An old English nursery rhyme says, 'rub a dub dub, three men in a tub and who do you think they be? The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker and knaves were they'. This is one of those things we learned in elementary school that was irrelevant to our existence. Because it was irrelevant, many Black kids were not enamored to learn English. It didn’t do much for helping to expose or interest Black kids in choosing a career either. First of all, this rhyme was taught when neither the butcher, the baker or candlestick maker looked like the Black kid reading it. It’s much like many other things in the education of Black students today. No one makes it relevant.
If someone had told Black kids that Othello was Black they might have taken an interest in Shakespeare. Or that a Black man named Toussaint L.’ Ouverture in 1791, whipped the French general, Napoleon, to free the Black Haitian slaves, it might have made Black kids more interested in world history. But we all know that history of a hunt would be different if it had been written by the lion.
A more relevant rhyme might be the one that says, “What they see is what they’ll be!” What most Black kids raised in America see is a world where those who are at the top do not look like them. And so the spectacle of the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker are jobs or businesses which enrich the whites.
In order to turn the tide there must be more exposure to literature and models that tell Black kids that they can be anything they want to be and how they get to be what they want to be. Education must expose Black kids to a world with limits in order have them seek to exploit their potential. History students know that General Toussaint L’ouverture had been a slave and a carriage driver until the shackles of slavery were broken and the opportunity came to demonstrate his true greatness.
As poet named Marianne Williamson in her book, A RETURN TO LOVE, writes about the question, “What is your deepest fear.” She says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous. Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make and manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
This bit of literature is part of the poetry that helped Nelson Mandela get through 27 years of captivity to arise and seek his own level of greatness for his people. If Toussaint can rise from slavery, and Mandela can arise from prison, surely given the right models, each of us can rise to our own potential, whether it be a butcher, a baker, or candlestick maker. The question is which one do you want to be?
With that in mind, Professional Careers Institute was created to expose a community who has had more than their share of negative images to as many positive images as possible in the form of new career options and some direction on how to get there.
Our seminars, through Professional Careers Institute, specifically introduce participants to: careers in hair care through barbering, cosmetology, and hair care products; the health care field which include careers as nurses and nursing assistants; and the legal field which include careers as paralegals and legal assistants, legal secretaries and law office managers.
For the upcoming seminar on August 20, 2011, contact me at the Law Offices of Joe Hopkins at 626-398-1194 or the Pasadena Journal Office at 626-798-3972.