Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Trying to Relate To and Understand the Different Generations

I'm into my sixth decade of life in this planetary experience called living.  I'm at a point where I definitely note the differences in what people in my age group like compared to "younger" people.  Now there are several different generations following me to compare lifestyles and interests too.  Plus I know I do not know the "language" spoken by these different generations or understand some of the things they have an interest in.  I'm quite sure they also don't understand my "old school" preferences either.  I was once them, and they are now me years ago.

We dress differently, like different music, movie choices may vary, and have different attitudes about the culture that we live in.  A couple of years ago, I asked a nephew in his 20s or early 30s to explain to me what the term "100" meant.  I had seen it often in an emoji form but didn't know what it related to.  He explained that it meant the truth or what was real.  When I was mentoring 10-11 year olds in the public schools I also noticed a different "language" that they spoke among themselves.  They liked to do some kind of hand gesture made famous by a professional football player.  I also noticed that many teens seemed to be copying a hairstyle made famous by another football player.

What makes them copy what they see?  Probably the same things that made me copy fashions that were around when I was there age.  The media publicizes and sometimes pushes as image onto the masses, people copy it and then there is a mass rush to join the bandwagon.  Why because it's the "cool" thing to do and it somehow shows that you are different from everybody else.  But in fact you are just copying an image that has been pushed onto you as something you need to do or be.

It's ironic how there really isn't as much individuality as people think there is.  There may be differences between the generations in our day to day "customs", but within the generations we are just copies of each other.  We are tribes within an age band.  Then within that age band we may also be different based on our race and culture.

One thing is sure.  I cannot relate to much of the things I see or hear in the younger generations.  Some  younger folk in my family like to use the phrase "nigga".  I've told a couple of the young generation that to me it's a derogatory term some European Americans tried to force upon us.  In my opinion by our own people using the term we help those European Americans who want to ensure the term lives on and in fact is accepted by black people.

Then there is rap music.  I rarely listen to it.  My preference is the real singing that reminds me of the Motown sound I grew up with in the era of the 1960s.

What really irritates me is when the younger generation attempts to impose their culture on older people.  I cringed when I saw my nieces and nephews attempting to get my 87 year old mother to do the signature move of the NFL quarterback that young people love to copy. Plus the two finger hand salute which I also haven't asked "what does it stand for?"  It kind of looks stupid for an older person to try to do what a young person does, especially if they really don't want to look young.  It would be like me buying young people clothes that represent my generation and not theirs and telling them to wear the clothes just because I said so.

I see music artists representing the younger generations and don't know who the artists are.  In that respect I've graduated from bondage.  I no longer have to care who they are!  If they make music that sounds good, that is great.  I now have a choice of not wanting to fit into what the younger generation cares about.  I have decided to stay in my generational lane, and will only change lanes if I want to.

So let's agree.  You younger folk can do your thing and believe what you are doing is really important.  I will gaze at you knowing that what you are doing is fine, but what I'm doing and care about is also fine.  I'll respect your right to do your thing as long as you respect my right to be who I've become over the years.  If I want to copy what you do, I'll do so voluntarily.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Go Back to Africa? Show Me the Reparations Package!

Once in awhile you hear some racist spout that classic racist diatribe to black people, “Go back to Africa!”  My first thought of course would be to respond, “Sure, if you go back to Europe and give the Native Americans’ back their land!”  But, I thought of a new response.  I would now say, “Show me the reparations package and I’ll get back to you with an answer in about 4 months!”

Think about that.  What would I do if the government of these United States of America really wanted to give me a reparations package to compensate me for the past kidnapping of my ancestors from Gabon and Guinea-Bissau Africa?  A reparations package for hundreds of years of family disruption and loss of identity.  A reparations package for economic and social suffering over some 400 plus years.  What would the monetary amount of such a reparations package come to?  At least 40 million I would think.  A superstar athlete can make that much in one year including endorsement money.  I think a reparations package should pay at least 40 million.  What do you think?

We now have a Presidential administration that totally supports European American male domination and arrogance to include misbehavior towards women. So, under this administration it would be appropriate for the United States government to finally give those black people of African descent the reparations package long talked about but never offered.  Forty acres and a mule?  Forget that!  Give me 40 million, throw in a yearly round trip 2 month return to the United States (with Covid precautions), first class airline tickets and hotel reservations included so I could visit friends and family once a year, and I think we might have a deal.  And yes, flying first class is not negotiable.  The original black people kidnapped or bought from Africa already experienced one way substandard transportation in a ship’s cargo hold.  That initial voyage got us to the “land of the free”.  If I’m going back to Africa, I’m going back first class of course, once again with Covid free accommodations and arrangements.

My DNA results from African Ancestry show that I have paternal genetic ancestry with the Eshira and Eviya people living in Gabon, Africa.  Plus through my great grandfather's wife, we have connection to the Balanta people of Guinea-Bissau.  Would I give up life in the United States to return to Gabon, Africa and Guinea-Bissau?  For a decent, life sustaining reparations package yes I would.  I would need to travel to Gabon and Guinea-Bissau to see what my living options would be in the country.  I would like a home in both countries. That’s why I say give me 4 months to decide.  I have not been Americanized to the point that I would not change my current style of living for another option.  You never know what you’re missing, if you don’t know what you are missing. 

What does Gabon have to offer?  Apparently 11% of the country is parklands.  There are white sand beaches, rushing rivers and references to an “Eden” like travel experience. There isn’t a lot of reliable info available on the history of Gabon through the European American media.  If there was I wouldn’t trust a European American developed record anyway.  Apparently in the 1400s Europeans went to Gabon to kidnap people into slavery.  I would take the same considerations for Guinea-Bissau.

I’ve experienced many of the extravagant materialistic things of the American culture.  I was trained since child hood to think like a European American, absent all the rights and privileges.  In the past 20 years or so I have fought through the brainwashing I received on what makes an American successful. The European American education system did a good job of convincing African Americans to pursue the values of European Americans. Through the American education system black people learned what was important to European Americans and adopted many of their customs and beliefs while losing our true heritage in the process.

 I like to compare the experience of blacks in these United States of America to the experience of the indigenous “American” people, the Native Americans.  During the years black people were enslaved in the United States, European Americans did not really attempt to “Americanize” Native Americans.  Instead the emphasis was to rid the landscape of Native Americans through a forceful conquering.  Near extinction of many Native Americans became the result of those efforts.

So, President Trump still has a few months to have his  cabinet secretaries put together a comprehensive reparations package to get “those black people” out of the country.  If a package comes out, I might have to seriously review my options! At the age of 62 I have nothing to lose.  Spending the final years of my life in a country and region in Africa I would have likely grown up in seems like a good way to end my life on this planet.  It would complete the circle of life.  It would be a return to the life that God may have meant me to have originally.  But the laziness and evilness of many European Americans changed my destiny.

I would not miss the gallons of beer available here in the United States that I don’t drink.  I would not miss seeing all the aisles and shelves full of materialistic things in the American stores. Or watch items disappear from the shelves when materialistic people panic shop in pandemics. Maybe a life in Gabon or Guinea-Bissau would make for a better appreciation of the simple things in life.  In Gabon I wouldn’t have to worry, hopefully, about being attacked by some mass shooter here in the United States angry at who knows what.  Or killed while jogging in a neighborhood where some racist lives.  We all deserve to one day go home.  So twitter man, President Trump (I still can’t believe he actually won) tell your people to start working on that Back to Africa Reparations Package (BARP) and have it ready by election day. 

My passport is up to date.  You know I’m going to keep my American citizenship.  Black people have gone through too much nonsense to give that up!  Oh, by the way make that reparations package tax free in any new tax plan.  My ancestors already paid a severe financial penalty over the years for European American greed.  We as black people did help to do much of the hard work in building this country that you all did not want to do!  Lastly, for those black people who want to stay, good luck.  I support your continued effort to rid this country of racism or to blend in. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be an African American if that is your choice.   We have options.