“The Needs of A Society Determines Its Ethics….”

  • ”The needs of a society determine its ethics, and in the Black American ghettos the hero is that man who is offered only the crumbs from his country’s table but by ingenuity and courage is able to take for himself a Lucullan feast. Hence the janitor who lives in one room but sports a robin’s-egg-blue Cadillac is not laughed at but admired, and the domestic who buys forty-dollar shoes is not criticized but is appreciated. We know that they have put to use their full mental and physical powers. Each single gain feeds into the gains of the body collective.”
  • Maya Angelou (b. 1928), African American poet, autobiographer, and performer. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, ch. 29 (1970).

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3 comments

  1. Sadly, this is the era of make-believe, in which the best pretender and/or the best entertainer will have the most fans. Basketball players, football players, rappers, and strippers have become the heroes of the black community. And becoming a reality TV star is a serious goal for too many. Figureheads have been given to the black community for the illusion of progress, and there is cheering when another black person becomes a billionaire because it is imagined that it means the entire race has moved up. Trapped in a fantasy world, we worship those who flaunt their money in front of us on the TV screen, gaudy gold chains that cost as much as a car. And they bring us further and further into a dream where we vicariously live through their conspicuous consumption. The figurehead “made it,” so we close our eyes, smile, and slump back into sleep.

    • Hi Sabrina, thank you for your well-informed comment. I really appreciate it. I found it a very interesting read and thought-provoking. I particularly agree that “we vicariously live through their conspicuous consumption”. Fascinating hearing you write if from the perspective of the black community. Thank you once again. Erin

      • You’re welcome. I will add that the entertainers themselves are stuck in the dream as well, and with the idea that conspicuous consumption can heal the hole in their soul.

I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment. All feedback is much appreciated. Thank you. Erin

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