Choices, not color, determine a person’s future

Published 10:34 am Saturday, June 12, 2010

To the Editor:

Recently we have seen in the news two divergent stories, both involving young black women from Franklin.

One centered around Shaleetta Hicks, who won a scholarship, and the other around Keisha Keys, who gave birth to quadruplets.

Hicks competed for and won a Millennium Gates Scholarship that will pay for all her expenses for an undergraduate degree, master’s degree and a Ph.D. to any school she wishes to attend. In monetary terms this must be in excess of $500,000, but in non-monetary terms it is priceless.

The second story was about Keys, who gave birth to a set of quadruplets, increasing her family to eight. These children are priceless as well.

I suspect that Hicks chose to spend many an hour doing school work, earning extra credit. With these credentials she was able to compete and win an unbelievable scholarship. Her future is as bright as the brightest star.

She chose that path and worked hard to be successful. We should all applaud her achievement. No doubt she could become a secretary of state, an Army general, a judge, or anything she elects to attempt. Her family must be so proud of her.

Keys faces a far different future. She chose to limit her education to become the mother of four children, and then another, which turned out to be four. Hopefully they will be a blessing to her into old age.

However, her economic life, and the life of her children, will be severely limited if the past is any indication of the future. It will be more likely hand-me-down clothes, food stamps, and child support from charitable individuals, churches and social agencies.

These are striking opposite ends of the spectrum within our community.

Youngsters and young adults probably will not read this article, but perhaps their uncles, aunts, grandparents and parents will do so, white or black. These are the people who influence our young.

We all know that it is choices that one makes that determine ones future. It cannot be blamed on someone else or called racism.

Somewhere in the middle of these opposite ends lie most of our young. Where do your youngsters and young adults fall and what are you going to do about it?

Bob Trainor