The problem with too much education is there are too many people with too little. And not the education that requires classrooms, number two pencils, college-ruled notebooks, and teachers who either don’t make enough in exchange for their dedicated service, or make too much for showing up and watching as we teach ourselves. As reluctant I am to quote the words of a slave master whose estate is just a few minutes from my folks’, these words ring true: “I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led.”
My latest pursuit was preceded by a conversation with my brother, Grandville. Once a week we have these conversations that are often venting sessions necessary after a day of dealing with bullshit, shuckers, jivers, godless children, foolish adults, and people who quote “Dr.” Umar Johnson (quotations because I’m almost certain his degree is made of bubblegum, wishes and hope). I hope no one ever finds fault in their mentor’s teachings. Growing up, I never found comfort in the “we all come from kings and queens” spiel, because it made no sense to me. Who were the people who cleaned the palaces then? Are we all related? Grandville, more like a pastor on the call this time, spoke words I needed to hear: “That’s bullshit.”
I get that folks sometimes need encouraging words, but I’m more on the side of telling history as it is/was. History, speaking specifically about Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Nigeria, would suggest that, yes, some of us do come from kings and queens, but finding the descendants of the working class and the descendants of peasants would be easier and you’d still have hours left in your day to educate others. Similar to us in this barrel of capitalism we’ve grown accustomed to calling America, the folks in old school West Africa weren’t confined to their roles if they worked hard to come up, or didn’t work hard enough.
The late and great Pimp C, on FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt, says:
“A little over a year ago I was in bondage, and now I’m back out here reaping the blessings and getting the benefits that go along with it, everything that’s out here for kings like us. The reason why we like this, this jewelry and this diamonds and stuff, they don’t understand is, because we really from Africa, and that’s where all this stuff come from. And we originated from kings, you know what I’m saying? So don’t look down on the youngsters because they wanna have shiny things. It’s in our genes, know what I’m saying? We just don’t all know our history, so—”
And finally, something we can agree on: “We just don’t all know our history.” I wanted it to be me, not Rick Ross, who interrupted Chad to talk about those folks in West Africa who weren’t high enough to be peasants; the slaves. I wanted to offer a counter to what the Underground King said. Perhaps, Chad (and everyone who took his words to heart to justify your foolish spending on goon chains and jesus pieces), some of these youngsters wants shiny things because they come from a bloodline that’s never had much to show off. And perhaps it’s the minimalist who come from those who never felt the need to shine (#HighThoughts).
And here I am, at 2am, eating a fried fish, black bean, and fried egg sandwich with Texas Pete, reading over this foolishness Umar Johnson posted, trying to cover his ass after tricking off on a stripper, perhaps with some of the money I assume disappeared from the St. Paul Acquisition Fund (or whatever clever name he came up with), and some other donated funds. “If you ever see his photos,” Grandville said, “You’d see he’s always traveling with sketchy characters.” I listen, nod every once in a while when group economics is on the table, but outside of that, my face is screwed and eyes are tightly squinted when listening and deciphering (I promise I’ll go deeper in a later post). Us who came from the loins of village educators, hardworking dreamers, kings, queens, and griots can easily spot those who came from the cesspools of jesters.
“Fuck the strippers,” Taquon, another brother, shouted. “I just wanna know where the degrees come from!”