Changing the Perception, Starts with Changing Ourselves

WARREN
Duke 1

Age: 21
Occupation: Real Estate Agent
Education: Earned his Bachelor’s in Sociology from UMD- College Park and is currently getting his Masters in Supply Chain Management at UMUC
Hometown: Upper Marlboro, MD

 

Lately there has been a lot of press about African American males, specifically young African American males, due to the recent deaths of Mike Brown, Ezell Ford, and Eric Garner from police brutality and excessive force. I am usually not the one to speak on situations that affect the public but being an African American male in today’s society, I feel this is a topic I must express my opinion about. I am not speaking to take sides with anyone because although I am an African American male, I do have a background with working for federal agencies and do get to see the perspective coming from a police officer’s view.

My peers don’t realize the severity of some of the things we do every day, which we think are normal but are wrong, and since no one has told most of us it’s wrong, we continue doing it. Some of these things include cursing out loud in public, sagging our pants, or even caring more about cars, clothes, and jewelry as opposed to getting a good education. I’m not perfect but I do understand that there is a time and a place for everything. I’ve been told that no matter how hard you try to hide, there will always be someone that is watching you and judging you based upon your actions, whether you are with your friends or family.

Duke2Social media and lifestyles, which I believe go hand and hand, are the other areas we must  consider in a time like this. Social media is something that is becoming more and more popular in today’s society. Many of us let social media determine our lifestyle or even use social media to reflect a lifestyle that we really don’t live. I recently heard this statement from a prior conversation and believe it’s true, which is social media is the only time African Americans can come together and keep up with the most recent current events while still being able to express our opinions. It’s very rare you see a young African American male pick up the local newspaper to read about what’s going on around the world such as politics or business. In high school, my 10th grade history teacher use to stand by the stack of local newspapers in front of the school and would watch how almost every male who picked up the newspaper, skip straight to the sports section and throw the rest of the paper away. Its little things like this that reflect our lifestyle to the public because in this case if sports are all you feel you need to know about, then others will be forced to believe that as well. Displaying that we don’t care about education, business, and politics, will give people a reason to judge us and not include us in decisions regarding these topics which have the potential to change our lives more than sports do.

Needless to say, I do not believe killing another person is right, whether that it is black on black crime, white on black crime, or white on white crime, but what I do believe is that we can’t change society until we first learn how to change ourselves. In the future, I plan on changing the perspective of how African American males are perceived in today’s society. Graduating from the University of Maryland in 3 1⁄2 years, going to graduate school, starting my own marketing company (MWA Marketing LLC), and purchasing my first residential investment property are all just a few things I have done at a fairly young age. Some may see this as “being ahead of the game” while I see this as being behind, because there is so much more I feel I need to catch up on. But with a mindset like this, I believe this is just the beginning of something great that God has in store for me and my culture.

 

We are still accepting submissions for this month! If you or anyone you know might be interested in the theme and contributing, feel free to email me at raven.best5@gmail.com!!

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3 thoughts on “Changing the Perception, Starts with Changing Ourselves

  1. #1 This sounds like it was written by an Uncle Tom straight up. #2 It seems the author is blaming the victim (black men) instead of placing it into the proper context of black males and black people living under a global system of racism/white supremacy. Black male behavior does not exist in a vacuum #4 It reeks of the false theory of colorblindness #5 The author is suggesting that if black people would just “fix ourselves” then these horrible things wouldn’t happen to us like being gunned down in cold blood by police and the likes of them every 28 hours. Black people aren’t targeted because we read sports on newspapers or because we sag out pants. Black people are targeted because we are black. Because of our BEING. Nothing more, nothing less. In the 1920’s black men wore suits and were still hung and burned. In Africa black people were chilling living our lives, yet stolen, enslaved, and brutalized. For BEING BLACK. Nothing more, nothing less . Stop playing the “respectability politics” game. Black people shouldn’t have to “do” anything to be treated like humans. We should be treated like human because we ARE human. Please read up on critical race theory, white supremacy, white privilege, and how these have led to the decline of the black community.

    • I respect and agree with your comment and thank you for sharing your opinion. However, I don’t approve of demeaning others because their opinion differs from yours. I wanted this month to showcase the different perceptions and opinions of black men from black men, so there are bound to be differing opinions between submitters and readers alike. However, what I got from this submission is that the writer is aiming to better himself and encourage the same for his people through example.

  2. As someone who has also contributed to this month’s topic, I can honestly say that I appreciate Warren sharing his opinion and views because I know he’s not speaking on a topic that’s very easy or cut and dry. Thank you for approaching this topic and opening up the conversation as a means of discussion.

    With that said, I can very honestly say that I agree with the first commentator (who’s passion on the subject is admirable as well). It appears that Warren was speaking from a “Bill Cosby” point of view – where he did not just offer his own life as the direct topic of discussion but instead tried to diagnose a much larger and systemic issue with a simply brush stroke. By speaking on black society at large, Warren seemed to have made himself an authority on the issue, which wouldn’t have been a problem (since he is in fact an INDIVIDUAL black man which is a part of the WHOLE) had he chosen to explore deeper than just the SURFACE notions of presentation such as clothing or interest in sports rather than other sections of the newspaper. It’s as if Warren only sees the tip of the iceberg without acknowledging that there’s a whole glacier BENEATH the water.

    Seeing that Warren comes from PG.County and knowing that there’s a mixture of affluence and poverty here, I’m actually interested in knowing what type of life experiences he’s been through (the people he’s encountered and befriended, his education before college, the neighborhoods he’s roamed in) and how those experiences have molded his way of thinking. This is interesting because Warren has obviously been a black male LONGER than he’s had “a background with working for federal agencies,” yet his argument sheds much more of an opinionated light on the latter, while under the guise of offering an objective view towards both perspectives.

    His piece projects African American life from an awkwardly dim lens of how blacks are perceived by society based on current behavior as opposed to objectively expressing, through experience or prior knowledge, WHY society has created these standards from which to judge blacks and their culture. Although I don’t mean to nitpick – I’m not sure if Warren was even conscious of how a certain mindset or bias may have influenced his own writing here, because even when he mentions the unjust killing of peoples in his 4th paragraph he automatically, by default, opts to mention “black on black crime” as his FIRST example of injustice. Smh.

    Truthfully, I applaud Warren and his accomplishments at an early age, especially through education. It is exceptional and no one can undermine that or fault him for rising above the collective hurdles facing black men. But please remain conscious that success and achievement should not (and WILL NOT) place you in a bubble that separates you from your counterparts dealing with collective injustices and hate based on their skin tone and culture.

    I do have to mention that, based on a Dept. of Education report, “the average [college] graduation rate for Black students was HIGHER than that for White students (53 vs. 50 percent).” (— source, page 2: http://www.highered.nysed.gov/oris/ncesgrad.pdf) ….

    So Warren, blacks sagging their pants and reading sports isn’t stopping them from enrolling in college en masse (We see that Mike Brown was headed towards college as well) or graduating in large numbers. We are embracing education and seeking to better ourselves, but based on your arguments and viewpoints, the way blacks are viewed is NOT solely dependent on our advancement and intellectual know-how, but is instead based on the way we look and the things that others see us reading in one fraction of the day. It’s faulty thinking, brother and I would suggest that you dive a bit deeper in order to explore the underlying issues and hurdles – a.k.a the glacier beneath the visible iceberg. “Black is a Country.”

    **** I wish I could’ve made this response shorter, but I hope Warren sees this and offers his honest feedback because, like I said earlier, I appreciate his opinion. Thanks.

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