The story of black Americans is as old as this nation. It is an inspiring struggle for equal rights in the face of slavery, through the Civil War, and then against laws that had the government enforce racial segregation. The prize for this movement for racial justice has always been equal right to compete in schools, in jobs, in the military, at the voting booth and at the swimming pool. The quest has always been about leveling the playing field and giving black people a chance to show their genius.
The civil rights movement “has created the largest, most affluent and politically powerful black population in world history.”
Most black Americans, as they fight to move up economically and put their children in position to succeed, reject any victim mentality. They appreciate that greater opportunities exist for this generation than for any of our predecessors.
Yet there is this hard fact â€” a persistent 25 percent poverty rate among black people today. Sadly, statistics show it is often identified with the same group of people, the same families, from generation to generation. It is the exact opposite of compassion to lie to people about the source of many of their problems when it is clear that they are often hurting themselves.
Middle-class parents tell their children about the value of education, Williams writes. “They regularly discuss with children family rules, current events and how to negotiate difficult situations and people.”
These are middle-class values that benefit people, black or white.
To encourage the black poor to adopt these values is not evidence of self-hate but offering good news about how people can help themselves and their children to succeed. It is good news to know that if you stay in school and at least graduate from high school, then stay in the job market and don’t have a child until you are in your 20s and married, you have little chance of being poor.
Williams wants black academics to be role models, not excuse makers.