Racism has been one of the most critical issues facing America since the historical times of the colonial period. The grievances acquired from the racism that originated from the colonial era are affecting the Hispanic and African Americans to such a level that they believe they cannot succeed in the sharing of the American dream (Williams, 2006). The African-American leaders in power in this modern world have contributed to the spreading of the victim mentality among the youth. This is because instead of focusing on addressing the major issues affecting the African-Americans due to their own mistakes, their voices are only heard when they are talking about some of the modern forms of modern day racism such as the police brutality exercised against the African-Americans. This does not mean that racism does not exist in modern day America. It means that if the African-Americans are ready and willing to overcome the victim mentality, they should rise-up to the levels of success that they have never dreamed or thought of. Racism persists in the modern day America but this does not mean that the African Americans cannot succeed to attain the American dream.
Victim mentality as drawn into the minds of the youth by the modern day African Americans is an issue that has been neglected since history. The issue has given birth to such crisis as ending up in jail for the African-American youths at a tender age, massive school dropping-out, engaging in the twisted and misleading hip-hop culture, engaging in marriages in which the youths cannot show any form of responsibilities as well as giving birth to children out of wedlock (Williams, 2006). These are the major issues brought out in the book Enough written by Juan Williams. The major issue discussed in the book is the failure of the African-American leaders such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to remove the notion of failure in the minds of the youth, who are the future leaders. This is so that they can understand that their success should not be impeded by racism. If they take charge of their lives and decide to succeed, they can make it even through all the obstacles that stand on their way to success. The ideas articulated in the book are inspired by the 2004 speech that Bill Cosby gave during the NAACP gala.
In his speech, Bill Cosby tried to encourage the African-Americans to take advantage of the opportunities that were opened after the enactment of both the Voters Rights Act and Civil Rights Act as well as the articulation of all schools by the Brown decision. This means that the African-Americans possessed the power to succeed though they were not taking advantage of it because their focus is wallowing in self-pity (Williams, 2006). Borrowing from these ideas, Juan Williams wrote his book to bring out the same ideas while at the same time focusing on the different aspects neglecting and providing the solutions to these aspects which when taken up, could steer to success. In the book, such facts as the poverty rate in the African-Americans is 25%, while 70% of African-Americans are born out of wedlock is brought out to emphasize on the problems that the African-Americans bring on themselves. These problems can be solved through the changing of mentalities. The first initiators of the changing of the minds should be the leaders. To emphasize the point that the African-Americans can succeed despite racism, the book gives examples of the African-Americans who rose above racism to succeed.
These people include Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth. The book talks about Booker T. Washington who believed that opportunity should not be overshadowed by grievances. It also talks about W.E.B. Dubois, who asserted that the main goals of African-American leaders should be economic stability, education, perseverance and thrift. Malcolm X is also mentioned in the book due to his visions of black warriors, kings and queens. This assures the fact that success can be acquired through the changing of mindsets. The book brings out the principles to be adopted to assure success. The first principle is that all youths should clear high school education, after finishing school they should remain in the job market so that they can earn experience as well as building their resumes (Williams, 2006). The third principle encompasses the staying away from marriage until the twenties, so that the youth can acquire more knowledge on responsibility such that when married, they can be more responsible in taking care of their families. The last principle involves the giving birth of children after marriage to reduce the number of children born out of wedlock. The book brings out the Stop Snitching campaign as a way of encouraging crime, which should be avoided.
What the book neglects to emphasize on as emphasized by other writers such as John McWhorter is affirmative action, which should be taken by the leaders. The book only talks about the roles of the people and the community in enhancing success but it does not bring out the affirmative action to be taken. All people have failed, not only the African-Americans. This is because of the popularization of the ghetto leading to the perception that no neighborhood is safe especially with the African-American occupation (Williams, 2006). This has led to the abandoning of some neighborhoods by the white Americans culminating to the decline of development, which leads to the downhill trend of the economy. This affects the job market in such away that only those people with higher education can access jobs leaving out the African-Americans who finished high school with the promise of getting jobs. This discourages many African-Americans leading to their engagement in crime. Jonathan Kozol, the author of the book on education that sparked a lot of discussion, brings out this fact. The other aspect not spoken at length in the book is racism because the author has not taken in depth racism into consideration such that some of his theories may not work as stipulated by James Baldwin, an author who wrote about race.
Though the book contains some misgivings, it has enlightened many African-Americans on the many issues that they have been neglected. Social-cultural stability as per the views of the world depends on the elimination of racism, which has led to the failure of the African-Americans such that unless it is eliminated then the African-Americans will not succeed. This is a view that should be changed based on the views brought out in the book because the book stipulates that if the African Americans could deviate from the victim mentality, then they would be successful (Williams, 2006). The book has enhanced my understanding of the fact that racism should not be the obstacle that restricts all people from attaining success because all people have the ability to succeed as long as they change their mindsets. Leaders should instead of enhancing victim mentality, encourage the African-Americans to overcome the forces of racism and succeed. The failure of the African Americans is not only in the hands of the racist white Americans but also in their hands too, if they do not change their mindsets. The book has challenged my intellectual
Knowledge about the effects of racism
This book is a revelation to most African-Americans who have lived under the notion that their problems are because of racism. It has highlighted the actions taken by the
African-Americans, which bring about failure in their lives. Most engage in pre-marital sex leading to the births of many children out of wedlock who cannot be accorded the care they need. Many of the people are dropping out of school and engaging in crimes because they cannot get jobs as well as many are marrying at a tender age thus they cannot take the responsibility of their families. If the youth can only get married in their twenties, then they would be more responsible. The principles highlighted in the book can help many African-American youths to realize their American dream if they are followed to the latter (Williams, 2006). The book has its shortcomings in that it does not provide the affirmative action to be taken and it has viewed racism in a sophisticated manner. African-Americans should therefore take charge of their lives starting with the leaders who should change the mindsets of the youth. In conclusion, racism persists in the modern day America but this does not mean that the African-Americans cannot succeed to attain the American dream.
Williams, Juan. Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-end Movements, and Culture of Failure that are Undermining Black America and What we can do About It. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 2006. Print.