Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Afraid to Live But Not Afraid to Die: The Autobiography of Young Black Men

I often wonder what has changed to make folks, especially African American men, less concerned, apathetic and even irresponsible about their lives. The behaviors we display are not productive, and the things we do — from fighting, to not knowing how to use a belt, to making it rain in strip clubs, to gang culture makes me ask: Are black men afraid to live more than they are afraid to die? Biggie, now deceased, said it best with his Ready to Die album.

I ask this in all sincerity in an age where it appears that a large corpus of young black males would rather take the easy way out, denigrate the importance of education and think of all outcomes in terms of money, yet not show any penchant to work for what they want. I do not know if it a sign of the times, or the veneration of a culture that reveals drug dealing and making music about sordid topics more than the sustainable values of family and self-determination.

From ghetto street fights on Youtube to videos that display women as being nothing more than meat, many of us promote this under the guise of "keeping it real." We have more knowledge about the mundane than that which may assist our personal growth and development. We can make time to know about Lil Wayne but nothing else of substance.

Why? I cannot answer that question. Maybe it is easy to look at that which affects us the most or least in the form of media and parental influences. From clubbing to our concern for designer clothes and Air Force Ones, young males value a host of "things" more than intellectual development in an environment of an excessively sexually degenerate culture. Ours is a problematic state of being, for we lack knowledge of self, which is what causes us to participate in our own self-destruction. Maybe that is why we sing and have the bling-bling but no books.

Yes, I may be wrong in my terse examination of the state of young African American males, but I will state what I think is an objective reality. Gone it appears are the days of children wanting to be professionals and valuing education. This is the autobiography of young black men today, many are afraid to live but even more are not afraid of dying.

23 comments:

DJ Ed Nice said...

This is right on point my brother!

T.C. said...

i am going to use this with my students as a discussion point...this was excellent!

msladydeborah said...

This is on point!

Clifton said...

The saddest part about this is that I don't think anyone seems to know how to turn the tide.

CordieB said...

So sad, so true. As the mother of a young black teen, I am often at wits end in competition with his peers to keep him out of trouble; to instill lasting, and living values, because peer pressure is a B at that age. I remember that age myself, and yes I liked nice clothes too. But we must as parents, friends, neighbors and mentors continue to install real knowlege to our youth in order to stop this increasing cycle of destruction of the african american male. Our young men are practicing a form of self instinction at alarming rate. Yes, most young men I encounter claim they are not afraid to die, but I don't believe that hype - I just think they don't know how to live. We need to continue to show them the alternative to that which they have become so accustomed to in their daily lives, especially in large inner cities.

Any ideas on stopping this cycle of self destruction, RDB?

Peace, Light and Love,
C.

ghetto_philosopher said...

What's up T? I don't thing this problem is a young black men problem. I think it's an America as a whole issue. We aren't in love with learning or advancing anymore. We all want the easy way out and that's our problem. Everything is faster and we believe faster is better as we continue to sink deeper into the mire of instant gratification. So nothing is ever going to be like it was my friend. We don't even have newspapers like we used to. Do you realize how much of a big deal that is?

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