Much argumentation abounds, mainly between academics and politicians — and to a lesser degree, black activists – about the chicken or the egg conundrum regarding crime and education.
There are those who advocate that crime must be resolved in inner-cities before education can be taken seriously. They readily point to the saturating drug culture that persists, even as more tax dollars for law enforcement and incarceration seem to exacerbate the syndrome.
Shootings, killings, fighting and robberies are inner-city drug culture mainstays, as are fancy cars, jewelry – including gold teeth – and top-of-the-line hip-hop clothes. Popular women and girls show much skin like prostitutes, and wear a ghetto style hairdo. Few families are without someone connected to the criminal justice system as an ex-offender, inmate or both. Such an environment, the argument goes, rarely produces much else for young people to emulate.
The educationists, however, are adamant that information given in the right kind of learning atmosphere from pre-school onward precipitates positive generational social change. Negative human and community issues, therefore, are coped with but not focused upon nor ignored, just intellectually (and perhaps spiritually) understood.
Successful charter schools in New York City’s Harlem community epitomize the educationist model. There, test scores and grades are better than those in affluent suburban Scarsdale, New York schools.
Harlem students go home to the projects and teeming tenements, while Scarsdale kids are bused or delivered and picked up by mothers, invariably in suburban vans.
Personally, I don’t give a good tooty-fruity (as my late father would say to keep from swearing) about the chicken or the egg argument. I like both of them, and in any order. Wouldn’t it serve society optimally though, if education and crime were dealt with somewhat as in physics, where a proton (positive force) and an electron (negative force) produce energy that can be harnessed and utilized in many positive ways?
Of course, that would mean that at some point, crime is winding down, therefore reducing or eliminating the aforesaid energy-producing combination. However, since education entails the power to propel, in time the soaring of regenerated souls and minds – on their own – can exponentially transform communities into bastions of positive social change.
Those who propagate and perpetuate the status quo are deathly afraid that one day black people will wake up to their potential as a group, through seriously ameliorating crime, especially within inner-city neighborhoods, and wresting control of education, redefining and refining it to promote group progress.
Positive fallout of that long overdue paradigm shift would also bring an end to the politics of containment and marginal participation in America’s capitalist economy.
Neighborhood solidarity based on serious specifics – “no” to crime and “yes” to education – would begin the strengthening process vital to individual, familial and institutional transformation. Clear, apt, collective analyses would emerge.
Neighborhood residents would no longer delude themselves: Scarce, so-called neighborhood policing will not rid black communities of the drug trade and the myriad criminal activities it spawns.
Similarly, true education has nothing to do with buildings, bureaucrats or a hodge-podge of well-meaning, mostly Eurocentric white, Jewish and black “educators,” mixed with the disinterested and inexperienced. When reality sets like dried cement, black people will understand that they and they alone are responsible for the minds, bodies and souls of their children.
Teach righteousness, teach honor and respect, teach discipline and cooperation, teach hard work and accomplishment, and teach children God and country. Make sure you teach all the children how to read and write, and how to count. Now, learn something positive about your pre-slavery, African past, and teach black children to be proud of their skin color, features and hair.
The black community can no longer subscribe to the false notion that parents and guardians who themselves have sparse formal educations are ill-fit to induce and cultivate the educative process in children. Early childhood development is paramount.
Let the process begin!