Black success has been a very controversial and debatable issue over the past several years.
First, we have to ask ourselves, what exactly does success mean? Well, according to Webster’s dictionary, success is the achievement of something desired or attempted. Some people believe that black America has not achieved success. They deem that if any blacks have, it is because white society has let them through the cracks to pacify and quiet down the rest of black America. Figueroa 559) This may be true, but another group of people trust that in order for the black race to progress and succeed in America they have to attain respect by getting rid of the bad African-Americans that give the good ones a terrible reputation.
(Kennedy 594) What exactly does Randall Kennedy mean when he says, “get rid of the bad Negroes. ” We all have our different interpretation of this phrase.Whichever the case, another perspective on this hot topic is that blacks have improved their quality of life not because of the economy, but because of a strong resurgence of black self-confidence and self-determination. (Cose 585) After carefully evaluating all of these different perspectives, I accept as true that society will label an individual or a group of people successful or total failures. Thomas Jefferson said the American Dream is the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.
If you look into his words, I think you will find that what he really means is that in order to have “success” you must go through endeavors and come out on top and where you want to be. The flaw in claiming that an individual or group of peoples to be successful is that society compares the claimant of success to an icon who has already achieved the American Dream. For example, can one not achieve the level of accomplishment as Oprah Winfrey has and still be successful? I do not know. In my eyes, that decision will come from society.I believe this notion is all wrong. What many people are failing to realize is that there are different levels of success depending on the person achieving it and what he or she had to go through to get where they are now. A person who was raised in a home where their parents brought home one hundred thousand annually more than likely will not be labeled as one that made it in life if when they grow up, they too start a family and the household income in their family is forty thousand.
This rule applies to many black Americans.If a black man or woman was brought up in a home where they could not get almost anything they wanted because the annual household income that their single parent brought home was only sixteen thousand, then if that same child grows up to make sixty thousand a year and have a beautiful family filled with joy and happiness, I will claim that this individual has been successful and made it in life because they have pursued and achieved the American Dream which is life, liberty, and happiness, not how much you make.Society on the flip-side will compare this person to someone like Bill Gates and say that because Gates makes billions of dollars and this nobody makes a measly sixty thousand a year, this nobody cannot be successful because they do not make enough money. I hate the fact that America will not acknowledge the different levels of success.
Some people’s success may be greater than others, but nonetheless, success is still present.To those who say that black America has not accomplished success over the years, I just cannot and will not agree with you because true enough, not all black families have achieved the American Dream, but the numbers has increased overwhelmingly since the mid twentieth century. There are many different areas where blacks have had the achievement of something desired or attempted in life as we can clearly see this in politics alone.
Right now serving under President George Bush as the National Security Advisor is a black woman by the name of Condelizza Rice.This is a very high and respected position because she advises the president on the nation’s security and what they can do to make it better. This is a phenomenal advancement for a woman of her ethnicity and for the black race because compared to just four decades ago, there was no talk of a black woman ever holding a position or having rank as high as Rice. Another political advancement for black America is our current secretary of state who is a black man by the name of Colin Powell. Powell is responsible for foreign policy and dealing with foreign affairs.This is also one of the most highly respected jobs in the president’s circle of advisors. I do not know either one of these President’s advisors personally, but I think it is safe to say that they are in the presence of success because they wanted or desired something, attempted that goal, and achieved it through hard work.
Still, they do not make as much money as Oprah Winfrey. Politics is only one of many sectors of society that blacks have started to enter and be successful. Another is movie entertainment.Just last year for the first time, two African-American icons won Oscars for their performances in two great movies. One was a woman by the name of Halle Berry who won the award for best supporting actress in a film called Monster’s Ball. I found it hard to believe that she won an Oscar for her role in this particular movie because true this was a good movie, but I think she has played better roles in other movies that should have earned her at least an Oscar nomination. Nonetheless she deserved this outstanding award.
Not only is she an Oscar winner but she is also considered one of the most beautiful women in the world according to many magazines. Notice I did not say one of the most beautiful black women, but one of the most beautiful women out of all and any race in the world meaning black or white or Mexican women. The next superstar I am going to talk about is a man by the name of Denzel Washington. Everybody knows Denzel Washington because of the great movies he has made in the past. Washington won an Oscar for his leading role in the interesting film Training Day.This film was a kind of reverse or character for Washington because in his films, he usually plays the good character or hero but in this movie, Washington plays a crooked cop and is portrayed as the villain. I also found it hard to believe that the world gave Washington an Oscar for this particular movie when almost all of his movies have been box office smashes. Why did they decide to give him one of the greatest movie awards one can receive? Is it because he as a black man was portrayed as a bad cop instead of the usual white man playing the role? I do not know.
Whatever the case, it is about time that he finally received an award in something that he is considered one of the best at doing and that is making a good movie into a great one. One other area that more and more blacks have had success in is the sports world. The reason I say this is because it is undeniable that sports are being more populated with blacks. True enough, blacks are still outnumbered and not as populous as the white race in the sports world, but success is not a measure of how many versus the other but did that person or group achieve what they attempted.
A major icon right now for black America is the major league baseball player Barry Bonds. He set a record for the most homers in a single season last season and is on his road to either tying or passing the record for the most homeruns in baseball history. This is a guy who had a dream and a goal, worked hard at accomplishing that goal, and has been showered on with success in his life. Another sports figure is the young and talented Marion Jones of the track and field world.This young black woman has set records in track and field that nobody knew women could do and has won many races in her pro career. Jones’ success story is no different than anyone else. She saw something that she wanted, made a plan, and achieved her dreams of being the fastest woman in the world today.
Now I know that there are those who do not agree with my perspective on how I look at success, but if you really just analyze what this word means you will start to see what I see.Success cannot be measured by how much a person has, but by what that person had to do to get where they are now. I am by no means saying that Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates are not successful. I am just trying to prove that people with less money and less fame are successful also, just on a different level of success. I want the readers of this paper to know that you do not have to make millions of dollars to make it in life, although society has made us believe this notion over the years.All you have to do is set your mind on a certain goal, attempt that endeavor, and be fruitful in your outcome.
So what if you do not make as much money as the next person or have the things that they have. You shall not covet anything of your neighbors as the Holy Bible says in Exodus twenty, verse seventeen anyway. If you find yourself wanting other things in life, you have not reached the level of success that you would like to be at so work harder at getting what you want out of life.
It is very hard to say whether or not black America is successful or a total failure because I do not think that you can measure one person’s success on account of another’s. I am a young man who is trying to be successful in life like everyone else, but I am not striving to make the millions and billions of dollars. Instead, I am working for what makes me happy and the fact that I have achieved a goal or desire in my life. As long as I continue to pursue the ideas of life, liberty, and happiness, I will achieve the American Dream and be successful in my life.