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Obama’s|Overt|Truth

So,  some African Americans are offended ( most notably Jesse Jackson) because Obama is not a descendent of slaves while others think he’s an African immigrant and yet “talks down” to the descendents of slaves. First of all, the man is NOT an African immigrant. Since when did the constitution allow immigrants to run for presidency?

To an African, because Barack’s father is African, they will consider him African as well, but the fact remains he’s only been to Africa a few times in his adult life, probably knows little to nothing about the culture….defiantly hasn’t been submerged in it. Perhaps the fact that Obama is faring so well now, is the only reason why some Africans even claim him as their own. Moreover, sounds like he’s more/less an African American since he doesn’t know his culture etc….not to mention the fact Obama considers himself African American.

 The point is that his father was an African immigrant, not Barack, so calling him an African immigrant is a bit rash and arbitrary. He is not the descendent of slaves, but if that’s all that makes an African American an African American then there are many things seriously missing.

Obama is affected by the same issues black America is affected by. He spent most of HIS LIFE fighting for black people. Even though he went to an Ivy league school, white America still saw him as black and most likely as a black descent of slaves, not knowing his background. Let’s face it, if you didn’t know his background, you would too.

His children and wife are African American; why shouldn’t he be concerned or have a voice in such issues? Even if someone white said it, as long as they understood the implications, historical aspect of it, and presented some solutions, why would someone be offended?

I’m African American and I am not offended at the things Barack or Cosby says; they both speak truth. That’s all I’m interested in, and that’s all anyone should be interested in who maintains a progressive mindset: truth and solutions.

People who are offended, this is what you are telling me:

It’s OK to wallow in your own mess and be aware of your own spiraling demise but when someone who is not in that mess, even though indirectly affected, points it out, then the problem is the person who pointed it out instead of the mess that you are obviously in

—that’s not forward thinking, not unless, of course, you enjoy the mess you’re in.

It’s one thing if what he said was wrong on a contextual basis or if what he said stemmed from his not understanding something and misinterpreting it, but then again….there is no misinterpretation.

Those who were offended were just upset that he said anything at all not because of  who he was, or how he said it (Bill Cosby). All the before mentioned seems just an excuse. Frankly, I feel those who are offended by people who tell the truth are pusillanimous, especially when they are taking no progressive moves to make a change —because the truth often hurts.

It doesn’t matter who said what, when they said, or even where. What matters is if what they said is true, and indeed, it is. It’s the problem, itself, one should be concerned about; it shouldn’t take anyone else to point it out, let alone be criticized for it.

One has to want better for themselves in order to take action and be better; this silly bickering about who said it is useless; what will we, as a people, do about the problem? I’m not saying it will be easy or that we couldn’t use some help, but I am saying that we stop thinking someone will come save us from ourselves; think pro-actively.

Discussing something very irreverent to the problem is obviously discussing issues outside of the problem. While everyone is pointing fingers, no one is concerned about solving issues–childish thinking. Get out of the cyclic mindset, it makes me dizzy.

Like Amel Larrieux sings in “Get Up”, ” I know you’re down. When you gone get up? I see you’re down. When you gone get up?”

You know, meanwhile, while we are discussing people’s mere offences to Obama’s overt truth, where is their “offence”, action, and outrage to the fact that black America is suffering from poverty, HIV, broken homes, rapid abortion rates, high crime rates, drug abuse, etc.? No where in sight.

These are issues, that simply need to be addressed and if it takes someone like Barack (an outsider) or Cosby (an insider saying the same thing) for people to actually start caring, become pro active and cease the passiveness, then I hope they as well as others continue to.

Lastly, Jesse Jackson is not a black leader——he’s just a damn fool and obvious joke.

 

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9 Comments»

  M. Anderson wrote @

I agree for the most part. I think I don’t have a problem with what is being said by Barack or Cosby. My problem is the audience that they do it in front of. I understand Barack, is running for a highest office in our country so anything he says is going to reach all audiences.

But Cosby has gone on a rampage. It’s okay to stand back and make an observation, but you don’t encourage people to do better by berating them in front of all of America. Best analogy, think of a child who stayed out after the street lights came on. His mother could go find him, yell at him in front of his friends, yank him by the arm and drag him in the house. Or she could wait until he got home and chastise him and explain to him why it’s important he listen to her. Both ways may or may not work, but the latter of the two allows him to at least have some dignity.

Cosby’s approach is brash, and not well thought out. What he’s saying is true, but the audience he’s trying to reach is not going to accept his approach. It’s aimed at “like minded” audiences, distributed to a mainstream audience, & misunderstood by it’s target audience. It’s not just him, Oprah is the same way! It’s just certain things that shouldn’t be said outside of your community, about your community. Arguably there are really no places Oprah could say anything that wouldn’t be plastered all over the place. Yet, if said to their intended audience in a more respectable manner they would get more respect in return. The disenfranchised youth doesn’t need to be screamed at in order to get your point across. You can’t publicly embarrass, belittle, & degrade someone and expect them to accept what your saying to them.

As far as your Jessie Jackson comment, -Cosigned!

  indigoblu wrote @

But Cosby has gone on a rampage. It’s okay to stand back and make an observation, but you don’t encourage people to do better by berating them in front of all of America.

I understand your frustration but I must say—

these issues are no secret to anyone, as much as one may like to believe it was secret. Cosby was accused of “airing dirty laundry”—as some one else once put it:

“If we don’t know, the dirty laundry has been hanging around wafting on the breeze for everyone to see and smell, so why are we acting like it’s a secret that our communities are seriously struggling? If we think that our trash don’t smell then we are deluded beyond belief”

Best analogy, think of a child who stayed out after the street lights came on. His mother could go find him, yell at him in front of his friends, yank him by the arm and drag him in the house. Or she could wait until he got home and chastise him and explain to him why it’s important he listen to her. Both ways may or may not work, but the latter of the two allows him to at least have some dignity.
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Just to stay in line with your analogy, I’d say the church and family should have been the mother who took the child aside, chastised and explained to the child.

However, the church and family utterly failed at this. With that being said, who holds the responsibility to teach the child the right way if not the church and family? Without this, the child is bound to go in the wrong direction and ignorantly so. Cosby is only saying/doing what the church and family either refused to say/do or didn’t say/do enough of.

I know this was for analogy purposes only, however, I am becoming inclined to think that black people, as whole, are beginning to, or maybe have been for a while now, viewing themselves as children—maybe that’s the problem. We have ultimately failed ourselves acting as children.

In spite of everything, we do STILL have a responsibility of our own, and I feel many are running away from facing the personal responsibility involved in making many of these situations better.

Yes, there are social injustices all throughout the white “privilege” system of America; there is no doubt that things on that end, involving other people, need to change. However, those things will take time, but why not change what you have the ability to change in the now (a lot of the things Cosby/others mentioned)?

There are things that we, as a people, have the individual power to change on an individual level to better ourselves, children, and strengthen our communities.

Instead, many are wallowing in a mess that we can, at least, partially lift ourselves out of––there is NO dignity in neglecting personal responsibility.

  M. Anderson wrote @

Personal responsibility is just that, “personal”. It is up to us to take responsibility for our own actions. Cosby, acting just as Jesse or Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright are all taking on the responsibility for the community. Each a respective leader, a celebrity, or clergy, but they do not represent our community as a whole. And after hearing Jesse’s irresponsible comments the other day, that’s a good thing!

There has always been a divide between our community in every aspect. Male/female, Light skin/Dark Skin, Old/Young, Rich/Middle Class/Poor, etc. Again, I agree that Cosby is just speaking from a great uncle/grandfather perspective. Like in the Tyler Perry film when all the older women look out at the family and see how the derogation of the family’s morals had just reached 100%. It’s easy to look through experienced eyes and see all the mistakes the youth are making. You have to also remember his son was murdered, and probably has a lot to do with his brash outrage with the youth today.

I’m not saying that the youth have an excuse for how they represent us as a whole. It is true that the group Cosby is truly upset with are responsible for a lot of the stereotypes still placed on us today. Yet, it should be more of a closed door situation. A discussion within our community for our community. Ideals placed in a medium for all degrading our people is not the answer. He’s painting an inaccurate picture of our black youth, that is going to be used as a generalization because he is respected outside of our community. To us, we think he’s being harsh vs. he’s right on point. To other communities it’s like, we can’t get it together. We don’t even embrace ourselves, so why should they embrace us?

I agree, why not change what we can change? But to the defense of the youth, a lot of them just don’t know any better. It’s an ignorance more so then a defiance. So why do you counter ignorance with anger? Anger never works. Berating and embarrassing them is only going to force the divide further and further. It goes from Bill Cosby: “Mr. Pudding Pops”, “Mr. Fat Albert”, “The Cosby Show” as a role model, cool dad from the perfect black TV family to Bill Cosby the guy who doesn’t get us. You start to separate yourself from him, therefore you miss his message. So what is all the yelling for now? It’s not going to accomplish what he’s trying to accomplish, because he has lost the respect of the young people because he showed them no respect. You don’t see any other community publicly degrading their own community as much as we do. And no other community’s issue is put on blast like ours. In order to get it together, we have to come together.

There is no room for personal responsiblity without dignity. If you do not deem yourself worthy enough to be respected you will respect nothing. By disrepecting them their sense of worth is degraded. Why would they change if they are already worthless? A lot of the youth in his targeted audience feel there is nothing out there for them. He is only reiterating that they aren’t good enough being themselves. You can’t motivate until you elevate. Until they have something to look towards they will always walk with their head to the ground. There is no one to teach them personal responsiblity. A lot of their failures and pitfalls are the failures and pitfalls of their parents. They are learning a lot of their behaviors from bad role models, and that includes Family/Church. They are being talked down to by the few people they do look towards as role models (Cosby, Oprah, etc.), and they don’t understand their place in our community. Because we as a whole have chosen to outcast them and point out their faults, without acknowledging our own as part of their problem, our problem.

Let’s step outside of what we know, step outside of our community, and take off our “he’s just doing it to help” goggles. Bill Cosby has been labeled an angry black man. His remarks are viewed as angry venom of hate towards his own community. He not only is hurting his own personal image. He is casting a darker shadow on our youth and adding to the long list of stereotypes already placed upon them. Just as Jeremiah Wright & Jessie Jackson have learned, there are some things we say behind closed doors that just doesn’t need to be said publicly.

  indigoblu wrote @

There has always been a divide between our community in every aspect. Male/female, Light skin/Dark Skin, Old/Young, Rich/Middle Class/Poor, etc. Again, I agree that Cosby is just speaking from a great uncle/grandfather perspective.

Indeed this is true; I have two or three post on these issues:(https://indigoblu.wordpress.com/2008/06/24/unspoken-rulescolor-complex/)(https://indigoblu.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/blackmentalbondage/)

Like in the Tyler Perry film when all the older women look out at the family and see how the derogation of the family’s morals had just reached 100%. It’s easy to look through experienced eyes and see all the mistakes the youth are making. You have to also remember his son was murdered, and probably has a lot to do with his brash outrage with the youth today.

I’m glad you should mention “experienced eyes”. Where are these “experienced” eyes in the black community? I’m sure they are there. The truth is, a lot of the black youth of today do not respect their parents or anyone else, let alone their elders.

To take this a little farther, I’d dare say Cosby’s actions were very calculated and intentional. He knew he’d make some people mad, but he knew that it would wake some people up as well, so the latter outweighed the first. The death of Cosby’s son probably is some of the reason this is so personal to him and he has expressed such outrage. Regardless, this doesn’t make what he said any less true.

Yet, it should be more of a closed door situation. A discussion within our community for our community. Ideals placed in a medium for all degrading our people is not the answer. He’s painting an inaccurate picture of our black youth, that is going to be used as a generalization because he is respected outside of our community. To us, we think he’s being harsh vs. he’s right on point.

As far as a closed door situation, that would honestly have been a hard thing to pull off without someone outside of the black community wondering what in the world was going on; somehow, it would have gotten media coverage via newspaper, TV news, or though some other means and seriously scrutinized; then people would have really been embarrassed.

Secondly, I am under the impression that even if it was to be pulled off, it would have done little to nothing. Why in the world would I say such a thing? You have youth that would not even care to go to something like this; they would have felt as if they were being lectured, and that’s the normal response of most kids…they rebel, especially if that’s the type of behavior they are use to—cursing out moma, daddy, and everyone else and thinking they are grown every minute before they turn 14. Of course some would have went and maybe benefitted from it as well, but overall—I don’t think it would have lasted very long. The mentality is warped.

Honestly, the picture he painted was not inaccurate so much as it was incomplete. These generalizations that you speak about were around and well known long before Cosby made reference to them. It was what everyone was thinking but no one had, pardon me, the “balls” to say.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Jesse and others said they wanted to cut off Cosby’s latter for the same reason.

To other communities it’s like, we can’t get it together. We don’t even embrace ourselves, so why should they embrace us?

Yes, why would they. If we don’t give a damn, and show that we give a damn by bettering ourselves to the best of our ability, I don’t see why anyone else would care either—or why anyone else would honestly expect them too.

I agree, why not change what we can change? But to the defense of the youth, a lot of them just don’t know any better. It’s an ignorance more so then a defiance. So why do you counter ignorance with anger? Anger never works. Berating and embarrassing them is only going to force the divide further and further.

Counter ignorance with anger? Have you not taken noticed? The black youth IS angry, and they’ve been that way for a while. Hence the part it plays in sky-rocketing crime rates in that black community. For children, it may very well be ignorance, but let’s make a distinction between children and teenages. For adults, they know, and if they know, why don’t they act as if they know and raise their children as if they know? Is it because it is just more convenient not to? Why be upset with Cosby? He’s done much for the black community, which is more than what a lot of people can say in regards to themselves.

It goes from Bill Cosby: “Mr. Pudding Pops”, “Mr. Fat Albert”, “The Cosby Show” as a role model, cool dad from the perfect black TV family to Bill Cosby the guy who doesn’t get us. You start to separate yourself from him, therefore you miss his message.

I know the black youth, in general, has long since removed themselves from the likes of Bill Cosby before he said anything even remotely related to this. I think the black youth still and was for a long time before that point more engaged in brand name cloths/shoes, cars, video girls, bling bling, and the likes of that.

A lot of these youth don’t even want to change this; it’s what makes you “black”, it’s what makes you “cool”, it’s what gets you all the “hos and bitches”, it’s what makes the “niggas” want to “holla” at you.

The mentality of the black youth has to change; I can’t stress this enough. I know this lifestyle because I’m part of the youth; I see it everyday and stare it right in the face. Why is everything virulent labeled as “black”? I am aware that this is not entirely their fault but we have to start holding them accountable and the media accountable and ourselves accountable and control/protest the things that our children see on TV, play on video games, we have to be involved and active in their lives (both the mother AND the father) from school to football practice. In order to get more, you have to want more and know that your worth exceeds every bit of it.

They (children) are settling for less because WE are settling for less; we are not expecting more from them—we are not commanding it. When I say WE I mean the older people in the black community. If we didn’t accept this type of garbage inside OR outside of our communities, they wouldn’t accept it either. I am just one person making changes in my life, but no one told me to, I simply looked around myself and commanded change by making a change.

Now everything “black” seems to be negative and embraced in spite of its negativity. It’s just not “cool” be smart in school anymore, so many don’t even try. In fact, the worse you do, it seems in many cases, the “cooler” you are. Some one who is diligent and smart in school is looked down on and out casted, called “stuck up” and the likes, especially if they didn’t help you cheat (a negative within a negative). A young lady who may be virginal or a young man…she/he is looked down on for being that way, for having respect for their bodies and equal respect for their minds. When someone else is doing good and by good means, everyone else is looking down on them instead of aspiring to be like them and get to the same or a better place.

As a result, you have a lot of good kids who go do the wrong paths. How did it get that way? One can speculate all day on how it came about but it doesn’t solve a thing.

I think the better approach is the youth influencing the youth and mediums like BET should be a more positive example or get off air because it is damaging the black youth and the black image. It is undeniably the youth get half of their behaviors from watching it. For example, instead of a beat up car with rims being cool, display getting a college education and taking care of personal responsibilities as cool/desirable.

If young women were taught not to respond to derogatory terms…. when males want to date them, they’d have more respect for themselves and the male would have no other choice but to respect her and approach her respectfully because otherwise he’d get no love.

So what is all the yelling for now? It’s not going to accomplish what he’s trying to accomplish, because he has lost the respect of the young people because he showed them no respect. You don’t see any other community publicly degrading their own community as much as we do. And no other community’s issue is put on blast like ours. In order to get it together, we have to come together.

Nobody wants to be told that what they are doing is wrong, but constructive criticism in this case has taken the form of tough love—it’s the only way to get through to some people. He got a lot of their attention and he got some people thinking about the current state of black America, which is far more now than it was 5 years ago.

There is no room for personal responsibility without dignity. If you do not deem yourself worthy enough to be respected you will respect nothing. By disrepecting them their sense of worth is degraded. Why would they change if they are already worthless? A lot of the youth in his targeted audience feel there is nothing out there for them. He is only reiterating that they aren’t good enough being themselves. You can’t motivate until you elevate.

No one is going to give you dignity but you—dignity IS self respect, and you take away your own dignity by not taking up your personal responsibly. One’s sense of worth comes from within, not from an outside source—anything less is something artificial. As far as if you do not deem yourself worthy enough to be respected you will respect nothing—that’s not necessarily true.

More and more black parents are giving their children more respect than they are recieving. Many of the black youth respect people like “JayZ”|”Snoop Dog”|”Kanye” over their parents/elders BUT it’s evident they don’t have much respect for themselves. Powerful figures get the respect of just about everyone, but especially those who lack respect of themselves—that’s how they maintain their power in the first place.

NO, they are NOT good enough, they need to be better and want better, we need to do better and want better for them and ourselves. I hate for people to excuse people’s lack of efforts and obvious faults for “just being themselves”. Stop settling for less when you can aspire to be and achieve so much more.

Until they have something to look towards they will always walk with their head to the ground. There is no one to teach them personal responsiblity. A lot of their failures and pitfalls are the failures and pitfalls of their parents. They are learning a lot of their behaviors from bad role models, and that includes Family/Church. They are being talked down to by the few people they do look towards as role models (Cosby, Oprah, etc.), and they don’t understand their place in our community.

Hardly any of these kids know who Sydney Poiter is—well spoken, extremely educated, personifies true dignity but came from nothing, and made it to the top legally. The respect they have for him compared to say…”Snoop” is minute even though Snoop made it via illegal substances and through other far from honorable means, along with many other rappers.

Every little black kid wants to be a rapper? Why?? They can be ANYTHING. When most of these rappers are only helping the youth go down the wrong path anyway talking about nothing worth listening to and only farther polluting the minds of the black youth.

There are plenty of good black role models out there for them, plenty of black CEOs, many black doctors and lawyers, many black scientist, nurses, teachers, and researchers…plenty of respectable writers and poets… and with most of them…the odds were against them. I guess these people are not “cool” like JayZ. One has to learn how to, pardon me again, stop pulling sugar on sh*t , call a spade a spade, and start doing and thinking differently. As I said before, the mentality has to change .

Because we as a whole have chosen to outcast them and point out their faults, without acknowledging our own as part of their problem, our problem.

How is one supposed to address the issue if we pretend it does not exist? You can’t progress to chapter 2 if you don’t understand chapter 1. I think Cosby and others have made it very clear that it starts at home with the family. I don’t think anyone just blamed the youth for everything; you’d have to show me that one because I can not recall it anywhere. Black people are the least likely to give up on or disown their child(ren)—in spite of jail, drugs, guns, stealing, killing, etc—but there has to be a limit to this. If not, I can say/do anything I want no matter how wrong/negative it is and fault my mother, father, or anyone else for that matter, besides myself, in spite of everything.

When does one take personal responsibility for their own actions? WE must take responsibility for our own actions and for our children, and the youth MUST be held accountable for their own actions—if not, nothing productive will actually come out it. It is actually because family and church has neglected their responsibilities and children were not held accountable for their actions that we, as a people, are in this mess now.

  indigoblu wrote @

Just to make this clear, I am not referring to everyone (black parents, family, youth) but the majority for sure; it is quite evident. the majority of our black communities are hurting. Though some of the reasons may not be “pretty”, it’s still the reality.

  Tee wrote @

LOL…….it is obvious that the discourse on Obama’s overt truth is refreshingly hearty and candid. I construe this to be a genuine concern over the less than desirable trends that characterizeour communities as black people. What has been offered by both indigoblu and Anderson is pensive and inviting to all of us, to searchingly ponder over. As I search within for explanations, I am prompted to ask a question that comes to mind: Could it also be that some of the concerns we observe in our communities are a manifestation of a struggle in discovering our true identity?

I am persuaded that our personal code of conduct stems from long held belief systems about ourselves that we have either inherited, deliberately chosen, or allowed experiences and other people to shape in us. We ultimately are inclined to act out who we percieve ourselves to be. I believe I am in familiar climate when I refer to biblical admonitions (we tend to be more welcoming to religiosity as a people): Proverbs 23: 7a “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he…..”

The factors contributed by both writers are signifiacnt and cannot be ignored in attempting to disect the concerns that affect our community. Yet, an askew identiy is also effectuate. We hence must pay attention to discovering and reinforcing an accurate identity of who we are.

  indigoblu wrote @

Tee:
I agree and that goes back to what I said about what it means to be ‘black’ now a days.

Now everything “black” seems to be negative and embraced in spite of its negativity. It’s just not “cool” be smart in school anymore, so many don’t even try. In fact, the worse you do, it seems in many cases, the “cooler” you are. Some one who is diligent and smart in school is looked down on and out casted, called “stuck up” and the likes, especially if they didn’t help you cheat (a negative within a negative). A young lady who may be virginal or a young man…she/he is looked down on for being that way, for having respect for their bodies and equal respect for their minds. When someone else is doing good and by good means, everyone else is looking down on them instead of aspiring to be like them and get to the same or a better place.

Call it an identity crisis or what but it’s the mentality that most have bought into, getting their identity from the direst of places (like BET); it is obvious a lot of our communities get a lot of their behaviors from it. So now you have a bunch of little boys who think they are men acting like thugs that they know nothing about it. I know these rappers know that they are influencing these children in less than positive ways but they don’t give a damn, as long as they are getting money. What happen to boycotting crap like that—things that are doing nothing but hurting our communities not helping them. Now we just embrace whatever the next one embraces, no matter the moral.

As the late Tupac Shakur rapped (when rap music was an art):

” I remember Marvin Gaye, he use to sang to me; he had me feeling like BLACK was the thang to be.”

I often find myself daydreaming about the days when it MEANT something to be black; where we were united with each other. “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud!” I think that is my era, maybe I was reincarnated, but that’s the hope and love I have for my people, but they lack the same hope and love for them selves, and it’s very disappointing.

What happen to when we ALL use to respect eachother and respect ourselves and respect our women, respect our elders, without a doubt…respect the family, and without a doubt respect the church? That fire is gone and we are shattered in mind and body–where is the strong black spirit that has endured us all these years?

Now I am not saying that they had everything all figured out because they didn’t but they wanted better for themselves, and not only did they want better…they took action to make it better.

They protested, they rallied, they boycotted, they worked hard, they helped each other, they respected each other. What happen to having guns as a means of self defense (Black Panthers) and protecting our people? . Now we tote guns as if we have the right to take someone’s life without our own being threaten. The gang that was first formed to protect our people now murder our people via drugs and guns in cold blood on the streets.

We’ve always made our own way, but now it seems like we are just taking any ol’ way. We have forgotten who we are, and who we are not. We are not just descendents of slaves. Who we are is a people who have tremendous strength, love, and creativity. Where is the flame? Did someone forget to pass the torch or did it simply burn out?

The real people who actually do not care are those who ignore it and say nothing, those who do nothing, and those who encourage it; you do the math.

  M. Anderson wrote @

You said: “The truth is, a lot of the black youth of today do not respect their parents or anyone else, let alone their elders”

Whose fault is that? Again, when do we take responsibility and stop blaming the kids for how they act. Their behavior is a direct reflection of ours. They didn’t get that way by themselves, yet we singled them out and tell them they should know better, when they truly don’t. Unfortunately, the youth don’t respect their parents or elders because they haven’t been made to do so. With laxed parenting, the deterioration of family values and morals & the inferiority factor in America they haven’t had the same foundation laid. There hasn’t be a “struggle”, that they were forced into. Most other then dealing with the police don’t know what real racism is. They don’t know the importance of who they are and who they can be. So it’s unfair to expect “Marcus” to go to a school where education isn’t the priority, from a family where he’s only seen women working and taking care of the family, in a situation where no one he knows has graduated high school, and the most successful person he can name is the dude slangin’ rock on the corner driving the Benz and you expect him to strive for better? For that to be an innate feeling? Yes, in a ideal world, you expect him to try to better himself and to know that there is more out there then that. Yet, we aren’t in that world.

You said: “These generalizations that you speak about were around and well known long before Cosby made reference to them. It was what everyone was thinking but no one had, pardon me, the “balls” to say.”

You’re right, they were around before Cosby referenced them, that’s precisely why he shouldn’t go off on a tirade as if he’s saying something new. Yes, everyone thinks it, and there are plenty of people who’ve had the “balls” to say it, they just didn’t make a spectacle of it. I’m attended Morehouse, and I’ve been to plenty of discussion about this. In fact Cosby, did one of his infamous rants at a open forum at Morehouse. And that is truly a forum for that, but honestly you’re speaking to men who are in school and are trying to educate themselves. This takes them out of the major target group, he’s actually trying to reach. So why not hit up YMCA’s, high schools, churches. These places even if what he’s says leaves the building it won’t be as publicized as a speech at a Historically Black College about how sorry young black men are. Speak to your audience directly, relate to them, talk to them in a manner that they will understand. You make reference to the youth looking up to rappers, this is one of the reasons why.

You said: “Counter ignorance with anger? Have you not taken noticed? The black youth IS angry, and they’ve been that way for a while. Hence the part it plays in sky-rocketing crime rates in that black community. For children, it may very well be ignorance, but let’s make a distinction between children and teenagers. For adults, they know, and if they know, why don’t they act as if they know and raise their children as if they know? Is it because it is just more convenient not to? Why be upset with Cosby? He’s done much for the black community, which is more than what a lot of people can say in regards to themselves.”

Black youth are angry? Is it just the youth that’s angry? I was watching CNN earlier, and they showed a statistic of where American’s stand on race: black vs. white. 56% of White Americans said that race relations were good. While only 29% of African Americans said the same. We’ve come as far as we’ve come because we’ve struggled and fought for an equality that we still do not fully have. Yes, we have sky-rocketing crime rates in our community. And recently Latino’s have started gaining on us, because they are increasing in numbers. And as the increasing minority they too are victims of an unequal system. Which tends to lead to higher crime rates. So are Latino youth angry as well? Or is it just a larger number of them unfairly treated by the system. You keep making a distinction between children and teenagers, but they are one of the same. A teenager is still a child, still easily influenced, still has room for natural growth, and less experienced then an adult. The term adult is a person who has attained the age of maturity, when we no longer give you the benefit of the doubt. Yet, I don’t agree with the comment “they know”. There are a lot of adults who have no more knowledge about how to act then their children, that’s why they can’t teach their child. It’s not an act, they really don’t know how to act. It’s not about convenience. And the only reason they are mad with Cosby, is because it’s aimed at them and don’t understand why. It’s great Cosby has given to his community, that’s what your suppose to do. A lot of people can’t say the same, but they also don’t have to agree or listen to him say what he wants. It’s like someone walking up to you, giving you a $100 bill and proceeding to talk about you. Just because they gave you something, doesn’t mean you have to sit there and let them berate you especially if you feel they don’t know you and have no just reason to say those things about you.

You said: “It’s just not “cool” be smart in school anymore, so many don’t even try. In fact, the worse you do, it seems in many cases, the “cooler” you are. Some one who is diligent and smart in school is looked down on and out casted, called “stuck up” and the likes, especially if they didn’t help you cheat (a negative within a negative). A young lady who may be virginal or a young man…she/he is looked down on for being that way, for having respect for their bodies and equal respect for their minds. When someone else is doing good and by good means, everyone else is looking down on them instead of aspiring to be like them and get to the same or a better place. ”

I don’t think it’s “not cool to be smart”. I think that because a lot of times the “noted smart” kids are far and few they’re outcasted to make the other’s feel better about themselves. But in school situations anyone different then the norm is made to feel that way. Compare school curriculum in the urban areas vs. the middle class areas. The goal in most of the urban areas is attendance and to get more than the previous year’s class to graduate. There’s a documentary I think on HBO, “No Child Left Behind”..If the teacher’s aren’t as qualified, the administration isn’t behind it, the parents aren’t involved and the children are left to suffer as victims of yet another institution that doesn’t believe in them how can you measure their aspirations vs. youth with a much better situation? They are still children, they won’t look back at the stupid things they are doing now, until they’ve screwed up and gotten into the situations where they have self realization of life and what it has to offer. Yet by then for a lot of them, it’s too late.

You said: “He got a lot of their attention and he got some people thinking about the current state of black America, which is far more now than it was 5 years ago.”

Yes, he’s got a lot of people thinking, but I’m betting it’s not his core audience. It’s people like you, educated people, concerned people, idealistic people. He hasn’t turned on a light in Black America, or shared a revelation with us. It’s something we all know. It’s something that’s in our faces, under our noses, in our backyards. He’s just got a lot of the wrong attention. He’s bringing focus to a problem we need to address in our community. We don’t need commentary by CNN, to tell us what we need to be doing. We need him to say, “It’s okay being you, but in order to be successful you NEED to focus. You NEED to take responsibility. You NEED to grow up, respect yourself, love yourself, love each other. You can do anything, God has put you on this earth for things a lot bigger then rapping, handling a ball, or standing on a corner. I love you, your community loves you, we embrace you, and we want you to be better for us. To make us stronger.” That is the message he needs to convey. Not focus on “the N’word”, or clothing, or etc..You don’t have to talk down to people to make them listen. Respect them and they will give you respect in return.

You said: “Hardly any of these kids know who Sydney Poiter is—well spoken, extremely educated, personifies true dignity but came from nothing, and made it to the top legally. The respect they have for him compared to say…”Snoop” is minute even though Snoop made it via illegal substances and through other far from honorable means, along with many other rappers.”

It’s like you said before about them not seeing Bill Cosby as Cliff Huxtable or Mr. Pudding Pops anymore, they don’t know who Sydney Poiter is. In fact go to a child 10 years old, they don’t know who Tupac is. Our role models, leaders, etc..don’t supercede rappers, because today that’s all there is for the youth. Obama, is arguably the first black man that youth in all different backgrounds are looking at like “Wow, That’s amazing! If he can do it maybe I can too.” They have respect for Snoop and various other rappers because these are the people talking about what they know. These are the people who are showing them that it’s possible to succeed in life from their situations. It’s much easier to tell a child, “go to school, make good grades, go to college”. Then to tell that same child, okay you went to school, made good grades, but there is no money for you to go to school. Or you made good grades in YOUR school, but your SAT scores still aren’t high enough to get into this school. Or the requirement for you to graduate YOUR high school were inferior to the school up the street in another district and your GPA doesn’t matter because you didn’t have the same core classes that are a requirement for this college. Yes, there are plenty of black CEO’s, scientist, etc..but how many are from the projects? They look at Jay-Z because he’s from where they are from, he’s been through what they are going through, and he speaks to them. It’s not enough black CEO’s and scientist speaking to the kids. We tend to “make it” and “move on up” and try to get as far away from “where we came from” as possible. Which only hurts the youth. They have no idea that it’s possible to achieve half the things that the successful people in our community are doing. The young black youth are the neglected portion of our community that we only turn to when we want to blame something on them.

Let me apologize for the long winded response. I find it hard to compact & summarize my general feelings about some things.

  indigoblu wrote @

M. Anderson:

First, let me say thank you for participating in this blog. It is a very personal issue to me and obviously to you as well. I don’t mind the “long-windedness”. I don’t object to it in the least, in fact, I appreciate it.

I think that often times we, as black people, don’t have enough of the long-winded discussions, which could actually lead to better understandings of the problems that may actually help develop a concrete solution(s).

I also believe it starts in each one of us. The example that you set for the youth, be it your children or someone else’s, and the type of family that you have, their values and their respect for themselves and the people around them….that will make all the difference in the world. It may seem a small thing, but when you bring forth a generation that has been led in the right direction by you or by me, you’ve already began to change the tide.

M. Anderson stated:

You said: “The truth is, a lot of the black youth of today do not respect their parents or anyone else, let alone their elders”
Whose fault is that? Again, when do we take responsibility and stop blaming the kids for how they act. Their behavior is a direct reflection of ours. They didn’t get that way by themselves, yet we singled them out and tell them they should know better, when they truly don’t. Unfortunately, the youth don’t respect their parents or elders because they haven’t been made to do so. With laxed parenting, the deterioration of family values and morals & the inferiority factor in America they haven’t had the same foundation laid. There hasn’t be a “struggle”, that they were forced into. Most other then dealing with the police don’t know what real racism is. They don’t know the importance of who they are and who they can be.

I’ve already stated:

WE must take responsibility for our own actions and for our children, and the youth MUST be held accountable for their own actions—if not, nothing productive will actually come out it. It is actually because family and church has neglected their responsibilities and children were not held accountable for their actions that we, as a people, are in this mess now……[ They (children) are settling for less because WE are settling for less; we are not expecting more from them—we are not commanding it. When I say WE I mean the older people in the black community. If we didn’t accept this type of garbage inside OR outside of our communities, they wouldn’t accept it either. I am just one person making changes in my life, but no one told me to, I simply looked around myself and commanded change by making a change.]

M. Anderson stated:

So it’s unfair to expect “Marcus” to go to a school where education isn’t the priority, from a family where he’s only seen women working and taking care of the family, in a situation where no one he knows has graduated high school, and the most successful person he can name is the dude slangin’ rock on the corner driving the Benz and you expect him to strive for better? For that to be an innate feeling? Yes, in a ideal world, you expect him to try to better himself and to know that there is more out there then that. Yet, we aren’t in that world.

I’ve already stated:

The mentality of the black youth has to change; I can’t stress this enough. I know this lifestyle because I’m part of the youth; I see it everyday and stare it right in the face. Why is everything virulent labeled as “black”? I am aware that this is not entirely their fault but we have to start holding them accountable and the media accountable and ourselves accountable and control/protest the things that our children see on TV, play on video games, we have to be involved and active in their lives (both the mother AND the father) from school to football practice. In order to get more, you have to want more and know that your worth exceeds every bit of it.

So it is clear that I agree the parents have to play the part, of course, but in playing that part, it means, also that the child has to be held accountable for what they are doing or not dong. You can’t have one without the other. This is more or less the same thing Cosby has said, even with his harsh overtones.

M. Anderson said:

You’re right, they (generalizations) were around before Cosby referenced them, that’s precisely why he shouldn’t go off on a tirade as if he’s saying something new. Yes, everyone thinks it, and there are plenty of people who’ve had the “balls” to say it, they just didn’t make a spectacle of it.

When I think of making a spectacle out of the generalizations and stereotypes that exist about the black community, I think of things like BET or these black “parody” movies. BET and these movies promote and make a spectacle out of the black community because they both are saying:

“This is how black people are, this is what entertains them, this is how they act, this is their lives, their men call their women bitches and whores, their men are all selling dope on the street and killing each other, they are cheating on their women, their women are loose and promiscuous, their women have 5 kids with different daddies, their woman have no respect for themselves, their men are only after sex, their men wear over sized shirts and jeans, chains that are too big for their necks, shades at night when there is no need for them, they value only materialistic things, they don’t value education, they value sex, they don’t value family, black men cheat and lie, black men beat on their women, they pimp their women, black women do not have minds, instead they have what is between their legs, a big behind to look at and big breast to flaunt and that is more or less all they are; they are loud and ghetto….PS: if you want to know more about black people…just keep watching BET and some of these black movies”

—almost every stereotype that exists, they promote. That, my friend, is a spectacle not the mere words of Bill Cosby.

Tyler Perry’s movies are the only exception to the black“pardoy” movies. I think he is a very intelligent man, and I believe he has figured out that there is no point in these movies unless they have some deeper underlying meaning behind them that can give hope and a solution—to be better and to DO better even though the odds may be against you. He knows our communities are hurting, and he’s doing something about it. I have much respect for him.

M. Anderson said:

I’m attended Morehouse, and I’ve been to plenty of discussion about this. In fact Cosby, did one of his infamous rants at a open forum at Morehouse. And that is truly a forum for that, but honestly you’re speaking to men who are in school and are trying to educate themselves. This takes them out of the major target group, he’s actually trying to reach. So why not hit up YMCA’s, high schools, churches. These places even if what he’s says leaves the building it won’t be as publicized as a speech at a Historically Black College about how sorry young black men are. Speak to your audience directly, relate to them, talk to them in a manner that they will understand. You make reference to the youth looking up to rappers, this is one of the reasons why.

I agree that he should target the younger people, especially at some of the places you mentioned, as I believe it starts and ends with them. However, I don’t disagree with him speaking to you all at your college because you guys will be the next ones bringing children into this world, and hopefully under better circumstances than many of the black children now living without fathers in their lives and struggling to stay above all the negativity this world can throw at a young black mind.

Hopefully, you all will be present in the child’s household, not just in his/her life, and be a strong role model for them because this makes all the difference in the world to a child—both their parents being there—it gives them something positive to look up to and forward to. I don’t think he was entirely off in doing this.

Children look up to these rappers because they have no other guidance…absent fathers/mothers or those who really don’t care. It is a trend, just look at it. Children who grow up in broken homes most often are the ones caught up in having children early, into the “thug” life, drugs/gangs etc with no stability, struggling more or less the same struggle their separate parents struggled. You have already mentioned this yourself…..Cosby and his approach in words is not the reason why these kids are struggling their parents and their lack of personal responsibility are.

M. Anderson said:

Black youth are angry? Is it just the youth that’s angry? I was watching CNN earlier, and they showed a statistic of where American’s stand on race: black vs. white. 56% of White Americans said that race relations were good. While only 29% of African Americans said the same. We’ve come as far as we’ve come because we’ve struggled and fought for an equality that we still do not fully have.

It is no secret that there is still not true equality in America, and being that I’m black and I’m assuming you are as well, we both are extremely aware of this. Most of white America is oblivious to race relations in America because of white privilege. Since they are not affected by the issues that the black community and other minorities are, they fail to see any problem. Why would they? They are living the good life—the majority of them anyway.

Now, let me clear this up. Maybe I was not clear before so sorry. I did not say that the black youth don’t have a reason to be angry. I simply stated that they ARE angry because earlier you stated:

I agree, why not change what we can change? But to the defense of the youth, a lot of them just don’t know any better. It’s an ignorance more so then a defiance. So why do you counter ignorance with anger? Anger never works. Berating and embarrassing them is only going to force the divide further and further.

I agree with you that anger does not work, as well….that’s why I have said repetitively take action and stop being passive. A lot of people are angry yes, but that does nothing to solve anything. You have to be active and not passive in actually solving the problems, not piling more problems on problems already deeper than the sea itself.

M. Anderson said:

Yes, we have sky-rocketing crime rates in our community. And recently Latino’s have started gaining on us, because they are increasing in numbers. And as the increasing minority they too are victims of an unequal system. Which tends to lead to higher crime rates. So are Latino youth angry as well? Or is it just a larger number of them unfairly treated by the system.

Yes, the Latino community is angry as well as the black community for very similar reasons but I think they do have their differences, as common as the surface issues may seem. Why?

Black people have been here for a long time….very long time…through slavery and the likes…we fought the struggle for every minority who has ever had the opportunity to come to America and still we are treated unfairly and then a lot of minority people who come here have the audacity to look down on African Americans, which is a double slap in the face.

Have you noticed that there are commercials now that are by Latino people speaking only in Espanol—no English caption or anything on regular TV? I believe we will be seeing a lot more of that. Why?

There are people who are part of the Latino community who have came over here and climbed up the corporate ladder and government ladder (and they help each other up the ladder too when they get up—something we black people tend NOT to do) and through money, power, and influence were able to pull some strings for members of the Latino community to benefit and gain from America’s prosperity so they can slowly but quite surely get a piece of the American pie. Why has this not happened in the black community?

M. Anderson said:

……[ They (kids) have respect for Snoop and various other rappers because these are the people talking about what they know. These are the people who are showing them that it’s possible to succeed in life from their situations….. look at Jay-Z because he’s from where they are from, he’s been through what they are going through, and he speaks to them….. [Yes, there are plenty of black CEO’s, scientist, etc..but how many are from the projects? They It’s not enough black CEO’s and scientist speaking to the kids. We tend to “make it” and “move on up” and try to get as far away from “where we came from” as possible. Which only hurts the youth. They have no idea that it’s possible to achieve half the things that the successful people in our community are doing. The young black youth are the neglected portion of our community that we only turn to when we want to blame something on them.]

There are many successful people in the black community but most seem to only be content that they are content and show little to no concern for the black community or those who are trying to make it up or out. At least Cosby has done his part……what about the others?

The wealthy black CEOs, lawyers, doctors and such? I can’t single them out all…because some do go back and try to help their community in a POSTIVE way, but not enough of them, that is defaintly true. However, why would you overlook the rappers in the process when —particularly the rappers who are so often put on peddle stools and are “role models”( for literally no good reason) are sitting comfty in their nice big houses/ riding in nice big cars…making their money FROM the youth and doing nothing FOR the youth but degrading their minds.

Even if you were where I’m from and went through what I went through….. if how I got out of that situation was through selling drugs and killing people—–do you know that a lot of kids have bought into this thinking that….. they can do what Jay did and not get caught and put under the jail, not get killed, not get string out? All the things these rappers did illegally to get out of their situations only actually promote such situations. Their actions only hurt the black community when they were selling dope and it hurts the BC now, even if they stop selling it but are still rapping about it. That’s nothing to look up to; it’s all negativity, no matter how one looks at it.

These people simply sicken me. It sickens me even more that we, as adults actually promote this crap and let our children promote it when it does nothing positive for the youth, nothing for the spirit, and nothing for the mind. Sex, money, drugs and a life of crime—that’s all he wrote.

“The love of money is the root of all evil.”

If you are going to rap….rap about something that has meaning….something positive and uplifting…something that can help someone’s life, not destroy it.

Rappers like Common, The Roots, Dead Prez, and Lauryn Hill—all of these rappers are from the “hood”, but get overwhelming overlooked in the music scene and sometimes all together looked down on and they are actually talking about something worth listening to. The mentality has GOT to change.

M Anderson said:

You keep making a distinction between children and teenagers, but they are one of the same. A teenager is still a child, still easily influenced, still has room for natural growth, and less experienced then an adult. The term adult is a person who has attained the age of maturity, when we no longer give you the benefit of the doubt. Yet, I don’t agree with the comment “they know”. There are a lot of adults who have no more knowledge about how to act then their children, that’s why they can’t teach their child. It’s not an act, they really don’t know how to act.

As a teenager, you have a sense of knowing, independence, and power over your will—a 5-12 more than likely doesn’t; their decisions are still mostly governed solely by their parents. You have the ability to distinguish right from wrong and choose the path of your choosing. I know this because I did it and I know others who did this. It is a hard thing to step away from the crowd and go against the tide.

People will look down on you, claim you think you are “better” than they—in spite of your explaining to them that you just want better for yourself, want to be yourself, and you want them to want better for themselves too. This is personal responsibility and parental responsibility as well, but peer pressure and social pressure are both absolutely NOT something you HAVE to buy into. It’s about finding yourself and being yourself in spite of not because of. So when I say that, I am speaking from personal experience.

M. Anderson said:

It’s not about convenience. And the only reason they are mad with Cosby, is because it’s aimed at them and don’t understand why. It’s great Cosby has given to his community, that’s what your suppose to do. A lot of people can’t say the same, but they also don’t have to agree or listen to him say what he wants. It’s like someone walking up to you, giving you a $100 bill and proceeding to talk about you. Just because they gave you something, doesn’t mean you have to sit there and let them berate you especially if you feel they don’t know you and have no just reason to say those things about you.

You’re right. You don’t have to listen…just sit in your own mess and rott, then complain about how no one cares. Well, obviously, you don’t care.

This is a big problem, I think, and it, more or less, just reminds me of the argument people are making against Barack Obama for not being “black enough”. Look, Cosby and Obama are affected by these issues, as is every African American regardless if they have actually gone through or are going through the exact same thing.

They have enough understanding to understand that, perhaps, if these things are not addressed properly and people just let anything fly, as they have been lately, their children may end up in the same dire place/situation or their children’s children.

Perhaps they understand that in the greater scheme of things, we are ultimately responsible for how the future generation perceives itself and it’s history and it’s people. We are merely reflections of our ancestors, that can either be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s what WE make it.

Thank God for the likes of those like Bill Cosby and Barack Obama; they understand that Old Man Time knows no mercy, so they want to do all they can while they still have time to make things as right as possible before time catches them as it has so many before us.

M. Anderson said:

I don’t think it’s “not cool to be smart”. I think that because a lot of times the “noted smart” kids are far and few they’re outcasted to make the other’s feel better about themselves But in school situations anyone different then the norm is made to feel that way. Compare school curriculum in the urban areas vs. the middle class areas. The goal in most of the urban areas is attendance and to get more than the previous year’s class to graduate. There’s a documentary I think on HBO, “No Child Left Behind”..If the teacher’s aren’t as qualified, the administration isn’t behind it, the parents aren’t involved and the children are left to suffer as victims of yet another institution that doesn’t believe in them how can you measure their aspirations vs. youth with a much better situation? They are still children, they won’t look back at the stupid things they are doing now, until they’ve screwed up and gotten into the situations where they have self realization of life and what it has to offer. Yet by then for a lot of them, it’s too late.

I seriously disagree with you on this for two reasons. The first is the fact that I have seen this happen so many times, it’s impossible to count, especially in poorer neighborhoods/schools or schools in urban areas—you are just one person and you are an adult now and you’ve gone to college, which makes all the difference. Watch Akeela and the Bee.

The second being that you said a lot of times the “noted smart” kids are far and few; there are so many intelligent black children in the ghettos and in the most over looked of places that it is truly a shame that these notions, being smart is not cool and the likes, actually make a lot of them suppress their inner intellectual selves and promotes the slang and the “I just don’t give a * mentality, as long as I’m cool and you respect me”.

Merely using correct grammar is not cool, it’s “white” to a lot of blacks (even adults). Stop looking at it as “white” and look at it as just a normal means of talking, which we all learned in school for 12 years—it’s really not a complicated process, especially considering English is our first language— it’s quite ridiculous not to speak correct grammar.

I don’t mean be perfect in everything that you say but sometimes I have heard people who just murder it. People whose first language is their mother tongue, and their second language may be Amharic, and their third is English sometimes speak it better than I have heard some black people speak it. It’s the mentality, again, I must say, the mentality has to change. It’s almost like a chain reaction of negatives pivoting off of each other. How about a chain reaction of positives that do the same?

M. Anderson said:

He’s (Cosby) just got a lot of the wrong attention. He’s bringing focus to a problem we need to address in our community. We don’t need commentary by CNN, to tell us what we need to be doing. We need him to say, “It’s okay being you, but in order to be successful you NEED to focus. You NEED to take responsibility. You NEED to grow up, respect yourself, love yourself, love each other. You can do anything, God has put you on this earth for things a lot bigger then rapping, handling a ball, or standing on a corner. I love you, your community loves you, we embrace you, and we want you to be better for us. To make us stronger.” That is the message he needs to convey. Not focus on “the N’word”, or clothing, or etc..You don’t have to talk down to people to make them listen. Respect them and they will give you respect in return.

Although I agree with you that CNN shouldn’t be commentators, you have to understand that …that is what is bound to happen when you lack unity in the masses. As I said in an earlier comment:

even if it was to be pulled off, it would have done little to nothing. Why in the world would I say such a thing? You have youth that would not even care to go to something like this; they would have felt as if they were being lectured, and that’s the normal response of most kids…they rebel, especially if that’s the type of behavior they are use to—cursing out moma, daddy, and everyone else and thinking they are grown every minute before they turn 14. Of course some would have went and maybe benefitted from it as well, but overall—I don’t think it would have lasted very long. The mentality is warped.

I do think that the way in which you said those words are needed (which by the way, were simply touching), but also I think the way in which Cosby said it was needed also.

Some people will hear you say, “It’s okay being you, but in order to be successful you NEED to focus. You NEED to take responsibility. You NEED to grow up, respect yourself, love yourself, love each other. You can do anything; God has put you on this earth for things a lot bigger then rapping, handling a ball, or standing on a corner. I love you, your community loves you, we embrace you, and we want you to be better for us. To make us stronger.” And just laugh in your face and keep doing whatever it was they were doing before, not even giving your words an afterthought. While others would embrace it and take it into their hearts and minds while distributing it in their daily lives.

The same can be said for Cosby’s tough love. Tough love and direct love are both needed because the truth is we have different breeds of people out there, so we need both.

M. Anderson said:

It’s like you said before about them not seeing Bill Cosby as Cliff Huxtable or Mr. Pudding Pops anymore, they don’t know who Sydney Poiter is. In fact go to a child 10 years old, they don’t know who Tupac is. Our role models, leaders, etc..don’t supercede rappers, because today that’s all there is for the youth. Obama, is arguably the first black man that youth in all different backgrounds are looking at like “Wow, That’s amazing! If he can do it maybe I can too.”

Be the change you want to see. Perhaps, you should spread that message to people wherever you get a chance…make the time. Make a speaking engagement. Often I find that those of us who so desperately want change are not commanding it within ourselves (personal responsibility), we are not taking it upon ourselves or lives to make it happen.

We are quick to say what someone else should do or shouldn’t’ do, yet we aren’t doing much ourselves. Everything, thus far, that I have said that needs to change, I’ve made the changes in me and I’ve done things differently in me. I am a living, breathing, positive model for those who think black people like me don’t exist. It starts with me, as an individual and once as a child—that’s where I made my change; I can’t tell someone else to do something that I don’t even do myself. Children especially look at those things. There are many people, just average, normal people, out there who can be positive models but they choose not to—it’s not their responsibility, right?

It’s much easier to tell a child, “go to school, make good grades, go to college”. Then to tell that same child, okay you went to school, made good grades, but there is no money for you to go to school. Or you made good grades in YOUR school, but your SAT scores still aren’t high enough to get into this school. Or the requirement for you to graduate YOUR high school were inferior to the school up the street in another district and your GPA doesn’t matter because you didn’t have the same core classes that are a requirement for this college.

Let me just say this. I am an example of this myself and I could tell you many who were in worse case scenarios—you might be one yourself. It takes sacrifice, dedication and hard work. It’s far from easy but it’s equally far from impossible. It should not be such a struggle for us when it’s very easy for the white American living 15 miles away but it is. The system is unjust in so many different ways, but you can’t let that stop you from living your dreams.

There was “no money” for me to go to college; my parents didn’t save a dime in the name of my college education, but I went to college and I got a degree—as did my sister. These standardized test are biased, but I have to take it anyway and I’m still at it. I went on an academic scholarship because I worked hard through high school. I’m continuing on to a professional school, and still there is “no money” for me to pay, but I’m going any way because my dreams are only as far as I make them, you understand?

Let no one stand in the way of your dreams, no individual, no disability, not money, not anything. The only thing that can stop you is your lack of will and determination, period.


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