As a mother I have begun to look at our world in a totally different light. I know that sounds so cliche but it is so true. The other day, as I was walking my daughter to the playground around the corner from our house, I overheard a bunch of tweens and teens having a very vulgar conversation. As we turned the corner I could see them all sitting on the play equipment meant for toddlers and small children. Now, I know kids are going to be kids. There were no adults around and I guess they felt at liberty to use every cuss word known in the English language. So, I told the kids they didn't have to leave, but watch the language. After trying to be nice, they decided that not only were they going to continue to cuss, but get really loud. "Okay", I thought to myself. "I see they don't understand nice." So I totally went all crazy pregnant lady on them. "I asked you nicely to watch your mouths! Use real words! If you don't know any, I'd be more than glad to give you some!" So, that didn't sit too well with the kids and they left, not without opposition of course.
The point of that story is, as black people we are already portrayed in a negative light. Those kids got under my skin, not just because they were cussing, but because that's what is expected of "our" children. We seem to fail in every category in which other races excel. When I was in high school I used to think that the statistics that were put out about blacks were to discourage "us" from being and doing our best. Like if "we" are last on the list to graduate from high school, college, have a great career, own homes and have children AFTER marraige; why care? We can't compete in this world. We have been set up to fail, so why try to succeed? Well, what I've discovered is that all of the statisics are real. We should know them. Knowledge, it's so powerful. To grab from one of the most powerful and popular books in the world, the Bible says in Hosea 4:6: My people perish for a lack of knowledge: because they have rejected knowledge. Now this actual verse does continue, but the BIBLE says that without knowledge we die!
So, let's tackle the issue of knowledge. For Black people we have to know what it is we come from. We have to learn what and who our ancestors were. It seems like after the civil rights movement and women's liberation we became very complaceant. We can drink from the same fountains, go to the same schools and get to have the same jobs as whites and men, we forgot the struggle it took for that to happen. If you as a black person don't do anything but research what it took for "us" to have the right to vote, you've learned a lot. There is so much "we" don't know about our history that "we" are nothing but doomed to repeat it.
So once we tackle the issue of knowledge and gain it and put it into action in our lives, "we" have no choice but to do better. Knowing that a child does better in a two parent home may drive "us" to develop relationships before we have relations as one example. Society says that there are so many things that are wrong with the black community, yet we look to everyone and everybody but "us" to fix it. We have to fix ourselves. We know our downfalls. Can we not come together to help each other?
This post is not a subject I like to discuss, because I like to keep things light and humorous. But as an educated black woman that has some idea of some of the things that need to be done within ourselves, I felt obligated to say something. We have to do better. The days of saying "I'm a product of my environment" should be over.We're killing ourselves, failing our children, disrespecting our women, neglecting our neighborhoods and working agaisnt each other. Yet, we want the government to fix all of the things "we" need to fix. Yes, as a race we have made some progress, but so much more needs to be done. So, let's read some literature, listen to an elderly person talk about what used to be, delve into music pioneered by "our" people, LEARN something. But, it all starts with respect of each other. So, be kind and kindness will find you!