Author Walter Dean Myers: It’s Back to The Fifties with Every (Black) Man/Woman for Themselves

Above is a link to a great interview with author Walter Dean Myers that has appeared in a recent In These Times I cannot give it enough justice, except to provide the link. Thanks to NeoGriot. An excerpt:

What would you like to see President Barack Obama do or say about the state of the black community?

I would love to see him acknowledge that we are losing our youth and that we’ve lost the benefits we gained from the Civil Rights Movement. Look, equal opportunity doesn’t mean diddly-squat if you’re not equal. If I were fighting a heavyweight, you could tell me that I have equal opportunity because I have two arms and two legs, but the reality is that I have none whatsoever. And we’re turning out these kids at a fantastic rate who are so far behind educationally that they have no shot at getting a decent job. How are these kids going to make a living in a country in which manufacturing is totally lost?

And then people complain about “the trash” in the streets and justify harsh police tactics by not giving a damn. And don’t talk about it’s up to the families, because with no jobs and no fathers, there is no family unit raising children right.

What is getting in the way of the African-American community organizing as it did in the ’60s and demanding that it be treated like part of this country?

The African-American community is divided as it never has been in the past. The black middle class and upper middle class no longer feel the connection to the poor that they used to. I remember when Malcolm X was alive and he said, “What do they call a black man with a Ph.D.? A nigger.”

Today, that’s not happening. Racism exists but it’s no longer legally protected anywhere in the States. Too many blacks are wallowing in the comforts of their first-class rides and not realizing that the difficulties of the lower classes are at least partially racially based and threaten us all. It feels like the 1950s all over again: Everyone is in it for themselves.

Myers wants to help mentor young black kids coming up. I hope that mentoring includes young girls as well because there is a whole black female generation going into gangs as well.  Saving these children is the point of this interview, but it certainly gives one food for thought.  Not that I didn’t know some of the things that he talks about already.

~ by blksista on May 11, 2011.

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