What's on your mind?

Change we can believe in - 1st draft

Obama brought us hope. I guess it something we lost along the way. I watched the movie Hairspray and it reminded me of yesterday. A yesterday I wasn’t privileged to know where we as Black folks lived, worked, prayed and learned together.

Yet prosperity brought a disconnect. Desegregation brought disintegration of our sense of community and sense of pride that made sure we all had each others back. But now the American dream has changed working together into crabs in a barrel. And I can’t point the finger anywhere until I point it at myself first. Those same streets that seemed and felt familiar 15 years ago, now feel like foreign land. You know the precautions you take when you travel abroad, knowing that they prey on tourists. I feel the same way in many streets in black neighborhoods. Places that used to be haven, sacred ground for my mother and her family, now feel like a danger zone.

So I’m looking for a change of heart that I can believe. One that doesn’t have me looking over my shoulder every time I walk down a black street. I feel my pulse quicken when I see some black men walking towards me. Not suited Black men, like Barack, who scream the success of the Great Black Hope. I try to stop my anxiety from rising because I know that this may be that same black man, he just changed into his play clothes.

Knowing that my brother, father, cousins and friends are the same kind of Black men, still flashes me back to the terror of have a gun pointed at me and a friend. The audacity of getting stuck up for our purses by some of our kin.

But I still can’t shake it. I’ve lost that hope and I’m not sure how much change I believe in. I see little black boys and girls everyday that are at the bottom of the bell curve, up against the wall of high stakes testing and promotional requirements. I wonder how many of them will leave school without the skills they need, and how many people will care if they don’t succeed? Would I care if that girl who got stuck up wasn’t me and if I wasn’t paid to teach these kids 13 year olds how to read?

But even if NCLB is repealed what will really change? Will these kids gain the critical thinking skills they need to be the leaders we dream of them becoming? Or more importantly, will they begin believing in themselves for a change? Or do they cling to their labels as Level Ones- the bottom of the bunch- because they have heard them for so long? Somehow that change feels so strange, because we are raising a generation that feels estranged, lost from the goal of the American dream, boys calling themselves goons in one breath, the next whining about childish nonsense to me.

The change I believe in starts outside the White House and off the campaign trail. It doesn’t include urban professionals hosting fundraising parties so we can get drunk for a good cause every once in a while. The change I believe in starts in every home, in every family and in every one. Everyone who has letters to put behind our names, making it our duty to help someone forge that path for themselves. It begins by volunteering in your community and outside of it too. That change is the hard change, the change that requires more than putting a check in the mail or waiting in line on a Tuesday to vote.

This is the change we must not just believe in, this is the change we must be. We must be change agents, not for the next 4 or 8, but for the next four hundred and eighty years so that we are just as outraged by a person going hungry in the land of milk and honey, as we are about the cover of The New Yorker or any other BS they do or do not on TV. Every step is important and so is every choice that we make, so make sure you make sure that everyone you know is register to vote. Are you?