Last night I found CNN's Black in America 2 pretty interesting, but what was even more compelling were the comments some of my friends posted on Facebook about the show.
In case you missed it, the show kicked off with a story of a program called Journey for Change. The program was founded by Malaak Compton-Rock, wife of comedian Chris Rock, and through it Compton-Rock selects 30 at-risk youth from Bushwick, Brooklyn to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa to do service projects for poverty stricken communities plagued by AIDS. Compton-Rock's goal is for the journey to give the Bushwick kids confidence and encourage them to better apply themselves in school.
During the CNN special we do see some of the children blossom and break out of their shells. Some do improve their grades, but some do not, despite their new confidence.
I found the program admirable, but one of my FB pals griped about the media once again highlighting the pain and suffering of Africa. What do you think?
The part of the program I enjoyed most was the story of The Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Conn. This year round college preparatory school has a majority black and Hispanic student population, with many students coming from broken homes. Yet it sends 100 percent of its graduating students to college.
During the program the principal of the school said "education is the great equalizer" and this is a statement in which I truly believe. Most of the life experiences and opportunities I have had and the self-confidence I hold are all results of my education. My belief in this statement is one of the main reasons I'm moving to Birmingham to become a teacher.
But one of my FB buddies brought up a very valid point -- today many college graduates are drowning in debt and unemployed thanks to our country's economic downturn. So is education really the great equalizer or just a waste of money?
The CNN special concluded with a segment on affluent Black Americans. Coming from a low income family, this is a community to which I have never been able to relate. But when a friend of mine called the people in this segment "Afro-Saxons" it struck a nerve. While clever, that little joke implies that wealth is reserved for white America. Is that really the right attitude?
Let me know what you think of these issues and don't forget to tune in tonight for the second part of Black in America 2.