Thoughts for Martin Luther King Jr. Day from Armstrong Williams and KRS-ONE

Armstrong Williams: "I still believe that liberalism has not solved our most basic problems. Instead, it has put us in the mindset that we have to be fed government programs, instead of being given access to capital and the opportunity to create our own jobs. I take heart in the fact that the younger generation of black Americans is finally saying it is time to move beyond the basic covenants of liberalism and finally face who we are and what we need, not solely as blacks, but as individuals. But you know what? The onus should not just be on us. True equality is a two way street. And every time I hear a white person remark about how Condoleezza Rice “speaks well,” I am reminded that the other side isn’t doing their job."

KRS-One: "How long shall we reminisce over the glory days of the Civil Rights Movement without continuing the struggles and maintaining the victories of such a movement today? How long shall we romanticize the fact that our ancestors were civilization builders without even attempting to build any such civilization for ourselves today? All of this is a disgrace to the very greatness of our elders and ancestors! By talking about our ancestor's greatness and not continuing in the footsteps of such greatness do we not betray the very greatness that we are speaking of? It's better to remain ignorant of your ancestor's achievements than to know of your ancestor's achievements and do nothing to continue their legacy! Is this not a traitor to their very ideas? A traitor to the movement? Is this not a true sell-out?"


Paul Hue said...

These comments sound right to me. Most of the productive non-black people in the US are pretty ignorant of the accomplishments of their so-called genetic ancestors. And I've found no evidence that the test scores of any students increase along with their awareness of the accomplishment of their genetic ancestors. And to the extent that such awareness holds any value, why not stress to black kids that their genetic ancestors include crackers?

Nadir said...

Paul, did you read the articles?

Paul Hue said...

I didn't realize that there was more than you posted. I read both essays, and they confused me. KRS1, among his comments, is fixated on a factor central to "afro-centricism", but found nowhere else among successful people: knowledge of ancestors, vs. just focusing on daily tasks and aspirations. I used to buy and sell that line. I fully believe that there is great power in learning history, but I have come to realize that most people in the world who pay their bills, achieve employment or business ownership, and otherwise advance in the world, know very little about history, including what race-dividers and catalogers would assign as "their" history.

Did Bill Gates, Sam Walton, Steve Jobs, or Michael Dell know much about George Washington, Oliver Cromwell, the Federalist Papers, or the origins of WWI while they were creating their massive businesses? Did black students in Harlem back in 1950 have average standardized test scores better or worse then, when their history classes focused on white folks, or now, with "diversity" history?

Do the non-white immigrants who are out-performing white folks in the US today know more about "their" history than the average cracker? I seriously doubt it.

Nadir said...

"Do the non-white immigrants who are out-performing white folks in the US today know more about "their" history than the average cracker? I seriously doubt it."

I'm sure you are quite wrong there. Ask one of your Indian friends how much they know about their family lineage.

Native Americans talk about their ancestors. I've spoken with an Irish nurse who could trace her ancestors back to County Cork. A guy I know named Pete Peltier is well aware of his French-Canadian roots.

Just because you don't care about where you came from doesn't mean other people don't want to know. In fact there is a science called geneology where people study their roots or someone else's.

Paul Hue said...

Nadir: These people might trace their family histories back to county cork, but have they ever read any Flannery O'Conner? Do they know who Michael Collins is? Clearly knowlege of history is no prerequisite for success in America.

Paul Hue said...

The Irish have been one of the most economically, politically, and socially successful groups in America. However, they harbor little or no information about Irish history, and certainly no notion that "their" people ever created any great civilization. I grew up in a house with an Irishman who was also an historian. I understand that the Irish have produced great writers, but as far as I can tell, the Irish achieved no civilization until civilization was imposed on them by the brutal english.

However, these Irish kids in the US did tend to have excellent K-12 educations, and learned what used to be the standard world and American history, which included very few Irish (other than authors), but lots of Greeks, Romans, Brits, Germans, and French. In my dad's Irish-dominated catholic high school, he learned French, not Gealic (the language native to Ireland, which was extinguished by their english conquerors). Black kids in Harlem in those days (according to studies compiled by Thomas Sowell) also learned this same history. And their average test scors then were:

1. Better than today's average black test scores.
2. Better than today's average WHITE test scores!
3. Better than the average white test scores of those days (1940s - 1950s).