Black parents are known to push their children hard to go to school and get a quality education. Black parents teach their children that the key to success is an education that may lead to a job with a good company and with good pay. There are many resources established for the funding of minority students to go to school. Scholarships, grants, and a variety of other programs exist for the higher education of black youths. At one time there was little argument against the idea that a good education can lead to a good future.
But today many black families send their children off to college as if that in itself was the goal. There are so many young black adults in college who have no plan or particular interest in using college to help them achieve a particular profession. A lot of these students assume that they will just go to college and hang around until they can make their minds up. Essentially, these people view college as little more than a daycare for young adults.
There was a time when students would actually express a career interest long before they even graduated from high school. For example the student would say they would like to be a lawyer or an architect and it would be obvious that college would be essential for the legal or architectural career path. But so many of our young black adults really have no clue as to what profession they want to pursue. A number of our young college students waste valuable time and thousands of dollars trying to get to know themselves. A young black adult trying to determine who they are is a wonderful thing. But unfortunately not every black family has the resources to waste money on college daycare.
The emphasis for black people to go to college developed in part from the success of the civil rights movement. For the longest of times black people were denied a quality education let alone a quality higher education. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 the virtually unobtainable luxury of higher learning became very achievable and many black families pursued college educations for their children as an indication of the black community’s achievement. Unfortunately it also developed an impression that certain skilled or craftsman professions were no longer judged to be praiseworthy or respectable.
There is an impression that certain careers are beneath black individuals. Not many black people are pushing their child to be a master plumber, a certified automobile mechanic, a construction worker, or a master carpenter. However, these jobs can be just as essential if not more important to the survival of our black communities and neighborhoods than having our young adults become engineers for Exxon/Mobile or an advertising executives for Coke-a-Cola. While working for corporate America may be truly wonderful to have on a resume what real impact would they have on our black neighborhoods? The black community that is drilling for oil out in the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t exist. And some people may argue but the fact remains that we would do a whole lot better if Coke-a-Cola and other companies like it kept their teeth rotting, chemical laden elixir away from the black community and our children.
Assuring that the white dominated American society recognized the fact that the black community should be represented in areas of education and employment was truly an achievement. American society fought against black people and the civil rights movement each and every step of the way. But the gains made during the civil rights era have turned into losses in the neo-conservative political and economic landscape that falls across America today. A white person will charge an institution with reverse discrimination because they would have better grades than the minority who was given an opportunity to help a company or institution of learning diversify their population. However, the fact is lost that grades are not the lone criteria for determining success or failure in a job or a field of education.
More than just a good number of black professionals with higher educations and degrees the black community needs a wide variety of service providers and entrepreneurs to help carry us into the future. It may be understood that a well rounded pool of people in a variety of professions is necessary for the survival of a community. But many parents do little to push our children into careers that don’t require a paycheck from corporate America whose interest lies exactly opposite of the black community for the most part. And then we holler about discrimination when our black professionals become the victims of downsizing or profit efficient labor force adjustments or whatever it’s called these days.
No one is going to export a plumbing job overseas to a cheaper work force. An electrician from India is going to have a seriously expensive commute so it’s a sure bet that type of job is safe as well. It may sound nice to have a son or daughter who works on the legal team of any one of the corporate American conglomerates who helps defend their employer’s right to build deficient products that put the population at risk and helps destroys the environment. But it is nice knowing that our young black adults are in professions that actually help develop, maintain, and defend the black community as well. There are a lot of good respectable jobs for our young adults that require a good college education. But there are a ton of good respectable professions where college really isn’t all that necessary.