Motivational speaker Eric Thomas visited Vashon High School students in St. Louis, Mo., last month, but what he said to students after being interrupted a few times will leave you speechless.
Thomas starts off his speech by telling students his incredible story. Thomas dropped out of high school, just as his father and grandfather had done before him. His father wasn’t there for him, and Thomas lived homeless in Detroit for two years. He said he wasn’t going to let his children go through what he went through.
Thomas says he put his son in a school where he never had to fight.
“Where I grew up, like even if you don’t wanna fight, you gotta fight. I’m like, yo, I didn’t even like fighting, and I had to fight,” Thomas said.
Thomas went on to say he met a preacher who inspired him to go back to school and turn his life around.
However, his speech takes a nasty turn when he tells students to be quiet multiple times, but they don’t listen.
Thomas completely loses it and says he gets paid $50,000 to $100,000 to speak to corporate groups and tell his story. He says he visited the school for free to help them and give them something. He goes on to declare that he won’t be interrupted again.
“When people love you, you don’t do them like dirt. When people care for you, don’t disrespect them. You ain’t got but a few people who care about you in this world. Didn’t you hear what I just said? If you’re in the wrong place, you’re going to get shot and killed. No one is going to jail for it.
You got the nerve to act the fool when somebody cares about you? You’re talking when I’m talking. Do you know that if I go to a Jewish school, those kids are quiet. If I go to a white school, those kids are quiet. If I go to a Latino school, those kids are quiet. The only kids that disrespect me are black kids.
That’s it. My own are the only ones who disrespect me. I work in any other school and they’re taking notes. I come home, you’re talking. You’re capping jokes. You think something is funny. Look how we’re living. Ain’t nothing funny. Ain’t nothing funny, y’all.
I have my Ph.D. They’re asking me what’s wrong with urban schools. I’m like why are you asking me? I’m in class just like you’re in class. The teachers and professors want to know what is the problem with the schools.
I’m embarrassed. You want to know why? What they don’t know is that you’re not even trying when you take a test. You didn’t give your best. They think you’re dumb. You ain’t dumb. We survived slavery, and you can’t pass a test? Come on!
I ain’t stupid. You take everything from us and we still survive. You want to tell me that you don’t want to learn how to write? Have you lost your mind? We are survivors. That is all we do, is survive.
You can take a test. The problem is that when you do, you barely take the test. I challenge you to go in there and do your best. I challenge you to go into class and act like you have some sense. No one has to put you on medicine. You know how to sit down and shut up. You do it when you’re watching videos.
Listen to me: you’re mine.”
The video ends by saying, “Always know where you’re going, but never forget … Where you come from.”