African Americans: Yeah The Need… For Class.




( Years ago, when Mr. T was a household name, a young man asked him what his first name was.  Mr. T’s response was classic:  “My first name is MISTER.  That period is my MIDDLE name.  My LAST name is T.”  In short, through his example, Mr. T was about class.  The FIRST rule of class is respect your elders.  The SECOND rule of class is that one never addresses an elder by their first name, or, IF you should happen to do it, put a ‘Miss’ or ‘Mister’ in front of their first name.

Lately, there have been more than a few articles and columns as to why American society should ‘relax’ the rules of class and respect.  Some of these columns have actually ‘dared’ to make a case for allowing teens to address adult authority figures by their first names and arrive to work in casual dress with tattoos showing, and pants drooping.

I have news for some of the young (and not-so-young) rebels in my readership.

Go to a law firm, a bank, a court of law or a doctor’s office.  See how many employees are strutting around incorrectly dressed, piercings, underwear visible, or with a three-day growth of beard.  Listen to how many of these professionals speak when they are on the clock.  It’s “Yes Sir”, or “Yes Ma’am”.  It’s “Please”, “Thank You”, or “May I help you?”

Having class guarantees you will move upward on the ladder of mobility.

IF you don’t have it?  The ‘Real World’ will not be kind–nor forgiving.


I’m amazed at the number of young men and young women who are not only lacking in the basic social graces, but who spend hours upon hours involved with social media boasting of their ignorance.

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The real world does not ‘run’ like a reality TV show.  It runs on preparation, faith, loyalty, respect for authority, and perseverance.  The young man who does not understand THIS basic truth is going to be upset when they are finally kicked out of school, fired from a job, or locked up through antics of their own design.  Worse case scenario?

Attacking adults, my young friend, may get you DEAD.  No protest march in the world is going to be able to resurrect you.

For those in the ‘re-entry’ ranks who are working with ex-cons, here’s the truth.

First, employers don’t ‘give’ jobs!  They are EARNED!  Second, those who don’t do time go to the head of the employability line.  Employers have the right to choose whom they will employ, and most of them will choose those who don’t have criminal records.

What advice do I have for those who have done time?  I give this freely.

One must have CLASS–and RESPECT–in order to be employable.

Running to a media outlet to whine about how unfair life may be is not going to get you a job.  If one wishes to be employed in our economy, one needs to bring a classy game to the table.  Otherwise, one will be left on the sidelines–unemployed.


At the risk of irritating those who are involved in the field of the re-entry of ex-cons to civilized society, I would strongly suggest that you let your clients know that–in a tight economy–the best way to get ahead with a criminal record is to show a lot of class, perseverance and humility.  There is a LONG line of individuals ahead of your clients whom did NOT spend time behind bars.  They WILL get the first crack at any truly worthwhile careers, ahead of anyone with a prison or probation file attached to their names.

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But wait, there IS more!

Another weakness I have witnessed among those who ‘work’ with at-risk youth is the following:  The willingness to ‘marginalize’ adult authority…even in the schools.

Go into any school, and tour the classrooms.  What classrooms are in order and on the ball?  The classrooms where the teacher is firm, disciplined, and calling the shots–WITH the support of the school administration.  IF there are ‘unruly’ children or teens in that class, usually the rest of the class is quick to point them out and shut them down.  On the flip side, if one sees a classroom that has students ‘out of order’, it can be quickly ascertained that the teacher is trying to be more of a friend, rather than as an authority figure.  Young people don’t need adults as friends.  They ‘need’ adults IN authority.

I used to be hated by some so-called ‘professional’ educators and administrators during my times in the classroom setting because of my being blessed enough to know how to handle students.  There is a point for fun, and there is a time for work.  It is harmful to the future success of a student NOT to know the difference between the two.

IF you don’t want to be in class?  There’s always a seat open in the Principal’s office!


*Respect:  First, respect God.  Second, your parents and family.  Third, any adult in a position of authority.  Fourth, public safety, military, and the clergy.  Don’t ‘whine’ about not being respected when you dress, smell and talk like a homeless person.

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*Clothing:  Learn how to wear a ‘good’ suit or outfit.  We used to call it the ‘Sunday Best’ look.  T-Shirts and jeans are good for a while, but your elders AND employers like to see if you can dress to impress.

*Register AND Vote in EVERY Election:  Don’t tell me how ‘evil’ my choices are, Mr. or Miss Occupy Street Protester, until you have registered and voted yourself.    The Voter Registration Card…a REAL mark of class!

*Have at least one, personal email address that is professional and can be used to receive and send application information, including your resume.

*Resumes.  Learn what you can about how to do a good one, then have it available in several different styles (short, long, CV style) for different employers.  The BEST resume?  The one that gets you the job!  Twitter shorthand is NOT welcomed!

*Religion:  Meaning the Bible and finding a good church that practices and models what the Bible teaches.  Jesus Christ did NOT stutter about the Prodigal son.

*Language:  Cussing is NOT cute, nor classy.  Learn how to speak the King’s English for food, shelter and clothing…minus the cussing.  What comes out of your mouth in private will ‘go public’ if you don’t keep the foul language under wraps!

*Impressions:  You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Remember this frequently, brothers, when hunting for a job, or searching for a wife.  People are quickly alienated by folks who would rather be a ‘mess’ than their ‘best’.

Staff Writer; Mike Ramey

This brother is also a Minister, Modern Street Gangs Specialist, Nationally-Known Political Consultant and Columnist who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. His address is still the same: [email protected].