African-Centered Education: An Approach to Schooling for Social Justice for African American Students

By Marks, Jay B.; Tonso, Karen L. | Education, Spring 2006 | Go to article overview

African-Centered Education: An Approach to Schooling for Social Justice for African American Students


Marks, Jay B., Tonso, Karen L., Education


Introduction

The purpose of this essay is to investigate the effect that public "schooling" has on the "education" of African Americans, and to argue for the implementation of African-centered curriculum and instruction for African American students. This investigation will begin by examining culturally deprived educations offered to African American students in public schools, and how this education, or lack thereof, has served to perpetuate the oppression of this population of students. According to Michael Porter (1997, p. iv), America's educational system promotes a "system-maintaining curriculum, which virtually guarantees the oppressed remain oppressed and the oppressors remain oppressors." The oppressors that Porter speaks of in this context are elite Whites who all but dictate public education in this country, and among the oppressed are African American students who are subjected to such a dictatorship. Additionally, an analysis of the melting-pot theory will be conducted to determine how a mono-cultural theory has contributed to the proliferation and maintenance of racism and oppression of African American students in contemporary public education.

Secondly, in establishing the case for the employment of African-centered curriculum and instruction for educating African American students, this work will lay out a theory of social justice (equal educational opportunity) appropriate to modern public educational practices used with African American students. We rely heavily on the work of Kenneth Howe and Amy Gutmann whose theories critique the current social order and suggest ways to promote social justice in education for all of America's children. In particular, their call for a strong form of participation will serve as the impetus behind the justification for an African-centered education for African American students. Third and finally, this paper will examine the theory of African-centered education as a plausible and necessary solution to combat the existing miseducation of African American students. Here, the concept of African-centered education will be explained to provide the reader with insights into the tenets of what to many may seem a controversial approach to educating African American children.

OPPRESSION AND "MELTING POT" THEORIES

First and foremost, we hope to diminish oppression in public education. The term "oppression" has been used to describe the education of African American students in the public sector. We borrow Iris Marion Young's (1990) five forms of oppression: exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. According to Kenneth Howe (1997, p. 70):

   Exploitation, marginalization, and
   powerlessness are forms of oppression
   associated with different effects
   of the economic system; cultural
   imperialism is a form of oppression
   associated with the imposition of the
   cultural meanings of the dominant
   group on all groups; and violence is
   a form of oppression associated with
   the attitudes and practices that cultural
   imperialism sanctions.

This essay will examine two ways in which the American public education system functions as an oppressor of African American students: promoting assimilation and melting-pot values (cultural imperialism) and the annihilation of social justice by providing students with unequal educational opportunities, especially unequal educational outcomes (marginalization and powerlessness).

Cultural imperialism is used in the education of African Americans students as a form of oppression to perpetuate cultural assimilation and authority. The melting-pot theory posited by proponents like Hirsch, Schlesinger, and Ravitch encourages the assimilation of "minority" groups into the majority or dominant group and is antithetical to an African-centered approach. For instance, Arthur Schlesinger charges that African-centered education is un-American and promotes the teaching of inaccurate history and distorted facts from a different cultural viewpoint (Kenyatta, 1998, p. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

African-Centered Education: An Approach to Schooling for Social Justice for African American Students
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.