Last week Prez Obama stood before a packed audience and
essentially preached to the choir. He spoke about the great accomplishments of
the NAACP and how the organization ironically celebrated its 100th
anniversary the same year he became the country's first (official) African
Then he did something that was quite surprising. He
addressed Black America, by name:
"We have to say
to our children, 'Yes, if you're African-American, the odds of growing up amid crime and gangs are higher 'Yes, if you live in a poor neighborhood, you will face challenges that someone in a wealthy suburb does not.' But that's not a reason to get bad grades, that's not a reason to cut class, that's not a reason to give up on your education and drop out of school. No one has written your
destiny for you. Your destiny is in your hands and don't you forget that.
In the speech (his boldest statement on race in America
to date) Obama admitted that African Americans had it tougher than their white
black children are 5x more likely to be arrested than whites.
Americans have higher unemployment rates than whites.
are more likely to not have health coverage.
Of course what made for the biggest quotable moment was Prez
Obama's urging that young black kids have more role models:
I want them aspiring
to be scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers, not just ballers and rappers. I want them aspiring to be a Supreme Court justice. I want them
aspiring to be president of the United States."
How do you tell a kid not to follow the money?
Kids aspire to be whatever will yield them the most money,
recognition and respect. A couple decades ago every young boy wanted to be a
cop or doctor while little girls wanted to be teachers or housewives.
Today, little brown and black boys want to be rappers and
ball players because even during this recession the see that Kobe is still
worth an estimated $200 million and Jay-Z is about to release his 14th album,
which is sure to go platinum even with bootlegging and downloading. (Sidenote:
what do little brown and black girls want to be?)
In order for you to live a comfortable life in this country
you have to be rich. The US dollar aint worth much these days. European
tourists arrive with loads of cash and pillage our stores and real estate
market. Chinese investors even plan U.S. home buying trips where
the goal is to snatch up a residence in a great location.
Meanwhile, the average American can't get a line of credit to save their lives.
Renters are being evicted for not being able to pay rent, while home owners are
getting crazy bail outs.
Perhaps its time the federal reserve team up with Mexico
and Canada and
get this elusive Amero
plan off the ground. Like the Euro, which is whooping the US dollars behind,
the Amero will be a unified currency accepted all along North
America. One little hiccup in the plan is Mexico.
Not sure if you know but right now it is like Miami
circa 1984 in Mexico.
Nicky Barnes, Frank Lucas, Griselda
Blanco have nothing on the drug lords that are terrorizing Mexico and basically strong-arming the countrys
If little poor kids
in America aspire to be rappers and athletes, one can only imagine how hard Mexico has it discouraging its kids from becoming
drug lords. The peso cant hold a candle to the US dollar yet drug lords in Mexico are making it onto the Forbes
Here rappers sing
about their exaggerated tales of being on the block. In Mexico drug dealers pay singers to pen songs about
their recent real life drug trafficking adventures. They call the genre Narco
Corridos or drug ballads.
Now, that is whole nother
level of gangster-dom.
Again, How do
you tell a kid not to follow the money?
My parents always stressed going to school and getting a
college degree so that I can have more earning power. Years after graduating from
a good school my degree is still in the envelope the university mailed it in,
on the bottom of my book shelf collecting dust. I, along with most of my
friends, have fallen victim to lay offs and we half-heartedly joke about taking
a trip downtown to apply for Food Stamps.
Its real out here.
If I was a ten year old kid, Id look at my options hard. Id
aspire to be a rapper, ball player, teacher and president. Id throw as many
darts at the wall and see what sticks.
At the end of the day (the most overused term ever!), dont
we all want to be able to walk into a store and drop a stack of Ameros on
whatever we want?
The X Fact(her) is a weekly column that appears on 99problems.org.
Started on Inauguration Day 2009 by the League of Young Voter's
Education Fund, 99problems.org is a non-profit initiative that aims to
keep young people engaged in the political process through activism and
community involvement. Please visit 99problems.org to find out how you
can get involved right now! For more on Chloé A. Hilliard