Monday, April 28, 2008


I was blessed with the opportunity to listen to Dr. Jeremiah Wright’s address to the NAACP in Detroit, Michigan on Sunday night. Dr. Wright is obviously a brilliant man. I see the pull of his personality and his strong intellect. I also see where he, either purposefully or not, slips in the doctrines of victim hood so rife and cyclical in many (not all) African-American communities. Dr. Wright suggests that black children learn differently. Fair enough, no reason to think otherwise. Dr. Wright suggests that the US system of education is biased against black children. He sites academic sources. Fair enough, I do not doubt that the system of education we depend on in this country is biased away from approximately 17% of the population and toward approximately 70% of the population.

Where I disagree with Dr. Wright is in his assertion that the African-American child, learning in our education system, is significantly disadvantaged in achieving equal success to other kids of different races and different learning styles. In other words, black kids are victims of the US-European system of learning. Dr. Wright said so many words of inspiration in his speech, yet lets the underling principle of victim-hood spoil the whole thing.

Case and point, he starts his address by suggesting that 50 years ago it was only black kids that were corrected when they spoke poor English. I was not allowed to say “ain’t” or use double-negatives and taught the value of communicating in correct English. Not because I was white, but because that value was taught to my parents 50 years ago by their parents. Race had nothing to do with it. Because I did not do enough to heed the adults who tried to teach me proper English and grammar I have suffered academically and now all of you reading this must suffer through usage errors and so much more! Suggesting that black kids are at a significant disadvantage to white, brown or tan kids and that only black kids are hassled to learn certain things whether now or in an incorrect historical anecdote is only perpetuating the myth that to be smart is to act white.

I saw this first hand at Central High School. One of my black peers fought past the teasing of other black kids suggesting he was “white” because he was smart. This gentleman went to college and by all evidence leads a great life. Another of my black peers was in college prep courses with me in the eighth grade but decided for another path in high school. He participated in teasing the before mentioned peer for being smart. Now the second peer who dropped out of the college accelerated courses and teased another black kid for being smart has a prison record. While there is no direct causal relationship between a lack of education and going to prison, there is no doubt that there is a correlation.

Dr. Wright’s words empower insane ideas like being smart is being white and his suggestion that the Federal Government introduced drugs into inner cities empowers the epidemic problem of “stop snitching.”

Dr. Wright has suggested in a recent interview that the problem was that he is a VICTIM of sound bites and that if you would listen to his views in context we would understand his side. Well, Dr. Wright I have listened to an entire speech and found that you are at the very least defending your bias against whites and at the worst actually are a bigot. Education and degrees do not defend someone against the dangers of bias, only the ability to see ones own weaknesses and then to search for truth and understanding do that. Dr. Wright has shown me he is neither aware of his weaknesses nor interested in truth and understanding.

No comments: