Thursday, January 25, 2007


It Doesn't Get Any More Basic

Juan Williams, Senior Correspondent for NPR, was the Freedom Center yesterday. His message was simple, his audience receptive.

This is what he had to say... and does it get any more basic than this:

Williams challenged the black community to take these steps to pull themselves from poverty:
Graduate from high school.
Stay in the job market.
Don't get married before age 20, and don't have children until marriage.

If those 3 steps could be followed, so much would change. Now I am not here to say that there aren't challenges there. Staying in school and graduating should be achievable. Staying in the job market is potentially a harder task, but mostly because step 1 isn't completed.

The final one is pretty simple too. Now, I am not here to say that there aren't reasons why some people end up as single parents. I am also not here to say that it's impossible for a single parent to raise a successful family. What I am here to say (and more accurately, agree with) is that getting established, maturing, getting married later and THEN having children, is a great reciepe for success.

Now take his three steps to success and compare them to what is actually happening in the black community in the US, from Juan Williams' speech:

"Fifty percent of African-American children are dropping out of high schools"
"The number of blacks in poverty is more than double the national average."
"Seventy percent of black children are born to single mothers today".

If you believe in the path to success laid out by Juan Williams, then a comparison to reality crystalizes the issues faced by the black community today... now the real question.... How do you reverse this trend and create a path to success?

More here in the Enquirer article

"Staying in school and graduating should be achievable."

Sure, it should be...unless you're from a broken home, live in poverty, have terrible role models, and go to deteriorating schools (I'm guessing you didn't go to Washington Park elementary?).

Read Jonathon Kozol's "Shame of the Nation" and see if you still feel the same way.

And let's stop talking about the "black community." Ken Griffey Jr's kids aren't going to school in OTR. It's race AND class.
Those points seem basic for the poverty class, but no one is teaching the basic life skills to them to help them achieve those goals. They are at a true disadvantage.
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