The newly appointed Chairman of the Board of Roxbury Community College is being opposed because of the pigmentation of his skin.

There is a group of community activists in and around Roxbury who are opposing the appointment of Gerald Chertavian, the CEO of the nonprofit Year up, as the new chairman of the board that oversees Roxbury Community College(RCC) because Mr. Chertavian happens to be white.  Over welcomeMemorial Day weekend of all times, a group called the Friends of Roxbury Community College sent a letter to Governor Deval Patrick stating that it is “insulting for Governor Patrick to appoint a white person to head up the body that is the primary decision-maker for the college.  He is sending a message that although we are a predominantly Black institution, it will take a white person to give you the vision and leadership to take the college to the ‘promised land’ of education.  That is the ‘plantation’ type mentality.” The Friends of Roxbury Community College is headed by Sadiki Kambon, who is reported to have said the the Governor’s decision to put Mr. Chertavian in charge was the wrong move and that the people of Roxbury need to see a person who “ looks like us” in that position.

Wow. So much to say here–so many ironies and so little time. I guess I should not be surprised; after all Sadiki Kambon along with then city councilor Chuck Turner, said in 2004 they had photographic proof of U.S. soliders raping Iraqi women and the so-called evidence turned out be clips from a hardcore porn website.  Since that time Chuck Turner has been tried and convicted for political corruption. However it looks like Mr. Kambon is still making foolish statements. But before we start parsing his and his group’s latest, a quick background for those of you who may not be familiar with Roxbury Community College or RCC as we locals refer to it.

RCClogo_blackRCC is a community college located in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston which happens to be the center of the African-American community in Massachusetts.  The majority of students who attend RCC happen to be Black but certainly not the entire student body.  Not only is RCC a college but it has been the center of community activity for decades.  RCC has recently had some very embarrassing moments in its leadership, mismanagement of funds, personnel issues, and overall failures in leadership and has recently undergone restructuring in its management and executive leadership. There are both high hopes and high expectations for the future of the institution.

Now on to the foolishness of this group’s moronic and ironic position that Mr. Chertavian cannot lead the board because he is white.   For a group of Blacks to take such a position is ridiculous and the reason for that should be obvious to all butyour most hardened racist.  The fact that the so-called Friends of Roxbury Community College actually sent a letter to the first African-American Governor of Massachusetts could not be made up if you tried.  What do you think this group response would be if the 84% of Massachusetts that is white said sorry, Deval Patrick cannot lead this state because he does not ‘look like us’. How would this group have responded if they were to learn about any institution denying a Black man or woman a leadership role because they do not look like the majority of the people in that intuition’s ‘community’? I can see the protest lines forming already!  I also find it interesting that this group sent their protest letter to the Governor over Memorial Day Weekend. Think about all the brave men and women who have died to defend this country’s ideals. I think about my grandfather’s generation, the ‘Greatest Generation’ who went to war in the 40’s with many making the ultimate sacrifice, to keep a lunatic who thought along racial lines from taking over the world.   I would love to ask the Friends of Roxbury Community College just what is it about this leadership position that requires only a Black person. Now, granted, I am not an education expert, but I am a Black man with both a college degree and a graduate degree and after all that schooling, I cannot remember a single time I went to a Blacks only classroom.  I have also never run a college, but I am pretty sure the talent to do so is race neutral.  Just imagine the outcry if the Friends of Roxbury Community College were a Tea Party group! This is just another example of the type of idiocy groups on the left get to say with very little blow back.  

Do the Friends of Roxbury Community College really believe that you can only be a certain color to do certain jobs? I would invite any member of the group to talk to me about this–I truly want to further understand their thinking.  Because as of now I think their way of thinking is short-sighted and a giant step back for all of us.  A person’s ability and talent should be the only major consideration into whether or not they are qualified to do any job.




As we say goodbye to May and enter June, my thoughts have turned to upcoming Fathers’ Day.  Father’s DayDCF 1.0 unlike Mother’s Day, is often overlooked and greeted with laughter.  Fathers often joke about the ‘horrible’ gifts they get; when I was young one of the fashionable gifts to your dad and/or grand dad was the ‘soap on a rope.’ Imagine getting that as a sign of appreciation.  However what should not be overlooked and what is not a joke is the importance of not just fathers but fathers who are involved with and living with their children.

Last year CNN reported on a study by the Pew Research Center that said America is quickly becoming a dual society when it comes to fatherhood.  One the one side are fathers who regularly participate in their children’s lives, and by regularly I mean “everyday in every aspect under the image.phpsame roof.”  On the other side are fathers who live apart from their children and do not have the type of relationship that would be called consistent and involved.  According to the study the good news is that the fathers that are living with their children are much more active in the lives of their kids than those same type of fathers from 50 years ago.  Parenting has evolved for fathers beyond being the providers and disciplinarians–they are now involved with all other aspects.  However the problem for our society as a whole, in my opinion, is that the percentage of fathers living apart from their children has more than doubled, going back to 1960.  The report highlighted that one out of every four fathers lives separately from their children.  This adds up to is the troubling fact that 20.3 million children don’t have a father living with them. 

My own father died shortly after I had turned 10 years old and the pain of his absence under our roof is something that is with me to this very day, so I know a little something about some of the feelings those 20.3 million children have about their particular situation.  I do not believe we need any experts or studies to tell us what we already know or should already know.  Any father or any parent for that matter that is living in the same house as his children will most likely be more involved with the lives of his children and those children will be better off for it.

The Pew Research Study was also very troubling to a subject near and dear to my heart–the plight of the African-American community.  The study found that while 21% of white fathers and 35% live away from their children, Black fathers were at 44% when it comes to living apart from their children.  Personally I believe that 44% number to be overly generous; I would not be surprised if it was actually higher. In fact I believe it probably is.  Now I must admit I have not done a study to prove that, I base it on my own experience and knowledge and also on the fact that 72 % of black babies born today are done so out of wedlock. 

The study also highlights some stark economic realities for fatherhood. It found that besides white fathers, fathers with a college education, and fathers with higher incomes are also more likely to live with their children.  The study pointed out how fathers with less than a high school diploma who lived away from their children accounted for 40% of dads not at home, compared to 7% of college educated fathers.

What is alarming about this for me is this would seem to suggest that, for the first time in our country’s history, poor families, working class families, middle income families, and high income families are becoming vastly different in not only how their families are structured but also in how they operate and I do not think I need to spell out which ones have the advantage.  While high income and middle class families have always had an economic advantage, there was a time when drawinglow income families of all ethnic and racial backgrounds were on par and sometimes better when it came to having both parents under the same roof with full time access to their children.   If high income families were and are able to give their children a head start in life through their economic advantage, there was once a time that parents in the home working together as best they could to offset any disadvantages their economic status placed on their children.  One can only imagine how much harder such a task is for such families with the father living separate from his children.  This is not to say that every two parent household is ideal and that there are not some fantastic households headed up by just mom, because there are– I grew up in one after the death of my dad–but those families and situations are not what I am discussing here.  I am simple stating my viewpoint that having fathers that live with their children is the most ideal situation for our society has a whole.  I believe any honest examination of the facts will support me in my opinion.

I would like to conclude with a shout-out to all the fathers out there who are doing it right as we approach Fathers Day. If you are active in your children’s lives and providing for them and loving them, you are a hero.  God bless you and all that you do, you are making your children, your family, your community , and your country stronger by your efforts.