The Talented Tomth

Here’s what blows Du Bois talented tenth theory out of the water. Ready? Aim. Take this bath. The talented tenth that we spent all these years trying to cultivate and increase in numbers were supposed to bring their skills and resources back to the hood to provide employment and other entrepreneurial opportunities, but like Woodson and Garvey and others pointed out the education that these “talented tenth” received was not, from an epistemological standpoint, culturally grounded and as a result it directed them away from their own people, from their own communities, and their people’s collective interests towards the building of the worlds of others and towards getting a little cash on the side for doing so. They could not help but sellout, because they were educated to do so. You can’t even knock them for doing so, if you have not given them an alternative cognitive and practical template and environment to operate in. Unless we do something, Eurocentric and Negro colleges are going to turn out another generation of people that will not come out ready to work for us, but ready to work for those who oppress us. Increasing the number of Afrikan graduates of a Eurocentric education system, while it may increase the pool of available “trained” and “conditioned” INDIVIDUALS for systemic use, will not improve the social, economic, and political situation of Afrikan people (shattering one of the civil rights movement myths) UNLESS that “education” is corrected and paired with pan-Afrikan consciousness.


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