LeBron James "I Promise School"; Why Black America Needs To Find A Balance Between Stem & Afrocentricity.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

LeBron James “I Promise School”; Why Black America Needs To Find A Balance Between Stem & Afrocentricity.

August 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Education, News, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) I tip my cap to LeBron James and his entire team for achieving what has proven extremely difficult, if not impossible for many others. Of course, I am referring to the I Promise School located in Lebron’s hometown of Akron, Ohio. Anyone involved in the administration, let alone the creation, of a school, will tell you that it is a Herculean task.

I Promise School, the product of James’ Family Foundation and the I Promise Network, will approach the education of underachieving Akron youth via reliable formulas such as longer school days, a nontraditional school calendar, and increased access to teachers and facilities for students and their family. Most importantly, I Promise School’s curriculum will revolve around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

Most people realize that STEM could very well prove to be “the sweet spot” for whoever can gain a foothold in the discipline. Although I am a historian, even I realize that it is in STEM that future employment and wealth opportunities will be found.

As an African-American studies Professor, it is understandable that my evaluation of the utility of school curriculums pivots along its success in politicizing young black minds. It is this orientation that causes much of my fear regarding the I Promise School.

Let me explicitly state that I am firmly in the camp of those who believe that the “standard school curriculums” that habitually omit the contributions of black people are incapable of engaging, enticing, encouraging, or elevating the minds of black youth. Far too often, there is an inverse relationship between blacks’ engagement with educational entities and their lack of utility to black liberation. It is this historical reality that leads most Black Nationalists to cringe when non-Afrocentric educational institutions are created for black schoolchildren.

In many ways the prospect that a non-racialized STEM field will hold the vast majority of opportunities for successive generations of black children frightens me for several reasons. Rest assured that I have much company in fearing that educational entities such as the I Promise School in their admirable attempt to position black schoolchildren for a glorious future may unwittingly erase an equally impressive historical past by not addressing the storied history of black people in America.

When one considers that at its core, Black Nationalism calls for Black America to control the economics, politics, and education within its community, the arrival of non-racialized endeavors such as the I Promise School creates a problem. Such matters lead me to consider the following, could there be a middle-ground between preparing black schoolchildren for the future with a non-racially specific STEM education and Afrocentric school curriculums that immerse these same children in the storied history of their ancestors?

I pray that there is some middle-ground found as it is imperative that black children are prepared for STEM fields and equally important that they are taught what it means to be black in America. Failure to achieve these two goals will invariably lead to black children being subservient to those who have mastered STEM fields and woefully unprepared to either understand blackness or navigate a reasonable path through the numerous pitfalls of a nation filled with racial bigotry and institutional racism. If Black America proves incapable of addressing these two issues, it should be understood that they are resigning future generations to be the carriers of water for others who have achieved a delicate balance between these two supremely essential elements.

Staff Writer; Dr. James Thomas Jones III

Official website; http://www.ManhoodRaceCulture.com

One may also connect with this brother via TwitterDrJamestJones.


One Response to “LeBron James “I Promise School”; Why Black America Needs To Find A Balance Between Stem & Afrocentricity.”
  1. Arthur says:

    Dr. Jones III, you have opened up a great discussion topic. Here is my take.

    Afrocentricity is just the antithesis of Eurocentricity. There would be no Afrocentric movement if Eurocentric bias did not govern all aspects of society. I believe that if, and when, Eurocentricity disappears so will Afrocentricity. And when both are gone school curricula will present a balanced view of all peoples’ contributions to civilization, science and society.

    This new school need not adopt an overtly Afrocentric curriculum. Instead it should present a balanced, fair accounting of history, in general, and the history of math and science in particular. If this were done, its curriculum would mention, even if just in passing that the first universities were found in Africa that science, civilization and humanity began in Africa. That fractal patterns and many other high level scientific concepts are African in origin. These things need not be harped on, but they should not be completely ignored.

    I could go on and on on this, but let me stop here and see what others have to say. Again, Dr. Jones III, thank you for raising this essential topic.

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