GENERATION FRUSTRATION: WHY WE AS A YOUNG BLACK DEMOGRAPHIC CARRY SUCH ANGER

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“Where does it all come from?”


Ever see the crime rate in the inner cities throughout the country? You ever wonder where so much of this rage comes from? The frustrations comes from a multitude of issues in the community. It’s not just one thing to observe when trying to figure out why this exist. From the gun violence in the community to the rioting when the police shoot an innocent Black male. This rage comes from internal struggle as well as external struggles. But it’s not indicative of who we are as a people. The black community didn’t have these high crime rates during the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, or even the 60’s. And this was a time period when we barely had rights in America. Well, what happened?

I’ll say the first issue that came about was actually a positive as well. That double edge sword was the Civil Rights Bills passed in the 1960’s. After this time period Black people had this sense of accomplishment. We felt like the work had been complete. Yet, during the Civil Rights Movement, we had our own communities. Black people had our own businesses, schools, hospitals, and social programs. That Black owned mind-frame shifted after the movement. We thought to ourselves, “Why all the Black stuff, we are free now.” Then, communities dried up as Black people left our urban environments to take solace in upper middle or upper class predominantly White neighborhoods. So money left the community, while at the same time spending was poured outward. Whereas in the past money was circulated through the community.

What happened next, coming into the 1970’s as money left, narcotics took hold. The combination of Heroine met Cocaine, led to high crime rates and bombed out buildings. Fatherless homes left Black women dependent on welfare. Which leads into my next reason for the rage. The lack of a co-parenting  situation that made the women both mother and father. Initially Black men were gone from the house for a few hours. Why, well the family needed money from the welfare system. Then hours to days, days to weeks, and then weeks to months. In no time fathers were gone, beginning to get hooked on drugs and alcohol, while women were the new leaders of the community. Now we have this pride in the woman doing it all, when in reality it takes more than just Black women to keep young Black men out of trouble.

Men and women have different skills, thought processes, and emotions. So it’s no wonder why Black women have had such a tough time raising children alone; especially connecting young Black males. So, with no help and forced to work long hours to provide for the family, more than ever the term latch key kid came into play. With her at work and no father around, young Black males turned to gangs as a means of creating bonds with each other they weren’t receiving at home. Gangs started battling for turf over other gangs which were predominantly Black, leading to an even higher crime rate than before. This time was known as the Crack Cocaine years of the 1980’s and 90’s. Which leads to the rage as well of a generation.

Drug trafficking was an issue coming from the 1960’s throughout the 70’s, but nothing was like Crack. Crack took communities deviations down to nothing. KKK were far removed from our communities, while we took over where they left off. Black women who could have been beauty pageant contestants were taken down by Crack. Hair matted on their heads, eyes blood shot red, skull caps & ripped t-shirts, bodily scares from syringe use and scratching, and diseases stemming from drug use. Women who could have been doctors, lawyers, engineers, educators, were taken down by drugs. Black males were dying and getting hit with conspiracy charges and sent to prison for decades, as well as life sentences.

Then the 1990’s came and went, leading into the 2000’s. After a few decades of mayhem, we felt through this past 90’s into the 2000’s this sense of accomplishment as well. But entertainment became bigger influences than ever. Hip Hop hit in the 90’s and early 2000’s, making these men bigger influences than the Civil Rights leaders of the past. And here is another aspect of the rage from young Black males and females. Our entertainment was now raising us, and we would base more and more off of tangibles then intangibles. Boys were more encouraged to be players and pimps than boyfriends and husbands. And Black women were prompted to chase after ballers over day-to-day working men. So now, pickings are slim because expectations became so unrealistic.

So the relationship between Black men and women was even more fragmented. Then in 2008, the United States elected its first Black president Barack H. Obama. Black people flocked to Washington D.C. from all across the country for his inauguration. That sense of accomplishment reemerged and for the past eight years, we felt success. He, a Noble Peace Prize winner, and his wife Michelle Obama was inspirational as well through her public persona. After they left the White House, people geared themselves for Hilary Clinton, the first woman. But the nation elected Donald J. Trump in the year 2016. A man who pulled no punches on how he spoke. Unapologetic and aggression was enough to make him president. And that feeling of hurt emerged from the Black community. Hate crimes rose and everything felt bleak.

And in the end, that’s the feeling of rage from the Black youth of today. We have constantly been told things are different, but don’t feel different. My millennial generation and generation Y were raised into a community of crime and poverty. We feel lied to and with a feeling of limited opportunities, the rage rises. But there is a flip side to the rage. Trump has also had an inverse effect in other ways. Consciousness among young twenty somethings have risen as well. We may be headed toward another Black Renaissance like that of 1930’s Harlem. So with all the anger and frustration, we need more and more consciousness, especially in this troubling time.

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A PEOPLE IN PERIL: HOW WELFARE HURT BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

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“Do we really need it?”

For the past few decades, the African American community have depended upon the welfare system from the United States government. But this welfare has come at the expense of the taxpayers. Now, don’t get me wrong, population wise, more Whites are on welfare than Black people. But the percentage of our group on welfare is problematic. So the percentages relative to the group is much higher for us. My question is how long will it last? How long will America continue to open its hands to giving and giving. And yet, what is coming of all this giving. How many people actually break away and become successful. Better yet, how many people break out of the grips of the welfare system all-together.

For me, growing up in a single parent household, my mother was temporarily on welfare. The moment she made half decent money she was done. I didn’t understand as a child until I became an adult the problem with the system. To a lot of struggling mothers it’s a way to feed your children. But to me it became a systemic construct that your child could almost never break out of in America. Children born into the a welfare household have higher chances of breaking the law and going to jail. Children born into welfare homes also are more likely to repeat the cycle of their mother. Is it something written in the policy? No, it’s the unwritten implications. The unwritten that has to do with rewards for a father not being present.

To a woman, she’s receiving the money because she need to feed her children. But when you really look at it, it’s a check for a father not being present. So now, we will finance your cost of living, but he can’t be present. Which in reality, just because a man is there, does not mean the family is going to live fine. There are plenty of families where two incomes come into the household and they struggle. So the idea that a man, even though on average make more than women, can justify a family not needing help is ridiculous. Welfare should be based around the family, not having more and more children with a financial payment for every kid you have. Now look what it breeds in the long run.

It breeds a few problems in society. Number one, it creates a lack of accountability on behalf of the man and woman. He says why should I contribute, the government will take care of her. And she goes, I don’t need him, the system will give me a check. And the children grow to see there is this quick route. A route that will eventually run out because in the long term the system cannot sustain welfare. Another problem from welfare is that people depend on the benevolence of an ever changing system. Meaning, Black people have spent more time in America without government assistance than with it. Why are we now operating as if a government cares when it has not used capital to build infrastructure so you won’t need their assistance?

Now, you might say, hey we need it. But do we really? The original Africans were brought to America as indentured servants in the 1610’s. Soon after came the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. Large scale buying and selling of Black people like commodities, coming from Africa to the Americas. Tribes of people who didn’t speak the language of the person to the left or to the right of them. But we made the journey and survived the next few hundred years. We survived another nearly 100 years of Jim Crow South. Back to back to back drug epidemics, poor education with a lack of educational opportunities and rejection from institutions across the country, police brutality, poor access to healthcare facilities, lack of employment opportunities, and discrimination in housing. So to think that welfare, if stopped will be the death of us, is preposterous. We survived all of that, we can beat this as well.

In the end, the problem is the system, not the people. The system says we are helping, but there will come a time it will stop. And it won’t be gradual, but swift and immediate. Then generations will be left destitute from depending on a systematic policy that had no intentions on helping in the first place. We have to be willing to turn away now. Go through the initial bad days, but it will work itself out in the long run. Because sooner or later, the gravy train of checks for your tots will run its course. And if no progress has been made from a community to prepare ourselves, we’ll be worse off than prior generations of overt racial segregation and societal ostracism.

CULTURAL APPROPRIATION: WE ALL DO IT, WHY THE UPSET

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“Is there a double standard?”

Over the recent years, I have heard more and more about cultural appropriation. The question of who is allowed to do what. Am I ripping someone off, or am I admiring someone? Which means paying homage to where you got it from, but how many people actually do that? For me at least, I see a lot of styles that African Americans have made popular. It has been considered persona non grata, but worn by someone White and it’s a fashion statement. But, is this something that we all do, or just centralized to a certain ethnic group of people. Well, let’s take a look at the different groups of people.

The African American population for starters are a group where music, dance, and clothing style has influenced generations of young people. Not only Black youth, but youth from a variety of other ethnic groups as well. Yet we still have the appropriates of the styles and claimImage result for cornrows it as their own. There has been a term for the name of these people and they’re called Culture Vultures. They come in and consume the parts that they want and toss out the rest. So instead of calling a hair braided technique Cornrows, the name has been changed to Boxer Braids. The name is changed and yet there is no conversation as to where it came from; almost like it doesn’t matter. It does when the group it is being taken from is told they are not innovators of any style. Yet the style is used later on by an outside group.

Is it just African American? What about the Hispanic population, are there any cultural identifiers they have that people adopt. And my answer is absolutely. I have noticed that a lot of people from the west coast over the years have taken on the Cholo and Chola look. What is this look? It’s what Image result for cholo lookhas been popularized by west coast hip hop artists. Flannels, Dickies pants, shorts and long tube socks, Chuck Taylors, hair nets, with hair slicked back. A look that the Hispanic community has popularized is more than just some hip style. It has more meaning to the group, but to everyone else, it’s the cool thing to do. So how come no one is open into talking about all of these non-Chicanos adopting the style as their own, or showing disrespect by trivializing it.

No one says much about it, unless you’re Chicano. But, what about White Americans. Wait a minute, what I meant tImage result for guido blowouto say was, what about Italian, Irish, Greek, etc. I have always seen people dressing up in traditional Irish garb, who are not Irish. I have seen people styled in the Guido culture of Italians. Even people dressed in togas, but how does the Greek community feel regarding this appropriation. But unlike minority groups, people who fall under the category of European don’t typically get upset over the appropriation. Is it because their cultures are not strong enough to take over. Or is it because that they are typically the majority so it does not encapsulate them like it does someone else?

In the end, we all take a little bit from someone else. Even at times not knowing where it came from. Yet that is what it all comes down to in life. Who created what and who gets the credit for what. But most of all, are the creators being replaced by the popularity of the group using it next.

THE MEETING: BLACK PUBLIC FIGURES AND CRITICISM FOR MEETING TRUMP

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“We don’t want to meet, but we have to do something.”

As president elect, Donald J. Trump enters the White House, he is still being met with criticism. But now he’s recently encountered something else. Why, well it’s due to the recent statement he made against civil rights leader John Lewis. Lewis, an activist who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement, has been, yet another individual who has made a push against Donald Trump. Trump is being criticized for what under normal circumstances would have been a simple throw away statement, has added to his already villainous persona. In addition to the criticism, numerous people have met with Trump in an attempt to connect to Trump regarding issues in America.

A few of those people have been public figures from the African American community. From hip hop artist Kanye West to former professional football players Jim Brown and Ray Lewis, and now comedian Steve Harvey. All of whom have faced criticism by the African American community for meeting with Trump. Now, outside of Kanye West, the others have played pivotal roles for years in making the lives of Black people in America better. Jim Brown has a program called, Amer-I-can, which aims at helping those, especially from the Black community, reach their full potential. As well as Steve Harvey who put together an annual retreat for young Black males who don’t have fathers in their lives.

So if these men have done so much, why are they receiving such flack from the Black community. Or better yet, why are we so hard on each other as a people? I am not a Trump supporter, yet it does not stop me from still standing behind these men in their attempt to create a joining of the minds. I understand the frustration of a lot of people, but in my opinion, he is the president now. You can not like him, wish he would have lost, or even not acknowledge him for the next four years. But rationally, what these men have done; isn’t that what you should try to do? Now, from a political standpoint, given the way our government is structured it’s going to be tough to get anything passed. But why is there so much frustration in trying.

On the side of the people, it is understood where their frustration comes from. Trump has indeed said a lot of things that he has been unapologetic about; some of which he shouldn’t have said or should have rephrased. So from that standpoint I understand the outrage. He has also publicly verbally attack the current president Barack Obama. A move that most have felt was because of President Obama’s ethnicity. Even with him stating he didn’t do it for those reasons, tensions still flare. But my only question to us as Black people is what should we do?

If Steve Harvey, Jim Brown, and Ray Lewis are attacked for attempting to reach out, then what. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t position. Because if we don’t reach out, then we’re not using our platforms to try to bring about change. But if we meet up, then we’re soft shoeing and selling out. But like I said before, he is the president now. And how these men handled the situation is how you’re supposed to. You probably are asking why. The reason being, Black people have always had things held over us. You don’t vote, don’t expect to bring about changes. You don’t go to school, don’t expect to have a better quality of life.

Now I’m not saying what they did is a sure thing. But the fact that they did meet and he did offer to work with them, means leverage for the Democratic side. For a sitting U.S. president to have a private meeting with these men, and not even make an attempt in office speaks volumes to the party. Their meeting shouldn’t be necessarily about what he is going to do, but better yet getting a public statement out of him. Like I said before, no matter Democrat or Republican, anything is hard to get pushed through the system. But creating the dialogue sets precedent. Even Dr. King had to sit at the table with Lyndon B. Johnson who had no intentions on aiding the Civil Rights Movement. Lyndon even openly made controversial statements regarding Black people. But nonetheless, the conversation had to happen because Lyndon was the president.

In the end, we as Black people have to create some type of balance. If we don’t want to meet with the president, nor vote, then be prepared to not ask. We tend to ask for stuff from the very people we don’t want to converse with. We’ll push back against these men who met with him, but then what is the proper way. You can protest, then what? You can riot, then what? You can stay angry, then what? Because at the end of the day, when he leaves the White House, he’s still a billionaire. But our situation is unchanged as well. So as uncomfortable and irritating as it may seem, he his the leader for the next four years. And some form of conversation must be had because staying mad is not a viable decision.

Fear: The Black Community and Our Fear of God

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“What really scares us?”

When I think about my life growing up in the Black church, I have always wanted to know why we believed so heavily. You’re taught your whole life to never question God. But how does one fully believe in something unless they are willing to challenge their belief? Whether raised under the belief or not, you believe in something because someone tells you not out of choice. Meaning my grandparents are Christian, but why my parents? When you ask the question why, some people are lost because they have no reason why they believe in something.

Well then, why as Black people are we so wrapped in Christianity? Or better yet, why are we so afraid at the idea of challenging God? And, why do we fear the idea of him not existing? We believe in God like everyone else because you were born into the religion. Which is the most obvious reason why someone has a religious belief. If your mother and father are both Christian, you’re going to lean toward Christianity because it’s what you were raised under. It’s hard to connect to Islam or Judaism because you only know Christianity.

But as a person in each of these religions, shouldn’t you know something about the other? How do you say that as a Christian my job is to show you how Christ worked for me, yet you’re not willing to understand the person’s belief you’re trying to connect with. Now this can mean the same for any other religion as well. Meaning, since when has a Christian done anything for a Jew or Muslim that is of the Christian way without a Jew or Muslim having to jeopardize their way of life.

So there you have it, follow not only what you’re born under, but don’t truly connect to others. But what’s the other reason Black people are so wrapped in Christianity? Well, look at the fear aspect of even challenging God. Where does that come from? Oh, now that’s a lot more historical. Black people as Christians and everyone else is different in the sense of our fear of challenging comes out of subjugation. There was an interesting scene in the movie, “12 Years A Slave.” When Michael Fasbender’s character says obey your master, and that is law.

The idea that challenging God is the same as challenging your master during slavery. We are one the only group of people where the biblical text was used psychologically to keep us in line. I don’t know much about biblical history, but American history if we got out of line during slavery you could be lashed or even killed. Knowing that God’s punishment is more severe because he sits atop of the slave master, their’s no secret why we could be kept in line for so long. It’s the reason why when I hear elderly Black men and women talk about their fear of God, it is nearly 100% correlated with the subjugation.

Which brings me to why we fear his non-existence. Black people’s history in America has been so grave, that we can’t possibly imagine a God not existing. How could there be no punishment for our historical relationship in America? You mean to tell me we could be treated the way we have been treated and that’s it, it is what it is? The idea that it’s just a big oh well, and man can systematically do that and get away with no one to answer to could lead to some serious problems. Can you imagine 100% proof of God’s non-existence, problems that would take place in society.

Because that would mean man not only is given free will, but after making a decision concerning others lives there is no repercussion. Meaning someone could destroy lives and go oh well move on with no recourse. So maybe religion is a good thing that even if people don’t believe, it’s what keeps chaos from taking place. Black people can’t stomach this is it. I’m not saying we would cease to exist, but their would be a lot of social issues. In the end, Black people are going to continue to stay wrapped within the Christian faith, but the division that’s causing a lot of the young Black males and females to leave the church is jeopardizing that faith base.

Do We Really Have Nothing To Lose

Donald Trump made a statement recently in his effort to gain the African American vote. “What do you really have to lose?” That is a very interesting question considering we are in the process of choosing a new president coming off of the nation’s first Black president. Black president where there was so much optimism in the environment. The feeling of our work is complete and maybe, this is the beginning for what is going to be the first step in moving forward. Moving forward from the past few centuries of harsh treatment, segregation, discrimination, ostracism; in a country that is suppose to be the land of the free. Everything looked optimal; the present and the future.

Or at least that is what Black people thought. The last 8 years of Barack Obama’s political career as president didn’t feel like much of a change. Don’t get me wrong, the energy that got him elected was so powerful, you felt this new feeling in America. It was as if the past never even happened. His first election was one of the best ran presidential processes in American history. Obama checked off all the boxes: Black, White, Latino, East Asian; Young and Old; Heterosexual and LGBT; Poor and Wealthy; High school diplomas and PhDs; Male and Female; and Cops, National Guard, and US Military.

But as I sit here I go, what has actually changed. All presidents have some sort of policy, but when I say change, I don’t mean just policy. What happened to the internal change, that social change? What about the employment situation? How about the race relationships? In Obama’s second term, the race relations popped up multiple times throughout the years. A lot of which had to do with law enforcement in the Black community. Along with a high crime rate in major inner cities, mainly Chicago, his home base. Or how about lack of support to impoverished areas in America which has hit mainly Black families. Now I go back to Trump’s comment, “What do you really have to lose?”

Do we; could our lives be any worst as Black people? I mean look at history for a moment. Transatlantic Slavery, Jim Crow, Heroin, Welfare, Powder Cocaine, Crack Rocks, High Crime Stats, Poor Education, and lack of employment opportunities. Not to mention a whole host of other issues related to our health in the Black community. So I say, for just one moment, what if he won? What would happen if we voted Trump over Hilary? For starters, Black people would see immediately that Hilary doesn’t care. Oh trust and believe, she would remember this one. Second of all, from the moment he is sworn in, then what. Are we moved to the side, shipped out the country, or killed. My guess is neither, Black people are nearly $3 trillion of America’s $17 trillion. You can’t lose those domestic dollars, any economist will tell you that is suicide. And if so, our White men and women prepared break their backs for each other to pick up the lose. Meaning become even more of slaves to the system just to make the system better, not necessarily their lives better; I say no.

Now, this is a hypothetical to the highest degree. Why because removing an ethnic group is indeed suicide, especially nearly 20% of the country’s economy. So what for us, what do we do. Could he maybe provide the change that the Obama administration couldn’t? If he did, how would that shift the vote for elections to come? Can you imagine Black people becoming better off under Trump than Obama or any other Democrat. I don’t think he will win because the push to keep him out is too strong. Bu if he did, maybe he’ll be just as status quo as the rest; business as usual. Comments have been flying as to whether is was racially charged regarding his comments to Black people. It sound to me like he was saying, “Hey, I may not have a plan to benefit you, but if you do better than you are now, it’s a home run.” That just isn’t promising enough, not just for us, but the country as well.

Whatever the case may be, Trump has touched on something that could make this election go in a lot of directions. Like I said, I don’t think he will win, but wouldn’t shock me if he did. Only time will tell as we move closer and closer toward the general election.