Black People : Words from a former Gang member and high school dropout

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Blackbird, Jul 3, 2004.

  1. Blackbird

    Blackbird Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    What's up Fam,

    It's despicable. I'm sick and tired of some things.

    Many of you here know me as Blackbird, but I was once known, on the streets, as Lil' Lunatic of the Westside Five-Deuce Hoova Gangsta Crips. During my gang -banging tenure starting at the age 14, I've been to 15 funerals for my homies, been involved in 10 shoot-outs and drive-bys, 3 high-speed car chases, stole 20 cars, snatched over 100 cases of beer from convenience stores and was locked-up 3 times.

    I dropped-out of high school at age 17 because of the bias from a school counselor. I approached her about possible ways to graduate on time; I was 3 credits behind. I wanted to take correspondence courses to cover my graduation requirements. A white boy, who was a friend, told me about the courses because he just got approved by the same counselor. He was also 3 credits behind. The counselor tried to dissuade me and eventhough its been over 11 years ago, I still remember her words. She said, "Is it really important for you to graduate on time?"

    Wow, eventhough I was running the streets and falling behind in school, I scored a 28 on my ACT at the time. Yes, I took the ACT and my score was higher than most kids graduating from high school. School failed me.

    I once heard most Black kids mentally drop-out of school by the 4th grade and I can say ya boy was probably one of those kids. I ask why?

    The reason I'm writing this is I'm tired of Black folks passing judgement on other Black folks and doing nothing else but critiquing and criticizing when people are dying in the streets, getting incarcerated at alarming rates, and going through life not realizing their potential. Its like many of us sit back and Monday-morning quarterback providing arm-chair scholarship analyses and condemnations and then think we have fulfilled some social constructive mission. I see cowardice. Are we afraid to roll up our sleeves, hit the trenches, put our time and money where our mouth is and do the work necessary with informed insight? It's easy to point fingers, but always remember the finger points back at us because we are failing at some level.

    When I was out there bad, I seen many people talk about me, but rarely did any of them, talk to me and approach me as if I was worth something. I would hear people say "those boys need Jesus", but never did any come to us about going to church. They would simply pass by on Sunday morning, while we were chugging 40 ounces and smoking blunts, like we were the lowest of scum. People didn't understand that we were crying out, hoping someone would show us the way and help us find real opportunities to change our direction.

    Fortunately, after being out of school for two years, I attended Job Corps, got my GED and got help to get into college. I was awarded a scholarship by local business people because once again I scored a 28 on my ACT. I stuck around Job Corps as a mentor for kids just like me - helping them to get their GED by tutoring. Some of the people I tutored were from rival gangs, but by that time my gang affiliations were virtually dissolved and I made new friends I would have never made on the streets. I would love to see the people I tutored come back with wide smiles on their faces because they passed their GED test. I celebrated with them and many thanked me for helping them get it. I understood their plight, could relate to their pain and rage and felt their hopes and aspirations. Many of my folks, as I call my people, want a better life, but don't know to obtain it. They don't know where to begin. It's not like they don't have dreams, but the challenge is turning those dreams into something attainable.

    We can philosophize all we want, pass judgement go after the shock treatment messages and whatever, but the bottom-line is preaching is not the answer. Instead of preaching we should be reaching and teaching, instilling a sense of empowerment by making services known and accessible for those that need them. True indeed, it requires work, sweat and tears, but anything worth having is worth sacrificing for.

    Blackbird
     
  2. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Awesome legacy brotha!

    Ase :yo:
     
  3. MrBlak

    MrBlak Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    You are doing right by the community. It is good to see someone doing more than complaining how "these younger generations" are all hellbound and nothing like the "good ole days". You are an asset to the black community my man!!
     
  4. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    indeed i feel you i too come from a hood of gang banger and school
    drop outs and i vow to bring back the community help these kids see
    other goals in life and the need to unite as people for the people......
    surely if you don't mind i love to let the kids read this here .
    Peace brutha !!
     
  5. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    It is sick how many school counselors, teachers, and administrators fail black youth: From neglecting to give them vitale information-to placing them in underachieving programs-to subscribing drugs to control their behavior. I understand your experience brother BlackBird, and am happy at your turn around. I actually work for a school program which focuses on children that are on probation, drop-outs, and students who are in danger of dropping out. It would be a pleasure to have someone like you speak to the.
     
  6. Khasm13

    Khasm13 STAFF STAFF

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    word blackbird...too bad cosby didn't talk about people like you, black people that turned their situation around in da hood...much props for sharing this...
    one love
    khasm
     
  7. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Brother Blackbird you are an inspiration and true warrior. My respect level for you has just increased 10-fold.

    Queenie :heart:
     
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