Melanin Origins, LLC and the Need for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

Precursor:  Welcome to the very first Melanin Origins Weblog created by Founder Louie T. McClain II.  Even though our company anticipates many more blogs with rich and useful content, this particular blog article can be considered as a living document which will be updated periodically.  If you are interested in promoting your cause or establishing yourself as an expert in your field of knowledge, please send an email to Editor@MelaninOrigins.com and we will give you an opportunity to make that dream come true.

Content:  I came up with the idea for Melanin Origins, LLC in the Fall of 2015 while thinking about my son and daughter as I was housecleaning.  Conceptualizing an innovative thought is one thing, but more importantly is the sequence of events leading up to an epiphany.  The creation of my company began with the unfortunate and untimely death of an innocent black teenager, Trayvon Martin, who was murdered in cold blood while walking home from the candy store.  Many more similar tragic events took place at the expense of the lives of young black men. Instead of experiencing unity to combat these issues and swift and immediate justice for the loss of these lives, our country was set back 200 years.  Closet racists emerged, the garment of white supremacy was worn openly and proudly in the workplace, academia, and every other public place. The trusted media along with our supposed social media friends also joined in on the heated debates, and all of these outlets had one common theme – discredit the value of black life.

This led to the emergence of people like Dr. Boyce Watkins and Dr. Umar Johnson and also gave way for documentary films like Hidden Colors and the Netflix original “13” to rise to prominence as these mediums provided discourse on topics affecting Africans living in America (African-Americans, Black, etc.).  Even though I personally do not endorse everything stated in these types of mediums, I do admit that I was able to learn more about Black History and more about the rich heritage of our people.  I learned that Booker T. Washington actually built the Tuskegee Institute with his very own bare hands.  I learned that Ida B. Wells traveled the country and even overseas on anti-lynching campaigns and that she was a fierce and intelligent woman.  I also learned that African Americans in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s were making great strides in different industries even during those times.  I learned there were many firsts that do not receive credit and of course I learned of many atrocious acts perpetrated against them all due to the color of their skin.

The sum total of my learning led me to believe that the media has the story all wrong about people who look like me.  The educational system has the wrong idea of how to educate people who look like me.  I learned about the need for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy.  According to Brown University, Culture is central to learning. It plays a critical role not only in communicating and receiving information, but also in shaping the thinking process of groups and individuals. Culturally Responsive Teaching is a pedagogy that acknowledges, responds to, and celebrates fundamental cultures and offers full, equitable access to education for students from all cultures.  It is a pedagogy that recognizes the importance of including students' cultural references in all aspects of learning (Ladson-Billings,1994).

After this, I finally understood the necessity for white supremacy to perpetuate stories in the media about negative experiences regarding African Americans.  I understood why African Americans have the only genre of music that celebrates the disrespect of women, the disregard for black family, the killing of black people, the usage and distribution of drugs, and all other forms of criminality.  It finally became evident to me why it was absolutely necessary for young black kids to be introduced to their historical leaders with the notion of slavery, civil rights, and struggle.  As a country, we have been practicing Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in reverse, and this is what is needed for the notion of white supremacy and racism to thrive.  The only positive outlook of black life from the media is that of someone who entertains another in sports, acting, comedy, or music.  That is it.  Even President Barack Hussein Obama was ridiculed and disrespected practically every day of his presidency.  But Melanin Origins, LLC has discovered the remedy.

It is of primary importance that Black Americans rear a generation (generations) of children who fully comprehend the greatness that lies within and who will not be swayed by the negativity perpetuated by the media, white supremacy, or similar brothers and sisters who are still in lost in the “sunken place”.  The position of Melanin Origins is this is done primarily through education in the school system, and at home.  This is why we have created Black History Books for Kids that do not have slavery plastered all over the front cover.  This is why, as Black Owned Publishers, our leadership decided to turn our historical leaders into children so that they can relate to the child audience.  This is why we began by targeting children in Second Grade and below so that we can reach them with the message of greatness and achievement from actual people who look like them and did magnificent things during a time where blacks weren’t even considered human by some standards.  This is why Melanin Origins was created and this is why the world will never be the same.

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy is the wave of the future and the hope of the black community in America and throughout the world.  I salute the families of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, and all of the fallen brothers and sisters whose remembrance will live forever.  I remained saddened for your losses, yet I stand in awe of your resilience to endure to another day as soldiers in our battle for social and economic freedom and justice.  With a diehard focus on culturally relatable education, making it a habit to have family dialogues on excellence, and encouraging our young people that they have everything within them to accomplish their dreams… with that we can witness a change in our households, in our neighborhoods, then our communities, then the workforce, and it will spread through every aspect of the educational and governmental system at large.  Sadly, this article could be interpreted as a manifesto for infiltration as if living freely in an accepted society is a crime, but in all honesty it’s simply the ideology of a parent desiring to witness the ultimate level of success for black children who happen to live in America.

Post Word: The owner of Editor’s Corner, Francis W. Minikon Jr., is also the Chief Operating Officer of Melanin Origins, LLC.  When you find a black owned publisher creating black history books for kids… trust Melanin Origins.  Frank is intrigued by the resilience and tenacity of African American leaders who stand for truth, justice, and overcoming any obstacle placed in their way.  Thus, Melanin Origins was created to share messages of lesser-known African American pioneers to the children of the world and empower them to aspire for excellence and chase their dreams regardless of the complications they may face.  Thank you for taking valuable time from your day to share with us in this blogosphere.  Please provide any thoughts, comments, and/or questions in the comments section… and when you do please be sure to answer this question as well – What’s Your M.O.?