Black Minds Matter: Home

Course readings and materials to support a focus on Black boys and men in education.

ARCHIVE: Guide No Longer Being Updated.

Introduction to Black Minds

Introduction In recent years, there have been many high profile slayings of young Black men. Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Alfred Olango and far too many others. Anger regarding these slayings has led to numerous marches, protests, and vigils throughout the nation. Rising through the power of social media, the Black Lives Matter movement has shed light on the injustices facing Black communities and has provided a statement of affirmation that Black lives do indeed matter.

Shadowing this movement there has been increased discourse about the status, experiences, and outcomes of Black students in education, particularly Black males. Black Lives Matter has shown that Black boys and men are devalued and over-criminalized in society. These same patterns are evident in educational settings, leading to over-representation in special education, exposure to high rates of suspension and expulsion, and ultimately feeding the school-to-prison pipeline. Similar disparities are manifested in college and university settings.

Black Minds Matter is a public course designed to increase the national consciousness about issues facing Black boys and men in education. The course draws parallels between issues faced by Black males in society and the ways that Black minds are engaged in the classroom. Through this lens, we will engage research on Black students in education (from preschool to doctoral education), emphasizing strategies and practices that can support their success.

“Similar to the Black Lives movement, the course provides an affirmative statement that Black minds do matter.”

The course employs three tenets of the Black Lives movement (e.g., loving engagement, collective value, restorative justice) as a framework for enhancing outcomes for Black boys and men in education. In particular, the course encourages educators to see their classrooms, offices, schoolyards, and campuses as sites for civil resistance.

In an educational setting, civil resistance is manifested most powerfully through teaching that empowers the disaffected and communicates love. As stated by the late Asa Hilliard:

“I have never encountered any children in any group who are not geniuses. There is no mystery on how to teach them. The first thing you do is treat them like human beings and the second thing you do is love them.” - Asa Hilliard

This involves embracing a new educational paradigm that truly values the intelligence, worth, and morality of Black minds. As a person of faith, my approach to civil resistance is rooted in the adage, “love you neighbor as yourself.” As educators, we have the privilege of educating the children of our neighbors. Therefore, we must embrace their children, not as strangers, but as our own.

“Love your neighbor as yourself and love their children as your children.”

Teach them with love, discipline them with love, build personal relationships with love, as if they were your own.

Welcome to Black Minds Matter,

Dr. Luke Wood
Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Education
San Diego State University

Black Minds Matter hosted by Portland Community College

Black Minds Matter is a public course that is designed to raise the national consciousness about issues facing Black boys and men in education. The course intentionally addresses the pervasive undervaluing and criminalization of Black minds. Tangible solutions for promoting the learning, development, and success of Black males are offered.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Identify how assumptions of criminality about Black boys and men are manifested in school, college, and university settings.
  • Recognize how socially constructed viewpoints of Black male intelligence decenter them as learners in educational institutions.
  • Embrace asset-based views of Black boys and men rooted in the concepts of equity-mindedness and institutional responsibility.
  • Articulate research-based policies and practices that serve to promote the learning, development, and success of Black males throughout the educational pipeline.

Course Prerequisites

There are two dispositional prerequisites for this course. Learners must have a willingness to:

  1. Acknowledge their own unconscious bias and the effect this has on the educational experiences of Black boys and men.
  2. Engage their personal responsibility for redressing disparate educational outcomes for Black boys and men in education.

Required Resource

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