Yesterday, I was informed that some internet churl was “going in on me” on his/her internet radio show for an essay I penned noting the habits (contingencies of reinforcement) of African Americans, in particular individuals under the age of thirty regarding their usage of social media – specifically Twitter. In this person eyes, I was a “dumbass” and an “idiot.” So as a result, I will put down the copy of Fear and trembling I am reading and respond to his vitriol as quick as I can so I can be finished before Watson star’s on jeopardy.
Too bad this animalcule (to use a term coined by Voltaire in his story Micro magas) lacked the home training and erectior ingenii (nobility of mind) to invite me on his show to engage in discussion to advance rumination on the subject. But such was not the case, bringing me to conclude that what I noted in my essay unnerved him for it may have been akin to him reading about himself. Otherwise discussion would have proceeded as was the case historically with many diversified voices of past African American scholars when they reasonably disagreed with one another.
Obviously this person is no scholar as evinced in both his defensive posture and vehement vilification of me personally. The fact of the matter is that twitter is an extension of many of our daily activities. Truth is black folk watch Television more than the read and many of us do not even read a newspaper daily. Likewise we spend equally as much time as we do watching television as we do on twitter. I do not see what is wrong about bringing this up. If these observations are not consistent, otherwise we would not place education and intellectualism below fame, status, entertainment, wealth and/or celebrity. We are already a dumber-down populous or else we would recall that reading in itself is a revolutionary act. We take this for granted currently when in one epoch we were killed, blinded or had out tongues removed for learning to read or teach others this skill.
It was rather bazaar, some of the comments the article received. One woman said that “he forgot Haiti.” Which proves my point that is like saying we have a black valedictorian, yet 65 % of all the other black students in the class failed the 12th grade. Why is so difficult for people to see how many of us use the medium? I firmly believe that we are wasting a valuable opportunity when we tweet about where one is eating, pictures at the club, or of the shoes we just bought. If we do not maximize its utility – that’s a problem. Just like when only 12% of African American fourth grade boys are proficient in reading; or that only 20% of black boys and girls report having a average in school compared to 55% of whites – that’s a problem.
It’s cool to say that African Americans represent 12 percent of the US population yet comprise 52 percent of the federal prisons but not when you say we make up 25 percent of social media users. I understand MLK Jr and he was correct when he said “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” This makes Harriet Tubman’s words even more sagacious. She said “I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
It only makes sense for many of us live as mental slaves, continue to enslave ourselves with materialism daily and worse, don’t even know that we are slaves. The unfortunately reality is that as a people, we are not as academically oriented in raising our children as white and Asian communities, or else we would read as much to our kids in the 5th grade as other ethnic groups. Unfortunately we do not. We do read the same to our kids, daily while aged four through six, but less than 30 percent daily by the time they are in the 5th grade compared to 70 percent for whites and Asians. Yes it is true, we are more concerned with what Veblen articulates and described as “conspicuous consumption.”
I find this discussion essential and important. In particular as a single parent of two, my son of which received an academic scholarship to Morehouse, a 30 on his ACT, a perfect score on math and all-state honorable mention in Baseball. And my daughter, who can give correct change, add and subtract and read at the age of five.
But then again what do I know for in the purview of Mr. /Ms. insanityreport self-fulfilling prophecy and in their own words, I am an “idiot and a “dumbass.” for presenting a personal scheme. And we all should know as Daniel Bell pointed out, “conceptual schemes are neither true nor false but [rather] useful or not.