Young Blacks need to know their worth
Contributed by: Mr Henry Allen Carpenter
Contributed by: Mr Henry Allen Carpenter
It is only in the act and practice of loving that we are able to reach out and embrace the world without destructive bitterness and ongoing collective rage. This is for those who are still living.
I know you beause i’ve dreamt your dreams. I’ve shaken with your laughter. I’ve shed your tears. I know you beause i’ve dined at your dinner table and enjoyed the special foods you eat. I’ve snapped my fingers and swayed my hips to some of the same music that you like. I know you beause i’ve shuffled my feet down the streets of your neighborhood. I know you beause there is a common quality which bonds us. It is the quality of being young and black, old and black or just black.
Being young and black is special. To some who don’t know you, you are threatening. You are also threatening to some who do know you but I don’t fear young and black, male or female. I’m afraid for you who are young and black. I’m afraid for young people, period. I’m afraid for you because you don’t see how valuable you are. You don’t know how lovely you are or how much you have to offer the world.
This might sound strange but when you are young, many times you are unconscious. There are times when you respond to things without thinking. You sometimes melt into clumps of sadness and despair. You choke yourself with anger. You spin wildly with enthusiasm. The emotions engulf your being so quickly that you don’t have time to contempate the effect that you will have on yourself or others.
You haven’t been made aware of the fact that one key to living a fulfiling life is to live life consciously. To be conscious is to be in control. Carrying a gun doesn’t put you in control, it makes you even more vulnerable to your emotions. When you’re young, sad and in the company of a gun it becomes an attractive instrument for permanently ending your sadness. It also becomes an attractive instrument for releasing your anger. At times that anger is released on the people intended; other times on people who were not meant to be (and didn’t deserve to be targets.
In either case, when your anger is released thru that gun, you realize that your problem is still unsolved. You have actually created more problems. You find that you are angy with yourself. The anger coupled with the initial problem is poised to last even longer- maybe permenantly.
To be conscious and in control means to know who you are, why you are and what your possibilities are. Those are not easy things to know when you’re young and black. All of your life, you’ve seen distorted images of yourself. Some of these images have been created by non-blacks intent on keeping you questioning your worth. Lately though, some of these negative images have been manufactured by black people who have been convincedof the lies and now spread them wantonly.
Don’t let these image makers fool and mislead you. Being young and black has nothing to do with toting a gun. There is nothing endemic about being a black person to carry a gun, smoke dope, drink to excess or any form of self-destructive behavior. These are all individual choices.
It doesn’t matter on which street you live or how many drug dealers crowd the street corners. It doesn’t matter how thieves burglarize homes in your neighborhood. Whatever is outside you doesn’t matter. Outside forces cannot define who you are. They can influence you (if you let them) but who you are is defined by your state of mind.
To be conscious is to decide for yourself what you want to do with your life without considering what your friends are doing with thiers, how your relatives live or by what is considered to be “popular” by other young blacks. If you decide that you need to carry a gun or succumb to any other type of fatalistic behavior, then it’s your decision. Be prepared to live (or die) with the consequences. Whatever you do, don’t blame it on being black. I know you… and I know better.
By: Henry A. Carpenter