Editor’s note: Star Parker’s new title, “Uncle Sam’s Plantation,” will be forthcoming from WND Books during fall 2003.

According to AutoWeek magazine, Nissan Corporation is now under attack by “activists,” including Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow-PUSH, for its new billboard campaign commemorating black history month.

The billboard shows the words “black history,” with “history” crossed out and “future” written in. The “activist” critics claim that the billboard shows disrespect toward black history. The billboard campaign was the first major project by Nissan’s new minority advertising firm, True Agency of New York.

The representative from Rainbow-PUSH is offended by Nissan’s strategy because according to director Glenda Gill, “Replacing history with future sometimes can rest in the philosophy of those opposing the leveling of the playing field for African-Americans.” The complainers dismiss True Agency as a “pawn for Nissan’s head agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day.” Rainbow-PUSH says that the billboard campaign would have been preferable if it had said, “Black History is our past and our future.”

Huh? Is there really a black in America today who doesn’t want a future that is very different from our past? Isn’t a better future the whole point of all the civil-rights legislation of the past half-century? Is the Rainbow-PUSH hidden agenda to get us all back on the plantation?

Nissan Corporation and True Agency should be commended for this thoughtful and optimistic message that they are conveying to the black community. It is the exact message that the black community needs to hear, because it is true. In our land of freedom, a beautiful future is there for anyone who is ready to work for it, regardless of what they had to contend with in the past.

Perhaps I part company with Rainbow-PUSH in our respective ideas of why we learn history. They will claim that the point of learning history is to gain self-esteem. I believe that self-esteem comes from taking personal responsibility and achieving. Learning history is part of our responsibility. But we learn it so that we can move on to a new and better future. Movement defines history. The point of the ad was to remember and to move on.

It is ironic that psychologists and social workers have their hands full trying to help their patients from being “stuck” in the past and from feeling like they are helpless victims who cannot play a role in their own future. Why do the political types view these same pathologies as positive? Or is this just another attempt to “shakedown” corporate America?

Martin Luther King’s “dream” was of a better future. The “promised land” that he saw from the mountaintop was a better world for people of all colors and races. Congratulations to Nissan and the True Agency for helping keep Dr. King’s message of hope alive.

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