(Readers: Please note the blog about the 5th revolution in the US is constructed as a story. While not all chapters are linked, I think the story will be more meaningful by starting at the beginning.)

Want a PDF version for Entries #1-10 and 11-20 formatted for tablets and e-books?  Click links for download.  America’s 5th Revolution Volume I (Entries 1-10)  America’s 5th Revolution Volume II (Entries 11-20)

Scene: Jordan calls Rock Man (Introduced Entry #18)

Jordan: “Rock Man, got a few minutes?”

010114_1941_20RockMans1.pngRM: “For you, Jordan, always. What’s up?”

Jordan: “Have as sensitive question and need some advice.”

RM: “You, sensitive? When did this happen? You losing your touch?”

Jordan: “Seriously, need some advice.”

RM: “Shoot.”

Jordan: “For a few years I have wondered why there is Black History month. I understand it started with good intentions but what purpose does it serve today?”

RM: “Keep talking.”

Jordan: “Think about it. The month of February is like looking in the rear view mirror.  And for what?”

RM: “History is important. You, of all people, should understand the importance of history.”

Jordan: “I do but there is a difference between understanding or remembering and spending too much time dwelling on it.  Learn from history and move on.”

RM:  “For the black community, history is very important.”

Jordan:  “I agree history is important but too much history slows progress. You end up living in the past and not looking ahead. You cannot drive very fast looking through the rear view mirror.”

RM:  “Well, what are you proposing?”

Jordan:  “Not sue. That is why I called for advice.”

RM:  “Alright, let’s see how much time is spent looking in the rear view mirror. January has Martin Luther King Day, which is pretty much a national holiday. February has President’s Day for Washington and Lincoln. The entire month is devoted to black history.”

Jordan: “That is my point. Many groups have days that celebrate history — St. Patrick’s Day for the Irish, Columbus Day for many Italians, Greek festivals in many cities, etc. But at most these celebrations are a couple of days…not an entire month.”

RM:  “So maybe blacks are different. Lots of people do not understand the oppression suffered.”

Jordan:  “Here’s where our views might take a different path. Yes, there was oppression and a lot of it was ugly and severe.  But how long is it going to take the black community to get over it?”

RM:  “What do you mean?”

Jordan:  “I mean the Emancipation Proclamation was 150+ years ago. The Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act were more than 50 years ago.”

RM:  “Do you really understand the extent of discrimination against blacks?”

Jordan:  “All ethnic groups have suffered discrimination and many still do. The Irish suffered 100 years ago.  Hispanics suffer today.  Some Christians blame Jews for the death of Jesus…and that was more than 2,000 years ago.”

RM:  “But discrimination against blacks is different.”

Jno-irish-need-applyordan: “Look at the sign from 100 years ago — ‘Help Wanted.  No Irish Need Apply.’  Sound familiar?”

RM:  “Where is this conversation headed?”

Jordan:  “I just look at data. Every other ethnic group but one has managed to move off the bottom rung of the economic ladder within two or three generations at most.”

RM:  “And that one group is blacks?”

Jordan:  “Yes. I said this conversation might be unpleasant. And a lot of people look at the same data I do and ask ‘What’s the problem with blacks?'”

RM:  “What am I supposed to do?”

Jordan:  “That is for you and your colleagues to decide. At a minimum blacks need to start promoting education rather than sports.”

RM:  “A lot of people look up to athletes, especially young people. Young people are also color blind.”

Jordan:  “I agree. I also know when I look at the NFL and the NBA, I see a disproportionate number of blacks.  When I look at those incarcerated, I also see a disproportionate number of blacks.  Yet, when I look at those winning awards for engineering, education or science, especially Nobel Prize winners, I see very few, if any blacks.”

RM:  “Jordan, you are starting to sound like some right-wind Republican. What’s happened to you?”

Jordan:  “Forget the politics and look at the facts. Blacks are on the bottom of the economic ladder. Lots of programs to help, public and private, but no real progress. Why?”

RM:  “Maybe the programs have created a permanent underclass.”

Jordan:  “People make choices about key issues – commitment to education, moral standards, respect for others.  You cannot legislate those choices.”

RM:  “And you are implying that blacks need to change their choices?”

Jordan:  “Exactly what I am implying.”

RM:  “Are you also implying that blacks are the cause of many of their problems?”

Jordan:  “Rock Man, you tell me. Go look at the data. Every ethnic group in the US has suffered discrimination. Every group but one has made significant progress in education and economic mobility. The data speak for the mselves.”

RM:  “Alright, any ideas for a first step to begin making change?”

Jordan:  “We talked about this before. Black parents and cultural leaders should take a stand.  If I were you, one of my first declarations would be no more players to the NFL and no more to the NBA.”

RM:  “Are you nuts?  You’re saying blacks should not participate in the NBA draft or NFL draft?”

Jordan:  “You heard right. The black community needs a radical change.  No more NBA and no more NFL.”

RM:  “What about participating in college football and basketball?”

Jordan:  “Yes, as long as the students qualify academically and they graduate. If they have a scholarship and leave school for whatever reason, no participation in professional football or basketball…at least in the US.  And no ‘gimme classes’ like athletes took at University of North Carolina.”

RM:  “That’s not the only school where that happens.”

Jordan:  “I know but UNC got caught.  Blacks have got to focus on education. Sports are great but not at the expense of education. Colleges in Division III, or whatever they call it now, integrate athletics into academics.”

RM:  “This is really a radical idea. I need to think about it.”

Jordan:  “What’s there to think about? Real change is never made incrementally. Real change always comes from a disruptive force.  Let me remind you it has been 150 years…”

RM:  “I know 150+ years since the Emancipation Proclamation and 50+ years since the Civil Rights Act. So what do you think I should do?”

Jordan:  “What you do is your call. A lot of people are available to help but the black community needs to take the lead.”

RM:  “Jordan, I need more time to think about this.”

Jordan:  “I don’t know why. Waiting will not solve any problems. You need to pull the trigger…maybe ‘get started’ is a better choice of words.”

RM:  “What if the plan…”

Jordan:  “Pardon me for interrupting. Look, whatever you do will not be exactly right.  But so what?  All projects have course corrections.  Think about this project like sailing. Pick where you want to go and then realize the wind is going to shift and you’ll be tacking back and forth. Sometimes the course correction will be minor; other times major. But keep moving toward the end point.”

RM:  “OK but I and the black community will need help.”

Jordan: “I’ll help you personally and marshal other resources but this a battle that the black community needs to lead, not someone else. And radical change often requires new leaders. Think about a different group to lead the charge.”

RM:    “Off we go. I’ll probably be back to you sooner than later. Thanks for your confidence.”