"'If our people studied calculus like we studied basketball,' my father, age 91, once remarked as we drove past a packed inner-city basketball court at midnight, 'we'd be running M.I.T.' When my brother and I were growing up in the 50's, our parents convinced us that the 'blackest' thing that we could be was a doctor or a lawyer. We admired Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, but our real heroes were people like Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Benjamin Mays and Mary McLeod Bethune. Yet in too many black neighborhoods today, academic achievement has actually come to be stigmatized. 'We are just not the same people anymore,' says the mayor of Memphis, Dr. Willie W. Herenton. 'We are worse off than we were before Brown v. Board,' says Dr. James Comer, a child psychiatrist at Yale. 'And a large part of the reason for this is that we have abandoned our own black traditional core values, values that sustained us through slavery and Jim Crow segregation.'
'Americans suffer from anti-intellectualism, starting in the White House,' Mr. Obama went on. 'Our people can least afford to be anti-intellectual.' Too many of our children have come to believe that it's easier to become a black professional athlete than a doctor or lawyer."
Henry Louis Gates Jr: Breaking the Silence
Barack Obama's Speech at the Democratic Convention