civil rights has broadened to more
than just race. Dr. King’s legacy has
continued to live on because now
people are saying, “‘Civil rights’ now
QSome have deemed President
Obama the Martin Luther King
Jr. of this generation. Is that a fair
comparison or is President Obama
his own man, in his own right, who
will chart his own course?
APresident Obama is a leader
in his own right. He is a leader
all Americans can look up to with
pride. The difference is President
Obama was elected by the people. Dr. King was appointed by the
people may have, that a Black person can’t be smart or only got
his or her job through affirmative action, etc. This also enhances diversity because it provides
an opportunity for people who’ve
never interacted or been exposed
to people of African descent or
people of color. It’s a little hard not
to be exposed now that the president and first family are [Black].
Interaction often changes perception and behavior.
QAccording to the Pew Center on the States, 1 in every 36
Black men in America is incarcerated. That number jumps 40 percent when looking at Black men
uating generations of financially
illiterate people. Do you agree with
AFirst, it’s not fair to lump all
Black people together. People
do the best they can with what they
have. It’s also about social networking and family networking, and it
takes a village. You need role models
and family who can help you visualize what your options [are] and who
can help you make the right decision. The only time you have failed
is when you have what you need
and you don’t use it, or if you don’t
take time to figure out what you
need and try to get it.
The election of President Obama has already shown that one can
become president because he or she is the best person to be president,
and race is not a bar.
DR. STEPHANIE BUSH-BASKETTE
people. The election of President
Obama in comparison to Dr. King
is certainly the next step, but it’s
more than just a step; it’s the outcome of Dr. King’s hard work.
between the ages of 20 and 34.
What does this say about the current state of Blacks in America?
QIn “Is Bill Cosby Right?” by Dr.
Michael Eric Dyson, Dyson
says: “Perhaps [Bill] Cosby has
forgotten what it was like to be
young, Black and poor, or to be
hungry for even more capital in
the wake of a real first taste of
money and the comforts it can
bring.” Do you agree with this
statement? Do you find this true
of other Black “cultural critics”?
QSome have suggested that
racial barriers have come down
with the election of President
Obama. What is your take on that?
AI think it’s too soon to tell. The
election of President Obama
has already shown that one can
become president because he or
she is the best person to be president, and race is not a bar. I don’t
see it as “He was elected because
he was Black,” but I see it as “He
was the best person and race didn’t
stand in his way.” And what that
does is it begins to chip away some
of the stereotypical notions that
AThis has been a statistic for a
couple of decades, since the
war on drugs. But now we need
to look, as [has] been done in the
past, at the systematic issues that
have kept these numbers stagnant.
The issue regarding Black males is a
major issue, but it’s equally important to realize that the vast number of incarcerations are among
Black and Hispanic women. If
Blacks are only 12 percent of the
population, they are disproportionately represented in prisons.
AWell, this depends on who
you are talking to. But what is
important is the need for all Americans, including young, Black, poor,
middle class and even rich (
someone who was rich yesterday may not
be rich today given the economic
crisis). What doesn’t help is drawing
analogies that compare struggles.
QIn one word, what does the
election of President Obama
mean to you?
QBill Cosby has been criticized
for saying, essentially, that
Black parents have failed their children, thus creating and perpet-
Dr. Bush-Baskette is currently working on
her first book entitled “The War on Drugs
and the Incarceration of Black Women:
Two Decades of Attack.”