August 15, 2011

Growing Up Lost

image I had arrived early at my appointment and decided to stand outside and enjoy the morning. As I was sipping on my triple shot espresso caramel macchiato I began to take notice of the individuals walking past. Being human – I began to judge them based wholly on their style of dress. The judging progressed to categorizing which in turn progressed to disdain for a particular group.

Growing up I used to look around at people in different locales and wonder how I would have turned out if I was raised in that environment. I would love to be able to remove the effects of parents from the situation but you can not. Parents are the single biggest factor in a child’s life. Parents meld the minds, attitudes and educational goals of young kids. How children end up is a direct result of parenting or lack thereof. We all want our kids to be successful and yet we know not everybody can be. Somebody has to make the chicken nuggets and provide lap dances.

The latest generation of youngsters seem to be lost. This is something like the Holocaust, millions of our people lost. I do not see a desire for progress in them. When I was being raised it was about going to school, summer youth jobs and having fun as kids. Now its about being a teen parent, going to jail and hustling on the street corner. I see dudes in Harlem hustling cigarettes like they in the NBA playoffs, but refuse to get a real job. Where is the logic in that?

I was talking to a young lady once on the subway and I asked her what was her plans after high school? I wanted to know what college she was going to, what dreams she had of furthering her life. Her reply to me was “You speaking real reckless now.” How is having a desire to be more than a EBT cash and food stamp recipient talking reckless? All my friends had desires to grow up and move out of their parents home. Now, i hear kids talking about waiting for their parents to move so they can take over the apartment. The American Dream of a white picket fence, two kids and a dog has turned into a roach infested apartment in the projects nightmare.

Referring to pure environment, the living conditions, financial ability and educational opportunities seemingly wasted by the youth today. They are also the first ones to cry about how the immigrants are taking over the neighborhoods. Pessimists are bemoaning the end of the U.S.as a world leader, but optimists see the next generation as a transition to a new paradigm that will energize commercial ventures and get America beyond the stagnant situation we are in now.

Withhold $10 billion in means-tested welfare, let it go through, or double it – no matter what Washington does it can’t escape the paradox that it is a failed system that enables stagnation of entire groups of society. When you are being paid to stay home and update your status on social networks bombarded with advertising, where is the drive to succeed. If there is one thing social networks and living in public have facilitated, it’s serendipity. Serendipity is a good thing. Anyone who’s ever lived in a small apartment building full of quirky (usually a euphemism for ‘extremely irritating’) tenants has probably imagined one of them suddenly found dead or killing somebody else.Especially in New York, with its built-in dichotomy of ethnic groups. Where one group lives crowded together, builds a financial future from nothing and another longer existing group does everything to extinguish itself. Hollywood created a romantic tension that can seem poignant, even tragic around this.

Maybe it’s just my Brooklyn roots or possibly I’ve failed to recognize the changes happening around me, but this week I had an epiphany. Our nation is changing and not for the better. I thought we were trying to solve the conundrum of how, in spite of our crumbling infrastructure, to effect change. I know that is what I voted for?

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