Originally posted in May of 2006, but certain recent events have made me want to post it again.
I like to watch educational TV. The history channel, Discovery, Science... you name it.
The other day, one of these channels ran a feature on the life of George Washington Carver, and it was fascinating.
As I was driving this last Sunday night, thinking about the program and the life of the man, I began to wonder about some things.
Where is the so-called (and largely self-appointed) "Black Leadership" these days? They should be holding him up as an example of what can be accomplished by one man in America. I was certainly inspired by this story of the boy born into slavery, who went on to become one of the top twenty (if not one of the top ten!) greatest Americans of all time. The only time I recall hearing about Carver in school was the first grade, circa 1979, from a white teacher. At that time, I don't recall there being a single black student in the class. (There was one, in later years, and I believe a total of three in our whole school.)
Any true "Leadership" would hold George Washington Carver up as the ultimate success story for black Americans. Instead, these "Leaders" rail on opression and blame, essentially telling the flock of sheep they lead that they aren't good enough to do anything for themselves, and it's up to other people to stop "opressing" them and "holding them down."
I believe this "Leadership" is afraid of Carver. They wish that he had never existed. If their flock ever pay attention to this history, they will notice that even in an era when "He's black" was the only excuse anyone ever needed to refuse admittance anywhere, there was a boy who put himself through school, a man who put himself through college, and he had the unmitigated gall to go on to become a highly respected college professor and agricultural researcher in the heart of Alabama, arguably one of the most bigoted states in all the South.... Some sixty years before affirmative action! (And just incidentally, saved much of the South from economic disaster which would have resulted in famine, plague, and death for many thousands of people, black and white.)
But these "Leaders" have little worry. Any attempt by a teacher to inject any real substance, such as studying this inspiring man's life, into the curriculum of a public school will be met with protests and threats. They'd much rather the schools be teaching kids about condoms.