From Poverty to Prosperity: A Ghetto Exit Strategy as a Rite of Passage
In his debut, Jones asserts that opportunities for African-Americans have never been so abundant, but examines why progress for many remains elusive. While society fosters stereotypes, many African-Americans unconsciously accept and conform to them—thus reinforcing them. The importance of personal motivation and education are paramount; Jones provides a stinging contrast between the desire of slaves for education, despite great personal risk, and modern indifference. Jones forcefully acknowledges the reality of racism past and present, but says it is no longer a justification for despair. The statistics he cites to support his warning suggest that overcoming the barriers he outlines will be difficult to achieve, but his message is one of hope. His emphasis on the desirability of successful African-Americans as role models may be somewhat simplistic, but his insistence on embracing success and shunning the self-destructive street culture, with spiritual faith as an anchor, sustains his assertion that his goal is to uplift and guide, not to condemn. Jones may not offer a strikingly new framework for reform, but his message is an important and substantive one.