The ‘Mis-education of the Negro’ remains in full effect today

Letter from Publisher Roy Douglas Malonson:


We have been overwhelmed with support from the community in response to my last editorial in regard to the backlash received on the decision to remove two racist statues in Houston public areas, and place one of them — The Spirit of The Confederacy – in the Houston Museum of African American Culture.

HMACC CEO Emeritus John Guess said placing the statues in the museum will help discuss the “difficult conversations” about race and culture. We don’t need to preserve them; we need to destroy them as what they stood for have destroyed Blacks for generations. Enough is enough!

And for anyone who is in favor of placing the Confederate statue in HMAAC, I feel you need to read the “Mis-Education of the Negro,” by Carter G. Woodson. If you did, you would see just how many of us are still trapped in a slave mentality.

In “The Mis-Education of the Negro,” which was published in 1933, Woodson was teaching us how Blacks were historically brainwashed into accepting white ideologies, which still governs how many of us live today. Uncle Tom-ism is just as alive today as it was then.

Blacks, back then, were taught to be dependent on Whites, rather than learning how to do for themselves. It was all a matter of control, dating back to the “House nigger” mentality and loyalty to “Massa.”

Woodson said, “When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.”

Do you understand what Woodson was saying? He was explaining how some Blacks were “kept in their place” so much, that even if they had a taste of freedom or free will, they would still not get out of line. They would “find” a way to still follow the White Man’s rules. This kind of thinking will forever keep us in a place of servitude or inferiority when it comes to Blacks and Whites. This kind of thinking will always allow White people to think that they can BEAT us for whatever they want, and we will THANK them for it later.

That’s what preserving those statues mean to me! It says we are THANKING Whites for BEATING AND KILLING US! When will we stand up for ourselves?

Like I said last week, Houston has been checkmating Black folks and ‘keeping us in our place’ ever since the Camp Logan riots.

Do you even know what happened then?

The Camp Logan Mutiny (also called the Houston Riot of 1917), historically shook race relations in the city and created conditions that helped to spark a statewide surge of wartime racial activism.

It came about after 156 soldiers of the Third Battalion of the all-black Twenty-fourth United States Infantry Regiment were brought to Houston’s Camp Logan, which is now the Memorial Park area. Those soldiers became bothered after seeing members of the Houston Police Department constantly harass members of the local black community, and the black soldiers attempted to intervene. That led to a bloody night, which resulted in the deaths of 11 civilians, five policemen, and four soldiers. The remaining soldiers were tried at three courts-martial for mutiny. Nineteen were executed, and 41 were sentenced to life imprisonment.

After that, the city of Houston has made sure that it’s kept a tight leash around the necks of Blacks it felt were a threat. The protests in our city do not resemble whatsoever the protests we are seeing across the nation right now.

Back to our miseducation….

Woodson spoke about how African Americans are often influenced to become a “good negro” in order to become successful, and this ideology urges them to downplay their “blackness” to advance in the social ladder. Woodson also discussed how Blacks are separated from the truth of their actual contributions to history due to it being “white-washed.” White people have historically taken credit for important contributions from Black people, making themselves feel more superior.

When it comes to education, Woodson said, “The program for the uplift of the negro in this country must be based upon a scientific study of the negro from within to develop in him the power to do for himself what his oppressors will never do for him.” But Blacks seeking higher education were often told there would be no job opportunities, or they were “not fit” for certain fields, should they choose to study them. Just another way to keep us in our place.

Woodson felt some Blacks had lost sight of a common goal. He said in “our so-called democracy, we are accustomed to give the majority what they want rather than educate them to understand what is best for them. We do not show the Negro to overcome segregation, but we teach them how to accept it as final and just.”

Woodson emphasized the importance of Blacks knowing their history and embracing their culture. He believed that Blacks have come to hate their history due to slavery and being treated unfairly, but are strongly taught to learn and respect other cultures’ history.

So, when it comes to those racist statues, it seems to me that we are trying to embrace and excuse the White man’s past – which was rooted in these instances of hate — and making it a part of our “pride” in survival. We have overcome a lot, and as you can see, we have a much longer way to go, so placing that statue in our museum is not the right thing to do. Blacks should not stand behind that decision. Have more respect for your ancestors, and yourselves.

I won’t stop fighting on the side of right when it comes to our people. End the silence. Demand respect.


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