Just the other day while commuting home from a long trip back from NYC, I was approached by a small group of young African-American teens, who were inquiring about directions.
I stopped and helped, giving them the proper tips on getting to H&M (a clothing store) in Center City, Philadelphia. "Thank you cuz, preciate you my nig.'" One of them said as they walked off. I caught a glimpse at their attire (collectively), and sad to say it, but they didn't look appropriately dressed.
Pants sagging extremely low, underwear exposed, tank tops and baseball hats turned backward with tattoos literally covering their entire bodies. Some even had tats on their faces. They were obnoxious raunchy and loud, and to say the least, they looked no older than 15-17 years old. Being African-American myself, I understood why they wanted to look that way, because I TOO emulated that image briefly when in my High School years (minus the tats) But eventually, a wise elder corrected me on my appearance, and gave me some wisdom to think about on cleaning up my act. Ever since that conversation, i've stepped away from that toxic appearance.
As I boarded my train, one question ran through my mind nonstop: "What's the problem with our black youth?" Is it TV's content? Is it abuse of video games? Lack of discipline from parents at home? Then instantly, like a right hook from Mayweather stance, it hit me: "Influence". In my opinion, one of the many reasons our black youth struggle is because of the lack of "guidance". The world we live in is obviously corrupt, but when there's no elder teachers rearing our children and teens, the youth run wild and carefree. Just like the older gentleman who explained to me at 16 what the REAL meaning of "sagging your pants" represented, I quickly found a belt, because I didn't want to send the wrong messages to people.
Because the youth are easily swayed by their surroundings, environments & peer pressures, they can adapt into the wrong lifestyles very quickly. If ALL they are exposed to are the wrong things, they will continuously practice these into habit. For example, if they see music videos from their favorite artists that promote sex, violence, corruption and drug | alcohol use, eventually what they see, slowly they begin to believe. What would make a young kid want to wear his pants at his knees? Obviously, they learned it from somewhere or someone.
What can be done? Well for starters, wisdom needs to shared from older generations to the youth. Just like I was spared from making big mistakes from wise insight, so can today's youth. Next, more positive role models need to be in the limelight. The media feeds off the negative, and promotes it. If the good was portrayed more frequently, maybe, just maybe - that would inspire our teens to follow in those steps. These are just my thoughts, what's yours?
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