It's the first Saturday of my spring break and I'm sitting in Starbucks grading essays. Now, don't feel bad for me, I bring it upon myself. But, for what often ends up depressing, the most recent batch of essays provided me with great satisfaction. And now, I need the help of the blogging community.
I read an essay, the likes of which I have never read in a Pre-College class. This essay has a future, should it find its way into the right hands. It is an essay that, when I finished reading, I felt like I had just finished reading an essay in a respected magazine or anthology. I once had a professor tell me a sermon I wrote for a Homiletics class could be published, but he never helped me. I want to help this kid. If you know of a way to get work published, please let me know. Here are some excerpts:
Black community--grammatical error, or bad combination of words?
Imagine taking a one thousand piece jigsaw puzzle nearing its completion, and wiping it clear off the table, sending the pieces scattering--in other words, imagine the Black community. A group of people who once shared, participated, and had fellowship, now kill the memebers of their own communit at extreme rates--the Black community is imploding. Once a group that would fight against all odds, they now will fight anyone who doesn't wear their colors. During the Slavery Era, these traits could breathe, create beautiful music, and throw a knockout punch; it acted as a true community.
The Civil Rights Era, most prominent in the 60's, sprouted the best Black leaders to ever walk this earth. THis era shot out Black talent faster than a Muhammad Ali jab. Black kids had people they could idolize, better yet, aspire to. From the darkest corners of Ralph Ellison's mind, to the untarnished prowess of Rosa' Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., this will never be an era forgotton by Blacks--or so I hoped.
What happened to this community? How could a community on the rise, suddenly be on the verge of its demise? The problem lies in the quality and number of Black leaders. Not Black leaders like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, mere ripples of the true greats. Only Black leaders such as Barack Obama, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Cornel West, and Oprah, can attempt to fill the empty shoes of lets say Stokely Carmichael, or Ralph Ellison. Mention the names [with the exception of Oprah] to any Black kid and you'll get a blank stare--are those rappers or sports stars?
He points out that the superstars of rap (50 Cent) and athletics (Shaq)get too much credit for meaningless gift giving at Christmas time and hails two athletes who help towards really building the community--Jalen Rose and Warrick Dunn. He explores W.E.B. Dubois's The Talented Tenth. He continues...
Rappers, Black athletes, and Black stars may not provide the most intelligence that the Black race has to offer. They do meet two other requirements though, don't they? They have the two most driving forces in a community--money and power. The upcoming generations of Blacks have become slaves to these forces: Get Rich or Die Tryin', right 50?
Black America faces much trouble. Fathers have disappeared, kids get neglected, and most leaders have abandoned the pack. The future of the race depends highly on education, an unknown in the Black community. No wonder the college-attendance rate of Black students stands at an abysmal 26 percent. If things couldn't get any worse, 23 percent of the students go off to college not college ready. So of the Black students that do attend college, only a small percent fair a decent chance.
Part of being in a community requires fellowship. Most people would agree that Bill Cosby has gone above and beyond in his effort to strengthen the Black community. Like Rose and Dunn, Cosby has put on his latex glove [sic] whipped out a scalpal. They have realized that no matter how a body looks on the outside, if the visceral organs do not function properly, the body as a whole will go to waste: Kids, meet your real role models.
What happens when these kids see some of the great Black leaders get shunned? Even more importantly, what happens when these kids see these great leaders get shunned by their own community? In 2004, Cosby spoke at the NAACP's Gala to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education....
Everything Cosby says holds true: I'd back that speech up with my life. The black community labeled Cosby an outcast due to his speech. Speaking the truth got him ostracized by the Black community. The NAACP, the cornerstone of the Black communities' defense, tore Cosby apart. Most communities cherish their great thinkers, not pull a Galileo. Just like Galileo, Cosby's wisdom will become a realization in the years to come: Come on Black America, Black on Black will only set us back.
He finishes with a few examples of things that bother him and more from the Cosby speech. His final line:
Wake up Black America.