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Moment of Clarity: Why So Serious?!


Drew Ben

Andrew Jones is a senior legal communications major.

Sometimes I wonder if every Monday morning, an e-mail goes out to all Howard students telling them what to be outraged about for the upcoming week. Or there must be a text message that is sent out whenever something happens that instructs us on how to respond. Somewhere in the H-book there must have been a list of things that gather our collective emotion and focus it in the same direction. 

The issue with this e-mail, text, or H-book section is that it always falls short of real-world relevancy. Emotions are the most powerful form of influence; emotions affect your behavior, attitude, relationships, and even physique. Yet the things we attach our emotion to never seem to be worthy of such a powerful attachment. If you’re feeling a bit skeptical I’ll quickly go through a list of things that we’ve gotten mad about in the past and then discuss what should be relevant in the future. 

Here are a few things that should rarely or never evoke an extreme emotional response from you: 1. The ethnicity of a pageant winner, 2. The winner/loser of a stepshow, 3. What is said about you/your organization on Twitter, 4. How President Obama feels about Kanye West.  

Here are a few things that should merit your attention and emotion: 1. A fellow student being shot over the weekend, 2. Candidates for Vice-President of Student Affairs, 3. Your life beyond Howard, 4. The eroding moral and intellectual fiber of our generation. 

Tragically yet unsurprisingly, these things have gotten the least widespread attention from the student body. As long as no one we know is affected by violence, it doesn’t matter. As long as our organization isn’t disturbed, no one cares who the VP of Student Affairs will be. As long as we’re at Howard, there’s no time to think about life beyond Howard. As long as we’re “smart” enough to get decent grades and moral enough to feel good about ourselves sometimes, intellect and values are irrelevant.  

However, if you buy into W.E.B. Dubois’ Talented Tenth perspective, you understand that we are the best slice of the Black community. We are the future of the race, the only hope. If we can’t find time to care about the issues that affect that community the most, if we divert our attention to that which should be left to the hoi-polloi, where does that leave our race? Where does that leave us, in the halls of power with the true leaders for America and the Global community, or transfixed in front of a TV screen with the masses that we claim to be more talented than? 

It’s time to stop joking around and ask ourselves if we’re being serious about serious things. We can’t take jokes seriously and joke about the serious; that is simply unsustainable.  I do not plan on waiting around to see where that policy lands our race and community, do you?

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