by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
If you are black and striving to be successful these days, you have a lot of mess to put up with. Many are tormented by people mocking their proper language. For those trying to break an underachieving family pattern, their friends & family hate because they are doing well in school. All in all, there can be more discouragement than encouragement. Yes, there is a lot standing in our way, but if you are black and trying to make it, don’t let any of these five things hold you back or slow you down.
1.) “You talk white”
“You talk white” is an aqueous statement. As an African-American, you can either drink these words to the damnation of your success or use them to wash off the hate. Just as water can give life or take it, one’s reaction these fluid words can mean success or failure. Knowing and using proper English is absolutely essential to flying high in American society. There is NO changing that. Yet, among many blacks, being grammatically correct means the certain death of certain friendships. To the those who fear the loss of these friends, don’t worry about it. You are too busy trying to create a career for yourself. I know your friends seem like your world right now, but in a minute you won’t remember their names. Your success is more important, and THEY aren’t worth trifling with.
2.) Being Despised By Other Black Peers For Succeeding
“Who do you think you are? Makin’ good grades…” (spoken with contorted face)
“Uhhh (blink, blink) I’m me, and I’m going somewhere positive in life. Are you going anywhere?” (spoken with academically savvy attitude)
Actually trying not to learn is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. True there are prodigy’s who are already brilliant and who don’t need school, but as for the rest of us in this world, our lil’ behinds need to be studying our butts off. Whoever told you it’s not cool to learn needs to get somewhere and sit down. It’s also not cool to be struggling financially for the rest of your life, on the streets, or in jail. To black students whose friends criticize them for trying to succeed — perhaps even, once again, calling you white — your critical peers don’t want to see you do well because they aren’t trying to do anything for themselves. You don’t have time to be bothered with them, and they aren’t worth trifling with.
3.) Lack of Family Support
Even worse, sometimes family members can get jealous of their successful children. There is no better truth than the fact that EVERY generation should be better than the last. It’s definitely the adage to live by, and families should support it. Yeah, it is also true that for years black folks could not get an education. Well, that is not how it is anymore. Black youth today have privileges their elders couldn’t have dreamed of having. To the hateful family members, don’t knock your children. Heck, if nothing else, they are the closest thing to your future. Don’t play like you don’t want to be in good hands. To the successful blacks putting up with hateful family members, let them handle their own problems, because you know what? It’s never too late to learn. Instead of being jealous of the opportunities you have, they should be taking care of their own noggins. If they are too lazy to go to the local library and better themselves with something as simple as reading an educational book, don’t worry about them. Still love them, but their mess isn’t worth trifling with.
4.) Lack Of Resources
This one is for the people aspiring to go to college. Blacks are on the rise with more and more of us pouring onto the middle class playing field. Some of us are even breaking ground to build our new mansions. Now, that’s what I’m talking about! Whereas all of that is exciting, there are still many African-Americans living in economically disadvantaged areas. That means schools in those areas don’t have nearly as many resources as schools in wealthier school districts. All of that said, our black youth can still be successful. To the black youth fighting the lack-of-resources battle, yes, it might be more challenging, but just think. You will be stronger for it, and your success is worth fighting for. Don’t give up on your education — ultimately your life — because your books are falling apart and your desk sits under the leaky part of the ceiling. I’m not saying that’s something to be excited about. What I am saying is you can take advantage of what you have, make it work for you, and build upon it. You can still do great things. You must do great things if you ever want to be better off than what you are now. Don’t let “lack-of-resources” get in your way because “lack-of-resources” isn’t worth trifling with. Stopping to trifle will only hold you down.
5.) The Feeling Of Discouragement
Well dang after reading all of this, it seems like some black students have everything going AGAINST them — friends, family, economic status. What more could possibly laden a poor soul? Discouragement — the feeling that “Since I’m up against so many odds…”, the feeling that “Since no one appreciates me…”, the feeling of “Do I even appreciate myself at this point?” To the black people out there who feel like the world is against them, if you give in to discouragement, you only put your life in the hands of others.
If you’re not careful, discouragement will creep into your mind and paralyze you from brilliant on down.
Yes, you are brilliant, but you won’t know until you challenge yourself. I know discouragement is hard to fight, but believe me. Discouragement will only keep you from blossoming into your brilliant self, and it’s not…I repeat…IT’S NOT worth trifling with.
This is from Ayvaunn Penn‘s Black And Making It series. She is also a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.