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The miseducation of Black children

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Published in St. Louis American, November 29, 2018

Carter G. Woodson wrote the seminal “Education of the Negro” in 1933. He critiqued the educational system of the day and the totality of its devastating impact on black people. The spirit of Dr. Woodson was evoked when I read a commentary on University City schools by Tom Sullivan.

The first thing that smacked me upside the head was that black students were 3.8 grades behind their white counterparts. The other grim data flowed logically from this fact, such as the lack of blacks in advanced placement, suspension rates and graduation rates.

If the latest report by ProPublica is any indication of this country’s education of our children, then our development as a nation is in peril. Read more

With or Without the Democrats

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Published by the St. Louis American, November 13, 2018

The Democrats flipped the U.S. House of Representatives in the midterm elections. Now we have a divided Congress because the GOP has control of the Senate. And while political pundits proclaimed the elections were a referendum on Trump and his Republican Party, it was as much a referendum on the Democrats.

Voters set a record with an estimated 113 million voters coming out to make their voices heard. Another 36 million voted early, also a record. Over a hundred women will take office in many capacities across the country – another record.

Voters put some new kinds of faces in office. States elected the first Native Americans, first Muslims, first openly gay, first blacks, first Latinos. This kind of racial and religious diversity will only make a difference if those elected share a humanistic worldview through a feminist, anti-racist and anti-homophobic lens. Read more

My struggle with marijuana

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My first encounter with pot was in college. This may be surprising, but I never saw drugs being used or sold in my working-class community; therefore, my parents never gave me the “Just say No!” speech. It was 1968, and I was on my way to becoming a black radical. I wanted no parts of mind-altering drugs. No smoking of anything, not even inhaling. I needed to be woke.

Since then, it’s been challenging for me to develop a reasonable position on marijuana. I’m all for de-criminalizing it, but I always stop short on supporting legalization. Medical marijuana is on the November 6 ballot in Missouri, and I’ll read The St. Louis American’s guide on the issue once again. I suspect voters will inevitably be faced with a ballot initiative on recreational marijuana.

If my view on this issue is to evolve, it will require help from my readers. Here are the issues I am struggling with. Read more