*Motivational speaker Eric Thomas visited Vashon High School in St. Louis, Missouri, last month, and video of the event has gone viral because of how he scolds a group of unruly students who interrupt a personal story he’s sharing about growing up on the rough streets of Detroit.
Thomas – who usually gets paid between $50,000 and $100,000 for his services – offered to help inspire and encourage the low-achieving students for free, but became understandably frustrated by their disinterest. Eric didn’t hold back when he revealed that the disrespect is something he only experiences from Black students.
“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,” Eric says in the video, continuing, “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.”
He goes on, “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,” adding, “That’s it, my own, are the only ones who disrespect me.”
After the comments, the camera pans to show the same disruptive students, now wide-eyed and attentive. “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!”
Thomas becomes more and more emotional as his speech continues, “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.”
The video ends with the students standing in applause. Check it out below, the action starts around 3:30.