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Generational Disappointment + Notions of Sacrifice
07-10-2006, 03:11 PM
Post: #1
Generational Disappointment + Notions of Sacrifice
This is a convo me and Corey had today on instant messenger. He suggested we post it here for others to comment on:

[00:29] pharohs2cent: Yo, I'm on thr phone but I wanna run a theory by you. Its fairly you think that the reason why our parents generation doesn't have anymore real legitimate leaders is becuase too many of the real leaders died in the civil rights era and too many of the "scared negroes" survived and assimilated into the modern culture we see now? It seems plausable if not probable to me...I was talking to this girl I like about this and it made me think....let me know

[02:04] Kiidogo: i can see that man

[02:05] Kiidogo: i can also see that they got scared cause they saw first hand what happens when you stand up... you die. i mean we had pac, but that was kinda vague... they had the panthers... which was clear... there was no question that the gov. killed them one by one cause they were becoming more and more revolutionary

[02:05] Kiidogo: holla at me sun!!!

[09:18] pharohs2cent: Exactly, that's what we were talking about...we were debating whether or not it was worth dting for a cetain cause given the way were were raised and encouraged to blend in by our parents generation.

[09:19] pharohs2cent: That's not to say that our parents generation sold us out but I just think they wanted us to succeed rather than die but they didn't realize that they were indirectly setting us up for major problems down the lone....

[09:20] pharohs2cent: I was also saying that I would be willing to die for a cause like some of that panthers but as it stands, I don't believe that to many of our people would have the balls to follow and keep whatever movement I stood for, alive

[09:38] Kiidogo: yea i think both of those senarios revolve around sacrifce, risk and faith...

[10:00] pharohs2cent: Aight man, good looks, I just felt like running that by you to see what u thought...

[10:01] Kiidogo: u read that blog post i did yesterday? kinda the same thing there too with schools and us running away from the so-called "bad" ones leaving people behind cause they were too worried about our saftely and ability to succeed in those environments

[10:02] pharohs2cent: Nah I didn't get a chance to be on the comp too much but ill read it today

[10:14] Kiidogo: a new thought: it's also understandable cause many people perceived the panthers as being without a real plan once they started to become perceived as being so extreme... and people definitely wont sacrifice their families for some vague notion of "revolution" it has to be based in real principles and visions for alternatives rather than just a reactionary movement.

[10:21] pharohs2cent: Right. But I'm saying, look around, there are all these issues that trip us up day to day that are fuel enough to kickstart any kind of movement, protest, or objection to what's going on right now. I think the problem is that we do not have anyone that has gotten any kind of face time that can accurately spell what it is that's going on in society that should outrage our community because of a lot of us just plain old can't see what is happening

[10:22] pharohs2cent: No to relieve us of any on the blame for our current conditions but white america stabbed us, and were not trying to take the knife out but instead we're just laying on it, or we have someone else pushing it in deeper rather than helping us take it out and bandage it up

[10:35] Kiidogo: we got stabbed yea... but it was diamond coated shiny good looking knife with laced with tylenol to take away the pain... so we feel good cause we're getting something that we think equals progress when in reality we are like martin luther king said, "integrating into a burning house" like King also... the new movement will have to be more indepth, the 70s were a highly reactionary period with "black power" being a reactionary statement to "white power" the new movement has to remove itself from the tit-for-tat and start to visualize our reality on our own terms... but in order to do that we have to be more familiar with a non-westernized world-view... cause even if we revolt and we dont have an alternative view through which to envision what we want our realities to be... we'd end up creating or rebuilding or reenforcing just what we destroy

[10:39] Kiidogo:

[10:51] pharohs2cent: I suppose I never looked at the knife idea that way. I understand the "integrating into a burning house" idea and I agree with it. Do you think that its too late to make that happen in america as it is now or no? I think its possible for future generations with our help, but impossible for our parents or our generations...even our kids generation is almost shit outta luck

[11:23] Kiidogo: yea it really is what john henrik clarke called "long view" work... in the meantime i think we have to be diligent about achieving and maintaining indenpendence in political, social, artistically and economic areas so that we can start the process of "leaving the burning house"... we have to re-envision us taking these record deals, and other ways that we often re-enforce this structure... our political affiliations, our social + political committments, etc. i was reading something the other day that said just by participating in this capitalist structure, we reinforce it. and we cant escape it overnight but i feel we have to begin the process of disconnecting... i mean shit man our kids should know how to grow food... they should know how to go fishing... and these are just basic examples... but we have to begin the process of disconnecting with this as oppose to what we are doing right now which is just riding along taking dog biscuits when they fall from the table... or letting the occassional one of us (jay-z) sit at the table to serve as a so-called example to keep the rest of us in our places

[13:19] pharohs2cent: Post this discussion on the message boards so we can get other input from people...

[13:43] Kiidogo: why i gotta!!! *pouting* lol

[13:51] pharohs2cent: Lol

[14:12] Kiidogo: u want me to do it tho? if so i'll do it a little later when i get back. gotta run for a sec. but if u want u can just copy and paste the whole convo if u have it open still

[14:16] pharohs2cent: Nah I don't have the whole thing

[15:08] Kiidogo: ok i got it.
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07-10-2006, 04:08 PM
Post: #2
Okay first, let me just say that my spelling is never that bad but that sidekick keyboard is small as hell and doesn't exactly complement my larger than average hands.

Second, I think that what you're saying is vital B because this is the exact type of attitude we need to have as a collective in order to continually seek some type of change beyond whatever changes "they" will cede to us...

Its inevitable in my eyes. We will organize and start pushing for somethings and they will give us something less that what we demanded that will look attractive and we take it and instead of saying "we are glad you have seen the light but this is not enough", we will say "thanks" and keep it moving. Freedom and equality, and fairness in all lanes are the instances where greed is necessary not only to be fiar but for our survival.
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07-25-2006, 02:15 PM
Post: #3
check this out:

The Young Lions
by Leon Dixon, Jr.

Each generation out of relative obscurity must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it.
Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, p. 206

In the preparation of our youth, we should strive to imbue them with the sense of purpose of carrying out the "Fanonian Quest," as inferred in the above quotation: Of discovering their mission and leaving a positive legacy by fulfilling it, lest they betray it. This is no easy feat and to accomplish it requires understanding of the reality of certain aspects of our third decade of life--our twenties...

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07-25-2006, 05:16 PM
Post: #4
the link posted above is phenomenal. Leon Dixon makes very valid points in regards to the generation that is in their twenties now. Our future, our childrens future, our communities future, our races future is in our hands right now. It is up to us how we choose to define what we would like to see our future become. He points out how detrimental to each other and the rest of our communities that we are when we are in our twenties. I agree with what was said in earlier posts that a lot of people are "scared" to fight for our race because they have seen first hand what happens when you rebel against how society wants you to be. However our fight doesn't have to be physical. Our fight needs to be political, economical, educational and uplifting. We may not get to see the fruits of our labor, but neither did any of our ancestors nor Malcolm X or Martin Luther King. However, they planted the seeds to sow so that their fruit would grow. We need to be those farmers now and plant those seeds so that we can teach the generation after us how to cultivate those seeds and they can teach the generation after them and so forth. And though we may not be able to live in a time that we dreamed about maybe our descendents will have that opportunity. I think a lot of people in our generation feel like Iam too young to be able to make a difference. When in reality that is what we need. The ambition and the drive and the motivation and flexibility and willingness that people have when they are young. That is power. I do have a question for everyon one on the message boards and that is : " do you think that our society sensationalizes and or glamourizes our lifestyle ( hip hop, urban lifestyles etc.) to make us blind to that power that we have?" I am not sure if I asked that correctly but post back and I will explain further.
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07-26-2006, 12:23 AM
Post: #5
the burning house/need WE, not just 'me'
Being reminded of King's warning about "integrating into a burning house" really names something important. I think ALL culutres are caught up in the escalated pace of current corporate capitalism--where it;s all about competition, consumerism & atomized individulalism (as opposed to, what I think people hunger for: authentic individulaity while belonging to community). On a regular basis I've thought that the "values" expressed by youth of color caught up in gangs are no different ultimately from the values expressed by CEOs:the location is different (suites vs. streets),but, the same value-system of "I;m gonna get MINE & I don't give a shit WHO gets hurt"--the ultimate expression of dominant culture. I wonder if post 80s/70s, part of the(middle-class?) Black community felt the ONLY "next step" was, having had a few doors now kicked open by civil rights movement, was "making it" in the dominant culture. What got left behind were the "commmunity 'values" that have been the survival tools since slavery: sense of a WE not just a "Me";more collective responsiblity (we're all in this together) than just "ME first";a sense of both ancestors and future generations--which is a very very differnt sense of TIME itself. Now, it seems that only the PRESENT matters (which is certainly a dominate cultural value! as Gore Vidal says we live in the United States of Amnesia). And the more that dominant cultural values are taken in, the more the community falls apart.
The points about political struggle being left behind due to the extremes of violence visited upon Black leaders makes a lot of sense---but, I think it's only part of the story. For years,I've felt that there's been a SYSTEMATIC "de-politicization" of people (starting in the late '70s) w/many cultural forces at play--from the New Age movements, directed at white middle-class to 'gangsta rap" directed to urban youth. The sheer DISTRACTIONS(info-tainment instead of news, video/Gameboy/500 cable channels etc)--these forces are aimed at ALL of us. But, the ramifications for the most oppressed communities are far more evident, much more intense.
The ruling elites were scared shitless by the late 50sthru mid-70s:the upheavals, called "the 60s" & were quite determined to put the genie back in the bottle.
One final example of how effective this has been: how many times have I been out postering/leafelting in the last 10 years in Minneapolis,the case of Penn. death row dissdent journalist MUMIA ABU-JAMAL. (I;ve done death penalty abolitionist work & been on defense committees since 1980 in TX & here). Guess what the most common reaction from Black folks is? Majority of the time there's two:
"Why do YOU care about this guy?" (to which I always want to answer "Why DON'T YOU care about him?"...but, don't since I'm white)
and the second respnse is:"They ain't killed that n----r, yet?"

Personally, I figure if after almost 25 years on death row, Mumia Abu-Jamal can be his totally for REAL self, can stay committed to his community and to justice---then., the rest of us sure can do it.
But, it demands recognizing NOT settling for the shiny trinkets intended to distract us from the poisonous smoke of the burning house.
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08-08-2006, 12:31 AM
Post: #6

Hi Brian...

Did you know that the Bill of Rights is up for a revote? I will have to find the email and send it to you.

I guess I am feeling that if our civil right to vote is gone, I don't care how the children feel, we have lost as a people. Yes, our community is suffering, but I do not understand why the values that saved us as a people fifty years ago is not the answer now, an education. I guess, I am concerned because our young people want to dialog, but no one wants to DO something to affect real change. When the freedom riders dialoged it made a difference, it was not just rhetoric.


I think you mean the Voting Rights Act:

What does real change look like though? What do we want? It was easy to answer this question when we had a very tangible obstacle in front of us ( Segregated public facilities, Being denied the right to vote) but even in the midst of the so-called civil rights movement (Martin Luther King actually called it the "freedom movement" because he saw that it was bigger than civil rights... he was trying to eradicate poverty) very few people knew what they wanted AFTER we got those things... it was like if the question was posed: "we got our right to vote, what now?" Most folks of that generation wouldn't have much of an answer besides vague and largely undefined goals like "success."

And when Martin Luther King and Malcolm X began to see eye-to-eye in their mission to eradicate poverty and to fight for human rights instead of civil rights... they were both killed leaving much confusion as to the aims of their efforts. Few were courageous enough to take the torch and we ended up with watered down versions ( i.e. Jesse Jackson)... of what they were actually evolving into.

So what is success? According to who? These are the challenging questions to me.

So all that to say, I think the freedom riders had it easier in that their obstacle/enemy was very clear... our generation is one of mass media and distraction... one that has reeped an illusory privilege... the obstacles have gone underground, the enemy has put on an invisible suit... the only way we are going to re-identify it is if we start with dialogue. I don't see how it can happen any other way. You're right tho, education still is important and should be valued... but it has to be made relevant... education is useless to MY generation without a vision for its use... because the perception is that you no longer need an education to get money... which used to be the motivation for regular folks... now you can rap, play a sport, sell drugs... so we have to define a vision of something that only education can get you... that's the challenge. That's the relevant question for this young generation. What exactly is this education for?

Check these two links out:


What is success and what is education for?
I am old and so it shows when I think faster than I talk or talk faster than I think. You are correct, I was trying to say the voting rights act! Thank you.

When you give me credit for being right, it presumes that I was also wrong.

Let me answer you this way.

1. What some of us older generation of folks learned was that an education would get you into the arena of "successful others" everytime and all the time! there are many physical, mental, and social benefits to having an education valudated on a piece of paper! What some of us successfully educated folks failed to do was to teach that vital lessos of an education on paper to our now "younger generation". I am sorry for that.

2. Success is being able to complete two to three post graduate academic degrees that give you what you need to live on and retire on without lower your standard of living despite any economic hadrships that may befall the rest of the world.

3. Much of our younger generation can not see any further than how they live and have their being today, right now, this minute. Well time will move on and age does have it own set of rules. That hip hop voice can not only disapate by accident today but something can happen tomorrow.

4. Education as I refer to it is strickly academic. I suppose I lean closer to Dubois than Washington but at least I understand that we need both. My younger generation does not know how to design cloths for the African American body or design a building for us to purchase and have meetings in. If I leave my life up to the dialoging, hip hopping brother and sister of today that I have help create out of our own affluence and assimulation, Africa will not be rebult by other Africans, and African Americans will never have a powerful vote and still only the educational successful who are affluent will live comfortably in their ripe old age. Plus their legacy will go on for generations to come.

I love these kinds of conversations with all of my children, but I want that you live your lives so that you make a visiable difference in this world and how we all live especially those who will come behind you.

Love ya, Mamma

That is the vision!

You mentioned Africa being rebuilt by African people and African Americans having a powerful vote (I'd substitute "voice" for "vote" because I think the political voice and leverage is what matters regardless if it comes by a vote or other means)

What happened is that the elder generation failed to impart those kinds of visions on our minds. They only associated education with "comfort"... and only taught us that "success" is simply "comfort"... and while that is great... we need to know that education not only can provide you with comfort... but also it can provide you with vision, with the ability to contribute to the upward movement of our people, not just financially, but politically, culturally, and spiritually.

The elder generation didn't tell us that we were tasked with a duty to envision alternative ways of economics, of politics and of art... they didn't tell us how destructive America was they only told us of the "comfort" that awaited us if we got an education. They didn't tell us that we had a responsibility to fight for the elimination of poverty.

No one ever told us that. Or those who did spoke too quietly. Or they spoke vaguely or hypocritically. They might have said that we should fight for the end of poverty but yet and still they were reaping benefits themselves from this brutally exploitative capitalist system.

It's not enough to tell a young man to go to school to be an engineer so that he can make a lot of money and send his kids to college... he can make a lot of money playing basketball so that becomes a moot point.

What the elder (post/pro-integrationist) generation forgot to tell that young man is that he should go be an engineer so that he can help design schools in his community (like my grandpa Clayton, who designed washburn's track, helped design richard greene school and designed st. thomas church)... that he should be a scholar in african history so he can help us rediscover our identities... that he should be a teacher so he could help impart the knowledge of self to the the children in his community... that he should be a doctor who doesnt make that much money but who is the backbone of his community's health. They told us to go after the american dream... instead of coming up with a dream for ourselves... so this generation has gone after the american dream... which is to make money by any means necessary. And this generation has become even more intertwined with the destructive, manipulative, and exploitive nature of the american political-economy.

So the dialoge is necessary not for ME cause I'm clear on where I need to go... but I dont want to leave my brothers and sisters behind in a fog of confusion... and they are in a fog of confusion right now... so the dialoging is for them, to give them a chance to see out of the fog and start to walk in the right direction. The dialogue is only necessary now because it didnt happen when it was suppossed to happen. The dialogue is necessary because it holds the key to a strategy... we can tell people just to go "do" stuff... but if we dont tell them how they should do it... if we dont sit and talk first about the strategy then they will be doing what we are doing now... my peers are all "doing" something... we call it "doing our thing" or just "doing you" but we are very confused because we have no real "intentional way" (as my dad says) of doing or being... dialogue is what helps create an action with an intention... action without dialogue or strategy or meaning or purpose behind it is destructive even if it does bring financial wealth. I know you know this, but my generation really hasnt grasped that.

On your last point we are in complete agreeance... I have to make sure I do something tangible in my lifetime, but I also have to make sure I do something timeless... that I plant seeds that I will never see grow... people balance the two acts out in many different ways. I choose to do more of the latter than the former. I'm not as concerned about myself as I am about the direction of my people. But cause you are a mother of mine, I know that I must reassure you and let you know that I will take care of myself also Smile I will just be giving much of my energy to others. Besides, that what youth is about right? I have to give of myself while I still have the energy to give (smile)...


How proud I am of you to hear you articulate so well what I wanted everyone to get when I talk.

I suppose many of us older folks have failed some of you younger folks. I know but I try to push pass it so that it does not slow my voice down.

Yet, I am so proud of you! While I wipe away my tears, let me say, I hear you very well. Plant your seeds. I pray that you see at least one grow! I have to get up and plant some seeds too because I fear that my time might run out!

If it is OK with you I would like to share our conversation with church on this Sunday. I have not begun to prepare so I do not know how or if it will fit but it is another voice saying what Imean folks to get.

I need to get to DC again for an interview so I may not have the opportunity to share it at all.

OK. Let's dialog FIRST. I am with you as much as I can.

I simply love to have these conversations with my children!

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