(Readers: Please note the blog about the 5th revolution in the US is constructed as a story. While not all chapters are linked, after reading a few recent entries, you might want to start at the beginning. More about the blog and about the author. )

Scene: Jordan and Rock Man continuing conversation about how to begin getting blacks off the bottom rung of the economic ladder. First conversation. More about Rock Man.


Jordan: “OK, Rock Man, let’s get back to the topic at hand. How do we get blacks off the bottom rung of the economic ladder?”
010114_1917_19RockManCo1.pngRock Man: “Jordan, seems like we’ve had a version of this conversation before.”
Jordan: “We had it before your sabbatical. But nothing got resolved. And the need for a plan keeps gnawing at me. It should gnaw at you even more.”
Rock Man: “Maybe I’m too close to it…or maybe used to it.”
Jordan: “We need to change some thinking. It has been 150+ years since the Emancipation Proclamation. It has been 50+ years since the Civil Rights Act. 150 years is 6-7 generations.”
Rock Man: “A very long time in those terms. You have some advice?”
Jordan: “Yes, but like much of this conversation, not politically correct.”
Rock Man: “Let me guess. Blacks need to take the lead and quit following.”
Jordan: “The man did learn something on sabbatical. Seriously, that needs to happen. Blacks need to figure out a plan, spell out the key points and then, if necessary, ask for help.”
Rock Man: “Any ideas where to start? Tell me your idea Contro-man.”
Jordan: “What’s with the Contro-man? What are you talking about?”
Rock Man: “You’re bringing up a very controversial topic – why do blacks remain at the bottom of the economic ladder. You ready for all the heat when this starts to get public attention?”
Jordan: “If you think the conversation so far has been controversial, have another sip of coffee.”
Rock Man: “Keep talking Contro-man.”
Jordan: “I casually mentioned this idea before but we never really put much meat on it. One other rule when we discuss this topic.”
Rock Man: “What’s the rule?”
Jordan: “There’s always a lot of finger-pointing and blaming when this come up. Too much of government something caused something else. A lot of looking in the rearview mirror and trying to figure out who’s to blame.”
Car Rock Man: “Jordan, if there’s one thing I remember about all our conversations, it’s that you cannot drive very fast looking in the rearview mirror.”
Jordan: “I’m glad you remember that. Now, let’s start looking out the windshield and driving faster.”
Rock Man: “I’m mashing the accelerator.”
Jordan: “You’re southern roots are showing. First question, ‘In what occupations are blacks most successful?’”
Rock Man: “That’s easy, sports. Football, basketball, track and some baseball. But especially professional football and basketball – NFL, NBA.”
NFLJordan: “Right. In the NFL, what 2 of 3 players are black? NBA must be about 4 of 5 are black. Blacks are very successful in both sports.”
Rock Man: “Entertainment, also. But what’s your point?”
Jordan: “Question #2, ‘Where do you see the least number of blacks?’”
Rock Man: “At a KKK meeting…and that’s not a college fraternity.”
Jordan: “Good one smartass. Really, what professions?”
Rock Man: “Engineering. More like occupations that require lots of math and/or science.”
Jordan: “I agree.”
Rock Man: “Come to think of it, I don’t know of a highly successful software company started by blacks.”
Jordan: “I’m sure there are some but no company comes to mind.”
Rock Man: “When you were at MIT how many blacks were there?”
Jordan: “MIT was a long time ago but black students were few and far between.”
Rock Man: “OK, so Contro-man, what’s the idea?
Jordan: “We both agree that making incremental changes won’t work. Something radical is required.”
Rock Man: “Get to the idea, already.”
Jordan: “The idea is simple. Black refuse to play professional sports. No blacks enter the NFL. No blacks enter the NBA.”
Rock Man: “What about professional curling?”
Jordan: “That’s OK.”
Rock Man: “Seriously, what about college athletics.”
Jordan: “Yes, because those athletes have an opportunity for a college degree at little or no cost. And without the pressure to enter professional sports, more will student athletes will complete the degree. But, I’m talking about real, marketable degrees and not Afro-American studies.”
Rock Man: “You are pushing the envelope. You really want to deny these athletes a chance to make millions of dollars playing professional sports?”
Jordan: “In a word, ‘yes.’ Besides, what do these athletes do for the black community?”
Rock Man: “They hold sports camps and go to schools and talk about their sports.”
Jordan: “My point exactly. The athletes, many of whom…in fact I would venture to say most of whom never graduated college…are promoting the one thing at which only a handful of people excel – professional sports. Where’s the emphasis on education? Where’s the role model?”
Rock Man: “Point well taken.”
Jordan: “Rock Man, you are an excellent role model for black students. I’m always fascinated with your background. How many kids in the family?
Rock Man: “Eight.”
Jordan: “And what did your parents do?”
Cotton Rock Man: “You know what they did. Cotton farmers in eastern North Carolina.”
Jordan: “And they were high-end, wealthy cotton farmers?”
Rock Man: (Laughing) “Jordan, you know we were dirt poor. We were so poor that I literally…and I mean literally…did not have a pot to piss in.”
Jordan: “OK, so how did you go from no pot to piss in to all eight kids getting a college education and what, half the kids with a graduate degree? Was your role model some athlete?”
Rock Man: “No. The role model was my parents pushing all the kids hard to get an education. Neither of my parents graduated from high school. In fact, they barely got out of grammar school.”
Jordan: “Rock Man, now I need a break. Let’s go get a pizza.”

(Want a PDF version for Entries #1-10, #11-20, #21-30 formatted as an e-book? Entries #31-60 available when I get some time. Click links for download. America’s 5th Revolution Volume I (Entries 1-10), America’s 5th Revolution Volume II (Entries 11-20), America’s 5th Revolution Volume III (Entries 21-30)

 

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