Terri's Cellar Door

Stuff that happens to me, Terri.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Listen Up!: An Open Letter to the Black Folk of America from Somebody who May Not Been Around Long, but Knows a Problem When She Sees One

*This started as a response to a Digg article about black apathy. While the website may or may not have less than admirable goals, the discussion it started was a good one.

I think it's far too easy for a lot of Black people to say, 'The White Man did this' or that, instead of taking responsibility. It reminds me of a conversation that I was having with my bro the other night. We were listening to some hard core rap (crunk music, or something) and I made mention that I'd rather have my kids 'acting white' than 'acting black'. Now, I should clarify. Of course, I want my kids to have the best of both worlds, but I want them to have a good education, speak proper English, and take pride in themselves. It's a problem for me that in this country 'acting white' is being well read, 'geeky' if you will, being level headed (boring, even), etc. While 'acting black' is having bling, saying words like bling, and making songs with bitch or ho in the title. Okay, vague generalization city, but I'm hitting the mark. We (black folk) have a long way to go in this country, yes, racism still exists, but I think that black people are more willing to act as victims, instead of taking their own destiny in their hands. There are a lot of black men in American prisons. A disproportionate amount, actually, and one could look at this and say, 'This is racism, they're locking our men away and destroying our families.' However, you must have done something wrong to go to jail. A large majority of the time, you are guilty of the crime you commit. So, where does that leave us? With an economy that doesn't support the lower classes, which causes them to turn to illegal activity. With judges who have little or no compassion for a person who was just trying to do right by their family, and has done something that hurts other as well. With homes with one (or less) parents, which cause children to lose direction. The justice system's flawed, the courts are flawed, the government is flawed. The list goes on and on. But it's time for us to take a look at what we're doing and where we are and try to make changes. Yes, we came from slaves, but we also came from people who were beaten, and bombed. Who had attack dogs turned on them, and were sent to jail, just because they wanted basic freedoms like the right to vote, and being able to sit at the front of the bus. Those people were heroes. They rose above their circumstances and made life better for themselves because they wanted something more. We stand of the shoulders of those people. We have it in us. The genes are there, we just have to be willing to put in the effort. And it's not easy. No one ever said that it would be. Young black folk these days want things handed to them. They want to become the next big rapper, or basketball star, or overnight sensation. While the businesspeople, the politicians and others aren't getting the same airtime. It's not just a problem for black people, it's a problem for all people. A large number of young people today (no matter what the race) are touched by apathy. They don't vote, and they don't keep up with world affairs; if it's not going on in their backyard, they're not interested. This hits black young people especially hard, because while white folk have had their liberties long enough to become bored with them; we have not. It's only been about forty years since the steps where taken to ensure that every black person in America was guaranteed to have the right to vote, and we can't even get our young people out to an election. If faced with the same problems that Medgar Evers and Rosa Parks were faced with, can you see 50 Cent or Ja Rule on a bus, refusing to give up their seat, or Lil' Kim on a march to Washington? I'm sick of the apathy of people! Not just black people, but all people. But it's sickening to see it in a group of people who haven't even had liberty long enough for the taste to become stale in their mouths. So, we have a responsibility. No one wants to hear about it, but it's important for us to know. I don't live in the 'hood', but I have single parent friends. I have cousins that are on welfare, and working on their fifth kid. I have family that's in prison for drugs, and they think it's too late to turn their life around. I have seen these things, and just because I haven't lived them doesn't mean that I don't know how hard things can be. I don't have sex, not because I can't, but because I know I'm not ready for a child. You can have sex (if you're careful) and not have a child, but I'm not even taking that chance. Welfare families are turning out more welfare families as 14 year olds are having kids and when they're 14 they start having kids. I have seen this with my own eyes, in my own life! So, what's to do? What can black folks start doing to take the blame off the 'white man' and start taking responsibility for themselves. Well, the first thing is to start taking responsibility for yourself. For your actions. It's not going to be easy, and it's not going to be selling crack one day and being a stock broker the next. It takes time, and it takes commitment, and heck, it takes money. But the fact remains that if black folk don't get their stuff together, not only are the next forty years going to be not as good as the last forty, they won't be as good as the last hundred. And you don't need a centenarian to know that won't be enjoyable.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket