Knowing your history drives your future

Student loans, pursuit of a bachelor’s degree and the potential to pursue a graduate degree, but I still have not scratched the surface of my ancestry. It’s been repeatedly and relentlessly hammered into my mind that education is the key, but why has my education blatantly not included me.

I’ve learned about the beginnings and possible ends of the U.S., but the only beginning of my people that I was taught was Africans in the slave trade. Why did none of my textbooks tell me about the dynasties in Egypt?

Why was I not told that the Bible paralleled the Egyptian’s scriptures of the “Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day,” which was written before the Bible? My curriculum forced me to take two levels of Spanish or French when my native tongue may have been Swahili or Zulu.  

Historically black colleges and universities with the “A&T” and “A&M” are still stuck in the mindsets of trying to prepare black students to be “good employees.” We have gotten past that phase as a race. When will HBCUs start pushing us to be entrepreneurs, teaching us how to run our own businesses? Not to go and work for big newspapers but to start our own editorials. No offense to the corporate ladder climbers, but it would be nice to be the founder of the company, not just the CEO.

Talk of graduate school, master’s and doctorate degrees loiter near my thoughts like horse flies. There’s nothing wrong with furthering one’s education, but I’m tired of only reading and writing about what others have done. I’m ready to do my own works.

Education should not teach us to conform. It should teach us to question almost everything so that we can arrive at the solution on our own.

I often wonder, when Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. fought, was it for conformity or just an equal and fair playing ground? Maybe it was a fight for blacks to have the same opportunity to learn our beginnings, as they taught us the beginnings of the Western world.

I probably won’t spend any more of “my” dollars on higher education after this bachelor’s degree. I’d rather invest it in trips to Egypt to see the tombs and pyramids that my ancestors built or maybe take trips to Europe to walk through the cities and streets that the Moors built.

I wonder if science teachers, in addition to Sir Isaac Newton, told students that Moors – black people – introduced astronomy, chemistry and medicine to the world, would black children still feel inadequate in those subjects. 

According to Carter Woodson’s book, “The Mis-Education of the Negro,” “If you teach the Negro that he has accomplished as much good as any other race, he will aspire to equality and justice without regard to race.”

My point is, you cannot fully benefit, if at all, from an education that suppresses the very essence of who you are. Your future will be driven with or without the knowledge of your history. However, the knowledge gives you the choice of a culturally enlightened future.