Author M.K. Asante gets “Buck” with San Diego Mesa College.

San Diego Mesa College Communications Office.

M.K. Asante discussing the background behind his book, "Buck."

Robeal Tesfamichael, Staff Writer

A lecture was held at San Diego Mesa College by Author, Filmmaker, Hip-hop artist, and Professor M.K. Asante on Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 in order to discuss the background behind his latest book, “Buck: A Memoir.”

Recently becoming an international best-seller, “Buck” is an autobiography of Asante that is told from a first-person point of view. It speaks upon Asante’s upbringing from an impoverished and broken family in Philadelphia, PA.

The book is about a kid who sought to find himself but initially did so by becoming indoctrinated into the ‘thug life’ culture of his surroundings because it embraced him as opposed to an educational system that didn’t make him feel that he belonged. This happens to be a circumstance that many youth within minority communities currently find themselves in.

As the story progresses, Asante is dealt with a multitude of unfortunate events including the murder of his close friend. Ultimately, Asante recognizes that his lifestyle would eventually lead him towards either prison or death and decides to change his ways.

Upon his return to school Asante’s desire to learn becomes reinvigorated by a teacher who allowed him to learn through self-expression, observation, and participation. A teaching style in contrast to Asante’s previous experiences with teachers whom he felt would have their students simply memorize a bunch of facts in order to do well for a test. This kind of learning left Asante disengaged and uninterested.

In the midst of self-reflection, Asante begins to wonder what series of events could have created the misguidance within the Black community. During his lecture, Asante read an excerpt from “Buck” in which he used an analogy to describe his answer towards that question.

“I think about this show I saw on the Nature channel the other day about elephants. About how despite waiting up to twenty-five thousand pounds and standing thirteen feet tall, they can still be chained. How? I wondered? It starts when they’re babies. Some asshole puts a metal chain attached to a wooden peg nailed into the ground around the baby elephant’s foot. The baby elephant struggles but fails to break free and learns at that very moment not to struggle, that struggle is useless. Later on, even when the elephant can easily break free, it doesn’t. I look around at all the sad hard gray black faces and see elephants,” Asante said.

Asante’s story epitomizes the belief in many within minority communities that they were made to endure an educational system whose curriculum caters towards the country’s majority white population. Particularly when it comes to their American history programs from k-12 that begins Black history with slavery and ends it with the civil rights movement.

Blacks have been adamant that this kind of learning has subliminally sent the message to Black youth that they came from a people who haven’t accomplished much of anything. Meanwhile these same Black youth are constantly studying the centuries worth of accomplishments by Whites. This has developed an inferiority complex within Black communities that has veered many of them away from acquiring an education because they don’t believe it offers them a fair chance at success.

Asante’s intention with “Buck” is meant to relate to and inspire those who come from similar backgrounds so that they may know how capable they truly are.