Monday, July 20, 2009

They Call Me "Little Man"

A very good friend of mine sent this to me in an email last week:

I meant to post this last week, but I could not have done this at a more perfect time. After reading one of the most powerful posts from one of my blog brothers Brown Man Thinking Hard, I had to bring this today. His post was centered around education and today's youth. His post stemmed from a conversation on another blog where it was suggested that maybe Black kids are failing in school because the curiculum was too 'Eurocentric' -- a pretty stupid asertion if you ask me. That said, I must say that I agree with Brown Man's post entitled: "Keeping It Real" - Being Stupid On Purpose. Do yourself the favor of clicking the title of his post and have a read; I believe it's well worth it.

Now, after looking at the previous video or teaser for CNN's Black in America 2, I was left to ponder these Socratic questions:

How is it that a man who grew up picking cotton as the grandson of slaves was able to raise a family with 13 kids, and was able to put 5 of them through college? Why is it that parents today are having a hard time getting their kids to graduate high school? How is it, that he was able to do that without any education, but yet the high school drop out rate is what it is today? Oh yeah, just in case you didn't know, it's pretty damn low [Read: Losing Our Future: How Minority Youth Are Being Left Behind by the Graduation Rate Crisis.].

Are kids failing in schools and dropping out because, well, the curriculum is too eurocentric? What other excuses can you come up with that explains what's happening? I'm only asking because like Brown Man, I'm not going to accept that one. If all 13 of "Little Man's" kids can graduate high school in rural Mississippi and 5 of them advance to college, what's the problem? Is the problem the lack of uneducated Black men the likes of "Little Man" raising their kids today? Surely this Black man isn't an anomaly is he?

Listen, I know the subject of this post deals with education as the questions have laid out. But I would be remiss if I didn't shed light on the beauty of this story. It just goes to show that though us Black men get a bum rap in the media. There are many of us out here who do not or will not be held to a certain negative stereotype or perception. I'm willing to bet that there are many more Black men out there like "Little Man" but maybe not as old. I could only hope that CNN with their upcoming Black in America 2 documentary do a good job of highlighting this fact. We are all aware of the negative stereotypes and it is stories like this that should be used to inspire us.

If "Little Man" can triumph against all odds, why can't we all?

Check out one of my favorites from Nina Simone:


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