***In this post I will be addressing issues within the black community that many would rather sweep under the rug and not discuss in public forums in fear of “airing our dirt laundry”. The next post or two I will be addressing some solutions that I feel could alleviate some of these problems.***
***I also realize that this post may also be preaching to the choir but hopefully if you read this all the way through you can take something from it [and the subsequent posts] and help someone who needs to hear this message.***
Often times I witness a young man on the train with his jeans hanging half way down his thighs or a young woman no older than fifteen years of age pushing a stroller and I ponder: “How did black America get to the point these conditions became acceptable?” In fact in some circles such behavior is even celebrated. Before I go on let me say that this isn’t an attack on young[er] people. In my opinion Generation Z is lost but it was Generation X and in some cases Generation Y who raised and paved the way for them. So they aren’t entirely to blame.
I don’t need to list the statistics here but its pretty common knowledge black males are more likely to go to jail than go to college. Blacks have a lower life expectancy than their white counterparts. There are serious health disparities leaning towards blacks in almost every inflictive or deadly disease. A black child is more likely to be born out of wedlock than any other race. We know the stats but how did we get to this point?
Black Americans have endured second-class citizenship that called for amendments to the US Constitution to make them full citizens and protect their rights under the law. Even then, a culture of segregation and intimidation, from cross burnings to lynching, gave rise to laws that forced black Americans to live as lower class. They attended separate and inferior schools, ate separately and often lived in fear and submission to the power of white racial domination.
Yes our history in this country isn’t one that was ideal. Honestly, how long are we going to blame a time period in which most people who are reading this post weren’t alive for? True today there still exists legalized segregation, racism and classist laws which prevent a lot of black people from achieving the same dreams as whites (which I will cover later). What bothers me is the woe is me mentality I see a lot of people take. Who is going to help you if you don’t want to do better for yourself? Even God helps those who help themselves. Something else that bothers me are our so called leaders (including activists and heads of churches) who try to fight issues that undermine black America with the same rhetoric or they just ignore them all together (more on this as well).
Education. I understand that higher education isn’t for everyone. What I get tired of is that fact that people use this as an excuse for mediocrity. Not having an a higher education is not an excuse to not know how to speak proper English. Have some pride in how to communicate with the world. It seems nowadays being smart is something that is shunned. The nerd/geek look is apparently back in style but being an actual nerd/geek? Not so much. I guess appearances are really everything.
Education isn’t just about learning things that are in books. Being educated opens up so many doors and avenues that can help you in many areas of your life. I would have been just as intelligent without attending school but I know the quality of my life would have been severely diminished without my education.
Role Models. This is a very touchy subject because no one wants to accept blame. Parents, teachers, entertainers, friends of the family, etc. Anyone who had a chance to positively impact a young person’s life and didn’t has dropped the ball. Parents let their children watch whatever they want on television and listen to whatever music they like. Now they wonder why their daughter wants to be a barbie like Nicki Minaj or look to Jay-Z and Beyonce as the gold standard of relationships. Or they don’t understand how their son is a misogynist referring to women as bitches and hoes or how he can only be attracted to “exotic women” when her mother is black.
Allowing children to internalize certain behaviors such as those portrayed in a lot of pop culture is a defeatist attitude. Do you wonder why Barack Obama doesn’t allow his daughters to watch to watch Keeping up with the Kardashians? That mindless dribble is not something that is conducive to a mind that is still very impressionable.
I think I’ll stop here. The next post will cover some more problems and I’ll get into some of the solutions I think could help the black community. Share your thoughts. Commentary. Do you agree? Disagree?