What would America be like if Native Americans, Hispanics, African-Americans, Muslims, Asians, all other minorities, and white progressives formed a coalition and create a new dominant majority voting bloc, and passed laws that enabled them to achieve academic and economic goals? What if government and commerce in America focused on the concerns of minorities and provided funding to promote their concerns?
Growing up in the fifties in Louisville, Kentucky, I wondered how much I
was like the other kids in my neighborhood. My parents did the best they
could to raise their six children to be upstanding, hardworking,
law-abiding and to hopefully avoid incarceration. My mother was the
drill sergeant who whipped us for small infractions. My father, a hard
worker, always had two jobs, and rarely had normal conversations with
us. When I was twelve it occurred to me that he only seemed interested
in his children when he was about to beat us.
I was deathly afraid of him because his whippings were brutal when he
was angry. Being knocked around by both parents convinced me that I was
unlovable. Even today, I still remember the lyrics from a blues song by
B. B. King that seemed to perfectly encapsulate my childhood. “Nobody
loves me but my mother, and she could me jivin’ too.”
My dad gave my three brothers and I flat-top haircuts that we hated.
Playing with my friends one day, someone asked, “Who is the ugliest of
us? They picked me. These early incidents heavily influenced my thinking
that I was ugly and unlovable. Many whippings and few expressions of
love by my parents, coupled with friends labeling me as ugly, convinced
me that people I meet in the future will see my flaws and reject me.
These experiences happened in my mostly black neighborhood, before I
began interacting with white people. After hearing the stories about how
badly white people treated black people, I was terrified because I was
already treated badly by blacks. I couldn't imagine how white people
would treat me. Years later during a job interview, a white interviewer
told me, “You should smile when being interviewed.” I had no reason
to smile. I was too scared.
Almost forty years later, there are two reasons why I wrote When
Minorities Lead In America. The first is because I heard a
twenty-one-year-old African American woman say on television, “Slavery
happened many years ago. Get over it!” My guess is that she is not
aware of how discriminatory institutions and systems continue to
preserve white privilege in America and oppress people who look like
The second reason is because the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin
Scalia said, Blacks should not attend the University of Texas where they
may not do well, but should go to a less competitive school where they
will do well. I surmised from Justice Scalia’s statement that he
believed African Americans were intellectually inferior, with no
consideration of the possible negative effects of the environment at the
University of Texas campus.
As an African American male who attended both Historically Black (HB)
universities and Historically White (HW) universities, I have insight as
to why some African Americans may not perform well academically at a HW
school such as the University of Texas. The racial pressures they
encounter could significantly impact their ability to concentrate. This
is what I experienced at HW universities and a HW seminary.
Excerpted from "When Minorities Lead in America" by Dr. Herman J. Fountain Jr.. Copyright © 2017 by Dr. Herman J. Fountain Jr.. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Dr. Herman J. Fountain Jr.
Rev. Dr. Herman J. Fountain Jr. is a retired psychotherapist after practicing twenty years at a Florida state prison for adult males. His professional career began as a correctional officer and he was a deputy warden in the Kentucky Corrections system before relocating to Florida. He has sixteen years’ experience as a pastor. Rev. Dr. Fountain is a graduate of Spalding University, Asbury Theological Seminary, and Argosy University. Presently, he is a pastoral counselor, spiritual mentor, and hypnotherapist. Dr. Fountain lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, the Rev. Vivian Smith-Fountain.
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