Being Positive…

I read the government’s recent report  with interest. It is part of their project to “raise the aspirations, attainment and achievement of Black boys and young Black men, enabling them to reach their potential”.

I found it ironic that one of the key suggestions was that black boys need better role models and media representation, yet here is a report that is just one more body of research (albeit with some good suggestions) which highlights the apparent underachievement and low aspirations of black men! 

Also, this study was conducted through talking to 400 black men…and from those 400 they came to the conclusion that black men in general (not just those 400) have low aspirations?! Talk about generalizing and stereotyping!!

If the government wants to raise aspirations, why not conduct a report into the high achievers, the success stories and ask them how they did it? Wouldn’t that provide a much more positive story and model for the very people that they say so desperately need it?

The report acknowledges that there are success stories, yet ignores this in order to focus on the failings. If you want to achieve success, don’t you look at those who have got it already and see how it can be duplicated? We have heard about black underachievement over and over again for so long and it’s kinda boring…

The government cannot call on the media to give positive representation of people of colour, when it continues to churn out the same old stories about low achievement itself. There is another side to the story – let’s hear it please!  

Maybe, similar to accusations levelled at the self-help industry, there is actually now an industry based entirely on the woes of people of colour… ? Booker T.Washington once made this insightful comment: “There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”


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