Growing up around three aggressive, independent, educated women I learned how to deal with constructive criticism and use it to my advantage. When my mom or sisters addressed my issues of social etiquette or lack thereof, it may have rubbed me the wrong way at first but over the years I learned to swallow my pride, learn from my mistakes and move on. Eventually the lessons I learned from my family benefited and is still of great benefit today. I've always tried to be critical of myself and maintain self-motivation regardless of who was failing or succeeding around me. I'm not saying that I'm a model citizen that has never done wrong and always done the right thing, but the sound home training I received has helped me to overcome many obstacles and accomplish many goals. Unfortunately, many blacks haven't had this fortunate experience or at least they don't act like they have.
A few weeks ago Henry Louis Gates Jr. spoke at the Aspen Institute in Washington on such issues as teen pregnancy, criminal activity and a growing disinterest in education among blacks. What I find to be disturbing is how black people can collectively criticize and dis-own people like Condolezza Rice, Colin Powell and Martin Luther King. It's absurd how blacks can call Condolezza and Colin house slaves and Martin Luther King a ho. However, the same black collective would be defensive to the point of violence if anyone so much as whispers negatively about people like Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., 50 cent or Ludacris.
Before some of you start spitting negative comments and jumping to conclusions about me being bourgie or out of touch --which I know you will anyway--I'm going to let you know that this isn't a literary dump on hip hop artists. This also isn't a display of naÃ¯ve support or allegiance to our black leaders. The point that is being made here is that we as black people have had the tendency to condone and idolize black people that portray what would be considered negative behavior while we are quick to condemn and oust prominent blacks that would be considered positive role models. Gates stated at the Aspen Institute: "Our leaders need the courage to stand up and say -- behind closed doors and in public -- that we have internalized our own oppression. We are engaging in forms of behavior that are destroying our people."
The problem is too many black people"”more than should be"”are morally, socially and socio-economically irresponsible. Too many believe that it's easier to do wrong than it is to do right. It's easy to play the race card and blame white people for all of the problems facing blacks and resort to the psuedoprestigious practice of hustling, by any means necessary, to get by. It's easy to follow in the footsteps of our failed and miserable relatives and be happy in complacency, poverty, ignorance and mediocrity. It's easy to sell drugs and commit homicidal robberies, abuse and neglect each other.
It's hard to do the right thing; ignore the encompassing social despair, set goals and accomplish them. It's hard to stay on top and maintain a productive, prosperous and fulfilling life. Too many blacks think it's easier to spend a lifetime at or near the bottom of society than putting yourself through 2 to 5 years of higher learning to improve chances of a happier life. Despite the achievements amongst the smaller population of blacks, we as a race have to learn how to empower ourselves. We then should turn to our less fortunate and teach them the tools of prosperity. Until we do so will continue to fall behind and stay at or near the bottom of society.