Day By Day

Monday, May 22, 2006

Is It Time for The Return of Booker T.?

Mark Bauerline, writing in the Chicago Sun Times, urges "Bring Back Booker T." [Washington, for those of you who attended public schools and may not have heard of him.]

He writes:

Too many young black men are not sharing in the progress of American society. It is estimated that only 48 percent of black men earn a high school diploma. In 2003, the illegitimacy rate for African Americans was 68 percent. The prisons and unemployment rolls show similar patterns.

These problems stem less from racism and politics than from prevailing attitudes toward family, school and work. The solution comes from a change in culture, a different ethos: Washington's ethos.

Damaging and unrealistic images and poses surround young people: the hip-hop posture that turns anger and incivility into justified conditions; the press conference that sees racism behind every calamity; the school curriculum that emphasizes past injustice. Washington counters with an affirmative recipe for life, a plan of economic behavior that envisions a better future, not an adverse past.

Let's have fewer assignments of The Autobiography of Malcolm X in the classroom and more of Up from Slavery.

Read the whole thing here.

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