By Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu’min Muhammad
Here’s a simple way of describing the American educational system: Put a mind in a “box” and eliminate the ability of unacceptable minds from disturbing the “box.” This “box” controls the activities of the mind inside it, while the purpose of the “box” is to further the power of America’s military-industrial complex, whose ultimate goal is to control the resources of the world for the benefit of a small set of white families. The boundaries of this “box” are the goals, values, attitudes and beliefs of the “status quo,” who are motivated by the principles of “white supremacy.” Minister Louis Farrakhan coined the following maxim: “He who gives the diameter of your knowledge prescribes the circumference of your activity.” This process starts in grammar school and continues through the highest levels of academic training.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad warned us not to accept the trick of “integration” and posted that warning clearly throughout the 1960s on the back of the Muhammad Speaks newspaper under Point Number 9 of “What The Muslims Believe”:
WE BELIEVE that the offer of integration is hypocritical and is made by those who are trying to deceive the Black peoples into believing that their 400-year-old open enemies of freedom, justice and equality are, all of a sudden, their “friends.” Furthermore, we believe that such deception is intended to prevent Black people from realizing that the time in history has arrived for the separation from the Whites of this nation.
As The Messenger was calling for separation, Civil Rights leaders were convinced that integration into the American school system was the key to breaking through the race barrier and receiving the full benefits of American citizenship. Paulo Freire, in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, wrote, “The tools that are used to destroy men cannot be used for his rehumanization”; however, the integrationists never questioned the goals and values of the very system that they were trying to force themselves into. The integrationists got their way in the middle to late 1960s and many school systems were forced to integrate. But integration coupled with consolidation resulted in the loss of Black teachers and administrators. By 1970 the New York Times reported that the number of Black principals had fallen from 620 to 170 in North Carolina and from 250 to 40 or 50 in Alabama. It is the principal’s office that is responsible for the discipline of students and metes out punishment for “bad” behavior. Removing the Black principals opened the door for the first level of the weeding out process that has forced so many of our young Black males in particular to drop out of America’s public school system.
A recent study documents the levels of disparity between suspension rates for Black and white students in America’s high schools. This 2012 report titled “Researchers Sound Alarm Over Black Student Suspensions,” by Nirvi Shah and Lesli A. Maxwell, points out that nearly “one in six African-American students was suspended from school during the 2009-10 academic year, more than three times the rate of their white peers…” But in some districts “…as many as one out of every two black students was suspended.” In the 2009-10 school year, there were 3 million suspensions reported to the federal Department of Education.
Illinois, in fact, had the worst record of 47 states analyzed for the gap between the rates of suspensions for Black students and their white peers, at 21.3 percentage points, followed by Missouri and Connecticut, whose Black-white gaps were just over 18 percentage points. “Suspensions matter because they are among the leading indicators of whether a child will drop out of school and because out-of-school suspension increases a child’s risk for future incarceration,” Shah and Maxwell write.
Once a child is expelled from school for behavioral or attitude problems, that child is less likely to come back into the system to “fit in.” And for those students who have proven that they can “fit in” throughout their high-school years, the next major hurdle is college. But before we analyze college and graduate school, we must remember that historically, junior high schools and high schools have offered vocational courses such as home economics, wood and metal shop, typing, business courses, drafting and auto repair. However, because of the push to pass the “standardized tests” required to enroll in college, since the 1960s schools have put more emphasis on academics for all students. So now, if a student does not go to college, he or she may not even have the basic skills necessary to find employment in the blue-collar labor sector, or even keep a house or balance a checkbook.
Now let us hear from a PhD in physics, Dr. Jeff Schmidt, who wrote in his book Disciplined Minds: “An important role of the schools is socialization: the promulgation of an outlook, attitudes and values…The main educational mission of the colleges in any country is to produce people to staff and perpetuate that country’s social and economic system.”
So one should not be surprised when Black students go off to college and never bring their skills back to their community or neighborhood. They instead go to serve the status quo, which they were trained to serve after having just gone through a 4-year process of attitude and values adjustment.
“The system protects itself by producing people with ‘know-how’ rather than people with ‘know-why.’” This insures that the highly trained professional will not seek to know what his product will be used for, but to please his employer or funder with the acceptable product. “To do work that meets their employers’ expectations,” the professionals “must have the ‘right’ priorities, the ‘right’ values and the ‘right’ sense of what is important.” The system of professional training “…is set up to turn students into good self adjusters or gets rid of them.” To be “self adjusted” means that the employer does not need to be looking over the shoulder of a well-trained professional, because he is in his employee’s head.
Dr. Schmidt thoroughly explains and provides examples of how the seemingly unbiased “standardized tests” required to get into undergraduate schools and later graduate schools are designed to give the advantage to students who “…feel comfortable working within arbitrary rules, who are used to working out technical details within a dictated framework, who make their way in the world through careful attention to the rules.” In other words, they don’t ask questions about the goals of the system. Dr. Schmidt adds that the system is comfortable with the individual who is selfish and unconcerned about the group, because it can know how that individual will respond to offers of more money or threats of termination where his or her individual values may conflict with the employers’.
Dr. Schmidt uses his firsthand experience as a professional physicist to delineate whose goals, values and priorities he and fellow scientists are to serve. He describes how the military-industrial complex provides the bulk of the research funding of many of America’s large physics departments. And this research is designed to increase the understanding of nature to dominate nature for the enhancement of America’s military power over the natural world.
According to Dr. Schmidt, the only thing that compares to what a graduate student must go through to get a professional degree is the experience of a captive soldier in a prisoner of war camp. The end of his book is dedicated to presenting the “captive student” with lessons taught in the United States Army POW “Field Manual No. 21-78,” such as:
“Your captor [will work] to try to break you – to try to weaken your belief in yourself and your will to keep your identity and maintain your lifetime code of ethics, decency, and standards of behavior.”
So parents should not fool themselves by thinking that they are “sending their children off to college to get an education.” They are simply sending them off to college to be further indoctrinated with the values of this system or be eliminated from the game. If a parent sends her child off to college without properly preparing him for the actual experience he will find there, then she should not be surprised at the product that this educational system produces. It would be negligent to send a football player onto the field without a helmet, and it would be negligent for a parent not to read Disciplined Minds before sending a Black student off to college. However, after reading this book and understanding what white people do to their own children’s minds, you may accept The Messenger’s analysis of the goal of this trick called “integration” and strive to set up your own educational system to serve our own economic and social system. Support the economic development programs set up by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
(Dr. Ridgely A. Mu’min Muhammad, Agricultural Economist, National Student Minister of Agriculture, Manager of Muhammad Farms. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)