Everyday the fact that I am African American stares back at me from the mirror. My brown skin reminds me of the struggles my ancestors went through so I could enjoy the freedom that I have now. Over the years these struggles have become my driving force, pushing me to excel in my academics and extracurricular activities. Reflecting on slavery and the Civil Rights movement I am increasingly concerned that each new generation is becoming less appreciative of these struggles and are not utilizing the freedom that was bought with the blood and tears of those who came before us. As African Americans become more prosperous we do not relate to the difficulties of our ancestors and we begin to have the mentality that their struggles are not relevant to our lives. The increase of drug abuse, incarceration, and high school dropouts is proof that the value of my ancestor’s sacrifices is depreciating with each generation. It is important for African Americans to remember and appreciate what our people went through and show our gratefulness through our actions so that the battle our people fought will not be in vain. Earlier this year controversy centered on the movie “Barber Shop” after actor “Cedrick the Entertainer” in the character of “Eddie” made comments undermining the role of Rosa Parks in the Civil Rights movement, among other things. I was appalled and ashamed that such comments would be made publicly about a national icon and respected woman who helped spark the Civil Rights movement. The African-American community was in an uproar. As I began to think about the controversial comments in the movie I realized that although many in the African American community were angry about it, what “Cedric the Entertainer” voiced is not being said in the African-American community but it is being shown through our actions. The increase of high school dropouts is just one of the major examples of this lack of appreciation that I have begun to notice. It is a known fact that slaves were not allowed to be educated. When the slaves were freed they were denied access to schools so they had to make their own schools which were of poor quality. People fought long and hard to receive the right to go to better schools and increase their knowledge by attending college. This is why I become angry when I see Black students who don’t care about their academics. I also become angry when I see Black people aiding in the destruction of their own communities by selling drugs. African Americans who commit crimes and end up behind bars are selfish and do not take in consideration that they are giving up their freedom, freedom that their people waited, suffered, and fought so long for. It all amounts to selfishness, everyone is out for personal gain no matter how or who it affects, and lack of appreciation. That makes me angry. With the increasing prosperity of Black people we identify less and less with “the struggles of old”. Understandably so since slavery and the Civil Rights movement happened years ago. Despite of this fact it is imperative that we do not become lax as we become more prosperous and let ourselves and our children forget what has allowed us, as a people, to make it this far. Often I relax, with one of my favorite pastimes, watching MTV Cribs. In one particular episode I was touched by a certain basketball player who had a photo of the dilapidated home in which he grew up. He hung it on his wall so that he would always know where he came from and appreciate the obstacles he went through because those obstacles made him who he is. That is the same attitude that all people, especially Black people, should have when it comes to past sacrifices made that have allowed us to become successful today. It is important for African Americans to remember and appreciate what our people went through and show our gratefulness through our actions so that the battle our people fought will not be in vain. Without the sacrifice of our ancestor we would never be as prosperous as we are today. Slaves were whipped for trying to learn how to read and now young people don’t even want to read a passage out of a text book much more read on their own time. People died for freedom from slavery but now people are allowing others to take their freedom form them by committing selfish acts. I am afraid that what was gained over the years to help the plight of African Americans is being lost, in many respects. I am grieved at this thought. This issue must be brought to light so African Americans will see what is happening and bring awareness to their own communities. We must act quickly before what was done in the past to help people in the future becomes of no value to the people it was meant to help.