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Bred To Be A Worker
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Kenney Dennard

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Dr. Cornell West receives his February, Black History Month edition of the Informer in which he was featured with Publisher Kenney Dennard

I was skimming stations on the radio the other day and came across this talk radio show on the AM dial. On this particular show, between the negative energy aimed at President Obama, this guy mentioned half laughingly how important the minimum wage to $14-$15.00 an hour workers are to this country. In fact, he stated, they are who keep this country running.

I thought about that statement for the next couple days. It made me think how important it is for those jobs to be filled. From supermarket and fast food restaurant jobs to janitorial, assembly line, city workers, telemarketers to many others, someone has to fill those positions.

I, then, thought about the inner city public school system in which I was a product of growing up as a child. If you take a look at your surroundings sometimes it's not hard to figure out how things got to where they are and why, regardless of how good or bad. Some things are taught in schools and some things are not, probably for some good reasons. For example, I was never taught about credit scores and how to use credit. I learned once I got out in the world and messed mine up, like most people. If schools taught credit education, more people would have good credit. But is that really wanted?

I was also not taught the importance of owning property in school. Thank God one of my instructors in an introduction to college course at Fort Valley State University talked about it when I was there. However, the average inner city school product jumps right into a renting situation. Another topic that was not specifically taught in public schools was stocks and the stock exchange. All of these are things that help guide you into financial freedom.

As I thought about what the talk radio guy said days later, I got a clearer picture of what I thought all along. Our kids are bred to be those workers. I never attended a private school, but I would guess in many of those schools the importance of these things are taught.

Of course, history, language arts, and mathematics are important. But, maybe instead of boring students to death with literature and other subjects, perhaps the year could be split with a more practical class that our kids can use after high school. We are busy preparing kids for college that aren’t even considering going. So, what do they end up doing? They end up working a slave job the rest of their lives, making $11, $12, or $13 an hour (while entering the vicious cycle of working to pay bills), paying rent, or signing a 30 year mortgage that they can hardly pay. In essence, it’s slavery all over again. We went from slavery to sharecropping to this, and I think it’s all by design.

In the same way slave masters mated certain slaves together because they were bigger and stronger, and they wanted future bigger and stronger slaves, our kids are being pushed though a system, not being taught important things that will benefit them and keep money in their pockets. Therefore, they will remain a slave to system of cheap labor while the company heads live good, buy and sell real estate, keep their eyes on the stock markets and their jobs. That's how it has been; that's how it is. We continue to be bred to work.

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