In terms of the Black community, the "deficit theory" of education asserts that Black students, who differ from white American standards of education, should be considered deficient. In order to counteract deficit narratives, it is imperative to incorporate positive representations of Black culture, history, and contributions at every level of education. The intentionality of including Black voice, leaders, research, and initiatives will consequently contribute to the success of the Black student. Black students in America are steadily misrepresented, fueling a false narrative that wrongly defines standards of education. In my personal quest towards higher education, I've identified three circumstances that further perpetuate deficit narratives.
While acquiring my Master's, it became even more evident that deficit narratives in regards to education were ingrained in the curriculum. What was even more disturbing was that my peers, who would become future educators, policy makers, and researchers, had developed a skewed perspective of my community, the Black community. I was fathomed by the lack of urgency for deconstructing the notion of black deficiency. Furthermore, I felt an obligation to advance in my educational career in order to establish a foundation to dismantle said narratives from inside of educational institutions and bodies of research.
One aspect of the crisis in Black education is deconstructing deficit narratives in order to fundamentally shift the state of education for Black America. I believe that increased representation of actionable and sufficient narratives encompassing positive representation of Blacks in education is one solution to an age-old problem. Conversations highlighting Black excellence in and outside of the classroom, asserting the Black community's resilience in developing their own platforms for empowering Black scholarship, and stressing the community’s ability to cultivating community-based programs that support Black education are dire.
Conversations centered on actionable and sufficient narratives involve, but are not limited to, four transformational pillars that should be engrained in education as a whole. First, empower the community to self-define; far too often members outside of the community feel justified in defining the conditions of achieving excellence. Second, engage and understand the Black community through thoughtful research; this includes promoting the use of Blackacademic's research and acknowledging Black contributions without minimizing their impact. Third, promote Black scholarship; do not inherently question or discredit the validity of Black scholarship. In fact, use it as a resource to take an in-depth look at education and other social constructs. Last but not least, celebrate the Black community; historically, the Black community has acted as a catalyst for the advancement of marginalized communities including setting precedent for matters involving education. To celebrate the Black community is to celebrate social advancement.
The crisis in Black education is not a new phenomenon. Examples of which can be seen during the age of slavery and an unyielding pursuit of learning; the establishment Black colleges and universities; setting precedence for education law; and establishing community-based programs. The crisis in Black education is and always has been an American crisis. As such, it should be of the utmost importance to individuals both within and outside of the Black community.