Sunday, October 21, 2007

Saving the Race: Empowerment through Wisdom

Daily Affirmations for Young Black Males
by Anthony Asadullah Samad
Kabili Press
Paperback, $15.00
406 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9723880-3-0

Book Review by Kam Williams

“Manhood is a journey to define one’s self, family and community within a certain reality. For black men, manhood is a constant pursuit to establish credibility and respect.
For young black males, adolescence is a trying endeavor... Most will have an encounter with law enforcement before they are 15, have a sexual experience before they are 14, be approached by gangs before they are 13, and have no male in the home (if they ever had one) by the age of 12.
Their biggest barrier to attaining manhood will be the constant attempts to emasculate them before they reach manhood… [They] must be wise enough not to fall into the traps that society has laid for them…
Our young men need our help to help them make the right decisions. Yes, they need education. Yes they need work. But more than anything, they need wisdom from the ancestors.”
 Excerpted from the Introduction (pgs. ii-vi)

Everyone is aware of the well-publicized plight of the black male in America. If one is to believe the dire statistics, this at-risk segment of the population is in acute crisis due to skyrocketing incarceration, dropout, unemployment, HIV infection, drug addiction and homicide rates.
Obviously, intervention is in order, and help in one form has arrived in Saving the Race: Empowerment through Wisdom by Anthony Asadullah Samad, Professor of Political Science at East Los Angeles College. The book is a collection of inspirational affirmations aimed at young black males, culled by the author from a variety of sources, including the Bible, African proverbs, and dozens of different luminaries like Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Malcolm X, Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, and Muhammad Ali.
Designed to be read chronologically over the course of the year, starting with January 1st, each entry opens with a theme for the day, and is followed by four sage insights, the first of which is by Mr. Samad himself. Among the subjects addressed are self-control, faith, love, growth, patience, friendship, humility, ego, learning from mistakes, pursuing your passion and respecting your elders, to name a few.
The basic goal, here, is to offer guidance to adolescents during their formative years when they are most in need of good role models as they make choices at critical crossroads in life. Permit me to close with a telling quote contained in the text by Malcolm X which has ostensibly withstood the test of time: “America’s greatest crime against the black man was not slavery or lynchings, but that he was taught to wear a mask of self-hate and self-doubt.”
In sum, Saving the Race is a worthwhile opus which ought to serve as a regular reminder to impressionable young minds to resist negative influences as they strive for success in their every endeavor.

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