You don’t have to be a Republican or a slightly right leaning conservative to learn from reading the Wall Street Journal. Please read the column dated 10/14/05, titled “Shall We Overcome” by black professor Charles Johnson, a professor of English at the University of Washington. I would be honored to be called a friend of Dr. Johnson. Dr. Johnson writes an informative article on “black expectations” and about those who are still preaching “inevitable contradictory profiles such as offered by Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, (those largely involved in planning another “million man” march in Washington) in the black America post civil rights period.” Dr. Johnson quotes another person I would like as a friend, William Raspberry “For the first time in black American history, what we CAN DO is a greater determinant of our future than what is DONE TO us. We need to teach and preach that and shout that-to our young people and ourselves. We need to take note that immigrants-including those from Africa and the Caribbean-who see opportunity where too many born here see only disparity.” Dr. Johnson quotes author Thomas Sowell as saying “celebrities have quietly bolstered as role models some of geeks and “boffins” rather than our rappers, our Hip Hop culture and those mired in “black redneck behavior.”
He continues “a disturbing profile that reveals a high percentage of black males being AWOL as fathers and husbands; as disappearing from our colleges, not one black among 800 entering engineering (UD Berkeley 2004-5 class), graduating from high school with an eighth-grade level of proficiency in math and reading; in prison, on probation on parole (a third of the black men in their 20’s). With the HIV infection rate doubling for blacks in the past decade, as well as urban violence, hypertension, social stress and heart disease, the number of black men now trails black women by two million. And it is not as if black women are thriving; the HIV infection for black women is 20 times that for white women (possibly because of “down low” bisexual black males who hide the fact of their homosexuality).”
Dr. Johnson asks that “we give up the “bigotry of low expectations” so that we can reshape the culture profile of the black American male so that it embodies what our predecessors and ancestors valued most: literacy and the love of learning; wide ranging intellectual curiosity and catholicity represented by a W.E.B. Du Bios or a Mark Dean, (a holder of forty patents), delayed gratification, a commitment to creating wealth (usually accomplished by having what it takes to hold a job and advance up the ladders) and passing that on to our children and the hard truth that, despite our appreciation of modernity, people of color do not have the luxury of half-stepping, failure and indiscretions in a very white, unabashedly Eurocentric society.” He continues “education is a means for something else-whether it’s developing your self to better serve people, to support your family or marketability.”
Dr. Johnson states “that blacks have served in served America widely, account for a black GPD of $632 billion, homeownership is near 50%, are of all religions and trades and are inescapable in the fabric of America’s lived experience and defy easy categorization. The number living in poverty is 25%, which is too high, of course, but a vast improvement over indigence of the past.”
He continues “If, instead of denial and avoidance, our leaders and opinion makers-who have dismally failed to address the serious problem of black male culture for over half a century because it is easier to apologize for black underperformance, tell the men in the audience that each and every one of them must become the spiritual and intellectual leaders they should be, then perhaps this latest spectacle in our nations capital will not be staged in vain.”
I highly suggest that all of us realize “The black American crisis at the dawn of the 21st century and become more of a solution to this crisis especially in our own community, than being a part of the problem. The JS could be more helpful in publishing more black writers with common sense and who have an ability to convey more realistic messages to all.