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Knowledge Without Character

Knowledge Without Character: An Epidemic in the Black Community

Language can be very complex and very simple at the same time. Words we use and apply means very different things to different people, and at the same time can mean the same thing. Education is one of those words: stemming from a latin term, meaning to educe, to bring out. We have made it synonymous with positive academic, social learning of a person which is true but not not all true. Education is rather a process, bringing something forward. One can be educated in any subject, in any behavior. The infamous Willie Lynch letter is a prime example. Eugene Perkins in his landmark study “ Home is A Dirty Street” outlines the school, the education, the university of the street gang, the curriculum, the teachers of street-o logy. He clearly shows how street teachers/educators prepare children for life in the streets.

Education is what any species, plant or animal learns in order to exist, to adapt, to grow, to live. School is the place where you learn, schooling is teaching. The application of that learning in the best interest of that species is called the “character of that knowledge”.

Knowledge Without Character has inflicted the black community, a condition of a disconnect between what we know is best and what we do. It has been described by one author as a problem of a lack of the completion of our education, we don’t see or believe in the results created by our behavior, this is what we mean by knowing and not doing whats best based on what we know.

For example, we know that cigarettes causes cancer and kills, We know that AIDS will kill you:we know how we get it, we know how to prevent it, yet we are infecting ourselves at unprecedented rates. The same can be said about alcoholism, drunken driving, opined abuse, gun violence, domestic violence, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, sexual addiction, etc

The same can be said of politics, since the New Deal of Roosevelt, we have given the majority of our votes to the national democratic party, as high as 98% in the Obama run for presidency. Yet one can hardly argue the fact that blacks have not benefitted in proportion to the loyalty of black voters to the democratic party, yet we continue to vote without restrictions or make demands on the party on our behalf. And we get the same results each election cycle. We have not changed the hypothesis that the ascendency of a few or one person is the ascendency of the race, in other words because one person has a steak, then all blacks have a steak. Even the facts show that as a race we are very poor and in the city of the vote the masses of blacks are some of the poorest in the world.

Our late Brother, Kwame Toure(Bro Stokely)used to say to us all the time, you have no right to complain, to address the problem without a solution in mind. Well, I do have a solution, it is changing the pedagogy, the learning system, the way we learn, the way we are taught as the key to putting some character into the knowledge we are given. In a future essay I will delve into some specific examples. Until then, teachers you cant make a significant change by being an example of knowledge with character.


William Waheed


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