Archive for the ‘You Gotta Do Better’ Category

According to a recent report, four of the 11 worst graduation rates in public institutions belong to HBCUs.

Evening people. I’m sure you’re getting tired of my excuses as to why I’ve been away from you for a while, but if you love me, you’ll get over it. For those of you who navigated to this page looking for Part III of Why Women Have Sex, you’ll be comforted in knowing that the rest of the series will be featured on What Black Men Want. You can find it and all my posts under The Fly Young Intellectual.

Also, if you didn’t know, June is Black Music Month. This means you are obligated to check out my blog R&B Essentials. If you don’t, it means you’re racist. Or you harbor a deep self-hatred…..Ok, not really. But please check it out. I put a lot of my heart and soul into that site and I think it shows in the level of content. Besides, it’s heavy on videos, light on words.

Continuing with the Randomness of this post, I want to bring your attention to two stories I came across on the internet today. The first one is a sobering one, dealing with a subject near and dear to my heart: Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). The article named four HBCUs, including Southern (LA) University at no. 1,  in the 11 Worst Public University Graduation Rates. Luckily, my beloved Winston-Salem State University was not among them, but it still made me cringe. I know the original purpose of these schools is to provide a chance at higher education for those who would not otherwise have the chance, probably myself included. But somewhere along the line, we’ve got to find a balance between finding opportunities and meeting higher standards. I could go on, but it’s a Monday night, so I won’t.

So let’s end this on a positive note. In the last couple of years, we’ve seen multiple stories about Black women and weightloss/exercise, most of it non-flattering. I wrote about this topic a few weeks ago on What Black Men Want. Well, meet Earnestine Shepherd. This 75-year old from Baltimore was recently inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest female bodybuilder in the world. Check out her story.

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So I was watching CNN a few minutes ago when I came across this video. Last Saturday, a couple dozen kids walked into a convenient store in Montgomery County, Maryland at 1:47 a.m. These overgrown BeBe’s Kids proceeded to grab candy, drinks and other items from the store’s shelves and walked off without paying for it.

I wish I could say that I’m shocked, but I’m not. First of all, what kind of parent doesn’t know where their teenager is at damn near two o’clock in the morning? There’s just no excuse for that.

What did catch my eye was the use of the term, “Flash Mob.”  Basically, it’s a large group of people, usually connected via social networking sites, in a public place to do something silly and then haul ass. Apparently police in Philadelphia and other major cities have been dealing with it for a while, but this is the first time authorities have had this type of activity was caught on tape.

Call it what you want, I think it’s a damn shame that even if parents don’t know where their children are, they haven’t instilled enough of a sense of right and wrong for them to know that behavior like this is unacceptable. My grandmother used to say there was something very different about kids born after 1990…I used to think this was just talk, but the older I get I see she was right. But I think what’s changed most about children in the last 20 years is their parents.

Of course, there are the parents that just don’t give a damn. These apathetic-types have always been around, but seem to be increasing in numbers. Then there are those who neglect their children in the pursuit of a better life for them. Parents spend so much time working to give their children the things that their parents  that they were denied as children, they deny them the things that they were given-ideas like work ethic and a sense of concern for the world outside themselves.

Moral of the story: RAISE YOUR KIDS!

 

Being a reader and a writer  (not to mention a communications major) I take words very seriously.  With that being said, there are certain words and/or phrases that make me cringe every time I hear them. I’m all for the First Amendment, but I would not be upset at all if these words were permanently erased from pop culture language. These words make me re-think the term “Freedom of Speech.”

1 . Haters

Etymology: Late ’90s.

Usage: I love my haters.

Diagnosis: This should have died ten years ago. You aren’t doing anything with your life! What is there to “hate” on?

2. Conversate

Etymology: Mid-’90s.

Usage: Aye, girl. Let me get you number so we can conversate and get to know each other.

Diagnosis: Don’t get me wrong, I love Pac, but this ain’t no kinda English (Pun intended).

3. Swagg

Etymology: Mid-2000s

Usage: You can’t touch my swagg.

Diagnosis:  Gets my vote for the most overused slang phrase of 2008-09. When 65 year-old sports announcers are using the word, it’s time to put it to rest!  I think this one is slowly dying out.

4. Deuces

Etymology: Late-2000s

Example: He said he ain’t wanna be with me anymore, so I told that n*99a, deuces.

Diagnosis: This one is a recent addition to the list, but it’s moving up rather fast. This one seems too dismissive to me, which just might be the point. Remember the good old days, when people just said “peace?”

5. Gucci

Etymology: Late-2000s

Example: Nah, I’m Gucci.

Diagnosis: How was this phrase ever cool?

By now, I’m sure you’ve read a hundred blogs about Chris Brown showing his ass on Good Morning America on Tuesday. For those of you that don’t know, Breezy got pissy after being interviewed GMA’s Robin Roberts.  Roberts asked Brown about the lifting of the restraining order forbidding him from having direct contact with Rihanna, which apparently didn’t sit well with him. After his performance of his new single, Brown proceeded to act a fool: yelling and shattering a window before leaving the building Dennis Rodman-style with no shirt on his back and a huge chip on his shoulder.

My initial reaction? What the hell is Brown thinking? It is rare that a Black man does something the public deems as “unforgivable” actually gets a chance to redeem himself. A good appearance on GMA could go a long way towards repairing his image with people that may still be on the fence, and this is how he chooses to react? It was childish, immature and just plain stupid.

So when I got to work this morning, it wasn’t long before the subject came up in conversation.  The overwhelming majority opinion was that Roberts was in the wrong for the questions she asked and that Chris had every right to react the way he did.

“If people kept bringing up old stuff, you’d be mad too,” one of them said.

“He’s just a kid,” said another.  “He just didn’t know how to handle it.”

I would like to say I was shocked by their irrational defense of Brown’s actions, but perhaps I shouldn’t be. The majority of my coworkers are black females, many of them with children. Their willingness to make excuses for a grown man instead of holding him accountable for his actions is far to common this day and age.

In a traditional family setting, the mother provides the nurturing while the father provides structure and discipline while teaching things like accountability and responsibility. When their is no father, the mother has to fill both roles, which is no easy task. They’re often fighting against their own nature to try to give their children a solid foundation.

Sadly, young men like Brown are receiving all coddling and with little to no sense of accountability for their actions. As someone said on Twitter, “We raise our girls and love our boys.” Sadly, that is very true in the black community.

It starts early in life, when they throw temper tantrums with no true consequences. It continues in school when parents turn a blind eye to signs of aggression and misbehavior. And too often it continues when they come to the rescue to bail them out of jail. It is a vicious cycle that needs to stop.

Brown, like many of the young black men in our generation grew up without his father in his home and was raised by a mother who was involved in an abusive relationship. Unlike most young Black men who find themselves in sticky situations, Brown has been fortunate enough to receive a second chance. He should be careful not to count on a third chance.