Dr. Carol Swain, a Vanderbilt University professor and expert on race relations, says young African Americans should be optimistic about the future and not believe those who say otherwise.
"Don't believe the messages that are coming from the Civil Rights leadership about hopelessness. If you have a desire in your heart, you should pursue that. Doors will open up for you and people will come along side with you," Swain told Ron Christie, guest host of "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"And I believe that if young people turn from government to God, as we once did as black people, that you would have success stories."
Swain, a professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University and author of "Be the People," pointed to her own life as proof.
"If I look at my career path, I actually worked a series of dead-end jobs before I had started college. I worked in nursing homes, a garbage factory, I sold items from door to door, I worked in a fast food restaurant for one day, I've been a sales clerk," she said.
"And so I have a life before I had gotten my education and I have five college and university degrees. It was my plan and in fact I started out at a community college, my only goal was to get a job."
Swain said today’s minorities are often given the wrong messages and don't understand about those who made sacrifices in the Civil Rights movement.
"I hear the black leaders speak out about racism, and they really paint a dismal, inaccurate picture of hopelessness; like the world is so racist, there's no way you're going to make [it], you're not going to make it if you don't have role models that look like you," she said.
"When I think about myself and what propelled me forward, there were not role models that looked like me. I did what I felt that I had to do and one of the things that, again, my motivation was to get a well-paying job.
"Doors opened up, people steered me in the direction that led to me eventually becoming a university professor. I didn't start out saying, oh, I'm going to be a university professor. It's probably the last profession I would've chosen."
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