Post about "Politics and Government"

Passengers and Pilots

“In the case of emergency or a change in cabin pressure…place the air mask on yourself before helping others.”
Anyone who has flown on a commercial aircraft has heard this standard advice from the airline staff while buckling up to take a flight. It is important to take care of yourself first in any emergency and then assist others as you can. These safety tips have found their place into our current philosophical discussions.There is an emergency. Black America airlines flight 314 is experiencing major structural problems. Graduation rates have dropped below 50%. Murder rates have exceeded the casualties of the War in Iraq. Teen pregnancy, AIDS, and incarceration rates have breached the community hull and threaten the structural integrity of the family. These dire conditions are common among minority communities in the United States. The ship is going down and everyone is screaming, “What are we going to do?”Too often the answer is, “save yourself.” Too many of us have adopted the advise of the stewardess and made self preservation our first priority. It’s the norm for blacks to use the resources of the black community to come up from poverty, save themselves and disappear into the wilderness of America society. This is to be expected of most of the passengers of any sinking ship or plane in trouble.However, there is a higher responsibility for the ship’s staff and leadership. Their primary responsibility is for the safety of the crew. From the pilot to the stewardess, every staff member is responsible for the safety and well being of the passengers. They are trained to handle emergency situations. They are prepared to be calm in the face of turbulence. And god forbid, the plane experiences engine failure. They know how to safely land the plane.Leadership challenges us to make saving others our first priority. Yes, things are failing apart in the Black community. The community appears to be separating at the seams. There are definitely signs of engine failure. And worst of all the community seems inadequately staff to handle this emergency. Yet, the truth is that we have been trained and equipped to handle this challenge. No situation has come upon us that we are not prepared to handle, survive and thrive. In the case of blacks, we have overcome slavery, Jim Crow, segregation and inferior educational systems to become the world’s leaders in sports, academics, economics, entertainment, politics and government. Surely, we are ready to meet the challenges of a little engine failure.Black people are capable of saving black people. It will require that we commit ourselves to helping the people in our communities. It means helping your neighbor in need. We must open our eyes and answer the calls of our communities. Answering these calls requires money, time and commitment. Being a community member means being available and accessible to the people who need you. Like the staff of a first class flight, we are to be servants to our community.The new question for us to answer is this: “Are you a passenger or a pilot on this flight?” Is your first concern you or the crew? As a leader do you have the faith to believe that the ship can be saved? Are you willing to ride the winds down to the last moments and beyond? Are you willing to risk your own life to save the lives of others? These are tough questions but the reality is, there is no bailing out for the captain. There is no parachute for the leader.