The Problem With Black Exceptionalism



In April of 2014, I released my third book, “Truth for our Youth: A Self-Empowerment Book for Teens.” Every time I appear on a radio show to promote my new book, I’m asked why I wrote it. My answer is generally the same every time and I think it’s important enough to share with you, as it speaks to issues much larger than my book.

I’m tired of how we as a community promote Black exceptionalism: “my child got accepted here,” “my child won a scholarship,” “I’ve accomplished this or that.” “She’s the first Black something or other…” Black people usually can point to any number of individual superstars and high achievers. But for every one child or adult that is exceptional, hundreds of thousands more are low-performing, content with mediocrity, and destined for lives of poverty and failure.

I was an exceptional young person, and my parents were proud of me…

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