Defining Black Excellence ...

Black excellence should not/cannot be defined by what it is not or what is not present or in comparison to another group (e.g., closing the achievement gap, reduction in health disparities, or incarceration rates). To define black excellence in reference to another group is to maintain the basic underlying power dynamics and privilege (i.e., racism), causing the disparities that one is trying to eliminate.

Any "good" definition of Black excellence recognizes a social context that honors the "authentic self" rooted in the cultural heritage of the African experience and facilitates (i.e., motivates) people towards a "better" future authentic self, maintenance of the African community (wherever the geographic location), and commitment to social justice for all. It is this definition of Black excellence that is the foundation of establishing what black student excellence is and looks like. Furthermore, excellence, by definition, is rare/not common, but it must be understood as a natural progression, not a unicorn. For example, diamonds are rare but made from a common/abundant element (carbon). However, any carbon exposed to the necessary heat and pressure will be crystallized into a diamond. It is the natural progression of a process, and the result is still carbon.

Likewise, Black excellence is the natural/expected manifestation of practicing African cultural heritage (arts, science, philosophy, etc.); in such fashion that the bonds between the various elements culture are strengthened and provide a solid (hard) foundation for growth. Consequently, Black excellence must be African-centered - rooted in the African experience, and contextualized by and valued by the Black community.

What then are the implications for education, academic achievement, and student success? Click Here


Additional resources:

Tools to Protect Black Genius