We can no longer afford it! The correctional system is overwhelmed by it, our schools are failing because of it, and our lives, personal and communal are being destroyed by it! The preponderance of ignorance exists and proliferate despite the prominence of our primary and tertiary education systems; this ignorance manifests itself publicly in the Congress of the United States, the justice system, the media, the clergy, and the general public. It’s tearing the delicate fabric of race relations, and social cohesion further apart with every passing day, and validates the concern Dr. Martin Luther King who said: “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
Dr. King’s quote is clearly intentional because he qualified ignorance with words such as “sincere ignorance,” and “conscientious stupidity,” which suggests that ignorance is couched in well-meaning sincerity, it exists everywhere, and it resides in both commission and omission; either way, the systems of miseducation have continued to fuel that ignorance. An example of that sincere ignorance is those of the younger generation, who are devoid of a sense of history, and espouse the notion of “color blindness.” Then there are those of the older generation, steeped in the “old time religion,” who believe that Black people have been cursed as descendants of the Hamitic tribes.
I describe ignorance as a lack of knowledge or understanding, generally induced by a kind of collective osmosis, it’s our environment; what the tribe believes and passes on to their offspring and other members of the tribe becomes custom or tradition. The human mind feeds on, and absorbs the contents of its environment, garbage in, garbage out, good stuff in, good stuff out! I call it ignorance by osmosis. Dr. King also adds Conscientious stupidity to the toxic cocktail of the doses of ignorance we consume or produce almost every waking moment of our lives.
Conscientious stupidity is that state in which a person is convinced of the rightness of their actions, and consciously or unconsciously pursues an uninformed course of action, despite facts to the contrary. A glaring example of King’s analysis is evident in the activities of January 6, 2021, when so-called patriots stormed the capital buildings in Washington D.C in support of Donald Trump’s claim that the presidential elections were stolen by the Democrats. The most glaring example of conscientious stupidity however remains – the persistent and intractable practices of discrimination based on race, color, and sex.
What if I tell you that this preponderance of ignorance is a cynical and intentional strategy designed to limit the potential of the disadvantaged, interrupting their journey to social and economic upliftment and personal fulfillment? In an era marked by the ascendance of the conspiracy theory, I am somewhat hesitant to posit my theory, but I feel compelled to propose it in the interest of our development as Black people.
My experience and learning lead me to believe that entrenched interests in the fields of Industry, Education, Medicine, Religion and Science have overtly and covertly instigated and fueled the perpetuation of ignorance, especially in communities of color, finding examples of this is all too easy, especially for those who read, and continue to do so. The question is do you contemplate and analyze the effect this has on our development, and do you share your findings with your tribe or community?
My thoughts are not original, they are simply my way of elucidating the nature of ignorance and its consequences, for this I am in debt to one of the greatest minds in America’s 247-year immigrant history.
The ideas and philosophies of Dr. Carter G. Woodson which was first presented 1933 in his seminal work – “The Mis-Education of The Negro,” should form the basis for any educational system that seek to rationalize, re-create, or rebuild a sustainable system of equity in education in America. His thesis written 90 years ago de-constructs the fallacies and fault line in America’s behemoth but failing educational system, which has failed the majority of Americans, Black and White. I am yet to hear the powerful leadership of our educational system give this man his just due for identifying the reasons for the systematic and systemic ignorance resident in our educational institutions. An ignorance that grows by osmosis, proving the adage that “common sense is by no means common.” I guarantee you that, should I poll a sample of both the Department of Education and the Local Education Authority’s existence throughout the country, the name Carter G. Woodson would have little or no resonance, if it did, we could have a basis for hope.
Hopefully I teased your gray matter enough for you to start contemplating how you can help eradicate ignorance, it’s a thankless undertaking, but its rewarding when you consider what its existence and proliferation is costing us: our health, happiness and prosperity are too important to be sacrificed on the auction block of ignorance!