Published for the first time in 1933, The Mis-Education of Negro is one of the most successful books written by Carter Woodson. Woodson experience as an African American student armed with the necessary information to write such a compelling masterpiece. He criticizes the American syllabus, which ignores the historical and cultural systems of the Negros.
Unfortunately, the blacks do not realize the indoctrination that defines the American schools; however, if they realize the indoctrination, then they simply do not care for they continue to be sold out to ‘whiteness.’ Woodson argues that the long-term effect of mimicry and adaptation of a foreign culture heralded the extinction of the black culture. Although Woodson struggled to wage war against racism and oppression of the Negros, more than 70 years later racial discrimination still prevails.
The history and culture of the whites is the center of the American educational system; therefore, the educational curriculum exposes the blacks to a foreign culture forcing them to adapt different lifestyles yet they have their own culture. Surprisingly, the education system forbids the culture and history of the Negros with the primary aim of the whites being to impose inferiority complex in their black counterparts.
Although there are criticisms from the black scholars, the whites carry the day. Most black Americans have acquired the whites speaking accent and they do not take up courses that concentrate on the African culture, politics and/or Negro spiritual life. Therefore, the white education system does not focus on creating an all round citizen rather it controls the thinking and action of the citizens (Negros).
Woodson book seeks a wide audience; teachers, students, scholars and parents of the black society among others. Regrettably, seventy years later after its publication none of the whites administration considers the significance of this chef-d’oeuvre. The book has solution on American politics and policies including the adaptation of the affirmative action. Therefore, if the Negros and Latino-American read the book it would propel them to research and concentrate on their cultural system rather than the whites.
One of the major negatives of the ‘Mis-education of the Negro’ is the inability to live successfully as ‘whites’. Unfortunately, most of the Black Americans who have adapted the whites’ education system become useless, worthless and poor. Although some of them have learned up to the college or university level, nothing good comes out of them.
Additionally, due to the influence of the white culture, most Negros do not appreciate their black skin hence a feeling of inferior before their white counterparts. Similarly, Negros dislikes their fellow black men, despise their culture and love or appreciate the white people. They live in a world of fantasy; however, by so doing the hit the highway of self destruction.
Woodson fears that the whites’ knowledge would forever oppress the African Americans. However, the only solution is to identify the enigma that runs deep in the current education curricula and rectify it. The result will not only popularize the African culture, but also promote antiracism and love within the black community.
The antisocial and discrimination culture the blacks experience hinges on the misleading whites’ educational system and as Woodson notes, “when you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions” (xxix). However, if the Negros and Latino Americans unite, they will change the current situation in the education system and promote their culture and race than chase the golden goose of ‘whiteness’ that has enslaved them for so long.
Woodson, Carter. The Mis-Education of the Negro. New Jersey: Africa World Press Inc., 1990.