Black Author Dr Boyce Watkins to Barack Obama: Don’t Kill a Dream, Supplement It

“You can’t find a job unless you are a really, really good basketball player. Which most of you brothers are not. I know you think you are. But you’re not. You are overrated in your own mind. You will not play in the NBA. You are probably not that good a rapper. Maybe you are the next Little Wayne, but probably not. In which case you need to stay in school.”
I respect Senator Obama, but after hearing these words, I am not sure how I feel. I am the first to speak to youth in the school system about the value of education and having a back up plan. But I am the last to kill their dreams. I am always fully aware that, although the odds are against it, I may be speaking to the next Shaquille O’neal or Lebron James.
I certainly agree that too many young black males focus on rapping and shooting hoop, but this idea that nearly all of them see this as their only potential career is misguided. I hope that’s not Obama’s belief. What’s worse is that we are not addressing the fact that horrific inner city school systems kill a million dreams every day. I’ve seen kids and parents try to do the right thing, attend every class and give 100%, only to get an inferior education.
So, while I encourage Barack to keep kids focused, I don’t agree with the notion of stepping up and spitting on their dreams. That kid you’re talking to may have potential that spans a scope broader than our limited minds can see. I can even recall well-intended adults telling me that my dream of becoming a strong black college professor one day was too risky and that I should live a quiet little happy career with a picket fence. The truth was that God’s plan for me was greater than what they were able to envision.
I don’t think that Obama was trying to kill any dreams, but he may have done so with those words. Don’t kill a dream, supplement that dream. That is my message to Barack.

Published in: on July 9, 2008 at 7:25 am  Leave a Comment  

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