Sunday, September 04, 2011

Brilliant Dumb: Notes on a Lost Generation

The temporal distinction between the generations in terms of temperament and belief orientations is vastly opposite today. So much so that the purview of a man approaching 50 in the African American community is a diametric contrast to a man in the same community approaching the age of 30. In years past this was not the case either in the 1960s or the immediate decades to follow.

Just yesterday I had a discussion with a man on a social media platform which started when I noted that young African Americans appeared to be more excited and interested in the release of a rapper from prison than Mumia Abu Jamal remaining in prison. Our back in forth in which he defended and justified this interest , ended with him suggesting that I did not include white supremacy in my asserting that such an interest is why young black men can’t read or do math yet adore a man who’s music basically encourages sociopathic behavior among them as being appropriate and acceptable.

Truth is that white supremacy was the context and barometer of the time in which I was raised more so than his and always will exist as such. More importantly it was not an excuse for inaction as it seems to be for this current generation.

The differences are several. First reasoning and critical thinking has been lost and the current generation is much less serious about attending to the problems confronting our community. Historically reading in itself was a revolutionary act making education our best weapon in the fight against inequality. I was raised in a family that read voraciously. Even to this day I read the “weekly standard” and “National Review” – republican slanted publications that many around the age of 30 who are black will never pick up simply because they disagree with republicans. Information has no political affiliation and if one ignores the views of others because you disagree with them, we limit our intellectually capacity to recognize and solve our problems strategically. But if such is stated, this generation will likely get defensive as opposed to respect and address this concern openly in an objective fashion.

This generation has tools that past generations did not have. Martin King or Rosa Parks or the Black Panthers did not have fax machines, email or face book was were way more effective organizers and getting issues of civil rights dealt with on behalf of our community. Yet with these tools, they do not or are unwilling to mobilize the masses for social change because they are not serious and ignore the fact they place celebrity, entertainment and other mundane abstractions as paramount over collective community well-being. Maybe even because selfish dispositions care more about appearance and swagger than substance and the issues that matter.

Unlike the youth in Egypt and Syria for example, who use social media for revolutionary change, we use it for flash mobs to rob and attack people in the name of fun. We can go to a movie and learn that we can drive a truck through a window and steal but ignore such behavior as being a form of psychopathy. Yes the new generation is smart but in a morose stupid and brilliant dumb way.

I say this because it is dumb to attend to applauding a man like T.I., who initially went to prison for weapon distribution, weapons [ his guns in picture from arrest] that would likely be used against other black men as opposed to members of the Aryan nation, while at the same time giving him a pass and complaining that there are too many guns in the hands of young black males and all we do is aim them at each other.


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