A Letter To A CousinTagged as:
Having just finished seven years as an undergraduate and PhD degree at Oxford University, where I was conspicuously in the minority, ethnically, I felt the urge to share the groundings for my motivation and attitude which has helped me along the way to my academic success.
So, one night after having listened to yet another tirade of opinion on the radio concerning the blight of unachieving black youngsters, I decided to put pen to paper.
The piece takes the form of a letter from a black youngster to his misbehaving cousin expressing his concern regarding his lifestyle and offering him some correcting advice;
I write to you today in a bid to dissuade you from your present way of life and to suggest to you an alternative path to that which you are currently set upon. You might find my discourse too idealistic and simplistic, but bear in mind I write only and solely to you and not to a collective, for I believe that in a mind as young and fertile as yours, the seeds which I offer are likely to take root and germinate if you would take care to nurture and tend them.
The least you can do to honour the memory of those who departed under the yoke, sorrow and horror of slavery is to make the very most use of what they toiled for- the Elysium which they sought for their progeny and subsequent descendants of which you are one. Attempting to do this is the least you owe to them, else they have endured and toiled in vain for the freedom which you so carelessly devalue by your disregard for society and its values.
The spirit that lives on in you, the same spirit which was not cowed, which fought and struggled for your present liberties is the same spirit you must now learn to tame and put to fruitful productive use, for the halcyon days of your race finally beckon.
You might mistake 'FREEDOM' in the Western World to mean a chance to become materially wealthy. True, most members of your race more than any other is and always has been steeped in material poverty, but one thing you must realise is: Material wealth in itself does not constitute freedom, no matter how much.
Freedom represents the presence of opportunities previously denied. An opportunity to become wealthy yes, but above all the opportunity to do so through legal and rewarding means...through education. Seizing this opportunity and making good use of the free resources afforded by your state will help you become a good and upright CITIZEN.
Departing from this path unto the path of crime and illegality, is akin to rejecting freedom and enslaving yourself, not too unlike your forefathers before you, who were bound and gagged against their will. But in your case, crime and drudgery become your masters. You will forever be a fugitive of the law, forever afraid of its long arm and its punishments and ultimately becoming a slave in this free society of your own volition.
Conversely, poverty does not constitute enslavement or deprivation, it merely represents a restriction of one's opportunities and means. However, it does not deprive you of that one priceless and most lucrative of all gifts available to us all- RICH and POOR. FREE EDUCATION, which makes us all rich by the opportunities it affords us.
This is what your forefathers fought and persevered in their pains for. The right to learn to read and write like their masters and fellow human beings. You have that right now earned for you over decades and centuries by those who fought valiantly on your behalf. Let us now see the fruition of those seeds which they sowed and fertilized with their sweat and blood.
Do not aid the ignorant in their delusions. You may say that yours is not the degraded race they take it to be but you have always maintained that, now is the time to show that they who speak such folly are wrong in their conclusions.
And if you wish not to dwell on the past, spare a thought or two for the future. Become something your progeny will look up to with pride, shall venerate and hold in high esteem because you created a past for them to look back on and to reckon with. Do not be of the generation upon which they shall scoff and say 'THEY WERE FREE', but what did they do with their FREEDOM?
With these parting words, I hope dear cousin you dwell upon the above and meditate upon them.
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