Monday, September 4, 2017

A black man undercover in the alt-right | Theo E.J. Wilson | TEDxMileHigh

Sharing today:

Curious about his haters, Theo E.J. Wilson did the only reasonable thing – he went undercover and joined their ranks. In this insightful and downright hilarious talk, Theo shares some surprising discoveries about both sides of the aisle. Slam poet Theo E.J. Wilson, a.k.a Lucifury, is a founding member of Denver’s SlamNUBA team, which won the National Poetry Slam in 2011. He began his speaking career with the NAACP at the age of 15 and has always been passionate about social justice. Theo is currently the Executive Director of Shop Talk Live, an organization that uses the barbershop as a staging ground for community dialogue and healing. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdHJw0veVNY

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A truth that will not be admitted: An Educator’s point of view

For some reason, I keep seeing red herrings and non-sequiturs being thrown into discussions of “race and racially charged incidences”, and before anyone starts saying we are all one race, just know that I am using the term for educational purposes. Also, know that many Americans do believe we are different races, and that is a pity.

When you compare the KKK: “The Ku Klux Klan established in 1865, with its long history of violence, is the most infamous — and oldest — of American hate groups. Although black Americans have typically been the Klan's primary target, it also has attacked Jews, immigrants, gays and lesbians and, until recently, Catholics” https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/ku-klux-klan

To the Black Panthers:

“The Black Panther Party (BPP), was established in 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. The two leading revolutionary men created the national organization as a way to collectively combat white oppression, after constantly seeing black people suffer from the torturous practices of police officers around the nation” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/27-important-facts-everyone-should-know-about-the-black-panthers_us_56c4d853e4b08ffac1276462

And to BLM:

“Black Lives Matter is an international activist movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people. BLM regularly holds protests against police killings of black people and broader issues of racial profilingpolice brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice systemhttp://blacklivesmatter.com/guiding-principles/

Comparing these groups are not like comparing apples and oranges which are both fruit, it is like comparing apples to chickens.

This is an apple:

This is a chicken:

They are nothing alike except they are both carbon base life forms.

·         Police brutality is real http://killedbypolice.net/

·       Justice is not equal (Gregory Gunn. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Terence Crutcher just to name a few). Police are rarely held accountable for killing civilians, especially black men.

There are so many stats, and most of them are ignored unless it benefits those in power. What happened in Charlottesville, VA was terrible not just because of the violence, but also because Americans died fighting those Nazi ideals, and yet we ae letting them on the street? Those Nazis showed up armed but were not arrested? Etc.

America, at some point we have to face our past and truly confront it, and it will not be pretty. This is not only living memory, but people are living it. Telling people to “get over it” does not help and is insulting.

Think America! Feel! Act!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Do you know why Americans died in ww2? An education question and statement


Do you know why Americans died in ww2? An education question and statement

In regard to Charleville, VA this week

“World War II fatality statistics vary, with estimates of total deaths ranging from 50 million to more than 80 million. The higher figure of over 80 million includes deaths from war-related disease and famine. World War II fatality statistics vary, with estimates of total deaths ranging from 50 million to more than 80 million”

 “World War II (1939-1945) ... The roots of World War II, which eventually pitted Germany, Japan, and Italy (the Axis) against the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union (the Allies), lay in the militaristic ideologies and expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan”. We were fighting fascism.

That is a lot of people.

Americans died fighting so they would not have to do that Nazi salute (all the axis powers used that salute by the way). Why the heck would you want to bring back that which so many AMERICANS died for? Nazism and its ideology, salutes, etc., is banned in Germany as well!

The AlT right are nothing but Nazis, that was proven this weekend. You might not mix with people of different skin colors, but if you consider yourself a patriot why the heck would you be using Nazi propaganda and rhetoric? WWII is very real to a large segment of the U.S population.
There is no excuse, no explanation that can clear this; as an educator and historian, I condemn this! As an American I condemn this! As a human, I condemn this!

That rally in Charlottesville had no place in the United States of America….

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam



Saturday, August 5, 2017

The far-reaching consequences of our criminal justice system


I learned something deep today: have you ever heard of “Collateral Consequences” in regard to the justice system? We all think we know how it affects people, but we mostly only know just the surface.

“Collateral consequences are legal and regulatory sanctions and restrictions that limit or prohibit people with criminal records from accessing employment, occupational licensing, housing, voting, education, and other opportunities. Collateral consequences most frequently affect people who have been convicted of a crime, though in some states an arrest alone—even an arrest that doesn't result in a conviction—may trigger a collateral consequence”.

“Some collateral consequences serve a legitimate public safety or regulatory function, such as keeping firearms out of the hands of people convicted of domestic violence offenses, prohibiting people convicted of abuse from working with children or the elderly, or barring people convicted of fraud from positions of public trust. Others are directly related to the particular crime, such as registration requirements for sex offenders, driver’s license restrictions for people convicted of serious traffic offense, or debarment of people convicted of fraud. But many collateral consequences apply to people convicted of any crime, without regard to any relationship between the crime and opportunity being restricted, and frequently without consideration of how long ago the crime occurred or the person’s rehabilitation efforts since. Collateral consequences with overbroad restrictions that offer no chance to overcome the restriction function as additional punishment and may discourage rehabilitation and ultimately increase recidivism”. 

“Collateral consequences are scattered throughout the codebooks and are frequently unknown even to those responsible for their administration and enforcement. They have been promulgated with little coordination in disparate sections of state and federal codes, which makes it difficult for anyone to identify all of the penalties and disabilities that may be triggered by a criminal record for a certain offense”. 

“While collateral consequences have been a familiar feature of the American justice system since colonial times, they have become more pervasive and more problematic in the past 20 years for three reasons: they are more numerous and impactful, they affect more people, and they are harder to avoid or mitigate. As a result, millions of Americans are consigned to a kind of a permanent legal limbo because of a crime they committed in the past”. 

It is calculated that the economy is missing out on approximately $87 Billion dollars a year on revenue because people with convictions are permanently labelled as criminals and cannot work due to these laws. Instead of someone being able to get a good solid job driving for UPS for example, they have to dig ditches for a living. Someone trained to be a barber cannot cut hair any longer because of this; about 40,000 collateral consequence!

I am going to quote something said to me today: “we as a society should not be counting recidivism rates as a measure of success, but rather, the quality of life of those who paid their debt to society”.
This is why criminal justice is a social issue: people should not be permanently labeled as criminals. If you believe this is true then you are not a true believer in justice, you simply believe in punishment.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam


PS I should not have to tell you that the neighborhoods most affected by these rules are minority peoples.

Friday, July 28, 2017

The rumor and gossip mill has no place in education


Education is one of the most regulated industries in the United States, but I have always said that educators are big gossips, no matter what the level.

People get judged on popularity, seniority, and by whispers. I recently attended what I thought was a professional conversation about teaching, and one of the opening statements was “well I heard …about you”. You heard?!

We are supposed to be objective with our students, use rubrics, have learning goals, etc. How can we truly claim this if we cannot be objective with each other? Do you realize so many performance evaluations in education are based upon how the supervisor is feeling about you at that time, not about your performance for the year?

Unfortunately, we often treat our students this way as well. We judge them based upon student records, but we do not look closely at the records, just the juicy gossip. The teachers lounge in K12 is often full of negative student gossip.

Educators, we must do better if we are going to ever transform education. We are allowing non-educators to run us, because we cannot seem to run ourselves.

So, next time you feel like repeating that rumor, talking that trash, or judging someone on hearsay, let us practice what we teach the students:

·         Is this kind?
·         Is it true?
·         Is it necessary?
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Private Prisons Trample on American Values: An Educator’s Researched Based Perspective


What is a for profit company? “A business or other organization whose primary goal is making money (a profit), as opposed to a non profit organization which focuses a goal such as helping the community and is concerned with money only as much as necessary to keep the organization operating”

So, if this company is not selling its services or product, it goes out of business. But what if it product is prisoners? That means in order to make money it would need its jails to be full; all the time. Remember, the number one goal of a company is to maximize profits for its owners.

“The Corrections Corporation of America launched the era of private prisons in 1983, when it opened an immigration detention center in an former motel in Houston, Texas. Today the Nashville-based company houses more than 66,000 inmates, making it the country’s second-largest private prison company. In 2015, it reported $1.9 billion in revenue and made more than $221 million in net income—more than $3,300 for each prisoner in its care”.

“CCA and other prison companies have written “occupancy guarantees” into their contracts, requiring states to pay a fee if they cannot provide a certain number of inmates. Winn Correctional Center was guaranteed to be 96 percent full”.

“The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States – GEO and Corrections Corporation of America – and their associates have funneled more than $10 million to candidates since 1989 and have spent nearly $25 million on lobbying efforts. Meanwhile, these private companies have seen their revenue and market share soar”.

These systems do not only get you while you are inside prison, they get you if you have court fines, hallway house, on probation. Once they have you in their system, they make it very difficult for you to get out, and the average working person will end up paying dearly to get out of the system. Over inflated prices for goods, garnishing your paycheck for the privilege of being forced to stay at halfway house instead of being allowed to go home, fines and more fines.

“The Fines and Fees That Keep Former Prisoners Poor” “States and counties have upped the amounts they charge defendants, saddling those getting out of jail with huge amounts of debt they have little hope of paying off”.
“Increasingly, jurisdictions across the country are assessing hefty court fines and fees, called legal financial obligations (LFOs), on defendants, requiring them to pay thousands of dollars or face more jail time, according to Alexes Harris, the author of A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions for the Poor. Harris talked to one woman who was a victim of domestic violence and spent eight years in the prison system for shooting the father of her son. She’d been assessed $33,000 in LFOs, but 13 years after her conviction, despite minimum monthly payments she made, interest had brought her debt to $72,000”.  

Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”

“Amendment VIII Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”

“Half of the world's prison population of about nine million is held in the US, China or Russia”. “Prison rates in the US are the world's highest, at 724 people per 100,000. In Russia, the rate is 581”.
Criminal justice reform in the United States would be one of the greatest things ever for human rights because, it is not enough to have laws of protection, what is needed is equal laws and true equal protection under the law no matter what your social status (or perceived status).


The state of incarceration in the United States, especially with the inclusion of the private prison system, is effrontery to American values, and all those who claim to love freedom, the constitution, and the United States of America, should be outraged.


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Some references for your perusal
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/uk/06/prisons/html/nn2page1.stm

Monday, July 10, 2017

Are you truly patriotic? An educator’s thoughts…


The 4th of July has just passed. So, the lingering of fireworks, flags, and people shouting “freedom” is still in the air. The 4th of July is a day when people’s patriotism comes out full force, but like Mother’s Day, it soon fades back into the closet until the next year.

Why do you say that? I am glad you asked.

True patriotism does not take a day off, true patriotism is also not just loving “your” version of America but embracing everyone’s America. It means acknowledging the diversities of religion, culture, skin color, etc. It means accepting the fact that the country is far from perfect but you are going to try and make it better.

There are people who struggle on daily basis just trying to make it, so perhaps they might not feel like celebrating. Does this make them less American? Absolutely not! The beauty of the freedom the country is supposed to have means one size does not fit all, but we are all in the same big box.
So as you sing your patriotic songs, wave your flag, have your BBQ, etc., remember that true patriotism means recognizing the faults as well as the freedom. It means that you are embracing everyone’s America.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, June 30, 2017

Sharing an article 6/30/2017

'I don't know how to lead for equity, that was not part of my program'


Equity took center stage in the day two conversations at the Education Commission of the States National Forum on Education Policy Thursday. One resonant statement reflected how principal preparation programs didn't include equity components, meaning that now leaders are struggling to approach their work through an equity lens.
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education President Joe Garcia — who shared with the audience that his school counselors never once mentioned to him the idea of his going to college— said working harder to close achievement gaps from early education on through to higher ed is everyone’s work.
Read the rest here: http://www.educationdive.com/news/i-dont-know-how-to-lead-for-equity-that-was-not-part-of-my-program/446094/
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The truth about “black on black crime’ by Dr Flavius Akerele III


Truth:

·         Most crime happens between people familiar with each other. So, FYI, the so called “black on black crime’ is bullshit. If black people committed more crimes outside of their segregated zone they would be extinct. We know this because it is near impossible to convict LE or anyone for killing black folks.

·         “White on white crime’ is almost as high as any crime

·         Skin color is not a race or culture

·         Most crime happens in poor neighborhoods

·         Most black neighborhoods are poor

·         The United States is still a segregated society. There are black, white, Asian, Latino, and, etc. neighborhoods, true fact.

·         The crime rate in poor white areas such as Michigan and West Virginia where there are large concentrations of poor whites is just as high as the poor black neighborhoods around the U.S
·         Black people are only 13%of the nation, they could not possibly be responsible for all the crime, welfare abuse, and murder they are attributed to.

·         Black people are not inherently pre-dispositioned towards crime, no studies or stats show this

·         President Obama was not elected by black people, he was elected by white people (majority stat in U.S population). 13% of the population, even if they could all vote (which they cannot due to prison disfranchising) could not vote a president in. Simple math.

Stop talking shit and listening to false news

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The importance of letters of references/recommendations

Most jobs today are going to come from connections and networking; who you know really does matter. However, that does not mean you do not have a shot at an open position, and that is where recommendations come in handy. Specifically, timely and relevant recommendation.

I cannot count the number of times I have been asked to write a letter of reference, and my rules on this are simple:

1.      Please give me a template on what they are looking for so I can properly frame the recommendation

2.      Try and avoid asking me for a last-minute letter of references/recommendations

3.      If I say yes, I will do it almost immediately.

The last part is important because someone’s application could be getting held up because of that one letter of reference, especially when computers are tallying up everything nowadays. Having experienced that particular phenomenon, I can tell you it is not a pleasant feeling when someone flakes on their promise of a letter of reference. Worse still, you write someone a letter of reference or recommendation with the understanding they will do the same for you; and they never do.

Do what you say you are going to do, and do it in a timely manner because a person’s job could be on the line. It is simple professionalism.


Lessons from a communication and human resources class.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Certificate training program in leadership/leadership development


Summary

Strong leadership is the cornerstone for a successful institution, and strength comes from training as well as experience. It is often the case specific training does not occur before a leadership appointment nor does it occur after a leader is chosen; rather it is often based upon seniority or the “old boys network”, as can be clearly in many companies. The kind of leadership needed for this arena in the 21st century is different, and requires and upgrade in tools and training.

A certificate in leadership/leadership development would give the much needed specific knowledge of four key areas, to leaders. It will give them the training they do not have and will not get, it will provide stability, reduce turnover of positions because leaders are not feeling overwhelmed, and it can build a network between peers and make the atmosphere more collaborative.

While there are programs that exist in the industry, most are geared towards specific companies and do not incorporate graduate level MBA education.

Who can benefit from this? All C level leaders, Program managers, Directors, supervisors, those seeking advancement, and so much more.

The 4 Courses plus one project:

Leadership 

Human Resources Management 

Law and Ethics 

Strategic Leadership

Want to learn more?

http://www.theeteamconsulting.com/about-us.html 

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Real Educational Leadership and Change is Needed


I would love to see this quote proved wrong but I will not hold my breath because nine years later this hasn't changed much...: ""The mistake of most traditional campus-based institutions was to see the potential if online learning in terms of access and serving more students instead of serving current students better" (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008)"


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Omission in the day and age of instant communication is dangerous

Let us look at this sentence: “I don’t like because of color”. If inserted into the wrong conversation in the right way, all of sudden you have an argument about racism. The whole sentence was really: “I don’t like this couch because the of the color”, a significant difference.

When people alter, or omit words from sentences, it can have a profound effect on a conversation, when leaders do this, it can have a devastating effect in general. Leaders who consistently keep their employees in the dark are fostering a culture that thrives on rumors because we all know that information gap will be filled by something. It is even more sad when the information that was withheld was not even vital!

If you want “buy-in" from your employees than you need to give them something to buy; if you want to have civil conversations then you need to check your sources before you quote. The standards of using references that are peer reviewed and reliable is not just for academia.

A lesson from a communication course. #communication #leadership #education

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Professional’s Credentials Deserve a Proper Look


I have been seeing a lot of resume posts recently on whether a resume “passes the 6 second test”, and it disturbs me. Do you mean to stay that my vast professional experience and education is only worth six seconds of your time? You mean to tell me you are not interested in a potentially excellent candidate?

A professional’s experience cannot be nor should it be summed up in mere seconds. If you are serious about recruiting the best than you need to act like it; the best deserves more of your time.

We all understand that there are many more applications today for a single job, but you owe it to your company and to future employees to do your due diligence and treat them as more than a number.

This also extends to returning emails and phone calls by the way, especially if you asked the person to do just that. There are far too many rude employers out there who feel they can just ignore a legitimate communication from someone.

How you recruit is what you get, and how you try and retain is what stays.

Lessons from an MBA course.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
Th ETeam


PS, Employers, for Pete’s sake keep communication formal as well. Use proper titles, tense, and tone. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Are we even attempting to learn from our mistakes: An Educator’s plea?

Insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. This a common occurrence in educational leadership and it does not look it is going to change anytime soon.

·         A school talks about the need for radical change, and their solution is to promote a long-time insider to head that department because they have not yet held that position.
·         A school is constantly in financial trouble, and instead of looking at the accounting structure, they hire a consultant (for a hefty price) to study the issue; even though you know someone is stealing
·         Your students complain that they are not learning anything new, and the school does not look at the fact most of the faculty and staff are graduates of the school they are working at
·         You advertise a job that you have already filled, and then months later you send generic form letters to the candidates letting them know how qualified they were but you are going with someone else: and you never even read their resume plus you spelled their names wrong on the form letter
·         Etc.

These are real situations, and there are real and easy solutions to them; but in education, sometimes we do not take the real solution. Why is that?

Why do leaders in education consistently make the same mistake over and over, why has there been no real significant, non-political change in education over the last few years. Technology is just a tool, not a solution.
You are a leader in education, but are you trained to lead? Do you know how to lead? What have you done make yourself ready to lead?

Leadership certifications makes sense! http://www.theeteamconsulting.com/our-work.html

Dr Flavius A B Akerele

The ETeam

You must serve with honor: an educator’s thoughts


Due to the nature of politics, education is once again thrown in the political mix. It is a pity that, every 2,4,6, or 8 years, the noble profession of education must be subjected to the political whims: but we must be prepared for it because we are public servants.

Innovation is great, change can be good, dedication is necessary but sometimes difficult when eggs are being thrown at you. As educators, we need to always be striving to serve with honor.

Serving our students honorably means we are giving them our best no matter what the circumstance, it means we are rising above chatter, it means we are trying to do what is right in the face of all that is wrong, it means being a professional.

Educators, keep serving with honor because in the end, honor is everything.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Do not be afraid of a career change

Sometimes, our careers become such a part of us that we lose sight of who we truly are and what are original dreams were.

It is alright to explore change, it is alright to dip your feet in the waters of a different career. Not risking anything could lead to questioning everything.

Life is full of surprises and it might show you your true path.
Lessons learned by a longtime educator….

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Excerpts from an MBA Leadership Lesson

      Communication is a matrix of oral, visual and emotion. Your spoken words, voice quality, and body language come together to communicate a message.

      Successful communication is measured in how well these components are applied and balanced.

      Is what I said, what you heard?

      Communication requires a transmitter and a receiver. Both must be tuned to the same frequency.

      As a manager, it is your job to ensure proper tuning.

      You communicate to your staff at the frequency they are on. Words, phrases, ideas, concepts, theories and directions must be tuned to their level of comprehension. You do not talk down, but find a commonality where both you and the staff can meet and communicate on a level plane. 

Seems simple eh? Then why do many managers in higher education not practice this?

Lessons from an MBA program

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, April 20, 2017

At some point, you have to acknowledge your company is really not that into you: when to walk away


There is a humorous video I show in the first part of one of my HR classes called “when Barry Met Sammy- A Funny View of HR and KM”,

While it is funny, it underscores a serious problem companies have, and industries have (including the higher education industry): leadership often does not show that they value their employees, in fact the reward for good work is often more work.

What is the difficulty with acknowledging the work your employees do on a regular basis and rewarding them for it?

I have said a million times before and I will say it again: YOUR EMPLOYEES ARE YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSETS! This is a simple lesson to learn, and in theory it should be simple to practice; there is data that proves this. But the data is not being looked at, or at least not until it is too late.

We teach this stuff in our universities, but why oh why, can we not learn it ourselves?! Education and specifically higher education, will need to go through some major changes over the next few years, whether it likes it or not, and practicing what we are preaching/teaching needs to be lesson number one.
The creation and implementation of certifications for higher educational leaders should not just be a pipe dream, it needs to be a reality.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

Friday, April 14, 2017

If you do not attempt to communicate effectively you reap what you sow


Communication is a buzz word in business/leadership, and you will find many different variations of what it is, but the root of it is simple; get the message you want to send to the right people in an effective manner.

Communications says nothing of what modality one should use, it does not say how often, it simply needs to be clear.

A complete lack of communication is still communication, except, what you are communicating to your people is that you really do not care about them. This is a common complaint from employees, not knowing what their boss wants of them or not knowing important things that could affect their job.

As a leader, effective communication should be at or near the top the list of skills you have or are trying to develop. How can you give that employee a bad review when they had no clue what the goals were? How do you expect employees to show up to a meeting that they heard nothing about? Etc.

Simple lessons from an MBA program.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

When did banks stop serving the community? The cost of being poor


Do you remember actually going into the bank on a regular basis? Do you remember going into the bank and the manager knew your name? Do you remember when you knew all the bank tellers by name?

There was a time when the bank was a part of the community, where they made you feel welcome, where they actually wanted to see you come in. Today’s modern banking costs more money to regularly go into the bank and deposit money, because that kind of account is often an extra fee; nowadays they want you to use the machine or online only.

Banking fees have also gone up exponentially for everything, and the banks have a clever system of offering you overdraft protection, with a cost of between $25 to $40. In fact, you must opt out of that costly protection program otherwise it is automatic. Sometimes, using your overdraft is necessary though, especially if you live paycheck to paycheck; but paying $30 for a $15 check, really?

God forbid your account goes into the negative and you physically go into the bank to pay it because it seems part of banks’ training today, is to make you feel guilty for not having enough money to live.

·         “So why did you let your account go negative?”

·         “You really should avoid the fees”

As if you did it on purpose!

For the record, credit unions are operating just like regular banks now, so they are not exempt from this criticism.
Community is key because a community helps each other, they teach each other, and they look out for each other. If you are poor, often your community has entities in it that do not care about you and do not know you. Banks, you need to be part of the community you are supposed to be serving.
These are just thoughts, things observed by an educator.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Race Relations in America and why we are not ready: an educator’s view


Sociology 101 tells us: “Race is defined as a category or group of people having hereditary traits that set them apart. While race revolves around the idea of biological traits, ethnicity is based on a shared cultural heritage. Sociologists and other social scientists accept that race is a socially constructed concept. It is an idea that was created in society to justify inequality. Race is a modern concept”.

Skin color does not now, nor has it every been a race; and because the United States has never confronted its history fully, the good, the bad, and the ugly, this conversation makes people squirm.
“The 1924 Racial Integrity Act defined race by the “one-drop rule,” defining as “colored” persons as anyone with any African or Native American ancestry. This law was in effect to purify the white population, while also expanding the scope of Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage (anti-miscegenation law) by criminalizing all marriages between white persons and non-white persons. In 1967 the law was overturned by the United States Supreme Court in its ruling on Loving v. Virginia”. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kimberly-cooper/a-look-into-race-as-a-soc_b_6787574.html

Discussions on race nowadays are met with sayings such as: “that is in the past”, “we are post racial”, “it had nothing to do with me”, “I am not a racist”, “discussing race is reverse racism”, “other races had it bad as well”, etc. It is a pity, because the fact that we still have race listed on official government documents, the fact that there are still hate groups that openly espouse and emulate racists beliefs of past evil regimes, and the fact the statistics we collect daily still show we have a problem, means we are nowhere near ready to truly confront this.

The other day I was watching a film clip from a 1980s Clint Eastwood movie that contained the famous line “go ahead, make my day”. The movie was pure Hollywood, , with the typical Hollywood bad guys (young black males). I take that movie for what it is and nothing more, pure entertainment. However, today we also have social media, something that did not exist when that movie came out; and social media makes people feel safe, it brings out the “trolls’, it brings out the things people say in private and often think about in their head, it brings out the ugly side of the country that we refuse to deal with. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ishbTwXf1g Go ahead read all the comments and see for yourself.

The comments on social media posts reveal many truths, they reveal the cesspool of hate that bubbles just below the surface and they reveal peoples’ true feelings. In some cases people do not understand what social media actually is (it is not private)  and they just post straight out what they feel not even waiting for the comment section, including members of law enforcement who really should behaving at a higher standard considering the responsibility they have: https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170113/downtown/cops-racism-facebook-twitter-social-media-racist-rahm-department-of-justice-probe-laquan  

As I write this, I am well aware that I will be inviting trolls into my own world, but here is the reason why I write this: OUR CHILDREN ARE WATCHING AND LEARNING! Kids do not grow up that way, they emulate the people around them, and with the access to technology that exists today, there are more “people” around them.

If you ignore a disease, it does not go away. Perhaps the disease will go into remission for a while, and we can certainly treat the symptoms with medication: but that is not a cure. Civil rights bills, updated laws, diversity training, sensitivity training, and all the other things are not the cure, they are merely Band-Aids on an open wound.

There is no quick fix because we are not ready. We are still in blame mode, pass the buck mode, we still do not really want to find solutions; and before you disagree with me ask yourselves this: how can we put a man on the moon but we cannot solve this? The answer is simple; because we wanted to put a man on the moon but we do not care to solve this.
These are just some of the observations from an educator.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam