Thursday, April 22, 2010

a complaint for the ages

This morning, when I was standing in the school's courtyard, ready to be off work for the morning, these boys decided that it would be particularly appropriate to curse each other out in front of me. One boy was getting further aggravated and started saying, well, I bet you won't hit me though, I bet you won't hit me; then he implored the other boy who was taunting him to go ahead and hit him. I broke them up (by saying "goodbye!!" in the aggravated way I do when children are getting on my nerves), but the exchange left me in an intellectual funk.

(my thoughts during this exchange)

A: is chivalry dead? Yes, I know I curse, and no, I'm not necessarily offended when people curse in front of me, but do young men no longer have the respect not to curse in front of a lady? Call me old-school, but I think that's a rule that needs to be reinstated.

B: so, we just curse in front of adults now? The boys were very well aware that I was looking at them, and after I shooed them away, the one boy (of course, the shortest thing in the whole group) who was talking shit continued cursing... and I was right there. I don't know, back in my days in middle school, yes, I cursed like a sailor (I guess I had to learn at some point), but I would have died and dug my own grave before I let an adult hear me curse. I would have never cursed in front of an adult, because I was brought up with the mindset that you respect your elders. Even today, when I go to my grandparents' house, I don't even curse while I'm there. Not even if they aren't home or they are out of earshot. It just doesn't feel right.

C: why, Black people, why? Yeah, there was a white boy in the group with them, and yes, I'm very well aware of the fact that a bad ass kid is going to be bad regardless of what color he is, but it alarms me that more frequently than not, the bad ass kids I find myself disgusted with are the ones who are the same skin color as me. When I'm at work in the morning, I look at the majority of the white children and the majority of the black children. The majority of the white children look and behave like children. The majority of the black children, however, look and behave like wanna-be adults. (Yes, these are generalizations, made for the point of my argument.) No, it's not as easy of a problem to solve as one-dimensional minds may imagine. I know this disparity between these two groups can be attributed to so many factors--from the changes in the Black family set-up, to socioeconomic factors, to the media, to the ubiquity of missing fathers, etc. But, I'm starting to feel like people are using all of this as an excuse to behave in an ignorant fashion. You know, the I don't have a dad/I grew up in the hood/the man is against me so I'm x, y, z, etc. But I've seen too many stories, heard too many tales of people who had these same set of circumstances and who decided that they could be more than a Nicki Minaj or a Plies or an Allen Iverson. (Not that there's anything wrong with Allen Iverson.)

I don't know. I just don't get it. I've said this many times: I know we are living in a supposed post-racial society, and Barack Obama is our president, and the Civil Rights Movement is over and blah blah blah everything is supposed to be so advanced and people are supposed to be so much better than they were fifty odd years ago. Well, I don't really think so.

Fifty odd years ago, yeah, we had some backwards laws, and we had some backwards practices, and a lot of things happened that weren't right. But look around you... there's still a lot of shit happening that isn't right. Okay, so now lynching is against the law, but there are people still getting hung from trees. Just because you don't see it on your local news doesn't mean it's not happening. Hate crimes have now taken on a more subtle approach. People are still getting beat down by the police. They just don't use hoses anymore.

And now, to make everything worse, I feel like the tenacity that upheld the Black race as a whole somehow splintered and frequents certain areas of the race, but definitely does not affect the entire race. It seems like, in my parents' time, Black people as a whole had some set of standards, because it seemed like the country as a whole had some set of standards. And yes, you know I hate conformity, but I feel like some of these standards might have been beneficial. Now it seems like everyone cares, but about the wrong things.

Ugh. This has gone on a tangent. Talking about this subject is easier than writing about it, because when I want to erase and start a thought over, all I have to do is stop speaking, rather than picking up my eraser. (Or hitting my backspace button multiple times.)

I don't know. I just know that something is going on, and that it's not good.

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