The Black Generation Gap

The Black Generation gap can has popped it’s ugly head up again with Reverend Jessie Jackson thought that castrating Obama was a good way to express his disdain for his stand of faith based initiatives. We all know that this is a way to cozy up to evangelicals at the expense of Obama’s liberal base. In the eight years of the Bush administration, I have only heard of one predominately African American church in Philadelphia who received faith based initiative grant. The Greater Exodus Baptist Church received a million dollars and was prominent supporter of George Bush in both his elections. Many Obama supporters are also disillusioned by his recent flip flop on FISA, the federal legislation that allows the government to listen in on your phone and e-mail conversations without a warrant and with no liability for telecom companies. I was rather upset by this move, but I was more pissed at Jessie Jackson’s “insight.”

I remember reading Ebony and Jet in my mom’s favorite South Bronx hairdresser. The two longest running African American magazines are still stuck in the 1950’s, they have never changed format! Black newspapers are dying because of their poor use of the Internet. Our greatest generation is also stuck in a rut and refuses to pass the baton. Their names should be carved in history and in every schoolbook, but they do not want to train the next generation and stand aside. I am a member of the first hip hop generation by geography and demographics. We were born at the tail end of the baby boom to the end of the civil rights/black power movements.

I came to America at the age of 11 right into the heart of a revolution. Growing up two subway stops away from the Bronx River projects, I was too young to go to the Africa Bambatta parties, but old enough see daytime rap battles. The battle lyrics expressed the full spectrum of working class life from partying and having a good time to the dangers of the growing cocaine/crack epidemic and the police. We have the heritage of the civil rights generation, but may think that the millennial’s rap music cannot compare to Grand Master Flash, EPMD and Eric B and Rakim to NWA and A Tribe Called Quest. We knew Eddie Murphy when he was dirty as Katt Williams and saw Good Tines and The Cosby Show during their first run.

As the first hip hop generation we heard the post civil war anti-black rhetoric grow as the civil rights law enforcement dissipated (do you know where your local office federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or U.S. Commission on Civil Rights?) We understand the fear and disappointment of elders and the anger and individualism of those younger than us. We know that demonstrations are not enough, and that we must empower the multitudinous grassroots efforts and use our political and economic resources to get equal access to education, financial institutions and the justice system. It is time for people like Andrew Young (who stated early in the campaign that Obama was too young to run) and Jessie Jackson Sr. and Al Sharpton to support and advise Harold Ford, Jr., Adam Clayton Powell, IV, Jessie Jackson Jr. and most importantly (even with his recent move to the right) Barack Hussein Obama.

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