Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Out of Touch: Stop Dismissing Black Youth

By Dumar Paden

Hundreds of conferences, cable news specials, and panels have tried time and again to answer this age old question… What is wrong with our youth? There are many answers to this question but few tend to tackle another important issue at hand which is the distinctive cultural & generational gap between older blacks and the youth, especially in lower income communities. Due to this generation gap, black youth are often dismissed as uncivilized, sagging pants wearing lunatics.  A failure to bridge this gap may impact new and fresh black leadership for years to come.

Take a walk in the hood and ask some random teens who their role models are. Sure, you’ll get a few who may name President Obama but the majority of their responses will be athletes, entertainers, or most will state that they don’t have any role models at all.  Sorry to say, but Obama’s election to the presidency did not create the widespread excitement amongst the youth that most had expected or hoped for. This may seem like a blasphemous statement but the fact is that many simply don’t relate to a President Obama or similar figures that are seen as the model of black success. Many youth are living and thinking about day to day survival, not about graduating from Harvard Law School. Youth relate more to athletes and entertainers because they are people who look like them, speak their language, lived their struggle and provided a blueprint to get out of the ghetto. This is not to say that there are not successful black college graduates, doctors, lawyers, and business people that rose from poverty because there are many. The primary question is how many of these individuals willingly try to connect and give back to our youth population while still maintaining a level of authenticity?

How does all of this affect the future of black leadership? Our liberation movement has always been youth led with support from elders who were able to pass down a rich sense of history, guidance, and inspiration. The cultural and generational gap has eliminated this dynamic which has created an environment where there are young people using their brilliant leadership skills without any guidance or sense of who they are. We need more mentors to help guide our youth so they can use their natural leadership skills to create positive change.

Without building a base of young, smart, and dedicated soldiers, our progress will continue to be minimal at best. Time and time again, we look to recruit, market, and showcase the same mediocre prototypes to be leaders in politics, education, business, etc.  There are numerous young people who have the ability to lead and want to make a difference but they often feel like they don’t have a voice, let alone a seat at the table.  Next time you attend a panel, conference, or town hall meeting look around the room and you’ll notice how everyone looks and acts the same. We can not continue to be afraid of black youth and dismiss them as lost causes as they bring value to the table as well.

As long as we continue to dismiss those who talk, look, and act differently than what is considered to be mainstream and safe, our community will continue to be out of touch and the lifeline to future leadership will be disconnected.

Share This Post

7 Responses to Out of Touch: Stop Dismissing Black Youth

  1. Eldon Pittman Reply

    June 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I don’t care who their “role models” are..it should be that absentee father, that would not allow them to show their drawers to the world!

  2. blacxkcobra Reply

    June 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Like the Staple Singers once sang RESPECT YOURSELF and if u do that first others will respect u to

  3. Scott Reply

    June 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Showing your butt to the world does NOT gain RESPECT! All it tells me is that you like to “shock”, maybe want some thing put there, but no?, you aren’t in prison yet, or yet to be there, YOU will learn!!!!

  4. Marvin Gardner Reply

    June 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    This ridiculous & stupid trend of wearing the pants down below the behind is all over the place.Why would a young man wish to disrespect himself and give the appearance of ignorance,incivility, and an unintelligent appearance with this trend is beyond me.
    I agree with the panels views and respecting ones self is of primary importance.Having absentee fathers should never be an excuse to have disrespect for one’s self and others.
    This trend came from the prison system and why for the life of me would any young man or any man for that matter want to glorify such a thing.Moving away from anything that glorifies this kind of behavior would be the best thing and not embracing it like its the greatest thing that has come along.
    I see some of these young men running with their pants down and they can barely run because they are holding up the front of their pants with their hands and the back down below their behinds.What kind of sense does that make?

  5. James Reply

    June 3, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    “Stop dissing Black youth”? The image of Black youth today is appalling and the example they’re setting warrants “dissing”. The problem is that we as older adults have been letting them off the hook and not making them accountable until it’s too late. America is and will always be a country of “image”. Certain standards and values were put in place many, many years ago and they will never change. Blacks have historically rebelled against these standards and consequently it’s one of the main reasons we’ve never been taken seriously; until something goes terribly wrong and we come out in protest.

  6. Nikki Gena Reply

    June 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Did anyone read the article? Young youths need our help and guidance. Instead of
    complaining about how they dress,help them and show them the way.

    Can you see that this is a call out for help? Instead of complaining of how they
    dress, step up to the plate and mentor a young youth. Again, this is a cry out
    for help. Don’t dissed a young youth, help them! Have you ever heard the phase
    that is takes a village to raise a child? Well this phase comes into play right
    now. And read the article again so you can get the point in exacting what this
    article is saying. I congratulate the writer of this article. Well done and at
    least you got some conversation going on when it comes to our young youth….
    Help them and stop complaining. They do need our help… Leaders and mentors, where
    are you? Step up now. Take a young youth under your wings and show them the way. But
    do not dissed them. Help them!

  7. Demitri Kornegay Reply

    June 4, 2012 at 1:34 am

    For the last 20 years a program entitled, “Men Under Construction” has taught young men to be leaders. We don’t diss, we educate. Our motto is, “We don’t tell you what to think, we simply insist that you do!” Men Under Construction’s “Rites of Passage” ceremonies will take place this Sunday, June 10,2012, at Galilee Baptist Church, Suitland, Maryland 20746 during the 11 am services as part of that church’s Men’s Day celebration. For more information phone 301 420-5013.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>