HELP IS VOLUNTARY NOT ENTITLED: WHY WE THINK PEOPLE ARE SUPPOSED TO HELP AND NOT OFFER

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“You want it, go get it; no one owes you anything.”


Growing up being babysat by my grandmother and great grandmother, you learn a lot about how they had to grow up during their time periods. You were expected to go into the world and work your behind off, no excuses. And these were people coming out of Jim Crow south where opportunities were so vastly scarce for African Americans. See, my great grandmother was part of the G.I. Generation and my grandmother was a member of the Silent Generation. Two back to back tough generations in the United States of hard working Americans. Since both of them have passed away, I often think about how they would view so much of what’s going on right now with regards to every kid getting a trophy. To an extent I know how they felt, because I have always heard no one owes you anything in this world.

So what has taken hold that makes so many of a young generation feel they are owed something in life? One of the problems is this whole notion that my 75% is your 100%. And the underlying issue is that when we both step out into society, your 75% is 75% and my 100% will propel me straight pass you. Then, the person who didn’t put forth the effort will live out their lives in bitterness. And a lot of the downward spiral could come from every kid gets trophy and making all young people believe they’re special. So when you step out into the world you have these visions for how your life and life itself is supposed to work and it just doesn’t work like that; it’s more complex. There is no real trajectory, and you could be taken anywhere at any point in time.

For those that have navigated the landscape and found their way into a stable situation, the thought is you’re supposed to reach back and help. And yes, if you are in a position to help that most are not; if you possess a certain degree of intellectualism, then you should want to help. But understand the difference between you should want to help and you should help. You should want is clearly a voluntary choice, while should help is more geared toward who owes you. Life is a place where you go out and try to stake your own claim. Too many people think that something is allotted to them by way of existing in this country. Which brings me to another reason why someone may feel it’s the successful person’s duty.

There is another piece to this give me something for nothing mentality and that is the welfare system. Men and women had it hard wired into the minds of their children that you had to get out and work. But the introduction of the welfare system made it possible for the government to dole out payment to every woman raising a child as a single parent without the father present. What was supposed to be aid as a stepping stone to help women get on their feet has inevitably turned into a crutch. The reality is, if no gives you even a slice of bread, it’s not their job to do so. That was understood over my parent’s generation and prior. But somewhere down the line we became comfortable as a country and lost that work ethic. In the end, no one not only owes you anything, but help is voluntary. Even if they never acknowledge you, it’s still on you to go get what’s yours in this world.


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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.

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.