Welcome back to part 2. If you missed the part 1 then click here.
It has been over 50 years after the million man march, “I have a Dream” speech, and freedom riders. Desegregation may have happened on paper but it is still present in the public school systems, poor access to excellent health care, and inequalities of employment and wages. Many of the issues our grandparents and parents endured have not changed. Even voting rights are a farce when youths are being targeted to not get a chance to vote, especially the Black ones. Plus, we are facing additional struggles like gun violence, drugs corroding once thriving neighbourhoods, criminalisation of minorities especially us the young people, even children! Let us not forget mass incarnations which is easily done under the guise of “war on drugs” and “Black and Black” violence (I might need to talk on this one day).
We feel like the older generations have not addressed our issues of struggles and war on us that is covert from media to the workplace. The only reason I can think of is that we have different world-views in political identities and economic realities. I would hear Black elders say that the Black youths have it easier because we can go to higher education of our choice, everybody has embraced our fashion and music, the governments provide healthcare, there are Black businesses, we are free to marry whom we want and we have had a lot more Black leadership in almost every industry. It is like the older generation are living with rose tinted glasses. I understand they want to feel like their blood, sweat, and tears paved the way for a lot of progress. We are grateful but we do not want to settle for the scraps that the dominate society decides to through our way.
Now someone, who have no idea of what our reality in 2017 looks like, here it is in a nutshell:
We are disproportionate homicide victims and no just “Black on Black” crime but all kinds of crimes including Blue (law enforcers) on Black crimes. We are more likely to experience gun violence and it is a huge problem in our neighbourhoods. Where are these coming from I wonder? Hmmm!
The justice system is not “blind and fair”. It is failing to protect us, to work with us, and make it a safe place for us. Police brutality and harassment is targeting us and it is a big money making business for the capitalists of our cities and country. The justice system is letting us know it is not OK to be Black in their world. Remember Trayvon Martin, Stephen Lawrence, Michael Brown, Sarah Reed, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, and countless other young men and women of colour.
We are being thrown in jail with more severe sentences and penalties on an alarming rates year upon year than our white counterparts. Consequently, criminal records deny us voting rights and lead to job, education and housing discrimination.
We are at the bottom of the resume piles even for low level skilled jobs. Unfortunately, when we get our degrees and enter the corporate world, we face workplace discrimination, inadequate pay, and tokenism.
We have sub-par educational institutions in our neighbourhoods that try to label us as “special needs”, having behavioural problems, and underachievers. Our schools in our neighbourhoods are more like juvenile centres than schools in white and again neighbourhoods. We can’t just go to a school in a privileged neighbourhood to receive better education because the selection criteria to being accepted is dependent on where you live. Another policy segregating us from fair access to suitable education. Also, community groups are often denied or severely buried under bureaucracy if they want to build Black independent schools.. We are denied access to gifted programs and we subjected to teachers do not have high expectations of achievement. Let us not talk about dropout rates (due to massive financial burdens) and exclusions rates from primary school to high schools.
The amount of debt we have which we are largely created by corporations that dish out credit cards and loans targeted to us to indoctrinate us to be their slaves of materialism; as well as school loans that we have to pay off for years and years because we are in low paying jobs. We are the most likely group of people to be refused mortgages and business loans. I wonder why? Could it be to keep us slaves which benefits the system but when it comes to benefiting us or our community and having a piece of the pie, we are denied? We are not able to accumulate wealth unless we are rappers, sport personalities and entertainers (shucking and jiving for their amusement).And since we cannot accumulate, we cannot invest in our next generations or communities.
Just based on what I listed, we have the highest poverty rate!
It is fair to say that the civil right movement benefited our grandparents in their time but it is a far cry to say the system is fair and we haven’t been sold down the river by corrupt and destructive Black leaders. We will always honour our ancestors who both acted violent and non violent in political activism. We applaud all those who stood, sat in, marched, and rioted so that we, their grandchildren, can live as a full citizen with all civil rights intact. However, as the “children of tomorrow” or “youth of today”, we feel our activism is under constant criticism because of the generational conflict of political ideas when it comes to poverty, race, the public education system, welfare reform, immigration, and mass imprisonment. Could it be that our grandparents had faith in the system to be moral, guilt in to change, and succumb to oneness of Blacks and whites? Our parents did not have faith in the system. Nowadays, we are no longer scared of the system but hate the system. And we want to change it in our own way.
Find out how in part 3 tomorrow!