The conditions we live in give us an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness. We see life as a series of problems rather than opportunities, and because we are tired of struggling, many of us quit halfway through.
Out of these feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness, we develop other emotions, attitudes, and behaviours that further our destruction. We show our immense frustration with our oppression when we fight and act out, when we escape into highs of various drugs, when we zone out com-pletely and give up on being successful. (p 16)
If Albert Einstein grew up Black, in the hood, he’s probably turn out to be a crack head and a deadbeat dad. If Thomas Edison grew up Black in the ghetto, he’d probably be a crack dealer. And that would be it.
Their Life stories would never make it into our school textbooks, and the world would never even know they existed. Unless maybe they were ar-rested in some high profile case.
… Einstein’s daydreaming ass couldn’t stomach the rigmarole of the formal educational system, but he was passionate about pursuing studies in his own interests. He focussed his attention intensely into things he was fasci-nated by, or which he wanted to understand. If he were alive today… if he grew up in the hood, he would have been diagnosed with autism, ADHD, and dyslexia (which he was), but he’d be pushed into a Special Ed. Program, where he’d be ignored by teachers and harassed by other students until eventually dropping out of a high school he’s have no hope of finishing any-way. Then working some minimum dead-end wage job, while still yearning to understand a vast world that was totally, impossibly, out of his reach Einstein would be a drug addict in no time.
On the other hand, Thomas Edison was the definition of a hyperactive child. He never stopped asking questions, couldn’t sit still, and had a hard time focusing on school work (he daydreamed too). As a result, the young Edison constantly disrupted classes. His teacher thought he was slow, that he “could not grasp anything,” and then labelled him retarded! His mom, sensing a flaw in the formal system of education, decided to homeschool him. Since his parents had tons of books at home, he read what he was in-terested in and basically taught himself.
This course of instruction evolved into Edison’s scientific inquiry. He be-came a tireless researcher, often working late nights, and sleeping on a bench in his laboratory. Totally obsessed with his work, he would some-times forget to eat. His wandering mind actually helped him to look at situations from many different perspectives, allowing him to find answers and explanations for some of the most challenging problems.
But in the ghetto today, a Thomas Edison (or better) is born every minute. And kids like him who can’t sit still, who want more than what their teacher can offer, who have endless questions… what happens to them? They get show down or shut down. And their lives spiral out of control til they’re shot down or locked up. Edison would have been a clever-ass dope boy, I bet. He’d probably come up with ingenious new ways to cook, mar-ket, and conceal his product. He’d probably make a ton of money selling to ghetto Einstein’s before being taken down. But besides an episode of BET’s American Gangster, you’d never hear about him.
… we gotta start look for untapped talent in the young people around us
[also quoted in Making Malone, Volume 2)