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AAApril 18, 2009 - April 24, 2009, The Baltimore Afro-American A9
Opinion
Following Tiger
Standing Strong for Our Children
Into the Woods
Commentary
Millions of our children are we’ve allowed. Instead, let’s several decades. Let us get
in peril; it’s their worst time look in the mirror. Let us along. Agree. Link arms and
since slavery, said Marian accept our responsibility for aims and take care of the
Wright Edelman. Yet, there not governing the village mothers and fathers of our
Commentary
I saw very little of Tiger isn’t a single issue we are more carefully. Our young in tomorrows. Their future is in
Woods playing Sunday at the organized around. Not one crisis don’t need more polic- our hands.
Masters tournament and that that Black leaders have ing or punishment. Mentor a child. Mentoring
was enough to know that he agreed upon and are standing They need us. They need is one investment that has
was not out of the woods. together on to work for our attention, guidance and shown disproportionately
Literally. One of his shots change. encouragement. They need positive returns. Dedicating
struck a tree on the 17th hole When we shrink back Black love. just four hours a month can
and another one hit a tree on
SUSAN TAYLOR
from the values and work A recent study by the save and secure a life. Log
the 18th. Of course, thousands AFRO File Photo that moved us forward, the California Mentor on to caresmentoring.com
of African Americans were consequences are life- Foundation of 124 mentoring and input your zip code for a
deeply disappointed that Let’s tell the truth: We’ve destroying. The village falls programs showed that, of list of nearby mentoring
GEORGE E. CURRY
Woods did not collect his fallen into forgetfulness and apart. Today, on our watch, youngsters matched with opportunities.
second green jacket in apathy. Though our forepar- these are the chilling facts: mentors: With family and friends,
AFRO File Photo
Augusta. ents risked all that was dear -58 percent of Black -98 percent stayed in group mentor our struggling
The problem with placing so much faith in someone, even to them to open a way for us, fourth graders are functional- school young in a reentry program,
an athlete as great as Tiger Woods, is that it places unrealistic we have relinquished the fun- ly illiterate. -98 percent avoided a teen an underserved school, a
expectations on the athlete while simultaneously setting us up damental Black values that - In some cities only 18 pregnancy group home. Push your faith
for certain heartbreak. guided their lives. The great percent of Black males grad- -85 percent did not use leader to do the work of the
In 1977, we saw Tiger easily win the Masters. His embrace benefits that millions of us
of his father was an emotional one. Tiger Mania exploded and enjoy today don’t come from
we saw repeated replays of grainy video footage of Tiger play- nothing. They have grown “…on our watch, with all our privileges, technology and sup-
ing golf at the age of two. Moreover, there were predictions out of a long and glorious
that thousands of Black kids would follow suit, dominating legacy of mutual love, faith
ports, we are doing far less for our young than was done for us.”
golf in the same way African Americans dominate the in God and commitment to
National Basketball Association (NBA). the children. These core val- uate from high school. drugs church, which also lies
A recent Associated Press story minds us that change that ues traveled with them over - A Black male is 700 per- -98 percent avoided gang beyond the congregation.
has taken place in professional golf since Tiger’s victory 12 the seas and centuries. They cent more likely than a White participation Support the educators and
years ago has not been for the better. emboldened enslaved male to be sentenced to It’s time for us to act. children in the nearest failing
“There were eight black players on tour in 1975, the year Africans to get up from servi- prison. Greatly disproportionate school with books, supplies,
Lee Elder was the first black golfer in the Masters and the tude, challenge racist prac- - Nearly 1 million Black numbers of caring White sis- encouragement - and men-
year Woods was born,” the article stated. “Now there is only tices, stand strong in the face men are imprisoned in a for- ters and brothers are mentor- tors.
Tiger.” of heinous acts of violence profit system built on unfair ing our children. They are the Working together, we will
The AP story, written by Paul Newberry and Doug today’s Black people will drug-sentencing laws. first respondents. We are the write a new history for our
Ferguson, states: “Tiger was the greatest gift ever for the PGA never know. - Suicide is rising fast last. The National CARES children. Mentoring is the
Tour,” said Orin Starn, who heads the cultural anthropology We are the beneficiaries of among our children. Mentoring Movement answer. And it’s a privilege.
program at Duke University. ‘With him as its face, the PGA unimaginable suffering and - HIV/AIDS is the leading (NCMM) is a call to us - to
Tour didn’t have to deal with issues of diversity, or worrying sacrifice and also strategic cause of death for our young our faith leaders and leaders Susan L. Taylor is editor-
thinking, planning and action. women. in the public and private sec- in-chief emerita of ‘Essence’
“We need to stop getting caught up in
But on our watch, with all - The leading cause of tors and every able, stable magazine, founder and CEO
our privileges, technology death for our Black boys is Black adult - to come out of of the National CARES
the accomplishments of a single
and supports, we are doing homicide. our silos and work together Mentoring Movement and a
African American and see what we can
far less for our young than All of this and we are not to galvanize volunteers to member of the National
was done for us. We are the outraged - but pointing the guide and encourage our vul- Coalition on Black Civic
do for our entire community.”
first generation of African finger at sagging pants, do- nerable young. Participation’s Black
Americans to allow the next rags and the misogynistic and Let us do what Black folks Women’s Roundtable, which
generation to lose ground. murderous messages in music have had difficulty doing for sponsors this column series.
about the tour looking like the rest of America. They could
say, ‘See, the problem is fixed. We have an African-American
who is No. 1 in the world.’ But the intractable problem still
Black and Green
exists,” he said. ‘’If anything, it’s gotten worse.’”
Almost identical language is par for the course when dis-
She wasn’t sure. And there’s sustain, and save, our envi- gone on to earn several other
cussing President Obama. Now that we’ve elected a Black
Commentary
the rub. ronment. national and international
president, the argument goes, there is no need to worry about
Too often, that which is Van Jones was an awards. She has been lauded
affirmative action or any other race- or gender-sensitive pro-
environmentally friendly is Oakland, Calif.-based activist for her positions on environ-
grams designed to take into consideration centuries of blatant
also more expensive than the until President Obama tapped mental justice and for her
discrimination.
alternative. As long as that is him to advise the administra- advocacy that communities
Let’s set the record straight. The majority of Whites voted
the case, the cash-strapped tion on environmental issues. of color should not become
against Obama. It was people of color – along with a White
are going to go for the eco- The founder of Green Jobs dumping grounds for toxic
minority – that provided the crucial votes that allowed him to
nomically prudent possibility. for All has worked to pro- waste.
occupy the White House. Second, the election of a Black pres-
Organic vegetables, pesti- mote green jobs for the dis- Wangari Maathai, Van
ident does not signal any wholesale changes in political power.
cide-free and better for us, advantaged and focused on Jones and Majora Carter are
There is still only one African American in the Senate, and he
JULIANNE MALVEAUX
are frequently more expen- building an inclusive green all examples of influential
barely made it. Of the 535 members of the U.S. House and
AFRO File Photo sive than those that are tradi- economy. environmentalists of color,
Senate, only 41 are Black, including non-voting delegates
Earth Day is April 23, but
tionally grown. Solar and Working with legislative folk who are both black and
from Washington, D.C., and the Virgin Islands.
environmentalists, taking a
wind energy options are more leaders like House Speaker green. They remind us of the
There are only two Black governors, one of whom ascend-
page from Black folks’ book,
many ways that civil rights
ed to office as a result of a scandal involving his predecessor.
Only two Blacks have been elected governor in U.S. history,
have decided to make a
month of it and declare April
“With…the unofficial African-American
and environmental justice is
intertwined, and ways that
Doug Wilder in Virginia and Deval Patrick, the sitting gover-
nor of Massachusetts. So, we should be careful not to read too
“Earth Month.”
unemployment rate hovering above 25
the burgeoning environmen-
They are right to take as
tal movement will benefit
much into Obama’s victory. We should celebrate it, but not
take a flight of fantasy.
much time as they need – we percent, who can blame a sister or a broth-
from African American and
will all perish if we cannot
African participation.
Obama and Tiger Woods provide us with a teaching
moment. Instead of risking a broken heart when Tiger Woods
sustain our planet. And there
er from eschewing the organic route…”
At the same time, these
have been actions, large and
leaders are implored to
or any other African American loses a major competition, we
small, to focus our attention
include economic aspects of
should calmly keep our eyes on the larger picture.
on issues of environmental
expensive than other energy. Nancy Pelosi and former the environmental movement
As I have reported here before, the National Asian Pacific
sustainability.
And yes, this environmen- Vice President Al Gore, Van into their work. While Jones
American Legal Consortium has produced research that shows
There was a booth outside
tally-free detergent and Jones has garnered national certainly focuses on green
that although White men make up only 48 percent of the col-
my local Whole Foods with
cleanser is, if not more attention for the power of his jobs, it is important for us all
lege-educated workforce, they hold 85 percent of the tenured
free samples of an “environ-
expensive, more inconvenient ideas. He has been the driv- to focus on the ways that
college faculty positions, 86 percent of law firm partnerships,
mentally friendly” laundry
to produce. And, yet, we ing force behind successful environmental friendliness is
more than 90 percent of the top jobs in the news media, and
detergent, and an earnest
have this planet that we must legislation to create green consistent with economic fru-
96 percent of CEO positions.
young woman who explained
sustain, and an African- jobs, and is likely to help gality. With the official
Obviously, the most important playing field is not the golf
why it mattered that this
American community that President Obama broaden the unemployment rate at 8.5
course.
detergent be chosen over tra-
must be engaged in sustain- ways his environmental pro- percent, and the unofficial
Even on the golf course, there is the issue of Tiger Woods’
ditional brands.
ing the planet. gram will transform our African-American unemploy-
commitment to developing another generation of Tiger Woods.
It produces fewer pesti-
While people of African nation. ment rate hovering above 25
The Associated Press story noted, “Woods started his own
cides for the Chesapeake
descent do not dominate the Majora Carter is an envi- percent, who can blame a sis-
foundation in 1996. At first, he focused on junior golf to teach
Bay, she said. It is friendlier
environmental movement, ronmental justice advocate ter or a brother from eschew-
character development. It then evolved toward education, and
to the crabs, already threat-
several have notably lifted from the South Bronx in New ing the organic route -- how-
he opened the Tiger Woods Learning Center in 2006. It has
ened by a toxic chemical mix
their voices and gained York, and a founder of ever healthy -- in favor of
never been his goal to find the next Tiger. ‘You either want it
in the Bay.
recognition for their work. Sustainable South Bronx, an that which is more immedi-
or you don’t. You can’t teach that…’ Woods said. ‘’His own
Her display table brimmed
Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai environmental action organi- ately affordable?
experience with his father seems to suggest otherwise.
over with free samples of lip
earned a Nobel Peace Prize zation. We may want to save the
I don’t care if we never develop another Tiger Woods. We
gloss, detergent and other
in 2004 for her work in sus- An inspiring national planet in the long run, but at
need to stop getting caught up in the accomplishments of a
products, as well as literature
tainable development, speaker and activist, she has the checkout counter, we may
single African American and see what we can do for our entire
about the environment. Just
democracy and peace. broadened her base by form- simply want affordable gro-
community.
one question, I asked. How
She was assistant minister ing a consulting company ceries.
George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of ‘Emerge’ maga-
does this detergent compare
for Environment and Natural that helps universities and
in price to the detergent that I
Resources in Kenya between others “turn green.” Julianne Malveaux is
zine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moder-
might use? It may cost a little
2003 and 2005. A powerful Her work began to garner president of Bennett College
ator and media coach. He can be reached through his Web
more, she said. How little?
speaker and activist, she has national recognition after she for Women. She can be
site, www.georgecurry.com.
Five cents, ten cents, fifty?
attempted to focus more peo- was awarded a MacArthur reached at presbennett@ben-
ple on the many ways we can Fellowship in 2005. She has nett.edu.
Commentaries and letters on any subject are welcomed by the
AFRO-AMERICAN Newspapers published in both Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Send to dceditor@afro.com.
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Thank you. — The Editor
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