When I think about the concept of black culture and what it meant for me growing up I am reminded of the lessons of strength from our history as a people.
I am reminded of the courageous brothas and sistahs who came before us to battle the injustices of their reality to ensure a future where black people would be viewed with dignity and inclusion.
Black culture has, is, and always will be a concept solely dedicated for us, yet still accessible to those who choose to learn and understand the foundation of what makes us who we are.
It is a reminder that we are not just black people. We are Americans. And we are just as much a part of this country as everything else, even in opposition to what the tradition of American prejudice tries to teach us.
When I think about the concept of black culture and what it means to me today, I get confused.
Because I no longer understand what black culture is.
At least, I no longer understand what it is in regards to what I was taught in my younger years. I still believe in the importance of reveling in our African American identity, but as a race we no longer share ties to Africa other than the color of our skin and the fact that Africa is our mother continent.
And honestly, it’s not even fitting to use the term African American anymore when you consider that most people think that Africa is a country and not a continent.
Still, it is very important for all black Americans to identify with the struggles of our ancestors to make strides in regaining the sense of community we have lost in these past few decades. I am unsure when the emphasis on retaining black culture went away but it has clearly gone away.
Granted, we have a black president. That is, in no way, a feat to readily be dismissed. Still, you have to wonder how having a black president would be more beneficial to our communities if we were all more unified.
What would the emphasis on pursuing knowledge by any means necessary look like if the quality of education afforded our children rivaled or surpassed that of the quality of education in other communities?
And also, let us never forget that in 2015 the feeling of safety and security for our youth is at an all time low when you consider the omnipresent fear of being murdered by those who fear us, those who are paid to protect us and those who look like us.
If black culture was at one time reminding ourselves of our worth, our power and our light then what exactly does it mean today? Because I get the feeling that many believe there is no longer a need to express and own our blackness.
Or maybe black culture means something completely different now. Maybe the new black culture is mired in the ideal that being black means being obnoxious. Being ostentatious. Being braggadocious. Filming our youth fighting in parking lots, street corners and stores and sharing it all over social media because it’s “funny”. Labeling ourselves ‘real niggas’ and ‘bad bitches’, thus personifying and proudly owning the ‘Coon’ and ‘Sapphire’ stereotypes our ancestors fought so hard against.
The new black culture I see is allowing white people to use the word ‘Nigga’ in our presence and laughing about it, because the word no longer means anything anymore right?
All that does is prove we llive in a time where many want to forget the racism of the past by ignoring the racism of the present.
And all that does is solidify the evolution of racism for our future.
As a race we can never allow anyone to make us feel wrong for embracing the stories of triumph that granted us the opportunities for many of the basic freedoms we take for granted today. Because our society, as a whole, is corroded. We worship spoiled, self-involved, entitled assholes and forget that everyday they breathe, blink and shit just like we do.
We deify humans and believe more in the hype surrounding their abilities than we do our own, which leaves a broken community of people that are all worshipping fools and all chasing the same dream;
to be rich and famous.
We can’t all be the same. It’s not meant for us all to be rappers, ball players, models, reality whores and the like.
Black culture taught us that we could achieve anything that WE wanted, not merely aspire to be just like everyone else. Because if everyone is exactly the same, then who’s the fuckin’ leader?
And if the new black culture is leading us anywhere I fear where that path will end. Because it might just be our final destination.