Recently I was having a heavy discussion with two of my young friends. It started when I said I was happy that Michael Vick was getting another chance to be a starting NFL quarterback with the New York Jets.
Immediately, my friends began to tell me how Eli Manning was one of the greatest QBs playing today because he was QB in two NY Giants Super Bowl wins. Of course they dismissed the fact that Eli led the league in interceptions and turnovers in 2013 and the Giants finished last in the woeful NFC East and also that Vick beat Manning in head-to-head competition last year.
As I was trying to explain to them about great black NFL QBs who never got appropriate recognition, like Warren Moon or Joe Gilliam, I stopped the conversation as soon as I heard one guy say, “You’re talking about the past. I only care about what happens in my lifetime.”
If young African-American men and women don’t care about their history, don’t care about their past and care little or nothing about their ancestors, our race is doomed.
Black-owned media is our only hope for future progress and perhaps for the future survival of black people in America.
Why? Because, 400 years after slavery days, we still need our media to plead our cause, which was the motto of Freedom’s Journal, the first black newspaper, back in 1827.
This current generation of black youth is happy to be ignorant about African-American history. To them, there is nothing important about black people in America and in the world if it is not on Facebook, not on Twitter, not on Instagram, not on ESPN, not on 106 & Park or not on World Star Hip Hop.
People of African descent have always believed it is necessary to remember our past and to share our glorious past with future generations. If there was no African-American story-telling, how would there be a Roots story or television program, let alone The Butler story or the 12 Years a Slave story?
No matter how many years go by, Jews will never forget the Holocaust, Cubans will never forget Jose Marti, Indians will never forget Osceola, Geronimo or Sitting Bull. But young blacks care only about Facebook.
In black newspapers and on black Internet sites, black people can find news that white media won’t publish, we can find opinions that white media won’t consider and we can see pictures that white media won’t show.
It is a shame that people of African descent all over the world know more about African-American history than African-American young people know about it.
In Holland, people know more about jazz and blues music than people who live in Liberty City know. In Africa, people know more about the Black Panther Party than the young blacks who live in Oakland or Chicago know. The people in the Caribbean know more about Roberto Clemente, Wilfredo Benitez and other black islanders who rose to fame in the U.S.A. than the sports reporters you love on ESPN know.
The reason others don’t like black history is because blacks don’t like black history. And to today’s educators and students, no black man or woman is important, credible or knowledgeable unless the white man or the white press says they are.
You tell me, which of the Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) group is hiring black journalists to lecture or teach? Is it Florida Memorial, Morehouse, Florida A&M, Grambling, Bethune-Cookman, Spelman, Lincoln, Edward Waters or Southern? Hell, no!
Even if most of your career is at major media institutions, once you set foot inside a black media company, you automatically become an inferior journalist.
Keep on pushing on, black media people. African Americans who are not brain-drained or brain-damaged appreciate your efforts to recognize and honor black people, black ideas and black accomplishments in this country built on the blood, sweat and backs of black people.
Mothers and fathers, instead of buying your children more XBoxes and Play Stations, I encourage you to buy your children more black books or at least get them a subscription to a black newspaper or a black magazine.
Our level of backwardness makes African-American youth the cultural laughing stock of the free world.
Lucius Gantt, a political consultant based in Tallahassee, is author of the book Beast Too: Dead Man Writing which is available at Amazon.com. You can like The Gantt Report page on Facebook and contact Gantt at allworldconsultants.net