‘Talented Tenth’ does not equal change

When Condoleeza Rice was elected as the United States Secretary of State, blacks nationwide considered her victory a social feat unlike no other. As a prodigy, a classically trained pianist and the first black female provost at Stanford University, she’s certainly not the average woman. Surely she was to be a part of the ‘talented tenth’ W.E.B Dubois was referring to.

These were supposed to be the educated and intelligent people that he charged to elevate and uplift the black race. For some reason we were all under that same impression. All of our black leaders and scholars were supposed to be the ones to exercise the power they have on behalf of their people. However it seems as though we were sadly misguided.

Has Rice implemented any new policies that would help bridge the disparaging gap between poor black minorities? No. As a matter of fact, what has Rice done for the black community?

In fact, during Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating tragedies in history to affect black people, where was Rice? Shopping for shoes.

As the 2008 U.S Presidential Election continues to creep up on us, it’s in our best interest as a people to consider more than color when choosing candidates. Barack Obama seems to be the picture-perfect candidate and shows many ‘talented tenth’ qualities. Especially since he was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review and even started his career working in grass root organizations throughout the south side of Chicago, where a good percentage of the black population reside.

However I charge us as a people and a community to not rely on the ‘talented tenth’ to salvage the black race, but in the wise words of Mahatma Ghandi, “be the change you want to see.”

Yewande Addie for the Editorial Board.