Tuesday, September 05, 2006
A rallying cry from a Sista by Felicia Benamon
To those in the black community...
Black men, black women! Where are our strong leaders? Where are those who are willing to pick up the baton from those who've toiled and worked to give us the freedom we have today? There is a blight affecting the black community, and as a people, we've got to pick ourselves up! We have only ourselves to blame!
As leaders within our homes, within our churches, and other areas of society, all of us have a part in making sure that we undergird our children, and help them to become productive members of American society, that they put something back into this nation and bless it. In turn, black communities will be blessed. But that's not happening.
Our black brothers and sisters are in trouble on so many fronts.
In the black community, many of those at the helm have dropped the ball. Immorality at all levels has crept in, and the signs of immense suffering show. AIDS is now an overwhelming crisis, children born out of wedlock is at 70%, kids are growing up in broken homes, high school dropout rates among blacks are at 10.9% (according to the National Center for Education Statistics in the year 2001), crime and drug use is rampant and hyped in popular culture, and corruption among leaders is a big problem.
While I am no big fan of the Rev. Al Sharpton, and don't share his politics, he made a poignant statement at the National Association of Black Journalists. Sharpton pointed out how Hollywood and the music industry portray the "gangsta" mentality as being cool and hip.
"We have got to get out of this gangster mentality, acting as if gangsterism and blackness are synonymous," demanded Sharpton.
"...that challenge has to be given to Hollywood and the record industry. I think we've allowed a whole generation of young people to feel that if they're focused, they're not black enough. If they speak well and act well, they're acting white, and there's nothing more racist than that."
Sharpton has not been the only black celebrity to speak out against the ills in the black community. Bill Cosby has been vilified by some in the black community for speaking out about the irresponsibility of black parents for not emphasizing education and implementing discipline in their homes. But that is certainly true, and sometimes, the truth hurts and people can't take it. The result, they lash back.
It ought not be that way.
Cosby has traveled the country, giving speeches to young people about social issues affecting them today. He recently spoke to kids at an elementary school in West Baltimore about the issue of teen pregnancy.
"If you hear a female say, 'I want to have something that loves me,' stop her, stop her quickly. Duct tape her to the closet. This is no time to fool around. You can't dump this (baby) on your mother, you can't dump this on your grandmother," said Cosby.
At Coppin State University where he attended an event called "Fatherhood Works," Cosby addressed absent fathers. "This is a great evening because we're calling on men to come claim their children. And that's part of being a man. You cannot be a man at all if you haven't claimed your child."
"Some of you have three, four, five of them. You have more children than you have jobs."
Cosby's comments were warmly received during each speech..as it should be.
It's time for young blacks to rise. If you are an adult, given the important position to lead, it is imperative that you keep your slate as clean as possible; you are leading a people, and they look up to you.
I am also reminded of Tyler Perry's influential and powerful plays and dramas, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, and Medea's Family Reunion. These plays have helped people deal with touchy situations and have helped heal wounds.
While I am SO glad for those who have stood up and "told it like it is" regardless of what people said, and for those who are bold to touch a subject that will make people cringe, there are still FAR less people who are willing to "go there" and stand up for what is decent and moral, and issue a warning about the way society is headed... the way the black community is headed.
How can there be a change in direction if no one is willing to wake us from our slumber and say, "Hey, something is wrong. Our communities are suffering; we need to look at what we are doing." Yes, it's time for a change.
Let's think of those who have gone before us... activists, inventors, inspirational leaders who have defined black Americans, those who have given us an example to follow. What would they think of the condition of blacks in America today, and the overall lack of apathy of those in charge?
Whether it's the black community, or any community within America today, it is the duty of adults, us as parents, to be a positive role model for the next generation.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. — Proverbs 22:6 KJV
It is not the government's job to raise them, it's our job. We need to teach accountability, and it starts with the adults. Some adults will need to take a serious look at themselves first and determine if they are being a light or a hindrance to others. That is the only way to get our children back on track and heal our homes. It starts with the adults first.
Can the black community come back from its bondage? Let's rise to the occasion and expect more from ourselves!
A Black Sista who is tired of all the madness