“No color, no religion, and no gender is based on intellence,” according to Spike Lee as he relates his statement to the many inner city African American youth that claim that if you speak correct english you are acting white. On Friday, February 25th Spike Lee was invited by Father Pfleger to speak at Saint Sabina church to help the youth and adults of our comtemporaray world to understand the importance of education. Spike says “Being black doesn’t mean that you have to be ignorant and being intelligent doesn’t mean that you have to be white.” “Many inner city youth have become accustomed to this way of thinking and something needs to be done immediately to stop this ignorant way of thinking.” Spike wants parents and the youth to know the importance of family structure and how it got him through his youthful years and groomed the career that he has today as a film Producer and Director.
Spike says “Right now we are in a crisis—where do we go from here?” He goes on to say that the most important way that we can get African American youth out of the drug and gun crisis is by planting a seed in them while they are very young, just like his parents did for him. Spike said “If it wasn’t for my mother, father, grandmother, and grandfather I don’t know where I would be.” Spike’s father and grandfather are both Morehouse alumini and his mother and grandmother are both Spelman alumni in which Spike mentions that education was key in his household while he was growing up. Spike’s grandmother’s mother was a slave and this is probably one of the most important reasons why education is so important to Spike and his family. Spike feels that the youth should be given as much exposure as possilbe while they are very young. Exposure to museums, movies, and other artistic outings will help them to tap into their gifts/talents. This is how he believes film discovered him, through the seeds that his parents planted in him as a young boy. It is Spike’s understanding that modern day parents are not putting enough emphasis on education as the parents of the 60’s and 70’s did. One reason is due to the crack epidemic in many African American communitites that almost completely wiped out the family structure and left a lot of young children to take care of themselves. Spike says “Our ancestors must be turning over in their graves because the youth are more focused on video games, guns and TV rather than education.” Where our ancestors fought and died to be able to read a book the youth of today take education for granted.
Spike says that right now is the time to change. “The time is now to get our youth back on the right track, we can not allow for African American youth to believe that getting intelligence is acting white.” “We have to give African american young men options so that they can stay out of the prison system and become educated.” Spike explains that it is okay for young children to want ot become musicians and basketball players, but he feels that when their parents expose them to more options at a young age their minds will change. Spike adds that “Parents must also know that if the gift isn’t groomed and given exposure then the gift is left to die, and we don’t want this to happen.” Spike ends letting us know that “We can’t waste any more time, the time is now to get our youth back on the right track allowing them to know their history, roots and gifts that God has given them.”