The news made a big deal out of the fact that one Dr. Dre who made millions as a rapper gave 70 million dollars to the University of Southern California to create a school dedicated to Hip Hop. All I could think of was that’s just what we need, another class of rappers.
I thought of the 70,000 kids that will be kicked out of Head-Start as a result of the current Federal budget crisis. With all of that, we need another group of rappers to rap to kids who can’t read, write and reason. I thought of the preachers who take our money on Sunday morning and use it for their personal wealth rather than for the good of the community. I thought of the Charter School movement that takes our tax dollars to create a few schools for a few kids while the masses are forced to go to non-productive schools. It’s as if you have 10 children and you decide to invest in two, and the rest are on their own. Don’t we owe it to all of the kids to treat them equally? That’s what the Taliban does, educate the boys and shoot the girls who have the audacity to want to go to school and get an education. The worst part is that the statistics are showing that Charter Schools are not producing a bumper crop of geniuses either. Why not improve the whole school system?
It’s called Discrimination. The conservatives want us to call it choice. But who’s making the choice? Didn’t we get enough of that when we had choice in who gets a job and choice in who gets to learn to read? The problem was that the choice was to white students. Now I guess the Charter School graduates are quasi- or semi-white, so they get a choice.
At the end of the day, this new choice thing is nothing more than privatization of the public education system designed to make the owners rich at the expense of our children. The conservatives want to reduce government size so that a few people can perform public services like mail delivery by UPS or Fed Express at the expense of Post Office jobs. They don’t want the Affordable Health Care program, known as Obamacare, because the private health care providers and insurance companies can’t make as much money.
Think about it. Why should private insurance companies and hospital owners get rich because poor people get sick? They want to shut down Social Security to make each of us save and invest our own money in the conservative companies and make them richer at public expense. Social Security has worked all these years, why fix it if it ain’t broke? When I was young we had a poem for this: “If you’re white, you’re all right, if you’re brown you can stick around, but if you are Black, get back. Reverend Lowery surprised the nation at President Obama’s first inauguration when he recited that old poem which is familiar to Blacks of my age.
When President Obama spoke at the 2013 Morehouse graduation commencement services, this past Sunday, he reminded the graduates that they owe it to the next generation to reach back and help. He reminded us all that the previous generations what W. E. B. Dubois called, “The Talented Tenth” had given so much to those of us who have come after. He reminded us that Thurgood Marshall, Ralph Bunche, Ralph Abernathy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had given back much, opening the doors for those of us who have reached an amount of success today.
Now it is this generation’s turn to reach back and give back. To the graduates and to Black men, specifically, he reminded us that we weren’t born on third base. “Someone paved the way out of slavery, Jim Crow, and discrimination.” He said, in effect, your experience as a Morehouse Man gives you special insight. “Help someone behind you.”
He concluded his speech by saying, “if you have succeeded, you have a special responsibility to invest in and help those children who are behind you, until everybody has a seat at the table.” As President Obama reminded us, “There, but for the grace of God go I”, and each of us!