Over the years, I have always asserted when speaking to many “good hearted/well intentioned” cooperate sponsors to my educational projects; that the failure to seriously educate and prepare large numbers of young U.S. citizens of color is not just a matter of donating to a worthy cause, and/or “a good funding public relations move. Denying a quality education in general and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education, in particular; has the short and long-term effect of making our country unprepared to meet the technical, intellectual, environmental, economic and social challenges of the future. I predicted many years ago that “developing” countries would grow the capacity (and need) to absorb their own STEM student graduates; relying on the importation of STEM expertise, at the expense of a willing and talented pool of Black and Latino students, was a recipe for a future human-resource disaster. This problem is further acerbated by having large numbers of U.S. citizens, uneducated and disconnected from the ability to help build our national economy. Further, at the same time the U.S. would experience a shrinking pool of White students, who policy makers do see that it is in the national interest to effectively educate. Denial has the strange effect of not only denying the denied, but also of denying the deniers. Blocking Electoral, Educational and Employment opportunities invites great harm against all of our Nation’s people. For how our nation would benefit greatly from having more people like Ms. Tuff (http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/category/antoinette-tuff/) in our workforce. How many talented Black Americans are living unemployed and unable to contribute their skills and talents on behalf of us all? Black unemployment specifically harms individuals and families, but also hinders the nation’s capacity to solve many of our present problems, and problems we are yet to see. Can we continue to incarcerate such a large number of “talent wasted” young Black and Latino men? Ms. Tuff is a model of what we so desperately require, if we are to survive and thrive. We need the benefits of diverse world views, a different approach of interpretation, an alternative way of seeing problems and their solutions.
Gen. Powell’s (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/22/colin-powell-voter-id_n_3795986.html?utm_hp_ref=politics) warning to a Republican party gone philosophically wild, is instructive. This group’s attempt to turn back the civil rights clock, demonstrates that perhaps there is some truth to the often quoted: “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.” Any cynical attempt to hinder one group’s ability to exercise their right to vote diminishes the legitimacy of our historic claim to democracy. Therefore, we cannot lecture other nations on their lack of “democratic principles,” if at the same time, American state legislators devise multiple road blocks to targeted groups of citizens attempting to engage in the most fundamental of their civil rights. Trying to artificially “grow” the voting power for one group, as you dismiss the voting capacity of another group, faces two major problems that incline this action toward tragic failure. First, it is a matter of biology and birth rates; these vote deniers will not be able to expand the pool of White right-wing voters fast enough (our species has a forty-week gestation period, and in most cases, one baby at a time!) to match the growth in the number of those whose voting rights they seek to deny. Finally, like any last desperate evil act, it will, in fact, inspire unintended outcomes; for the first time in a long time, I am hearing teenagers talking seriously about, and become interested in their voting rights being in danger of being taken away. Engaging young people in this conversation would probably have meant a lot of “on the ground” work, and cost millions of dollars in advertisement. What’s that saying about the danger of poking a quiet bee hive…….