While visiting Atlanta last weekend, I had a conversation with an intelligent brother about life as a high school English teacher in the inner city of Atlanta. In this conversation, there were a lot of things that seem almost unbelievable to me. The first thing that really struck me as weird is my own disconnect with a young black youth’s mentality. The English Teacher told me a few stories about his ongoing struggles as an educator. One of the things that really seemed to resonate with me was the response he got after asking the age old question that every high school student is undoubtedly asked multiple times throughout their high school career. That question was “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The shocking thing is the answer he got from a majority of his students. He said the majority of the classroom said they wanted to be a rapper or a professional sports player. Additionally, he said a disturbing portion of the girls said that they wanted to be a “Video Vixen”. The reason the girls said that they wanted to be a video vixen was because of the fact that the video vixens get a lot of attention from guys. When I heard that and it actually registered in my mind, the only question I can ask myself was:
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
I capitalized this and I had to put this in bold letters because I can’t help but think that this transformation is happening on our watch. What do I mean by our watch? This is happening on the watch of Generation X. For those of you who do not know what or who Generation X is, below is an excerpt from an internet article. Additionally, I have researched Generation X a little bit and most of the information I have found seems to consistently place generation X in the age range below.
Generation X can technically be defined as the generation following the Baby Boomers. Xers were born between 1965 and 1980, 1961 and 1981, 1964 and 1979, 1963 and 1979, 1965 and 1975 or since the mid-1960s, depending on which source you use. For practical purposes we will say that Generation X was born between 1965 and 1980.
Generation Xers were brought up on television, Atari 2600s and personal computers. They are the generation that was raised in the 1970s and 1980s, and saw this country undergo a selfish phase that they do not want to repeat.
So if you are in between the age of 29-44, you are part of generation X. Let’s think about this for a second. Close your eyes and try to put yourselves back into your high school classroom and relive that moment. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Please just take ten seconds and think about this…………………
I remember vividly hearing the majority of the people saying Doctor or Lawyer. Even though that was the cliché answer, most people in my class said that because that was the level of social and financial status that they wanted to achieve.
It seemed like a possible goal. It seemed like a reachable status. Most of our parents fought through the civil rights era for the right to vote and to have equal rights and they were intent on telling their kids whether they believed it or not things like this:
“You can be a doctor.”
“You will be a lawyer.”
“Damnit, you are going to make it.”
That is what our parents did for us. They fought for themselves and future generations while getting sprayed down by fire hoses and still managed to have enough courage and energy to pass the torch to their Generation X kids.
Where did we lose control?
Was it BET, The Internet, MTV or what?
When did the power of the media eclipse the power of human intervention?
Are we part of the reason why Generation Y (1980-1995) and Generation Z (1996-2010) IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY are so messed up?
Have we ever looked in the mirror and asked ourselves that question?
How did this disease of tattoos, expensive cars, AIDS, Bling-Bling, Gun Violence, Young Jeezy, Air Force Ones, Baggy Pants and Dreadlocks spiral out of control producing something 100 times worst than hurricane Katrina?
Were we too much of progressive thinkers?
Are we too concerned about “getting ours” at any cost?
Do we even care what happens to our children or children’s children?
Are we a community or a whole bunch of suburbs split into 50 states?
Was Generation X the start of the demise of what our ancestors fought for all those years?
To be honest with you, it is a tough question because we all see it and collectively, we are not doing shit to stop it.
Everlasting Days and Exasperating Nights
By Dario K. Mobley
Every moment brings Everlasting Days and Exasperating Nights
Where We Look Straight Ahead Only Stopping For Red Lights
Forever Slaying the Battles of Our Inner Beast
Believing and Assuring One Self of Absolute Mental Peace
Defeating My Own Demons is All I have to Fear
But you Look up in the Mirror and Always See the Devil in the Rear
This is it, We Are Done, Let’s Move On
Drive home, Go to Sleep and it all Starts Again at the Crack of Dawn
The Battle is won but the War is never Done
Our Predecessors Fought When there was Absence of the Sun
We should fighting endlessly for those in the Rear
Instead of letting them get Flashed by the headlights like a Deer
Close Your Eyes and Envision that Thought
As you see the Innocence and Vulnerability of That Animals Heart
Press on the Brakes and Stop As Fast As You Can
Open the Door, Get out the Car and Proceed to Scan
What You See Is Something You Won’t Like
I am positive I pressed the brakes and avoided the strike
However, when I saw the Corpse, I Did Not Understand
The Reason the deer did not move with a look so bland
When I thought About It, My Mind Began to Itch
I could have turned my wheel an inch and swerved into the ditch
Surely I would have been hurt and possibly crying
But just a mere inch would have prevented this deer from dying