Tuesday, April 8, 2008

We Gon' Make It

I recently had a discussion with an african american friend of mine who grew up in the suburbs, she was having a hard time understanding the "make it out of the hood" mentality in young african americans.

Her thoughts:
"My disconnect is that I don't relate to the "gotta be someone" angry/driven black woman syndrome. I've never had it. I feel pressured to represent brown people well, but I didn't grow up with people urging me on to finish college, be a professional, etc. It was just a given."

I thought about my own experience. While my father is the only family member who tried to instill the importance of education in me, there was always a school official who said "you're so smart", "you can do anything", "stay in school" and the like. For so many others, it is a teacher, a coach, or another outside influence that helped them turn around...who led them to the "I know I can" mentality. "Without my (fill in the blank) I would not be where I am today" is the beginning of just about every Valedictorian speech


Why are we relying on others to tell us to do, what for some is a right of passage? Why do urban youth need constant coaxing and reassurance while their suburban counterparts rarely give it much second thought?


Ms. S said...

That's exactly the problem! The fact that the greater part of black society has instilled in them a notion that they can't make it.

Black society has gotten comfortable feeling helpless.

I can't wait till we start out bookclub with Bill Cosby and Alan Pouissant's "Come On People." You still down right?

Ms. S said...

Many points in this article here http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/living-scared.html reminded me of the plight of black society... living in fear.

Older or Wiser said...

Speaking of urban youth and raising children with aspirations; http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/15851207/detail.html