Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Leadership: Challenges

BOND: Well, what about the future, what's next?

JONES: Well, what we have to do -- we're into some -- this is the turning point now for us in this country. As we become more brown and more yellow and more black, as we -- the next, you know, thirty years, thirty or forty years, we can't fear that. We can't fear that. We have to work to embrace our increasing diversity. If we don't we'll be --

BOND: So many people are afraid of this.

JONES: They're afraid of it --

BOND: People in the majority lose the majority. People in minority, "The other minority is going to take my place."

JONES: That's right.

BOND: Our whole history is trying to get people to overcome fear. How do you do that?

JONES: I know, I know. I wish I had the answer, Julian. All I can say is that we have to undertake the effort and what I'm hopeful is that, as we become more diverse, that people will have greater interaction. It's going to come from smaller communities, families, neighbors, you know, although we're more segregated now than we have been in the past. I mean, we're really segregated. And I'm just hopeful that we can get a national discussion going on. But we have to start locally. That "Look, this is happening, we won't fear it and for the sake of our country still being where we are -- it means that this is not a problem, but this diversity issue is something that has to be embraced and we cannot --

BOND: We're roughly a couple of months from the end of the Clinton administration, which tried to start this discussion --

JONES: Yeah but --

BOND: -- and it didn't happen.

JONES: Well, there was a problem there, you know. You've got to have a certain moral force. There's a moral, strong moral argument here. People have to know that they can -- will listen, and rightly or wrongly, these people haven't listened to this president on these issues, although he has understood them. He hasn't been able to get people to act on them, but we can't leave it up to the president. We can't leave it up to the president. It's got to be wider and deeper than that, and we really have to impact on the education community. We have to start working with these unions and the teachers and the public education, the academic institutions, you know, that train our folk. And it's just -- it's a massive grass roots effort. Top down won't work.

BOND: But you think we can do it?

JONES: We can't fail. We don't have the luxury of failing.