Both Woodson (1933) and Howard (2001) agree that the education system in the United States is inherently biased, and that it does not serve the needs or interests of the African-American community. Blacks are systematically excluded from history and the construction of pedagogy in schools. Furthermore, Woodson (1933) points out that there have been few opportunities for African-Americans to join established professions. The message has been that blacks do not succeed in the professions. There are also few opportunities to apply knowledge to the empowerment of African-American communities, making an education in a white system of little practical value. The entire education system and its structural foundations must change. Woodson argued for a total transformation of education in 1933; Howard argues the same at the start of a new millennium.
"Negroes who have been so long inconvenienced and denied opportunities for development are naturally afraid of anything that sounds like discrimination," (Woodson, 1933). However, education in the white system teaches blacks to despise themselves. The system itself is poisoned. There are few, if any, black scholars teaching issues that empower the African-American community. When African-Americans graduate from white establishments, they lack the tools or even the interest to apply their education to the empowerment of the black communities. This is partly because the system teaches that the white culture is superior and undeserving of criticism. As a result, African-Americans channel anger and frustration at their own communities rather than at the system of oppression.
Howard (2001) likewise argues that education must become more culturally relevant for the African-American community. Although school segregation ended a long time before Howard's (2001) analysis, it is clear that the integrated education system has not appreciably helped the African-American students or the community. Howard (2001) points out that there are too few black teachers offering culturally relevant teaching methods and curricula. Black students are performing well in early childhood, but by the time they become socialized into the white schools, their performance levels drop because their needs are not being met.
Therefore, both Howard (2001) and Woodson (1933) argue for a culturally relevant pedagogy. A culturally relevant pedagogy can have multiple manifestations but it shares some core features in common. For one, a culturally relevant pedagogy is shaped by a diverse community of educators and scholars. It is impossible to create and implement a culturally-relevant pedagogy when only European-Americans are in positions of power in academic institutions. Educators need to understand the types…