Where there is no vision, the people perish….
My question is…
What is wrong with us?
Yeah, you can talk about tougher gun laws. I won’t argue with you. You can rekindle the embers of “blame it on the environment.” I’d agree. The hood ain’t changed. Yes, faith is needed. Yes, job opportunities are needed. Yes, we should encourage staying in school. Education has never limited opportunity for those who possessed it.
You can speak on any of these platforms, and I’d rally behind you. But you and I both know that ain’t the problem. Those are stems and petals, but that’s not the root.
The root is that we simply don’t care anymore….not about life…not about death…not about God…not about family…not about future…not about legacy…not about history…not about tradition…not about each other. Our only concern is us. And that’s a problem.
When we stop caring, it doesn’t matter what our environment looks like. You see the tragedy of 82 people shot; 14 killed over a holiday weekend. We see another day in the hood that we lived through. We get up the next day in the same beds. Wash our faces in the same water. Go outside to the same concrete roads. The world will conveniently and quickly forget about us, focusing instead on causes not as lost. We in turn stop caring a little more.
When we no longer care, it doesn’t matter what opportunities are out there, available, and accessible. You see purpose and redemption in lending the disadvantaged a helping hand. You take us on as a project, almost like a pet that you are trying to groom. When we learn your tricks, you reward us. When we get angry or begin to cause a commotion, you scold and cage us. The truth is, we do need help. Life is built off of relationships. But whereas you see social work and safety programs as an opportunity to extend charity (and soothe guilty consciences), we see these same programs as us turning our backs on all that we know, cheating our familiarity by leaving the madness of our comfort. We see fear in the unknown. We see scars, sacrifice, submission and sweat with little reward and even lower return on investment. We see you holding this over our head, looking at us like we are beneath you. History says we shouldn’t trust you. So when you come with your handouts, why should we care?
Though some have attained through faith, as a whole, you have conquered and stolen and bludgeoned your wealth through fear historically. That is your rise to power. That is how you’ve maintained your control…not through love, or example, but through fear. So imagine our mindset…the conquering fear fears an empowered us. So when you create your programs to teach us how to be more productive by your definition of productivity, why should we care? Why shouldn’t we just continue as we are?
The question is rhetorical. The truth is that you can remove all of that, and we still wouldn’t care.
Because we’re dry inside. Tired. Hardened. Numb. Bitter. Restless. Visionless.
That’s what we are. That’s who we’ve chosen to become. That’s why we are doing what we are doing. That’s why it isn’t going to change.
You can’t help a mindset that doesn’t care, especially when it has been purposely poisoned to devalue possibility and overly embrace the significance of now.
A mindset that doesn’t care, doesn’t listen to the heart or the spirit or the conversations of the body. It doesn’t pause to think about the weight of its actions. It doesn’t think about the future. It is only impressed and motivated with itself. It cares not for anything else. That is how it survives.
It believes that care weakens you. It teaches that love breaks you and allows others to control you. It knows that listening influences you…so it encourages you not to listen to voices that try to change you. This sick and immature mindset preaches that an “I don’t give a f#!k” mentality protects you. Disregard keeps you. Desensitization fuels the fear that makes you stand out. Not caring tragically allows you to spill your brother’s blood and carry on in your day as if nothing has ever happened.
That’s why this whole “war on terror” nonsense is so ridiculous. How can you fight an ideology that believes there is gain in a death that destroys others? The answer is you can’t. You can not defeat a lack of care. If they don’t respect your idea of humanity or your right to exist, how can you reason with them? A pastor can point out countless passages in the Bible that tell you why you should believe in Jesus. But if you don’t believe in the merit and truthfulness of the Bible, or simply don’t care what it says, then how can there ever be common ground…how can you be reached?
You can’t, until you yourself make up your mind and consciously decide to get over the nonsense and start caring again.
It isn’t neuroscience.
The answer to Chicago, is the same answer to Detroit, to Atlanta, to Los Angeles, to Knoxville, to your city, your community, and ultimately your home.
You have to start caring again.
You have to get rid of this mentality that being feared is synonymous with manhood.
You have to relight your passion, renew your mind, and rediscover your God-given vision. You were created for more than this. You deserve more than this. You should expect more than this. You must hold yourself accountable to more than this.
The problem is not outside. The problem is within.
Fix that. You will fix Chicago.
You will find yourself.