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  • Writer's pictureHello MGB [MultiGenerational.Black]

#ThingsRFLtaughtMe post 3 of 4--Don't Believe Everything You Read

Updated: Jun 27, 2022


On page 254, my dad wrote:

Some writers have tried to put a twist on some of the noteworthy things that African-Americans do, or else they don’t quite want to acknowledge them. They have a limited number of people they have a big vested interest in. Probably even a notion of white superiority. You can chronicle the achievements of African-Americans in so many different areas whenever the barriers have been broken. Look at the arts, certainly in athletics—even in business. And this has happened over significant periods of time.
I remember a few years ago when a kid who was African-American, and part Filipino, won one of the Olympic fencing championships. Well, that couldn’t get any kind of really significant play. At one time here in New York City, the No. 1 chess player, a kid of African ancestry who was 12-years-old, was the national champion and received little if any publicity. The media are truly not interested in promoting those types of stories.



That second kid was KK Karanja, a classmate of mine at Hunter College Elementary School. KK and I didn't know each other well, but he and my best friend from second grade, Jessica, competed in chess together. KK's achievements were appreciated by our school, though, which is how my dad knew about him.

Inadequate or misleading coverage of African American achievement, is something I remember my father pointing out to me. One time, when I was about 13 years old, he showed me an article in the Wall Street Journal about the sale of a Black-owned business. He asked me what I thought of it, and I regurgitated the perspective of the article, ‘Um, it’s a pity that Black businesses are selling out?”

"No," he said. "This should be a success story. Look at how much they sold the company for! But the writer of the article is biased, and is making it sound like something has gone wrong. Nothing went wrong here."

"You have to look past the words on the page, Leslie," he continued. "You can’t believe everything you read."


It certainly was a good lesson for me. It’s even more important these days, to ‘consider the source’ and question the motivation of the author.

Take what works and let the rest fly!

Happy week 3 of Black History/Black Futures month.


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And as always, thanks for reading this!

Reginald F Lewis as a child in Baltimore MD, smiling, sitting at a desk with a book
RFL at 12 years old, smiling, with a book

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