Straight No Chaser: Stolen Moments

By Desi Cortez
Updated: May 2, 2009

DENVER — Whatever happened to “Young, gifted and Black?”

Weigh and measure this one please; the USA Today 2009 All USA high school girls’ basketball teams starting five . . . are all Black. While on the other hand, USA Today’s 2009 All USA College Academic Team, amongst, at least the starting 20 . . . , none are Black. Call me crazy, but I believe this stark black n’ white Kodak Moment to be at the root of what’s holding Black America down.

No Blacks on the All Nerd Team. Is it happenstance, coincidental, a fluke . . .? Tragically, I highly doubt it. What one gets out of life, depends on what one put’s into life.

A third of these big-brained honor roll kids are third world immigrants, hungry, much hungrier then Black and Brown kids, hungry as hell . . . for an education. They and their parents are preoccupied with books, not balls. And it shows.

On one hand, this nation’s silent white majority, the deep-pockets of the investor class – had rather invest in police and prisons . . . then urban education.

This is not by chance, but strategically. And the result of that investment, yes, bingo – we’ve got more Afro-American males in prison then Princeton or Prairie View. The system is set-up, ready, waiting and sadly wanting them to come, one all.

On the other darker hand, Black folks appear to be more then willing to oblige Rednecks meager expectations with that accommodation starting at 6 months old – if your parents are failing to go thru the “ABC’s and 123′s” than they are failing their children from day one, from “Jump Street.”

Education starts the day a child steps out of the womb. Euro-American children at 5 have a vocabulary double that of Black kids. Sorry, I’m not going to try to defend the indefensible. That glaring difference is nobodies fault but the people who surround that child. And that ain’t white folks usually.

Here’s the horrid truth; little Black kids, by n’ large, grow up in newspaper-less homes, Where CNN loses to BET and ESPN every night. Neighborhoods, churches and even schools where basketball and other sports are sadly valued more then pure “intellectual curiosity” and academic achievement.

We’ve been programmed for the last-half-a-century those are our only escape routes.

So, at the end of the day, you get far more hoopsters and gladiators . . . then anesthesiologist or economist. Academic achievement matters, more times than not – because it translates into “staying eligible” in their wide-eyed effort to buy “big momma” a house.

I’d go out on a naked bootleg, with Ronnie Lott in my face – and guarantee these young athletes they can buy their mother the house she never had – if they become an engineer or gynecologist, granted it may not be 17’000 square feet, but it will beat the hell out of the Booker T. Washington Projects.

Oprah’s not wrong to invest in real Black people – Africans, they desire to better their individual plight, while the majority of lost Black American kids, yes, more then half – simply want to floss n’ gloss. They don’t desire books . . . they want IPODs and NIKE gear.

La Unique-qa-sha-na-na-molisa and Ray-Ray, and their parent (sadly no “s”) have been successfully brainwashed to accept the low-expectations American society (White folks) have set for them.

Schools which have Black principals and Black teachers for Black students . . . but no Black parents in the PTA . . . . their drop-out rates are dropping off the charts.

Misplaced priorities and misguided minds.

Tragically, education was once held dear in the eyes of most Black Americans, from Frederick Douglass till the 1970′s – it was the “E-Ticket.” But, by the 80′s – a formal education had been handed over to, considered to be . . . the sole exclusive property of white people.

In far too many circles, it was officially “actin’ White” if you wanted to read n’ rite . . . The day the Oak-Town school board endorsed Ebonics is the day the KKK and the GOP won – when we, as proud Black Americans, knew and accepted our inferior, lesser position – embraced it and defended it.

I personally never did.

Despite who’s ass it inflames, America is my land, few are as deserving of the American Dream then Black Americans, or Mexican and Native Americans . . . we truly got the short-end of the stick. We’ve gave our all. We’ve paid the ultimate price. We’ve caught the most hell, been slighted the most.

No, I refuse to accept that my place in life, the only education I need is one which allows me to open and close the door for those more “more” then me – on a house my people built and defended with their blood, sweat and tears. No man can convince me . . . I ain’t shit.

Nonetheless, the question remains; is this graphic and dramatic contrast – a Hobbit’s tiny handful of black scholars . . . but buckets n’ buckets of Black baller’s . . . unintentional? Well to a degree – but not really.

Granted a significant portion of this pathetic situation Black America finds itself in – is due to American Apartheid; the property status era, Jim Crow, a separate and unequal America up until the 1980′s and the imbedded institutional racism and deliberate intentional exclusion which has doggedly, and I mean capital “D” doggedly remained.

Think Saint Barnard or Bull Mastiff, not Toy Poodle

Nonetheless, for the last quarter-of-a-century there can be no debate concerning the intentional rejection of “education as the key to a better life in America” by the Black underclass if not the Black mainstream . . . and the adoption, the embracement, hell, the glorification of Pimpin’, hustlin’, ho-in’, pushin’, Bangin’, Rappin’ and Ballin’ appear to be consider much more attractive options then teachin’ or doctorin’.

Call me nuts, call me Uncle Tom, but babies, having babies, having babies, every baby’s daddy is doing time or done time – this is a dysfunctional cycle of misery Black America stumbled into after three long centuries of being stripped, beat and sodomized by White folks.

Which now has resulted in unprepared parents pronouncing – “practice your dribbling” as opposed to “let’s go over your multiplication tables.”

Most Black and Latino kids enter the real world of work with the book skills of an 1877 Alabama share-cropper’s kids, yet, with none of that cotton pickin’ kid’s thirst for knowledge.

I’ve been forced to accept, today, in the 21st century, you have uncountable numbers of Black kids, out of ignorance who intentionally turn away from the classroom with its unbelievable access to knowledge and enlightenment and predictably turn to a life of day-to-day survival.

Now don’t get it twisted inside-out, I’m proud of these young people who’re excelling in sports. Elated for the individual superstar scholar athletes like a Skylar Diggins, Brittney Griner or Kelsey Bone – this recognition represents a fantastic accomplishment.

Their GPA’s are stellar. I’m talking about everybody else, the millions who aren’t excelling. The ones who aren’t pouring themselves into E-books as much as they pour in 3-pointers on a Saturday night.

I’m just hoping at some point we, as a people, get that 2:52 AM wake your ass up call, and go back to sleep and start to dream again about being Astronauts, professors and architects again.