Julia Bond once said, “Violence is Black children going to school for 12 years and receiving six years’ worth of education.”
With incredible nuance and skill, award-winning filmmaker Rahiem Shabazz expresses the same sentiments in his critically acclaimed documentary series “Elementary Genocide.” At the front and center of the controversial film is the issue of the school-to-prison pipeline, a systematic cycle that funnels children into the prison industrial complex. Many refuse to believe there is a targeted attack on the minds of Black youths through the education system, but Shabazz explores the outcomes of the education system on Black youths and the resulting funneling of them through the revolving doors of the criminal justice system.
The film made headlines for exposing this damning process, which largely affects Black children in poor neighborhoods. Part 2 of the film, titled “Elementary Genocide 2: The Board of Education vs. The Board of Incarceration,” takes an even deeper look at the history of America’s school system and how it was made to subjugate Black Americans. This installment proves that something threatening is afloat by digging deeper to explore its origin, its existence and how to plot a change that could save Black children.
Over the course of the series, Shabazz raises awareness on how being educated in the public school system is about controlling bodies while anesthetizing minds. Moreover, he argues that prison labor serves as the modern-day equivalent of sharecropping — a system where economic benefit is gained for some through the cheap labor exploitation of others.
In the soon-to-be-released “Elementary Genocide 3: Academic Holocaust,” the film gives more statistical proof of the scholastic inequalities faced by Black children in America’s public education system. The documentary revisits the impact of education on self-image, family structure, financial freedom and the collective future of African/Indigenous people in America and abroad.
“This documentary exposes the depth of the crisis, while also detailing how it was allowed to fester,” Shabazz states. “But it’s more than a documentary, it’s a call to action for all parents, educators and stakeholders of the community.”
The documentary series consists of commentaries from a widely varying list of people, including finance scholar and social commenter Dr. Boyce Watkins, rapper/activists Killer Mike and David Banner, former political prisoner and Black Liberation Army co-founder Dhoruba al-Mujahid bin Wahad, freedom fighter and social justice warrior Kalonji Changa, former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, the late renowned Afrocentric psychiatrist Frances Cress Welsing, educator and psychologist Dr. Umar Johnson and many more.
For more information on the award-winning documentary series, visit www.ElementaryGenocide.com.