"What Happened To The Irresistible Appeal of Black Individuality?"

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This morning while preparing breakfast for my family, I heard a very distinctive opening to a spoken word piece that made me ponder:

"The irresistible appeal of Black individuality - where has all of that gone? The very people who blazed our path to self-expression and pioneered a resolutely distinct and individual voice have too often succumbed to mind-numbing sameness and been seduced by simply repeating what we hear, what somebody else said or thought and not digging deep to learn what we think or what we feel, or what we believe."

- Michael Eric Dyson, Quoted From Robert Glasper's 'Stand Alone' (Feat. Common)

As easy as this quote is to comprehend, it's full of true facts that plague our common African- American societies in America. But a majority of our black people turn their heads from true wisdom and lean on self knowledge. And we all know, a man who's self knowledgeable, is a fool. Proverbs 1: 7 says: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom andinstruction." But that's a whole nother' story for a different conversation. Lets explore the topic at hand, as i'll break down the 1st of the 3 key reasons (in my opinion) for this ongoing plague that infects our African American mindsets within the community. Ultimately, leading to the diminishing appeal of black culture and its intriguing aspects of individuality.


The Lack of Identity Through Miseducation

Joey Bada$$ from the popular Hip Hop group - Pro Era, dropped a serious gem a few days back on Twitter.com:

"School is nothing but a psychological control system. And so is everything else in this country. Especially for peeps of colour. It's funny that the only thing they teach you about blacks in school is slavery and everyone who died for being a hero... They never teach you about our ancestors who gave the knowledge to the Europeans. Half of the kids I know couldn't tell you African history. If you really want to know the history of people of color study, "African History."

And I couldn't agree more. It's all truthfully starts from elementary education. We all know that our American school system fails the black community by neglecting true cultural studies within their classrooms. They also keep our black youth behind the learning curve by not updating the textbooks annually. It's unfortunate to say, also, that "Black History" is always taught from the perspective of the bondage and slave trade of Africans in the early 1800's and throughout. Never is it about the great African, & African- American leaders such as Marcus Garvey, or Malcolm X & Martin Luther King. And i'm not talking about just the surface of their accomplishments. But the true account of what these key individuals endured in those times while fighting "the man" for equality. It's almost like the American school system wants to erase this rich, saturated history about our culture, as well as removing the wrongdoings done to African & African-Americans throughout America's history. If our youth doesn't learn this in the early phases of life, what are the adverse effects in their educational development? The question we should be asking is simply - "why is this?"

The one thing that remains very intact throughout our African history is that we are descendents from an intellectualized ancestry, with lineage that lies deep from within the heart Africa itself. Our American school systems today do not teach this to our youthful black students, because ignorance is what defines a "nigger", right?If you take away the root, doesn't the plant dwindle and eventually die off? Absolutely. It's just common sense. There's no mystery as to the hidden agenda America has for the African-American people, including our youth at very young ages. Just think of this for a second. Why aren't there any mainstream TV programs for our black children that teach African culture and it's many languages? Yeah, you have your "Dora The Explorer's" and "Sesame Street", but where's the education programming for our african youth? Is our culture not good enough to be taught? Once again, our people are afraid of knowledge, and turn to their own limiting wisdom for survival.


Let's take a look at our high school classrooms for a second. What do we constantly see on the news and in online videos within our schools? Violence, class fights, drugs, sex, abuse, profanity... It's almost like our youth are living as "savages", practicing barbarianism. When in actuality, it's not just them. It's due to what their constantly being exposed to on the regular as well as not being taught properly. Whether through the media, or from being miseducated in their school institutions. Home life also plays a major part as well. Uneducated parents teach their children terrible habits, leading to raising a generation that carries on these bad practices. Ultimately, our youth grow to become adults, and what have they attained from their prior education? Nothing. The proper classes weren't constructed correctly growing up and curriculum wasn't up to date and truthful. This is why it's so important for our black children to be put in the proper educational institutions from a young age up until their college years. When our American schools don't teach them about true African history, they head into the world without.... "Identity". And without identity, they are lost.

Cut the leaves from the tree, and you'll kill a few branches. Cut the root from the tree, and you'll destroy it's existence. I think it's safe to say that the starting point of finding out where the "appeal of black culture & individuality" has gone? It starts with education and the knowledge of culture within the people themselves. When that's gone, the identification of "black culture" dies as well. What's appealing about that?