Friday, August 6, 2010

Little Brother Got It Right

Sometimes I despair about our youth.

They seem oblivious, uncouth and irresponsible. Their thoughts on race, service, marriage and life can sound like ridiculous babble. Maybe it's because I'm nearing three decades on this Earth, but I find it harder and harder to relate to life as a teenager and feel confident about the direction they are taking the world in.

But, just when I'm feeling my worst, I read something like this.

You really don't have to read the whole article. Just the portions dedicated to the young man speaking at his high school graduation. A student at exclusive Hunter College High School in New York, Justin Hudson didn't just use his speech to commiserate with his classmates about times past, or congratulate them on all they've achieved. Instead, Hudson used his speech, which was selected by a faculty panel to be the graduation address, to speak on some more difficult issues.

He talked about the practice of using a standardized test as the sole determinant for admission into the school, and challenged students to consider whether they are truly more intelligent than their black and brown peers in poorer neighborhoods or just more fortunate. He challenged the idea that entrance into the ivory tower is proof of superiority.

He challenged the status quo.

I don't know the young man. Don't know if this was an aberration or a mirage. But, I'm glad that some young person is willing to consider whether they truly deserve the largess they've been granted. It wasn't that long ago that the New York Times ran a story that painted a pretty grim picture of young people's morality and humility. Thankfully, Hudson isn't one of those people who believes that everything he got in life is solely because of his greatness and worthiness. He understands it's far more than that at work.

That makes me happy. I'm happy that he's thinking, and I'm happy that he encouraged his classmates to think as well. The Times story may have spent more time on the power struggle at the school between teachers and administrators, but I think Hudson's words stole the show. His clear and necessary challenge was much needed and appreciated.

Go 'head lil' man.


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Raving Black Lunatic