Reflecting on more than 3 decades - 4.3.2007.1
Well another year is about to be added to the time I’ve lived on the planet and I want to share some thoughts on my experiences in my nearly 4 decades of life. One of the first things is that once you start turning grey (which started for me at 33) you can get grey hairs everywhere. You can imagine my surprise coming out the shower thinking I had a string on me and finding out it was actually a grey hair. I’m an intelligent guy, but I had no idea.
But on more serious observations, from the 70’s to today I’ve seen the world change dramatically. Black culture has had no less of a profound evolution for lack of a better term. In the 70’s there was no internet, or computers, cell phones or cd’s. These were good things not to have. I love my computer and the internet. I enjoy the anime I can see due to the creation and expansion of cable television. Yet, they are superfluous at best.
With the growth of interconnectivity on an almost instantaneous level, there has been a loss of real connection between people. Worse has been the hardening of hearts, if you will, that has taken place. Today we can send out a text to hundreds of people, but the time spent with close friends in person has dwindled. We have become more superficial in our contact with each other, or so it appears to me.
As a Black Puerto Rican I have seen this play out to see the wholesale commoditization of the culture. Being African American today is more about clothing styles, speech patterns and social interaction in the most visible sense. Millions across the world adopt the same mannerisms as what appears to make African Americans Black, because it’s a trend and fad that can be taken for a while without any of the negative repercussions it confers to those of color. It’s a waste in every sense of the word.
In the seventies I recall an ad on television by the NAACP about a Black man not being able to go to college. The key phrase I recall is, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” It seems too few saw this public announcement as today we have the highest levels of high school drop-outs than ever before. Think about that for a moment. We have the ability to access information about virtually any subject, from almost anywhere in the world, almost immediately, and our children and peers know less today than a decade ago to say nothing of 2 or 3 decades. We have fewer kids going to and graduating from college than ever. Knowledge, the greatest tool and treasure, surrounds us and yet few are reaching their hand out to take it. I do not have words for my anger and sadness on this fact.
Over past decades of my life I saw drugs move from a shady and reclusive item, hidden from children and the public at large, to a normal daily fact of life. It’s so pervasive and accepted that kids today grow up with dreams of becoming dealers, as opposed to wanting to be doctors and lawyers. If that isn’t a fundamental breakdown I’m not sure what is. How did this happen? The subtle and persistent acceptance by law enforcement, and the culture, of drugs in low income areas. The acceptance of drug dealing money in our neighborhoods. Lastly because we failed to educate ourselves and our children, instead blaming other sources for the failures around us.
Continued at my www.blackentertainmentblog.com