Monday, August 21, 2006

Some Things to Ponder

In today's Washington Post, Juan Williams describes the hurdles that many black Americans must overcome to escape the downward spiral that characterizes parts of their culture. He references Bill Cosby's 2004 Brown vs. the Board of Education commemoration speech and echoes WEB DuBois's 1903 message about the challenges to black empowerment.

On today's NBC morning news program , law professor Spencer Overton promotes his new book Stealing Democracy. He argues that political gerrymandering and other legislative maneuvers continue to take power out of the hands of the American people.

Finally, in his book Shame of the Nation, Jonathan Kozol argues that America's public education system has created an apartheid state within our borders. I heard it through the grapevine that Illinois Senator Barack Obama recommends this book to anyone who cares about American politics.

Indeed, these are tough problems that don't promise to go away any time soon.


Blogger Shook said...

Interesting since this was the topic of converstation last night at the dinner table. It's sticky to talk about, but I'll ask you to ponder this... Why is the majority of the african american society in the apparent downward whirlwind? (we must not forget the few exceptions of highly motivated accomplished african americans such as Rice and Powell)(how did they get there?). Why are we facing the daunting statistics of high African American young pregnancies and high school droupouts?
My camper, Chaz, is 13 from Lawrenceville, NJ and the 2nd to last day of camp, his 22 year old brother was shot in a gang confrontation a block from his house. It was also his 3rd brother to be shot and killed, he is now the oldest with 2 younger sisters. What desperation, what lack of hope, and lack of role models! He knows no other way but the gang. It's un-cool to do well in school or even be studious. The funny this is he lives a block from one of the most prestigious boarding schools and universities in the nation. What is keeping him outside of those gates? Is it race, socioeconomic status, nature, nurture, personality, family, or darwinism? And what's the answer? How do we get Chaz through highschool, out of the gang, into a prosperous life? Does he belong there, or does he deserve to be there? Do we have a right or an obligation to help, to make a change? Should there be change? Who's fault is it anyway?

2:10 PM  
Blogger Bob Wiley said...

To look honestly at success in black America, I think it is risky to consider the stories of Colin Powell and Condi Rice. As the extreme exceptions, they provide little perspective on reality.

That said, I don't know what public figures we should study. In the current world of politics, I'd start with Barack Obama, Russell Simmons, Michael Steele, and Harold Ford. What do these men have in common that has given them a voice in the political world?

6:33 AM  

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