Every year, far too many African American boys fail to graduate from high school and attend a competitive four-year college. What’s standing in their way?
In the second episode of Walking the Talk, we explore obstacles on the road to college, and other issues affecting student equity, in a conversation with John Silvanus Wilson, the former president of Morehouse College and former executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, a position to which he was appointed by President Barack Obama. Walking the Talk, hosted by HGSE’s Domonic Rollins, is a series of video conversations streamed live on Facebook, exploring challenging questions around diversity, inclusion, and identity as they are lived and expressed in the real world.
How fear can impact diversity, prejudice, and achievement:
In the current climate, you have people who feel excluded and wrong, says Wilson. And the problem in most cases is fear. Hurt people are fearful that they’re going to be hurt again, so as a defense mechanism, they hurt other people in order to keep themselves walled off. And working with African American males in a variety of contexts, the barrier in most minds and hearts and spirits of young men was fear. If you could get to that fear, help them identify it, and work through it, then you could position them with a different posture in the world.
Fear is a seriously complicating factor, for not just African American males, but all people, and it’s at the root of those who have issues with diversity. They fear the other.
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