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Artful Dilattante ^ | August 19, 2017 | Artful Dilettante 

Posted on 8/19/2017, 6:49:58 PM by huckfillary


The title is somewhat misleading. This essay is specifically written for young black Americans who believe or have absorbed the message that the ghetto and life on the margin are their destiny, that success is unattainable, and that dreams are only for white people.

Before you are halfway through the essay, many of you will be condemning and ridiculing me as simplistic, unrealistic, and idealistic. I agree. But you ignore my message at your own peril. It is very demanding. Anything worth having is very demanding. Your friends may ostracize you and ridicule you as “trying to be white.” If that’s the case, are they really friends worth having? And so I begin.

You can’t change history. Government-enforced slavery happened, government-enforced Jim Crow happened, government-enforced segregation happened. I don’t mean to minimize it or make light of it. It is a tragic, three-hundred-year long chapter in our history. But you can change the future. I’m not suggesting you ignore the past, but that you make the future the primary focus of your life.

What do you want to do with your life? What do you want to become ? Take stock of yourself. List your assets and your shortcomings. Chart a course. Per Nathaniel Branden, take out four sheets of paper. At the top of the first page write:


The second page: IN SIX MONTHS I’M GOING TO….

The third page: IN ONE YEAR I’M GOING TO….

The fourth page: IN THREE YEARS I’M GOING TO…..

Fill in as many responses as you like as quickly as possible, no matter that some may seem foolish. And the sentences can’t be wishy-washy like “I MIGHT, or I’LL TRY. They must be positive statements of fixed intent. If you can’t do this exercise, it’s time to look at yourself in the mirror and get serious. But assuming you do complete the exercise, examine your responses. Discuss them with a friend, your parents, or a counselor if possible. Separate the reasonable from the fanciful. Then chart a course to turn your dreams into reality.

When I was about five years old, my parents bought me a toy typewriter. It had a dial instead of a keyboard, so you had to slowly consider every letter you typed. The first thing I did was insert a sheet of paper and type “When I grow up I want to be….and typed in a hundred responses, one blessed letter at a time. Many of them were predictably child-like, and probably misspelled. But I was already thinking about the future, even if it was silly. I wasn’t thinking about what I did yesterday, but what I was going to do tomorrow.

Focus on yourself. Avoid group identity in your search for meaning. We are all islands of consciousness. We are defined by the virtues and values we embrace, not our race, nor our gender, nor any other unearned qualities. Black leaders and community organizers are quick to urge, “Organize, organize, organize !” When they should be encouraging us to do is “Learn, learn, learn, read, read, read, work, work, work.” Remember—community organizers and social justice warriors are just nice terms for people who aren’t gainfully employed. Few have any meaningful private sector accomplishments. Remember—anybody can work for the government. All you have to do is show up and have a pulse.  The only reason they work for the government is because they couldn’t get a job at McDonald’s.

Pulling down Confederate statues may assuage your anger and impress your friends. But it also betrays a shallow understanding of American History and the Civil War. The Civil War, like other major events in history, was a very complex event. Lincoln was no saint, and Robert E. Lee was hardly the monstrous ogre his detractors would have us believe. Before you embrace the lopsided, simplistic, politically motivated “It was all about slavery and racism” mantra about the Civil War, do your homework. Get the facts, peel away the layers of the onion, ask probing questions of those who pretend with absolute certainty to know everything about American history. We are all products of our times. Earlier generations of Americans, including the Founders, viewed the world and human nature much differently than our own. Feudalism was still the dominant socio-economic system in Europe. Much of Great Britain still consisted of large manorial estates staffed by indentured laborers. Titles of nobility were still prevalent in rigidly stratified societies. The first Anglo-American settlers brought these values and assumptions, however warped they may seem to modern Americans, to our shores. The American Revolution could correctly be called both the Last Act of Feudalism and the First Act of the Enlightenment. Before we blindly assail our forebears, we would be well advised to attempt to understand the world as they saw it. By the way, library cards are free.

Unless you’re caring for your aging parents or are fortunate enough to have found a decent job, get out of the ghetto. Immediately. Do not pass Go, Do not collect $200. It’s a cesspool, a dead end. As long as you stay there, you’re probably going nowhere, except maybe prison. Risk is essential to success, and mobility is a form of risk. Successful people embrace mobility. They are willing to leave their safe cocoons to pursue opportunity and seek a better and brighter future. Two centuries ago, a popular piece of advice was, “Go west, young man.” In other words, go where the jobs and opportunities lie. Take the Bakken oil boom centered in Williston, North Dakota. African Americans from all walks of life and geographical areas are finding jobs in North Dakota. Blacks now hold eight percent of all jobs in the shale petrochemical industries. But industry experts predict that blacks will soon hold one-third of all jobs in the industry. Bottom line—don’t be afraid to leave home. You have nothing to lose but your shackles.

One of the persons I most admire is Dr. Ben Carson. Born and raised in a Detroit ghetto he went on to become the world’s premier pediatric neurosurgeon. His mother imposed strict discipline in the household and made him read, read, read. The black establishment leadership has rewarded him by shunning him and calling him an Uncle Tom, much the same as they treat Justice Clarence Thomas or anyone else who dares to leave the plantation and write their own narrative. Dr. Carson should be addressing inner-city high school students everyday and welcomed with opened arms. Urge your school to invite him to speak.

Stop the blame game and stop embracing victimhood. Blame is the refuge of cowards, the ignorant, and those who would refuse to accept personal responsibility. Blaming others for your situation in life might make you feel better, but will accomplish little else. It’s not going to fatten your wallet, that’s for sure. Even if everything you say about racism, the police, and the legacy of slavery were true, how is that going to improve your life? Demand that you be held accountable to the same standards as everyone else. Would you rather get a job because of your race or because you’re the most qualified ?

If blame you must, then blame the criminally negligent and woefully ignorant public-school system for much of what ails the black community. Those who run this system should be strung from a lamppost. Our schools are not supposed to teach us WHAT to think, so much as HOW to think. They are supposed to impart critical thinking skills like logic, rhetoric, and deductive reasoning. These skills will carry you much further than a daily dose of climate studies, gender-bender philosophy, and that whites are the source of all evil. If you teach kids how to think, they can learn anything and they’ll be able to separate fact from fiction. If possible, take your kids out of public school. Public schools are only the mouthpiece of our ossified establishment.

Speak English. I was born and raised in a semi-civilized place called Pittsburgh. I managed to survive. Pittsburghers have a very thick and easily identifiable accent called “Yinzer.” But with practice I have taught myself how to turn it on and off like a lightswitch. If I’m around my Yinzer friends, I speak Yinzer n’at. If I’m on a job interview, I speak the King’s English. Just sayin’.

Again, I can already hear the howls of protest in reaction to this essay. He’s so simplistic, unrealistic, and idealistic, even harsh. But I speak from the heart, however critically. Life is a harsh mistress. The universe doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your feelings and sensitivities, or the the amount of melanin in your skin. It operates blindly according to fixed, immutable laws. There are no safe spaces. You can run but you cannot hide.

The Artful Dilettante

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1 posted on 8/19/2017, 6:49:58 PM by huckfillary

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