A motivational speaker in Missouri captured national attention after angrily lecturing high school students for “disrespecting” him (video below).
Eric Thomas, 42, spoke at Vashon High School in the St. Louis Area, which is a campus in a school district where 70 percent of the students are reading below grade level, KFOR reports.
Thomas dropped out of high school himself and later experienced homelessness in Detroit before a preacher inspired him to go back to school.
Now, according to his website, ETInspires, Thomas has a doctorate from Michigan State University, owns his own organization, and has worked with a variety of big names ranging from the corporate to sports worlds.
But as he spoke, the students were not paying attention, refusing to remain quiet.
“I ain’t getting a dime here. I’m here because I love you, but I’ll be darned if I come here for free and you disrespect me,” he said to the students in a video published March 11. “And listen to me closely, when people love you, you don’t do them like dirt. When people care for them, you don’t disrespect them.”
He continued by explaining few people like him are willing to invest in their success and to have as a positive role model.
He said they were being disrespectful by paying more attention to rappers than people like him, who care about their futures.
“I just heard we had a rapper here last night. How many schools did he go to? How many elementary schools? He came and took your money, but he didn’t invest nothing back into you,” Wilson said.
His speech grew even more heated, saying when he goes to schools with Jews or white people, the students quietly listen to him.
He continued saying he was “embarrassed” when people asked him why black kids are not doing as well as other groups, explaining that, “Because what they don’t know is that you ain’t even trying when you take the test. You didn’t give your best. They think you dumb. You ain’t dumb. You can’t take our people from Africa and put us in a diaspora and spread us all over the world. We survived slavery, and we can’t pass a test? Come on!” he said.