The Ignorant Rebellion

As a kid, I had always heard blacks in my neighborhood complain about how the government never did anything good for us. The only thing the government wanted to do was keep us down. It was a claim that was so embedded into my brain that I never cared to questioned it…it was a fact. This claim caused me to adopt the “us” vs “them” mentality. “Them” meaning either the government and/or white people. They were somewhat synonymous in our everyday conversations. From our perspectives, the government helped whites by providing them with better schools, neighborhoods, jobs along with a biased police force. For this reason, we would see whites enjoying everything America had to offer, they were happy and ambitious, living the American Dream, afterall, “this was their country.” This perspective created a feeling of resentment, so much so, that we tried our best to rebel against being apart of this “white system.” The system that was rigged to stop us from succeeding. The system that allowed “them” to use the law and violence including murder and arson to stop us from being successful. Black Wall Street is an example. We didn’t realize it then but our acts of rebellion were truly foolish. However, at the time it was our way of not conforming to their way of life.  We didn’t fight the system by marching or protesting, no, that was too political for us. Instead, we fought by refusing to “talk or act white” which meant not speaking proper English or trying to excel in school. Yes, we decided to fight the system by not caring about our future. We knew we would get laughed at if we were in “smart” classes like Calculus so we deliberately refused to try. As a matter of fact, most days we were too “cool” to be in school at all . We would rather skip classes so we could hangout. Yeah, we were giving the system the middle finger all the while ruining our lives…but we failed to see it that way. It’s not like we would’ve listened to any advice anyway, afterall, the system was against us so it was pointless to care. They would never let us succeed. The thought of being or doing anything we wanted with my lives was never discussed. Personally, I didn’t even know anyone who had been to college so the thought of me becoming a professional in any field was pure fantasy. Now as an adult, I question why those in my neighborhood  chose to rebel in this way. What made us choose such a foolish route? Why didn’t we want to overcome the resentment we felt the same way blacks did a century ago? They were fearless, creating black schools, businesses, becoming politicians. They were ambitious and eager to take part and prevail in the same system that held them trapped as slaves. They yearned for education, realizing it was the key to a better future but what happened to us? Why did we refuse to see the benefit of education? And why does it continue with the youth of today?  How can we spark the minds of our youth to take advantage of the opportunities they have? How do we get through to them? I know I would not have listened to anyone back then so how do we make them listen now? If we want to improve our social standing we have to take education serious but how do we start? How can will we stop this ignorant rebellion?

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