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What Black Parents Can Do To End The Pre-school to Prison Pipeline

By Shanieka Stanton

You may not readily recognize the names Kwazi Enin, Harold Ekeh, or Munira Khalif, as easily as you would Drake, Meek Mill or Nicki Minaj, and really, what does it matter? Well, a whole lot. In a society where black children are considered behind by the tender age of two, being mindful of what they consume is not only important, it’s imperative.

According to U.S. News Child Trends, a non-partisan and non-profit research center, found that “By age 2, disparities already show between black and white children. Fewer black children demonstrate proficiency in development skills such as receptive vocabulary, expressive vocabulary, matching, early counting, math, color knowledge, numbers and shapes. While 91 percent of white children aged 3 to 5 who weren’t enrolled in kindergarten were read to by family members three or more times per week, 78 percent of black children were read to with the same frequency.”

So who are Kwazi Enin, Harold Ekeh, and Munira Khalif? Within the past year, all three have been accepted into all eight Ivy League schools. You may have noticed the distinction of each last name. All are also children to immigrant parents from Ghana, Nigeria, and Somalia respectively. Each hail from a two parent household, a commonality less likely in nearly 70 percent of black homes, a number that has risen 50% within the past 50 years according to the Moynihan Report and the American Community Survey.

We have exchanged NET for BET.  NET, a defunct Broadcast television network standing for National Educational Television later affiliated with PBS, according to Wikipedia was eventually ended due to producer’s “refusal to stop airing the critically praised but controversial documentaries.” On YouTube, there are still scores of insightful debates that occurred between black and white men discussing the ills of society in a way that would never occur today.

We’re actually going backwards. The School-to-Prison Pipeline is very real folks. Maybe it’s time that we exchange entertainment for education. We may not be able to place a father in every black single parent home, but perhaps we can learn again to become a village. Our children’s future relies on these simple notions.

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