Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Old School, New School, Need To Learn Mo'

In the Black community, there are a number of outposts where "family business", if you will, is discussed. Barbershops, Hair Salons, Pool Halls& Bars have traditionally served as the locations where we build on subjects both serious & trivial, ranging from religion to was Martin really crazy? Inevitably in these trading posts, discussions/debates/arguements will emerge regarding the everlasting debate (and I don't mean Jordan vs. Magic or R. Kelly vs. Aaron Hall): Black Folks vs. Niggas. Yeah, I said it, Black Folks vs. Niggas. The reason that I use such an explicit phrase is that it best communicates what I'm getting at, as far as a us vs. them mentality.

Now don't get it twisted, it's not new, rather it's been taking place in the wilderness of North America since we got here and were fed a steady diet of pork, misinformation, & death. For many years, it played out in secret, or in a mother saying to her daughter " Are you sure you want to be with someone of his kind? You know, as dark as he is & all?

It could also play out when looking at "good" black folks vs. "bad" black folks like " them niggas over there starting all that trouble! Who does Marcus Garvey think he is anyway? Then it was Civil Rights vs. Black Power, and so on.

After the 60's, it went unnoticed due to the amount of Black love & pride that was being shown, so it may have appeared that it was gone, b.u.t. it was only laying low (check Good Times for reference)

It came back in the roarin' 80's with Black Folks vs. Hip Hop due to it not being "respectable" enough for older folks (e.g. "Why do they have to scratch the record all up?)

Now, it's gone to another level: Good black folks vs. Niggas in the Hip Hop subculture, and the charge is led by none other than Mr. Cosby and his legion of "ol'schoolers", proclaiming that what we need is a return to the "old ways", the ways of the black family before Niggas ruined everything!

You know, before people starting naming their babies made-up names like Muhammad or Shaniqua, letting their kids run the streets at all times of night, and generally letting go of all personal responsibility!

Now, I'm not into sarcasm, so I'll get right to my perspective: Seeing the world through Supreme Mathematics - colored lenses means that personal responsibility is paramount as far as being the author of change in one's own life and in the life of others. It goes without saying that the first step to change is the step that you take, and that in order to revive ourselves and our communities, we must step up and be counted.

With that said, how in the hell does The Cos think that we got in this position? By chance? Or because we wanted to kill each other at a all time high & have men in prison at an astonishing clip in the name of "lettin it all hang out"? We've been hit with an economic, political, and social snowball the likes of which the world has never seen. Who among the Black intelligensia during the late 60's / Early 70's predicted post-industrial America? Who warned us against the potential downsides of integration? Did The Cos tell us that America would need a new industry to replace manufacturing & would create a Prison - Industrial Complex based on low level narco-activity by black youth?
What did the Cos & his ilk do to prevent our schools from becoming mini-jails with no resources?

My point is this: it's easy to tell your people what to change, b.u.t. it's alot harder to to speak truth to (so-called) power to remedy the environmental ills, or better yet to remedy the ills through community-built institutions that emphasize personal accountability and create community change? No matter what school you're from, it's time to realize that to fight today's battle, we need a new educational institution.

While some concepts (Take care of your kids, get a job, don't piss on your neighbor's steps) are universal, all "Back in the day" tactics won't necessarily be applicable today, & even if they are, the method of applying them may be different. In a world where many homes are headed by young black women, The Cos & brothers like him blasting everybody like someone's angry (yet somewhat absent & withdrawn) granddad is not going to get it. I'm all for critique, b.u.t. it needs to be constructive so that we can truly begin to work out our issues.

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