“…there is something dreadfully wrong with an education/socialization process that leaves us ignorant of our past, strangers to our own people, apes of our oppressors: and creatures of habitual shallow thought and trivial values.” From the Foreword of ‘SBA: The Reawakening of the African Mind’, authored by Asa G. Hilliard, Dr. Wade Nobles, PhD, on page xiv, states: “Asa rightly points out that, ‘there is something dreadfully wrong…trivial values’.”
In the spring of 2014, P6 students who were entering M1 at Whitney Institute in September were given a summer pack. It contained the following erroneous information: “MESOPOTAMIA IS OFTEN CALLED THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION BECAUSE THIS IS WHERE CIVILIZATION BEGAN.” FALSE! LIES!
“AFRICA IS THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION! AFRICA IS THE CRADLE OF MANKIND!”
In ‘Ethiopia – A Tourist Paradise’, written by Mohamed Amin and Duncan Witletts, it is stated: “More than 3 million years ago, one of our first ancestors walked that portion of the earth that is now Ethiopia: namely , Lucy (Dinkenesh to Ethiopians), meaning ‘Thou Art Wonderful’. The remains of this ‘first human’ – an almost complete mominid skeleton was discovered in 1974 at Hadar on the lower Awash River in Ethiopia’s barren and forbidden Danakil region.”
Who is responsible for poisoning the minds of our impressionable young people with such misinformation? Who must be held accountable? Is it the Governor, the members of the Legislature, the MPs of the OBA, the MP’s of the PLP, the Acting Commissioner of Education, the Director of Academics, the Education Officer for Social Studies, Principals, Teachers, Parents and Stakeholders – WHO?
I wrote to several people and copied in others. I voiced my concerns about our children being taught a “FALSIFIED CURRICULUM” This included:
Dr Grant Gibbons, then Minister of Education. I had a meeting with him as well.
I sent copies to Wayne Scott, who was also appointed as an Education Minister, Opposition Leader Marc Bean, Lovitta Foggo, the Shadow Minister of Education, Valerie Robinson James, the Permanent Secretary of Education, Rev Terence Stovell, Chairman of the Board of Governors of Whitney Institute Middle School, Dr Llewellyn Simmons, Director of Academics, Ms R Swan, Principal of Whitney Institute Middle School, and Mr Dwight Jackson, President, Whitney Institute Middle School PTA.
I even sent copies of a book entitled, ‘KMT (KEMET) – OUR AFRICAN HERITAGE’ to all of the Middle School Social Studies Teachers.
There was very little response. I concluded that our people have a real identity problem. A Mexican is from Mexico. An Italian is from Italy. Where is the Black man from? BLACK LAND? No! All Black people are from Africa. Africa is known as, “The Land of the Blacks”.
Why is it that in a predominantly Black island, it is so difficult to get Black people to admit that they are African. “Muriel, be for real! This is a white supremacist society accompanied with white privilege behavior. What makes you think any man or woman, Black or White, schooled privately or publicly, born into wealth or born outside of wealth – why should anyone care whether Bermuda’s children are taught about their African heritage?”
That’s what I would hear in response to valid concerns. Are the schools too busy with the Cambridge Curriculum that the whole question of identifying as an African does not concern them?
In 1989, there was a National Conference on the Infusion of African and African American Content in the School Curriculum. This conference was designed to show educators and policy makers that African people have played major roles in the development of world civilization, ancient and modern.
We, the people of African descent have been subjected to years and years of systemic defamation, distortion and general neglect of the true experiences and creativities of African people. As a result of this National Conference, there was a vast amount of carefully researched and validated material.
Many scholars like DuBois, Obenga, Williams, Woodson, Marable and Wilson, Van Sertima and Walker, just to name a few, have provided us with the basis for a more accurate and fair picture of the true creativities and experiences of African people in world history.
One of the aims of the conference was to provide the missing content that was multidisciplinary, holistic, thematic and contextual. Another aim was to give teachers the integrated story of continental and diasporan African people as it has evolved over time.
In 1998, I attended a lecture at the Bermuda College. The lecturer was the late Dr Asa Hilliard, a noted educator, psychologist and historian. The lecture was entitled, ‘The infusion of the African content in the School Curriculum’.
He said two words that struck me like a lightning bolt. “FALSIFIED CURRICULUM!”
These two words sent me on a Sankofa journey. Sankofa means to reach back to move forward. This resulted in “My Purposeful Transformation from Eurocentric Education to African Centred Education”.
BERMUDA IS WEIGHED IN THE BALANCE AND FOUND GUILTY OF POISONING THE MINDS OF ITS IMPRESSIONABLE YOUNG CITIZENS WITH A FALSIFIED CURRICULUM.
BERMUDA’S CHILDREN NEED A GOOD DOSE OF MEDICINE WITH THE INFUSION OF THE
AFRICAN CURRICULUM IN OUR SCHOOL CURRICULUM FROM PRESCHOOL TO S3.
BERMUDA’S MINISTRY OF EDUCATION MUST RECTIFY THE DISTORTED, FALSIFIED OR IGNORED CURRICULUM BY PRESENTING TEACHERS WITH THE RELEVANT MATERIALS TO RECOVER AND CORRECT THE CURRICULUM.
By Dr Muriel Wade Smith
Hillard, A.G.; Payton-Stewart, L.; & Williams, L. O. (1990). The Infusion of African and African American Content in the School Curriculum: First National Conference Proceedings, October 1989, Morristown, N.J.: Aaron Press.(forthcoming republication, Chicago; Third World Press.
Hilliard, A.G. , III, Ed.D. (1997). SBA; The Reawakening of the African Mind. Gainesville, Florida; Makare Publishing.
Muriel M. Wade-Smith, Ph.D., attended Central School, now Victor F. Scott Primary School, and the Berkeley Institute. She obtained her teacher training certificates from Ottawa Teachers’ College and Toronto Teachers’ College in Ontario, Canada, and has been involved in various educational projects in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone.