Sunday, September 23, 2007

Advancing our Scientific Prowess

"The only protection against injustice in man is power -- physical, financial and scientific."
- Marcus Garvey

I pulled this quote from the Electronic Village and it spoke to me. Even among the ashes of Reconstruction and segregation and political & economic disenfranchisement, our great leaders recognized the importance of scientific knowledge. Education is important. Though W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington disagreed over tactics, they both agreed on strategy. EDUCATION held the true redemptive and salvation capacity for the Negro in the New World.

And scientific education was a key component for all three leaders - Garvey, DuBois, & Washington. Science as Agriculture was especially important to Booker T. Washington. His Tuskegee Institute was essentially an Agriculture and Industrial College for Southern Blacks. Young men (mostly) attended school to gain knowledge about better farming practices and land & animal management resources to take back their family farms.

But today, African-Americans (as well as Latino and Native Americans) lead our nation's statistics for poorest scores in all academic subjects - language arts, math, and science. Advancing out understanding and appreciation of science - as an endeavor and a way of knowing - is imperative to our success. But more than just knowing how to understand your doctor or vote on policy, Science more than any other discipline is an exercise of intellect. Science is about observing, asking questions, accountability, resolution, and action. And these, too, are the keys to fighting injustice.

Observation: keeping an eye on people, agencies, businesses, the government, etc. and making sure they don't step out of line

Asking questions: what's going on? why are you doing this? how can I be involved?

Accountability: holding those responsible for keeping their promises, following through

Resolution: making sure the end product is what was promised or aligns with the answers you were given to your questions.

Action: making informed decisions, understanding the consequences of your behavior, doing the right thing to make your community better.

Let's get back to basics and let's not overlook the importance of sound science education as a basic tenet to our success.

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