Thursday, December 29, 2005

Questions of Youth

We live in a society that seemingly promotes backwardness among the youth. Pants sagging to the ground so much so that the booty crack and top of the drawers are showing. Young ladies "droppin' it like it's hot".. mimicing the movements and attitudes of the video chicks on MTV and BET. And now they wear pajamas in the streets - and this is a high fashion statement (did you see the Old Navy commercials this xmas season?) Media doesn't help at all as this inappropriate behavior is promoted 24-7 on the music channels. In some parts of the country how many diamonds you have in your mouth denotes your ecoonomic or "baller" status. And everywhere these days the posession of a gun is the signal of manhood...

When we send our children off to school, are they wearing the right colors? Will they get hit in a driveby? or will some troubled child snap and charge into the classroom blasting away. Will the blacks and latinos get along today or will the campus erupt into a riot? How the heck does penitentiary culture dictate the safety of those free citizens on the street? Will the gangstas accost your child on thier way to school just because he's wearing the latest sean john or rocawear (yeah the ones you just paid hundreds of hard-earned dollars for).. Or maybe they want to know "what set you from?" Either way it could cost him his life. Will your beautiful daughter get harrassed by some horny young man? Or does she give it up subject to more sexual escapades than you've ever known in your well-travelled life? Iis she walking the path of a virtuous woman? Maybe the police will mistake my son or daughter for a gangsta and harass them... Maybe the school doesn't have enough books and the dream of my child getting a good education and going to college is a dream deferred... Maybe the school will lose its accreditation.. Whew! I'm just glad to see the kids come home alive and not traumatized, let alone whether or not they are doing their homework..

Are you participating in parent teacher events? Do you make sure your children are in church or some positive spiritually edifying endeavor? Are you making sure they are aware of their history and culture? Right now, right this minute - do you know where your children are? Do you know what music they are listening to? What about the video games.. don't tell me you got the one where killing gets you points and in some cases secret codes get the prostitute? What's in thier room? Birth control? Condoms? Do they smoke weed? Who are thier friends? Do you mentor kids? Do you speak to them in the neighborhood when you see them? Do you encourage them? Show them love? Or are you mad at them cuz they remind you of their daddy? Do you cuss at them? DO YOU READ WITH THEM OR TO THEM?

The foundation to the liberation of black folk in America is the youth. Consider this: It was not until the youth started participating that Dr. King's Civil Rights Movement really became effective. In South Africa, the actions of the ANC were merely symbolic exercises until the youth took to the streets... We should be framing our children with love and understanding in order to combat the plethora of negative influences they face. And as they survive, they will thrive in this society regardless of the prejudice and discrimination they are faced with - and they WILL face it.

Why is there so much violence in our neighborhoods? Why are youth so concerned with what set they are from? They don't own it. Why do they deal with problems and conflict with such violent reactions? Why is the music on mainstream radio so violent and vulgar? Why are the images on BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION so vulgar and lecherous? How did 50 Cent become one of pop music's biggest stars?

Here, in LA there was a community action led by activist Najee Ali to have the posters and billboards from 50's film "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" removed from areas close to schools. The posters depicted 50 with a mike in one hand and a gun in the other. You know the studios knew exactly what they were doing when they placed those boards. Once Najee mobilized the community, the movie studios moved those billboards quick fast and in a hurry. And when asked about the protest, 50 Cent just shrugged his shoulders and said hey there's other artists who have guns in thier publiciy photos so why are they picking on me? So you see these young wanna be gangstas are not trying to take any responsibility for the images perpetrated on your children.

As we move into a new year, show some love toward the youth. Support them. Encourage them. Promote peace and love. Not Guns and Blood. Pay attention. They are our future.

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