One thing about learning and understanding the chemistry of what constitutes who you are…is learning and knowing your ancestry, culture and background, processing it to allow you to diversify your thoughts and actions. To be able to accept those things and embrace the scope, the importance in the power of its history, while observing and participating in the present and allowing that to influence and propel your everyday thought process.
Then with comprehension and applying the background of your race, your ancestors, family and people like yourself, helps you embrace yourself, grow and become individualistic. With that comes the importance of sharing it, giving back, making sure those who don’t quite understand their make-up, culture or the importance of who they are or where they come from, be confused by the way other races stereotype, dictate or hypothesize about who we might be. Or to speculate with a naive perception.
My mother always instilled in her sons, my brother and I, to “lead by example and don’t be a follower.” I was not sure at a young age what she meant, but later as I grew older I knew exactly what she was talking about and also learned that her advice would keep me out of trouble, keep me a step ahead and make me unique. One of the reasons why most young men have a hard time reaching their goals and excelling is that they’d rather choose to follow the herd than lead it, going wherever in the direction the herd goes, doing exactly whatever the herd does, and that does not set you apart or help you to be different. And in our most popular mainstream of today’s culture, being that of Hip-hop (funny many critics said it would not last) which dominates and controls much of entertainment, music, fashion, dialogue, and even in some cases what we eat and drink.
Not to mention all the messages and images it creates, it has become worldwide sensationalism. But it also has created images and dialogues of negativity, adversity and unwarranted stereotyping. And much of it sometimes, does not portray the importance or true diversity of our culture…ironically, at the same time, it has incidentally enriched our culture in artistic expression and made lots of people wealthy – including a large population of our poor and underprivileged youth.
by Ed Toney contributing writer for Young Men’s Perspective Magazine edition 3. Applications Specialist/ Chemist Tech
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