Eurocentric curricula damage black students

Publié le par hort

'Eurocentric' curricula damage black students, says
student in banned speech

By Hazel Trice Edney
NNPA Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON (NNPA)—Millions of students who attend
America's public schools are being indoctrinated with
"Eurocentric" curricula that diminish their history
and cause them to feel less than their white
counterparts. That is the contention of Carl Noldon, a
senior honor roll student at the Bronx High School for
the Visual Arts, in a speech written for a Black
History Month program, which, amidst controversy, was
never presented.

"What I have to say is designed for the enlightenment
of those who suffer from a school system that
hypocritically manipulates black history in a way that
causes a disconnection from black students and their
history," Noldon writes in the speech. "If you try to
make a black child co-exist with a racist school
system or a Eurocentric school system, then you are
basically putting that child back into slavery,
perhaps mental slavery…. There is something wrong with
the educational system and the country. I believe the
parents should take an active role in challenging the
school system and even the curriculum of this school
so that any residue of Eurocentrism is gone."

Noldon continued, "All the history teachers I ever had
were white and from every last one of them I never
received the link to the genius of Africa. Those
teachers always taught European history with a much
stronger emphasis. The result was I was brainwashed. I
was brainwashed because I thought genius equated to
white people because the teachers talked about how
much a genius a person like Einstein was or the

"Later on I had to realize that those people that the
white history teachers talked so greatly about were
used as devices to implant a slave mentality in me and
an inferiority complex. But, what the textbooks never
taught me was how Europe took a lot from Africa and
how Africa precedes Europe with thousands of years of
philosophical, religious, mathematical, scientific,
artistic, and medicinal knowledge. The African
represented a genius so powerful that advanced
civilizations flourished even before the concept of
Europe was thought of."

Noldon, set to graduate June 27, wrote the speech for
a Black History Month assembly held Feb. 27. Instead,
he ended up calling the NNPA News Service, pleading,
"I want my voice heard."

Noldon said in an interview that he never got to do
the speech—for one main reason: "The principal was
basically talking about how he wanted me to change
what I was saying in the speech…There were certain
things in my speech, the content, you know, he wanted
me to change to make it appeal to everybody. The
principal gave me two options. The first one was to
omit what I was saying in my speech, the other option
was to not read my speech at all."

Contacted by NNPA, the principal, George York, who is
white, praised Noldon, calling him "one of our
brightest and best." But, York declined to discuss
specific details of why Noldon did not do the speech.

"We offered Carl every opportunity to share his
article with our entire student community. We wanted
him to go into classes, faculty meetings, assemblies,
etcetera. We even spoke to Carl on several occasions,
myself and my assistant principal [Ms. Debra Logan],
about finding a scholarly venue to publish his fine
work…. Carl demonstrates the excellent education that
he received at the Bronx High School for the visual
arts, that he was able to do this research on his own
on a topic that he is so passionate about," said York.
"He is really on to something that's so important. It
was really Carl's decision not to present."

Though the speech hasn't been presented, the message
is riveting, said Ron Walters after reading excerpts
of it, shared with him by NNPA. Walters is director of
the African American Leadership Institute at the
University of Maryland and author of "White
Nationalism, Black Interests" and "Freedom Is Not

"The first thing I want to say is 'wow,'" Walters
offered after reading excerpts of the speech.

Walters said Noldon "points out the major
contradiction of any student expecting an objective
education— that the institutionalizatio
n of racism
within the American system of education causes African
descendant students to adjust to a one-way pattern of
socialization…in a manner that devalues their own
humanity, history and culture.

"He quite rightly calls for a new paradigm of American
education that respects all cultures…. The problem
here is that his perspective, a black perspective, has
been sacrificed by black leaders, parents and others
in order to position black students into a framework
of viability with the American economic system as the
primary function of education," explained Walters.

Noldon's mother, Anna Noldon, said she was not
surprised at her son's views.

"All he does is comes home and studies," she said.

According to her, young Noldon was getting failing
grades through elementary school until his uncle,
Vincent Noldon, began teaching him about black
heritage and middle school teachers took an interest
in him.

On the day of the Black History Month program, "He
called me at work and he was very, very upset," his
mother recalled. "He said they were not allowing him
to do his speech."

Ultimately, she said she met with Principal York and
told him, "I wanted everything to be resolved. I told
the principal that I felt that him not letting Carl do
his speech was really wrong," she said.

The principal offered a special assembly for his
speech to be heard, she said. But, by then, it was too
late. He said he felt violated at being disallowed to
state his views to the body of 45 percent black, 50
percent Hispanic, and two percent white students at
the Black History Month assembly. He contacted the
NNPA News Service within a week after the program,
asking that NNPA help his views be communicated.

Noldon ticked off a list of authors, speakers and
mentors who have influenced his thinking, including
Dick Gregory, Michael Erik Dyson, Cornell West and
Cheikh Anta Diop, author of "The African Origin of
Civilization: Myth or Reality." He credits his uncle,
Vincent, a videographer, for introducing him to tapes
of orators like Dick Gregory.

The speech, which is 2,700 words, also quotes from
"The Myth of Black Progress," a book by Alphonso
Pinkney, and "Solutions For Black America" by Jawanza

Based on his personal studies, Noldon—in his
speech—questions the credibility of some public school

"In the world history textbook in this school, it
doesn't directly say that the Egyptians were black
people. The Egyptians were just as black and diverse
as the black people in this country. In that world
history textbook, it is quick to point out how the
Greeks called their own thinkers 'lovers of wisdom'
because they used observation and reason. But isn't
that a characteristic of the Africans?" he quizzes. "I
realize that a lot of parents are just concerned about
their child or children learning as much as they can.
But I think the parents have to examine the
psychological impact that the textbooks in the school
system [has on] black students as well as students of
other nationalities and cultures."

National Urban League President Marc Morial, in NUL's
2007 State of Black America report, describes the
underachievement of black males as being among
America's greatest crisis. Noldon declines to cast all
the blame on public schools for the conditions of
black students. But the 17-year-old, who says he will
major in film and metaphysics at Manhattan's City
College in the fall, attributes part of the problem to
ignorance about their roots and schools that offer
little cultural enlightenment.

Noldon's speech concludes: "History has been twisted
to brainwash the genius of the black child. These
students are learning that African thought is
primitive while European thought laid the foundation
for civilization… The parents have to take a stand and
challenge the school system, the teachers, and those
that misinterpret black history because the
mis-interpretation of one's history will lead to a
mis-interpretation of the knowledge of who you are."

Publié dans African diaspora

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