For the past decade, we as African Americans have “cursed” and “discussed” issues related to our young African American males. And where do we go from here? In response, grants magically appeared and programs were established to address the “miseducation” of an entire generation of young black males. Unfortunately, we have once again taken the “band-aid” approach and have failed to look at the root causes of the problems. There is a quote that says, “I have met the enemy and they are us!” For African Americans, in the past, we have rightfully pointed our fingers at “the man” or “the system” as our worst enemies. Unfortunately, pointing fingers tends to cause us to assume a posture of hiding our heads in the sand and not approaching the solutions from a systemic or “critical thinking” approach. In September of 2010, my administrative position with the Dallas County Community College District was eliminated due to budget cuts. The real reason was “political” but that’s another story. Regardless of the “why”, I was devastated-26 plus years of administrative work, gone with the stroke of a pen. Hard times had hit home or so I thought. Fortunately, I was able to turn to my first love – teaching. Currently, I am teaching not for the money but for the satisfaction associated with being in a position to directly impact students that look like me. Administrators change organizational dynamics, but teachers change lives. I am proud to say that now “I change lives”. My foundation for changing lives is Occam’s Razor. Occam’s Razor is a philosophical construct that says that for any problem there are multiple solutions and ultimately the simplest solution is the best. Following Occam’s Razor, allow me to share with you, G’s law of the classification of people:
All people fall into four distinct categories: Informed, misinformed, ignorant, and stupid.
Informed people have possession of factual information. Misinformed people think they possess factual information but don’t. Ignorant people are people that “don’t know that they don’t know”. Stupid people are people that “know that they don’t know” and don’t care. If you fall into the “informed” category, you have the responsibility to teach! Our job is to motivate the informed, correct the misinformed, educate the ignorant and isolate the stupid. Stupidity is contagious and self-replicating.
For hundreds of years, many African Americans were misinformed or encouraged to maintain ignorance. Of course, there was Fredrick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, and Booker T Washington. Unfortunately, these individuals were the exceptions and not the rule. With the 13th constitutional amendment, slavery ended but ignorance did not. Our youth (male and female) have moved from involuntary ignorance to voluntary stupidity. In order to make a significant impact on the current generation of young African American males and females, we must accept the fact that we must take an active role via mentoring, modeling, educating and supporting our young people. As elders, without our focused intervention an entire generation of African American youth will not only be lost but also will become victims of their own ignorance and worst case scenario stupidity.