Chicago, November 2015:
Oh, so much blame to hand around, I feel quite dizzy...
when all is said and done, it all starts at home, with parents
who are charged, morally and legally, with protecting their
young--even animals in the wild do this! --Gangbanger dad
did not know he was endangering his boy? How did he
not escort Tyshawn to the park during daylight hours?
How did he not explain to his children that they all live
in a dangerous neighborhood? It is not possible to long
maintain a child's innocence in an area of bad blocks,
period. It really isn't happening in the less violent areas,
either, but adults can continue to sugar-coat explanations
there a bit longer--say, to about age 11 or so.
Dad didn't have to be a thug; of course, it is demeaning
to such a man's "pride" to take humble jobs if such a man
didn't do well in school, take college courses or even finish
high school. People strapping on a gun feel so powerful--
how is it that some of us without them feel confident just
the same? I am convinced many like the thug life--no rules,
just do as you please, see who's left standing--often, it isn't
an innocent, deserving child.
Relentless racism, always in the background, often out front,
plays a major role. Maybe more minority kids would be
inspired to truly tackle academics if they felt equally cared
about, respected, encouraged...at home, in public, and
of course, at school. But it is almost always a case of
"the tribe", "I feel more comfortable with my own", etc.
The Ivory Tower tells us that the formation of the tribe
has gotten us to where we are today, great architecture,
art, music, culture, language, etc. Yet...
The better survival strategy now is to go beyond the tribe;
that is, if we want a world without war, death, and
destruction of the above-mentioned art. We can still
honor our antecedents without worshipping them,
without being limited to circling the wagons around
our tribe's members. Isn't it about time to be more
inclusive? This "peace prescription" applies on the
smallest as well as the largest scale--as the block
goes, so goes the planet.
Happy Holidays! Here's to a more loving and
understanding Earth--while there's still time.