Grace Williams explains how Black Americans need to stop acting like victims:
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It is a cry of many Black Americans that ,”We have not yet reached the Promised Land.” and “When will we reach our Promised Land.” Guess what? This is the 21st century and those mantras are tired and worn out. We Black Americans must create our Promised Land through high intellectual and academic achievement in addition to a prodigious work ethic.
Sadly, many Black Americans believe that they need a savior to help them to achieve educational and socioeconomic parity. I heard that many Black Americans state that they voted for Barack Obama to be President of the United States solely because he is Black. A lot of Black Americans pinned all of their hopes and dreams on President Obama, praying and hoping that he would get them out of a hopelessly dire socioeconomic situation and into a more affluent lifestyle. Now many Black Americans are displeased with President Obama because they believed that he did not create for them the housing and jobs that he promised that he would create.
Many Black Americans contend that they are blameless for the educational and socioeconomic morass they are in. This belief and ideology are not only prevalent among lower socioeconomic classes of Black Americans but also among a few middle and upper middle socioeconomic classes of Black Americans. For example, one maternal cousin once removed, who has a Master’s Degree in Psychology and is in a high-level administrative position, steadfastly maintain that “the man” is holding “us brother/sisters back”.
Every Saturday morning in my area(Harlem) without fail, in a park opposite that of my apartment complex, there are a group of Black Americans led by the Reverend Al Sharpton shouting repeatedly, ” No justice, no peace!” as if only doing this will obtain them quality education, housing, and job equality. Many Black Americans want to be rescued. It seems that they are waiting for a Great Savior to come to Earth and make everything copacetic.
Each time I go into the African-American section of Barnes & Nobles and any other book store, 75% of the books regarding the Black American cultural experience are about Black victimology and 25% of the books are about Black achievement, excellence, and self-empowerment. Many of the subjects pertaining to Black American culture on some Black-made DVDs and CDs stress Black victimology and how we are oppressed by the enemy. Seldom do I find any Black-made DVDs and CDs stressing Black education, achievement, empowerment and how to be socioeconomically successful. Finding a book on Black American culture that is not imbued with the victimization mentality is analogous to finding a needle in a haystack.
Tom Burrell, Black American author of BRAINWASHED: CHALLENGING THE MYTH OF BLACK INFERIORITY asserted that Black American students are the worst students in the country. Many Black American leaders cited institutional racism and poor socioeconomic living conditions. According to the Education Trust, only a minute 12% of Black American fourth graders were reading at their grade level and beyond; however, an abysmal 61% of Black American fourth graders lacked rudimentary reading skills.
Now let us look at the racism factor. To reiterate, yes there is institutionalized racism in this society not only against Blacks but all people of color. However, studies authenticate that Black students in Caribbean and African families outachieve Black American students in the academic arena. A second study showed that middle and upper middle class Black American high school students had similar SAT scores to lower socioeconomic class Caucasians. Regarding socioeconomic class, it has been substantiated that Asians in poor neighborhoods are high academic achievers and score high on SAT tests. So the variables of race and socioeconomic classes are declared invalid. Now, what is the underlying factor which is a determinant of the academic underachievement of the Black American student?
Many Black students are told by their parents, relatives, and peers that they are performing well “as long as they pass the course.” In the Black American student milieu, they are told that education is for nerds and to “stay real/Black” and “not to act white” i.e. being a high academic achiever. In the Black American student milieu, the high achieving Black American student is often stigmatized, ostracized, and/or worse by the lower achieving Black American student. In many Black American families, intellectualism and academic achievement is not highly prized.
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