“Either you slangin’ crack-rock or got a wicked jump shot.” – The Notorious B.I.G.
As forceful and inspiring as President Barack Obama’s NAACP speech was on Thursday night, days after I wonder if one portion, one of the most important segments in my opinion, is in fact unrealistic given the seemingly ever-increasing materialistic society we find ourselves engrossed in nowadays.
“They might think they’ve got a pretty jump shot or a pretty good flow,” President Barack Obama proclaimed at the 100th annual convention. “But our kids can’t all aspire to be LeBron (James) or Lil’ Wayne. I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers, not just ballers and rappers. I want them aspiring to be a Supreme Court Justice. I want them aspiring to be President of the United States of America.”
While prophetic and wise words from our country’s leader, I nevertheless question if they were actually spoken in vain granted the overemphasis society presently places on money and the careless principles some of our children are taught by their parents on a daily basis.
In particular in some regions where hopeful ballers and rappers reside, sports, music as well as sadly drug dealing are oftentimes valid options to kids because they are viewed as the quickest and most profitable ways to accumulate wealth.
But virtually everywhere in the country, parents, peers and the media bombard youngsters with the distorted message that it’s absolutely vital to obtain big-time money to pursue “the finer things in life.”
So why would a kid aspire to be a teacher who averages $50,000 a year nationally? Why would he wish to be a scientist who averages $72,000 a year? Why would he want to be a doctor who averages $ 80,000 a year?
While obviously indispensable to the welfare of society, these occupations require years of dedicated schooling with minimal financial return in their young eyes. On the other hand, a star NBA player or rapper can be a millionaire by 20-years-old.
According to SI.com, 2009 NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James, 24, earned over $42 million because of his basketball skills last season. Likewise, the branded “Greatest Rapper Alive,” Lil’ Wayne, 26, earned over $18 million over the past year due to his lyrical abilities, according to forbes.com.
With such ridiculous paydays possible in the world of sports and entertainment, it’s easy to see why so many children, especially those with humble upbringings, are aspiring to be ballers and rappers rather than teachers, scientists and doctors.
President Barack Obama’s point was that it’s highly unlikely an aspiring kid will become the next LeBron James or Lil’ Wayne and to encourage them to become whatever they want in life. Yet, it seems unrealistic to think children will change their obsession to get money and material things as long as their parents and the rest of society remain fixated on them.
Which NFL star possesses the biggest crib? Which rap celebrity pushes the smoothest car? Who sports the shiniest watches and chains in MTV and BET videos?
Children see these images and hear these conversations much too often throughout their young lives. As a result, in spite of President Barack Obama’s ambition many will likely continue to aspire to be ballers and rappers instead of teachers, engineers and judges until parents change their own cravings for money and material belongings and aspire to teach their kids other values in life.
Dwayne C. Nelson’s music and sports column appears every Monday on Associated Content. Click on the links below to read some of his recent columns:
Not-so-fond memories of Steve McNair
Michael Jackson paid price of fame
Did Michael Vick’s time fit the crime?
Notorious B.I.G. was lyrically a great rapper, but not the greatest
Links of sources:
Indeed.com:http://www.indeed.com/salary?q1=teacher&l1=, http://www.indeed.com/salary/Scientist.html, http://www.indeed.com/salary?q1=doctor&l1=