You have reneged on your responsibilty by Michael Eric Dyson

Too many Black youth have no idea where Black folk have been and only dimly know what we’ve had to do to get where we are.  But it isn’t primarily their fault.  We have reneged on our responsibility as Black adults to keep the culture vital by making it relevant to contemporary struggles.  That means translating the terms of past struggle into present action.  Instead, older Blacks often nostagically rehash romantic memories of the past, failing to acknowledge just how remarkably similar our failures and prospects for triumph are to those of the hip-hop generation.”  –Michael Eric Dyson, The Michael Eric Dyson Reader


Our struggle has existed for generations, centuries even.  Granted, I do believe there  was more of a committment to the upliftment of our community and our people, more pride in the purest essence of who we are back in, say, the 20s up to The Sixties, the entire Civil Rights Era; but, that doesn’t mean there weren’t young drunkards, dope peddlers, and everyday miscreants. The escalation of violence due to the infiltration of crack cocaine into our neighborhoods along with the lure of gangs who offered “immediate material gratification (Dyson, 141)” and the lifestyle that came with it isn’t anything new.  For us, the adults, I think it’s pure fallacy to romanticize our upbringing as if the younger generation is far worse than we ever were.  As Dyson notes here, generationally speaking, our failures are about the same, so are our struggles, as was the generation before, and the generation before. It’s a cycle.  The underdevelopment of our youth, quite frankly, could partly be blamed on our inability to secure economic stability through gainful employment and career opportunities, an identity, eteem and self-worth.  I would, however, like to emphasis the word ‘partly‘ because we have always struggled with socio-political disenfranchisement, discrimination, and racism.  But my point here is to emphasize that we have reneged on our responsibility as adults, and it’s up to us, as Dyson posits, to translate “the terms of past struggle into present action.”


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