“Most Black scholars have tremendous talent. But the saddest part of it all is that we have been duped into thinking that by sitting at some ivy league institution writing research papers that no one ever reads, we are actually doing something worthwhile. Being a Black academic at a predominantly White, research-based university is like being an expert chef who is cooking for the wealthy family down the street while your mother is at home starving to death.
Our community needs our expertise, but like Black basketball and football players, there is a tremendous brain drain from the Black community which draws our most talented resources to places that have no impact on those who got us here. Black scholars at majority universities who work to reconnect with their communities in a meaningful way are deemed “unscholarly” and promptly fired from their jobs once they go up for tenure (Syracuse University tried to do that to me, but fortunately, other Black public intellectuals prepared me well for the backlash against my work). While scholars might think that we are intellectually superior to Black athletes (who are equally disconnected from their communities once they get to college) the truth is that we are all in the same boat.
This fear and apprehension of Black scholars is rooted in the same fear which paralyzes the rest of the Black community: the fear of losing our financial security. We become petrified of losing our high paying jobs at allegedly prestigious universities, which therefore leads us to the pits of social castration. We live and die and no one ever knows we were here. Rather than banding together to do something meaningful, we hide in our offices and attack one another.”
This was an excerpt from the forthcoming book, “Black American Money”, set to be released July 15, 2009.