A beautiful young lady was senselessly killed in Chicago weeks back. There is no hope where there is no one willing to stand up and act courageously in these instances. Some of our communities principles at this point are unrecognizable. What is a principle, belief, or conviction in the absence of moments that test it? Why do we wonder why some kids resort to murder, when it is obvious that the danger that is inherited by some communities will go unchallenged and no one will champion their cause. I have seen a desperate plea from a majority of the women in most communities as the men look on. These kids are left to defend themselves and they adopt the philosophy of a culture that presents them with few options on how to handle their differences in these environments. Kids know what the TV tells them, Rappers tell them, and they see this in action constantly. They see the adornment of these individuals daily in our society but they rarely see the same energy displayed by disciplined men whose moral compass is on point.
I think they hear a lot in local churches, schools, and so on but who is immersed in it with them? I find that many are but there voices are weakened. As a parent I have decided on skipping out on the worlds aim to be global which means we are in touch with the larger world but it minimizes those right around us because we are now conscious of what people think of us on the other side of the world. The same thing that makes Lebron James great, is the same thing that makes your local teacher great, which is Hard work, commitment, compassion, patience and love for his craft. Celebrities just happen to be on a pedestal that is made by our will to be entertained. The presence of this type of danger points directly to MEN, and it always has. The health of the community is intimately tied to the men who are willing to protect it and the love of the women who are willing to preserve it. The women have not neglected this responsibility. The links in the chain that have been severed need to be attached again and that is young men having a healthy respect for those that preceded them.
However, it is a tough task because these days young kids want to know how you can help them be wildly popular. I have rarely had a conversation with a young man that goes beyond football and rapping, until I direct it elsewhere. Idle men will be the ruin of families, communities, and the larger world. We have got to raise kids that are developed fully because when those dreams aren’t a reality they typically fall back on another. Where I’m from that’s thuggin’. I can’t wait to supplant myself full-time back in the communities I was raised in. We like to think of quick fixes in our societies. We like Cures, heroes, miracles and so on. The answer is much subtler than that. It takes a commitment that involves those that are here now and those that will be here. We have to call on the U.S. Marshal involvement because its gotten out of control, which means also that some of our kids have slipped through the cracks and have been ignored. It’s normal for a business to construct a 10, 20, 30 year plans and I think communities have to set the same standard. You commit and you shall get results. These kids should have to adhere to our standards and know clearly what those are because this whole snitchin’ code that allows the murderer of a young lady to go unpunished is ridiculous. In african-american communities we loved to pride ourselves on discipline. My grandmother made me pick my “switch” off the tree to get my whoopings. So I find it contradictory that when our kids murder we let it go unpunished. Why? Is it because the police force is not from the community and we don’t want them locking our kids away. Well, if that’s the reason then logic tells me that we should be handling it internally, but that aint happening either. So the kids enjoy the infamy of gunplay. Right now our culture is upside-down and inside-out. Yeah athletes come from our streets, yeah rappers come from our streets and it’s all that our current culture is interested in. What can I do to be popular abroad? Which is ok, but not when very few of our youth seeks to be of value locally. If you’re local it’s damn near negative now and it’s evidence of being sifted like the Bible said was Satan’s interest in Simon Peter:
Examine (something) thoroughly so as to isolate that which is most important or useful: “we sifted the evidence ourselves”.
If the ground in which you are planted in is no longer fertile, then what shall it produce? Our young men have to stop being sifted as if our only products will populate prisons, football fields, and reproduce more misguided men and women. I have lived in many privileged communities to find that a lot of the world is incomplete and I felt as unsettled there as anywhere else. I have found that I didn’t “rise” to some place, but that those I loved and still love fell into the traps of the world. I got one Savior, Jesus Christ and through fellowship with men we are charged with the responsibility to protect and provide for our local environments. None of us fly on any capes, part seas or none of that and we sure as hell aren’t omnipresent, which says no matter who our kids can Skype with, talk to, or post with they at some point they will look for answers right around them and local pressure will impose on their lives. They will have kids in a community, face threats in a community, and respond to all these things.
Our babies will come around at some point and our communities should reflect a ground for limitless possibilities and a place where they feel at the VERY LEAST physically safe, but safe enough to express themselves and blossom beyond what anyone has expected. They will continually redefine and push the limits within our communities if we can corral the few that are astray….and it is a few. It’s a few that are leaders of evil and a whole bunch that are just piggybackin’ and following the energy. It happens the same way for good and that gives me hope. Evil will not stop, but that should not force us to develop an attitude of indifference. People, communities, nations and anything that people are part of has character. Our character is not based on works that we do alone and receive praise for. If you are from a community your character is intertwined with that community just as much as it is with your family. It gives me great pain to see the kids of those that I grew up with engaging in some of the same activity. I am in not in a rush to save any one person, that will happen as a byproduct of living right as a collective. I am in a rush to talk to my brothers in my community that I grew up in about Jesus Christ. The Standard is there. It’s has always been, but its subtle and uncomplicated. It’s an old tradition in church to look at your brothers and sister and say “O’ Neighbor, O’ Neighbor” and you make an affirmation. What is our affirmation from person to person, family to community, and community to world? Repairing the division is long overdue and our t”codes” we are adopting has got to be reconciled with a productive one.
I am Earnest Graham and I am a man before all other things. I cannot be labeled a “snitch”, coward, or be sifted for some purpose alien to my environment, as I a man, tried and true. The most harmful thing a man can be accused of is doing nothing. Idly watching in fear of a label, but all the while participating. I am not that. I am connected, I am my neighbor, I am my community, as it is with me everywhere I go and I am its representation. If I am it is, If it is I am….Forever.