Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Pursuit of Happyness: Stereotype Busting

Will Smith stars in an underdog story with a twist--it's a story that happens a lot in this country and gets scant notice. What is the story? It's the story of a black single father who works to change his lot in life. He overcomes homelessness and joblessness. Today, the man is a millionaire owner of an investment firm.

U.S.A. Today's DeWayne Wickem says this:

The movie, based on Gardner's book by the same title, is the kind of story that continues to escape the notice of many news organizations. The black poor are more likely to show up in unavoidable disaster stories such as those produced by Hurricane Katrina � about people isolated by poverty and misfortune and waiting for rescue.

But like Gardner, most blacks who are mired in poverty work mightily to save themselves. Few are as successful as Gardner is, but most manage to eke out a living that lifts them above dependence on government handouts.

Another story that isn't told in the media is this: Many black success stories have their mom AND THEIR DAD to thank. Just having a dad around seems to promote success. Let's look at some famous blacks:

  1. Michael Jordan--
    Michael Jordan learned to be a man because his father taught him. He may have lost his teacher, but not his teachings. Unlike human life, they are ageless, timeless, eternal. In his son, a part of James Jordan--the best part--still lives. Michael is his father's heir apparent. He proved that on October 6 when he walked away from basketball to become Air. A Parent.
  2. Tiger Woods--
    "He did a lot of different things, but I tell you what, he always it was interesting thing about dad is every time he played, he always wanted to teach a lesson. That's just how he was. So every time we played, every weekend, there was always a lesson to be learned, and he always used to just keep harping on me that; learn something from this round. It doesn't always have to apply to golf. Each and every round, the things you deal with in golf can be life experiences on a smaller scale; it's a microcosm. That's something dad was always harping on me about, to try to get an understanding of that."
  3. Beyonce Knowles-
    They believed in her so much that Beyonce's father quit his job to manage Destiny's Child while her mother, Tina, worked long hours at her hair salon to support the family.

    Her mother recalls that time, saying, “It was very stressful because we went from having two really great incomes to having one. We had to scale down the house. Sell the cars. It was a really tough time for us.”

    Did people think you were nuts?

    Tina Knowles says, “Oh yeah, people thought we were nuts a lot more than we did. They really thought we were crazy.”
There are really too many accomplished people to mention. Condoleeza Rice, for one. Children need their father. These celebrities need to trumpet the influence their fathers had on their success (most do this). We need movies. We need the spotlight shown on men being men.

I'm so glad that Will Smith decided to take on this project. Hopefully, it will give people hope and bust some stereotypes along the way.

1 comment:

Chalmers said...

Colin Powell?

Bill Clinton? He was, after all, America's "first black president."