This essay by rap superstar, political legend and patron of the arts, Mr. Chuck D, appeared in 250 Ways To Make America Better by the Editors of George Magazine published by John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1999.
A portion of the book's proceeds went to the East Harlem Tutorial Program, an award winning non-profit educational program serving children, teenagers and parents.
There are still major factors that continue to keep America rusted at the root. A public consensus remains that actions speak louder than words; however, apologetic words are a lot better than silence. The silence of Uncle Sam has been mistaken by some, as good old American racism. In other words, silence has been a contribution to the pattern of the past. Bill Clinton at least started the ball rolling by apologizing to black folks for U.S. slavery.
Okay, cool. But what must then happen is action after the words, of course. To fix America is akin to fixing a car with many problems. You don't just shine it, change the wheels, and call it a done deal. You have to get under the hood.
Control of education, economics, and enforcement is still a fantasy to the descendants of slaves in the United States. Those three factors are key in determining whether an environment is a community or a plantation/ghetto. Reparations will continue to be a touchy issue for non-blacks who maintain that they weren't there in the beginning without realizing that they have benefited at others' expense.
America should and could consist of a worldly people who recognize who they are and from where they came. Yet people need the proper preparation to understand and control their own destiny. Americans continue to believe that our 2,000-by-3,000-mile area is the be-all, end-all of the world (save a few jet-set trips to Europe) and slap derogatory labels on other countries like "Third World" (completely skipping over the Second World). Our contributions to the planet are ultimately capsized by our immense ill will. With education, people could gain a broad perspective, unlimited in the knowledge of different lands, culture and understanding. But by propagandizing people in the education system, you end up with a processed people, not unlike the processed chickens and cows being injected with hormones. We're shot up with American homogeneity.
The educational process is one-sided. Even though people say supplemental education should come from the home, slavery was such a traumatic experience for so long a time that the paradigm is highly unbreakable without a counter-traumatic program. People need to learn what this country did to become the might United States of America. It wasn't all so peachy keen.
Education should teach people to have and support their own. The whole existence of super-corporations eating up smaller entities takes advantage of the community as it loosens people's sense of togetherness. For example, the Black community has never been tight because it is still suffering the post traumatic effect. The reliance on the super-corporation is a relationship similar to that of the master to the slave owner for necessity and existence.
And what about supercorporations' investments in prisons? That's legalized slavery for the twenty-first century. If you don't have a system that lays out options and education, the people who are suffering the post-traumatic effects of slavery will be conditioned to go right into jail: from one big institution that doesn't supply you with goods to another.
Supercorporations influence the "dumbing down" of Americans. If they foster American's cluelessness by not recognizing the rest of the world, then they can program people into being mindless drones. When people don't have control over their realities in their communities, a fantasy world (perfect for the consumer) can be sold to them. Americans think they are making the choices for themselves, but they're really just handed down in a candy-coated package.
And the emphasis on athletes and entertainers in the Black community is completely out-of-hand. It's not sexy enough for supercorporations to support scientists or teachers, and therefore they're overlooked when it comes to the big bucks. It all boils down to this: a community that is not given the understanding of it's reality will therefore be subjugated to be a slave to a fantasy world. And sports and entertainment are fantasy. Of course, people need releases, but when their outlets become their dependencies, then they're not dealing with the cause at hand. People should be taught to pick and chose their fantasy worlds. not have them forced down their throats.
Ultimately, America needs a sense of worldly accomplishment (look at Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk and Noam Chomsky or their terribly under acknowledged African-American counterparts like chemical engineer, Dr. Yvonne Clark, pioneer of blood transfusion science Dr. Charles Drew, astronaut Guilion Beauford, and newspaperwoman Pearl Stuart) to progress human beings forward to a point where we can take care of the world to make it a wonderful place to exist all the way around, not just in different pockets.
- Chuck D