This picture found it’s way in my life. I know it’s old at the time I’m writing this but it’s new to me. I don’t know where it came from. Here are some initial thoughts I’m having. At some point, I may create a more refined and articulate response but for now you get to experience the raw, visceral reaction I had.
Word?!? That’s how you see your kids? Not that it should be surprising and not that this one person speaks for anyone other than him/herself. However, to reduce humans to these taglines is crazy. Talk about deficit-model thinking. My goodness.
When I saw this, I kept hearing Ice Cube’s voice saying, “Here’s what they think about you!” Every bit of ratchet, black-hoodie in the cypher, pro-black song flooded my head at the same time. Everything from NWA’s ‘Dopeman’ mashed up with PE’s ‘Fight the Power’ with a little bit of Mos Def’s ‘The Water’ played in my head. I don’t why. That whole Black Rage thing plays out weird in my head. Lupe Fiasco’s ‘Daydream’ just popped into my head with Pac’s ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ in queue.
BINGO!!! At some point in my life, each of the things mentioned in the top row were true for me. Do I get a prize? The top row of boxes have marks in them though. Do the little girl that may have filled out the entire board win a lifetime supply of a good education? I’m curious. Who’s winning the poverty olympics out here? How many of y’all are out here playing Hood Bingo? Come on, keep it real with me. I won’t tell.
You are aware that these kids are still smart and talented and able to do amazing things, Right? These are the kids with the right amount of love and encouragement that lead movements. These are the kids that when they break out of all the broken-system-trip-hazards, they move mountains. They organize a people around bettering themselves like Malcolm. They write words that give life to the lifeless like Maya. They burn down American hate and find poetic refuge in Paris like James. They endure more than most mortal men to come back from hard labor and unjust punishment to become the first Black president of South Africa like Madiba. They lead people to freedom from one part of the country to another through unimaginable partnerships and cooperation like Harriet.
Come on, yo. Fix your seating chart. Fix your life, homie. We all gotta be great for these kids.
Here you go. I’m done. I’m good now. You good people go and enjoy the rest of y’all’s day.
– Cole Out