The Other America: 'We're Not Dead, Yet, Really'
The ultimate victim of demonization -- yet so many still don't get it
[Commentary: Black Youth]
One hundred years from now what will history books say about we the citizens of the 21st Century?
History, will no doubt attest to the fact that we were the most technologically advanced society in the span of all mankind. Our generation, the brilliant generation, creators of the IPhone and IPad -- in fact the generation of me, myself and I, history may insist, was the hallmark of our entire existence.
But unfortunately, the only "we" that this generation ever learned to identify with was the video game.
Yes, maybe history will say that this great nation called America, in its founding documents, proudly professed the saying WE THE PEOPLE; but in the end SHE still struggled with who the WE actually was.
Was the WE, solely the people of middle and upper class America? The messaging in political campaigns certainly suggests this to be true. Or, does it also include the other America, the sore eye America, the one that we try to forget; the one that we drive by on our way to work and pretend that we don’t see the widespread homelessness and dilapidated buildings.
It is the other America that we change the channel from when the latest murder is heard through our airwaves, because the NBA finals are more important than screams of another mother who just lost her only son.
The other America that loses 7,000 Black males every year, and not a penny is donated for the relief effort of this unnatural disaster. FEMA funding never seems to reach the ghetto. Flags are never lowered at half mass for the children who die in the streets of Newark, Little Rock, Brooklyn, Baltimore, Oakland, St. Louis, Detroit, Memphis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Dallas, and Philadelphia.
The thought behind it, I suppose, is that resources and national respect are reserved only for victims of real tragedies; that is, movie theatres or elementary schools in suburban America kind of tragedies. While being shot in a drive by, in a throw away neighborhood, filled with throw away people, waiting to be swept off the concrete and deposited into cemetery dumping grounds does not qualify.
I hope 100 years from now America is still not appalled and shocked by these truths, that WE declare to be self-evident, that all men though created equal, are still not equally treated. Let us emerge out of denial and call it like we see it.
It is in this spirit of truth and freedom for those who have not, that WE, the founders of the I Will Not Die Young Campaign boldly declare that unless we change our present course, 100 years from now our descendants will bring our very humanity into question.
They will wonder with all of our accolades and accomplishments, all of the wealth and resources that were at our disposal, all of our intellectual prowess and political might, how sick we were; to sit back and let Black children annihilate each other and be perfectly fine with it, as long as it stayed on the other side of our White picket fence and two car garage American dream.
They will curse our name for even insinuating that we were the leaders of the free world. They will look upon us in shame and ask God to have mercy on our souls for we were truly misguided. Unless we choose another path; an honorable path, the one that the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., spoke about when he said: “Politics asks 'was it popular, conscience asks was it right?'”
As a nation obsessed with ratings at the expense of all else, we must begin to choose the path of conscience because it is right.
We must realize that despite the fact that an African American president is in the White House, that young Black youth living in the most impoverished areas of our country are still treated like 3/5th of a human being.
This generation, the good-for-nothing accept-judicial-profits generation, the Trayvon Martin generation, the generation that must die their way to fame, are entitled to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness as their birth right also.
Maybe one day before it’s too late we will rewrite the ending to this great American tragedy.
Maybe one day we will see that underneath the anger and hopelessness, the pain and despair, their exists not a thug or a criminal but a future leader, a teacher, a businessman, a statesman, waiting for someone to believe in his true value, and invest in his worth for real this time.
I suppose the answer to that question is contingent on our collective ability to do something beyond a pat on the back photo op, or a 15 second news story, but something of substance this time.
Something life changing this time around; the type of something that will make history proud that we ended the need to even have an, I Will Not Die Young campaign.
Our only prayer to God up above is that we don’t have to wait 100 years for that.
Muhibb Dyer is Co-founder, IWNDY Campaign
Visit the website and also reach him at: firstname.lastname@example.org