This I Believe

Tomas - portland, Oregon
Entered on March 22, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: race

This I Believe

This I believe that successful African American leaders are not reaching out and giving enough back to the African American Communities . W.E.B. DuBois had a theory that the top ten percent of the Black race would rise up and lead our people out of our poverty stricken ghettos, overcoming racism and prejudice here in America. One of the ethical behaviors that disturbs me is one that the majority of the Talented Tenth have chosen to adopt. “The Talented Tenth” have risen up, but instead of reaching back into the community and building bridges for future generations, they have left their past behind. Our Talented Tenth are members of the fancy social clubs, sipping wine and smoking cigars. They wear jewelry that cost tens of thousands of dollars. They will spend more on that than on helping those of us with endless ambition, who struggle to pay for an education. I don’t have control over their actions since it is their choice how to use their money. However, it does disappoint me that a very small percent of scholarships and financial support for African-Americans actually comes from a black owned business or wealthy black persons. Lower-class blacks are more willing to help pay for college than rich black folk. But it is disappointing to see the few people in my community who have managed to scale the mountain, yet have not done anything to help move it.

Now the answer is nothing new, because DuBois has already laid it out for us. I believe that I can have the impact that DuBois speaks prophetically of even though I am not financially equal to The Talented Tenth. I can be one hand that helps to move the mountain that the African-American community in Oregon has struggled with for hundreds of years: the inability my community to establish equality in our Oregon communities. I can use the ideas he invented and incorporate them into my daily life. Community is crucial to the survival of a culture, and it is important that I reach back into my own community and provide opportunities that weren’t necessarily available to me. It’s important that I help continue to build bridges and open doors that were once locked to me. I am a member of The Prospective Gents Club, which is an African-American Rite of Passage program. It is composed of high school males that share the same high goals of success. Being a part of the Prospective Gents Club, we believe in ‘Looking ever upward, Reaching ever backward, and Marching ever forward’. I believe that by leading by example, I can fulfill the dreams that DuBois shared with us in his writings. I can educate about how the opportunities are out there, but they just need a hand to grasp hold of them. With a proper college education I can help instill diversity and community into another generation of Oregonians. This will be but one part of moving my own mountain, and someday, all Oregonians from every community can stand on the same ground with no barriers or mountains.