then be able to “Lift Every Voice And Sing” (James Weldon Johnson); and they won’t ever, ever “Let Nobody Turn Us Around” (Manning Marable)!

MAJ/2/8/13