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By: Chelsea Davis-Bibb, M.Ed.

Our society at times is so messed up, and sometimes I wonder if we will ever get it right. The current Presidency and White House is a daily reality TV show, there is a lot of hatred going on, our youth seem to be lost or misguided, and people are constantly losing their lives over non-sense. The only thing that keeps me going is faith and hope. I believe those are two important things that everyone needs to have.

Our society, this nation, and the whole world have come a long way, but it seems like our progress has taken several steps backwards. When former President Obama took office, I think a lot of people thought we had finally made it. As many would call it the “post racial” era. However, they were wrong. As soon as he took office, it seemed as if a lot of racism and hatred took office as well. I don’t think racism and hatred ever left, but it slowly started to come out in full effect, and with our new president, its as if some people has looked at this election as a free pass to be a jerk. I just call it people finally showing their true colors. I think America is finally showing her true colors. The main people I worry about is our youth.

Our youth does not know about the struggle many African Americans have faced in the past. They don’t really talk about it much at schools, and if is taught, a textbook can only say so much. In fact, it only says what they want people to know. Black History Month also isn’t celebrated like it should be. Even though we shouldn’t wait until a certain month to recognize the history that has brought us where we are today, it needs to be celebrated to the fullest. I don’t think our youth truly understand how far we’ve come as a race, but more importantly how far we are going backwards. My dad has told me on more than one occasion that we are going to have to start protesting etc. He also said that we are losing some of our youth to the ills of this society. I didn’t want to believe him, but he was right.

In my opinion, our youth are distracted. Social media is a lot of the problem because that is where they spend a lot of their time. If it’s not Facebook, it’s Instagram, and if it’s not that, then its Snapchat. I don’t think they are focused on what is really going on around them. Don’t get me wrong, social media isn’t all bad, but it’s a huge distracter. Social media has also become a platform for them to say whatever they want and post whatever videos thinking it won’t come without any consequences. In addition, police brutality is still in the news. Please don’t take this the wrong way. Do I think that we have some racist cops in the field? Yes! But I also think some issues wouldn’t escalate if people would just comply, and act cordial and try and talk without thinking someone is out to hurt them right away. Some things can simply be avoided. Point blank. As a high school teacher, I have witnessed many things with our youth. A lot of them simply don’t like authority. They don’t respect their parents, teachers, officers, or even themselves. This must change. Our youth really are our future, and right now, I need our youth to look around them and see what is really going on.

Our youth need to wake up, and if they don’t want to wake up, we need to force them to. Each one of us need to step up and assume responsibility in helping turn our youth around by being a true mentor and role model. We also need to educate them more about the past so that they can be informed. I am not saying stir up the past to create more anger or hatred, but they need to understand the past so that they can understand what is happening in the present. If you consider the past and what history tells us, we are reliving it now. How can they know what to do or expect if they don’t know their roots?  Do our youth know about Thurgood Marshall, Frederick Douglass, George Washington Carver, Malcom X, W.E. B. Du Bois, and many other historical figures who have made a huge impact on our culture? Yes, our youth has probably heard of these figures, but do they truly know and understand what they did, the sacrifices they made for the cause of African Americans, and what they truly represented? Our youth are asleep, and it’s time to wake them up!

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