Joe L. Rempson
Eight Propositions by Joe L. Rempson Summary
Rempson takes issue with those who lay the plight of African Americans on racism, not seeing it, today, as a major obstacle to black progress. Rather, he traces the origin back to what he terms the African American Garden of Eden. In it, W. E. B. Dubois outlasted Booker T. Washington and fathered a tradition which Rempson argues has produced a victim identity and an emphasis on the system rather than the self. Only black males offer a way out, he declares, because it is entirely “our black males who are keeping us down and curtailing our progress,” in contrast to black females, who “are doing OK.” They are plagued by what Rempson calls the African American Male School Adaptability Crisis (AMSAC). Their academic performance ranks at the bottom, alone, below black female students and below white, Asian, and Hispanic male students. In large urban areas, their high school dropout rate is 59 percent and, nationally, they lag behind in college attendance and graduation rates. The outcome, Rempson argues, is dysfunctionality and the existence of hedonistic norms which hinder family and community stability. But while black males are the problem, Rempson contends, it is nevertheless only they who can solve it because research and experience show that it takes males to bring up and change other males. Though intended for everyone, he therefore writes his book to his fellow advantaged black males and makes a passionate plea for them to step up and, with the help of black females and of the nation, take the lead. As their guide, he has formulated eight propositions. Arrived at through an examination of impressively extensive data from numerous sources and disciplines, they are a marked departure from the customary. Most strikingly, delicate matters, such as those which pertain to intelligence quotient (IQ) and culture, are openly confronted and dealt with. But, Rempson writes, “unless confronted, we will not solve our problems.” “Nor,” he continues, “can we solve them unless we cut the umbilical cord to white America. We have no right to expect it to be our savior; nor are we justified in perceiving it as our oppressor.” Forcefully and finely written, Rempson’s book is a singular and courageous contribution. Alone, his eight propositions make it a worthy read.