The lack of community

In Community, Knowledge, Truth, Wisdom by Cliff Green46 Comments

The divide between our elders and youth within our community may be beyond repair. The elders don’t want anything to do with the youth and the youth don’t want anything to do with the elders. Is there even a way to fix it? I have reiterated the same thing almost two years ago but it seems as though the situation has only gotten worse. The community has only separated even further.

Yesterday as I was riding the metro home there were a bunch of young kids on the train with me. They were yapping their mouths and saying all kind of nonsense. Some were loud. Some were talking about being “Lit”. Someone said something about how they were twerking. Mind you these kids are no older than 13 maybe 14.

When they got off, an older gentleman said something about how he just looks at them, shakes his head and how they’re not his kids. Basically saying that he can care less as to how they act. I told him that they were his kids and this is our community that we are losing really bad.

I do understand both parties’ side as to why there is no love between the two. The elders feel as though like it is pointless to talk to today’s youth. Why talk to kids when they are way too out of control? For instance when I had the rock thrown at my back. It makes you lose hope in our youth. Then on the other side, the reason why the youth are so wild is because they are imitating what they see from the elders. To be honest the elders are the ones who have dropped the ball. They are the reason why the youth are the way that they are.

I will go in one day on how the elders are the reason for this mess that we have but I am tired. Tired of being a warrior on the battlefield all by myself (Seriously! Where have all the soldiers gone?) and I’m just tired because it has been a long day.

P.S. In my opinion Hidden Figures was on point. Black Girl Magic has always been in effect.


  1. Brother Cliff, you raise some good points here. I would like to say this: the divide between elders and young folks is not simply a problem in the black community (I am aware that you do not say which community you are referring to, but it seems to be racially coded with the slang of “lit”/”twerking” – and some of the commentary above). It is a societal fact that cuts across the country more generally. We have to remember that we live in a structure of anti-blackness which ensures that the actions of black people are ALWAYS under surveillance. This is part of the reason why communities are STILL segregated: to make us easier to police. Black people are the societal scapegoat: whenever a problem exists, everyone pretends it only resides within the black community. This is untrue. This is a structural problem (political, economic, and social), not a cultural problem (explanations that discuss Hip Hop, Stop Snitchin;, out of wedlock babies, deadbeat daddies, etc). Cultural phenomena are the symptom; structure is the disease. We have to get this straight.

    How should we discuss the elderly/youth divide? Just look at the way public schools are under assault. There is a wave of charter schools, which is nothing more than an attempt to siphon public dollars away from the masses, and channel them into small groups for wealthy folks who have no accountability. Who suffers? The children, and most specifically, BLACK children (i.e. Chicago where they closed 50 schools). The only way school privatization can succeed is if there is absolute hostility toward the children. The children have to be demonized as no-good criminals who cut class and bring guns to school. At present, a lot of schools in the inner city resemble prisons: with armed guards at the door, and security guards roaming the hallways. A lot of schools spend more money on “security” than they do an in-house social worker to actually help the kids. We need to begin here: the fact that society has, for the past couple of decades, been throwing children overboard with hostile rhetoric that undermines what is absolutely indispensable for being a citizen: an education. Back in the day, I remember I would see those “children are the future” bumper stickers, or “save the children” bumper stickers. I have not seen those in a while – because everyone is running around demonizing the kids.

    We can also talk about the fact that social safety nets like food stamps – which help children, have been on the chopping blocks for a while as well. The child poverty rate is through the roof. At the societal level, those in power do not give a damn about the kids.

    And at the societal level, they do not care about the elders, either. Peep the way a ridiculous amount of elderly army veterans are homeless. Peep the way the government is trying to privatize social security and cut Medicare programs that help the elderly. This population has a suicide rate that is veryyyy high – but no one talks about it. No one gives a damn about the elders! The elders are looked upon as burdens – as a bunch of nostalgic, old hacks who told boring stories and smell of urine. So, the elders have ill feelings for the children, and the children have ill feelings for the elders. This is not a black thing – it is just more evident with black people because we are BLACK, and poor, and segregated, so all of our actions are more visible. But this is an “American” problem, and I worry that framing it as a black problem ends up capitulating to the same racist agendas that dumped the crack into our communities, locked us up, cut welfare, etc.

    I also think that we are nostalgic for a time where there was more “order” in the community – where elders had more authority and were respected more. People always say that the disrespect started to begin around the 80s with crack and rap music. But we are missing a crucial point: what made that generational “order” possible? My answer: confining women to the private sphere of the home. Around the late 60s and early 70s, it finally became socially acceptable for women to leave the home and get a job to contribute to the family. Before that, many women were the keepers of the home, and were home ALL day – thus allowing them to “look after” other children in the community. So when we talk about “order” we have to understand the violence that maintained that order to begin with.

    1. Author

      You said a lot and I don’t even know where to begin. I agree that it is a societal problem. I know that it is happening all over the country/ the world for real. The world has used us a scapegoat. That is part of the reason I tend to focus on black people. Also because as you said, I’m black. That isn’t to say that I would not help any one else. But I can’t fix another man’s home until I have fixed my own.
      This agenda has no color though. Back to your comment about taking the women out of the home. That was planned as well. For this very reason. Now the order is gone. Since the controllers don’t care about the elders they don’t aim for them but they don’t do anything to give them a helping hand. Because they know that they will be gone soon. That’s why the ills and poisons are all focused on the youth. They are more susceptible to be misguided in their thinking.

  2. Teenagers suck! They try to ruin my [few] train rides down here too, and I know I can’t help but have the stank face when I see and hear the nonsense! And when I worked at the mall omg. #murdermurdermurder Just no respect. I think it has to do with lack of structure at home, clearly not getting enough attention from mom + dad and, of course, anger. They want to take those frustrations out on s o m e b o d y. Anybody!

    I would say maybe change your approach? But you can’t give up on it ’cause it’ll eat away at you!

    1. Author

      If I can recall, I think we spoke on teenagers trying to ruin your train ride a while back. But if you don’t mind me asking what did the kids do?
      It definitely has to do with the lack of structure within their household. Who am I kidding? There is NO structure with at home. I see it everyday. Kids are able to listen to and watch whatever they want. Parents these days have no clue how to be actual parents. Giving your kid a phone isn’t parenting. My bad I tend to go on spiels.
      But I haven’t given up. I was just tired when I typed this up. I’m way to much of a banger to ever give up.

      1. Well one boy was loudly humming “Birthday Sex” sitting like right in front of me. And another time, a group of teen girls got on, super loud with their rachetivity, and one was like “wassup?! Hello! Is there a problem??! Y’all all staring, at least say hello!” And they just looked a mess! You know when you can tell they’re young but dress all grown?! Yea.

        Keep bangin, Cliff!

        1. Author

          Lmao @ “their rachetivity”. They think it’s cute, but it is far far from it. *long sigh*
          Imma keep banging until we get it together!

  3. Peace My Young Brother Cliff! Yes Indeed, Your Post Is A Serious “Walk-On-Eggshells” Situation…Well, For An Approach To Helping Resolve This Issue, Please Refer To My Latest Post….

    1. Author

      I am headed to your blog right now to gain some insight. Thank you for stopping by! You’re always appreciated!

  4. Well it’s society’s fault. I’m 33 and I was taught to respect my elders or you get ya ass whooped. Our generation fucked it up honestly with rap music being about disrespecting anybody. Gen X had kids and this is the outcome. We can’t blame our elders who are baby boomers, it’s my generations fault why these kids don’t know shit. You cant discipline them properly without someone coddling them, there are no black fathers (or any fathers) to steer them right, theres no skill instilled and us black people as a whole are always looking for someone or something to rescue them. It’s honestly a simple fix. Stop having unprotected sex. But non profits and the Democratic party wants single black mom’s to raise these kids.

    1. Author

      It’s our fault. And it’s the elders fault as well. I agree that our music and the way we move is awful these days, but the elders are the ones who fell for the drugs. Drugs destroyed our communities. I know the government purposely put them in our communities for that very reason, but you and I as men should’ve have know better than to use them. Especially after seeing what they did to the next man.

      1. Yea that is true. Like the 70s was cracking but it was ok to get high and party all night and disrespect your wife. It was a cultural thing. Another solution is these kids are brainwashed and I bet if Future or Migos or O’Dell Beckham Junior wad to say be respectful these kids would listen to them. Internet makes them respect the dollar more than we did. Plus they can’t fight hahahahahah. They don’t know how to be men because they are raised by ladies. Just look at Soulja Boy and Chris Brown right now. 2 grown ass men fighting on social media smh. That’s what’s manly to them.

        1. Author

          Lol bro you ain’t never lied. Everybody fell for the trap. Aren’t you kind of mad that we even know about this “beef”? What’s even worse is that most people care about that more than they do anything of real substance. Uhhhhhhhhhh *long sigh*

          1. Lmfao yes and yes. I was watching basketball and they started talking about it and I’m like how is this relevant to what I’m watching. I really can’t mess with too many people anymore these days because they be on some f@#$ sh#t.

    2. I think the issue of unprotected sex is the symptom of the disease, not the disease itself. Regarding this specific issue – there is an inadequate amount of time/money poured into sex education programs for black people. There is also an inadequate amount of money spent on contraceptives. Kids of all races have sex. The difference is: the other kids receive sex education and have access to contraceptives whereas black kids don’t. Its a structural problem (political and economic), not a cultural one (lack of family values, rap music, etc).

      1. I have to disagree. Completely. Everyone knows where babies come from. You know the risk of having unprotected sex. This is 2017 where everyone can do a simple Google search on their smart phone. Why do you think there are so many planned parenthood only in the hoods? True every race has sex but we can’t sit here and blame anyone else for these babies having babies.

        1. Dear Brother,

          When you say “Everyone knows where babies come from, you know the risk of having unprotected sex” – that sounds like common sense. But it is false.. it is an assumption with no evidence behind it. Statistical data from actual studies conducted by the Center for Disease Control just 2 years ago found that “most teens don’t receive formal sex education until AFTER they’ve already become sexually active”. As you know, it only takes one time. Factor in the evidence that black children are less likely to receive ANY sex education, and THEN factor in the evidence that black children are less likely to have access to contraceptives, and what do you have? A bunch of teenage pregnancies! I will paste the link to the report below (embedded in link).

          And I know all about the history of eugenics, the Klan, and Planned Parenthood. 66% of their buildings are located in black neighborhoods. It is awful. There are a couple of ways to come at that, though. First, we have to ask why are black women most likely to get abortions (they are). The reason is because they are most likely to be poor. So Planned Parenthood is not THE problem, they just take care of the side effect for a society that wants nothing to do with black people and us reproducing.

          And, at another level, pleasee realize that Planned Parenthood is under attack from all angles right now. Planned Parenthood does not provide only abortions on some sinister anti-black stuff (I once held this position, I even argued it in a previous post on my blog, but with Trump in office, I am seeing their larger value to women) .. they also provide a whole range of procedures for women (and men) such as health screening, contraceptives, etc. So, if you are against unwanted pregnancies, by default, Planned Parenthood is an ally to your position, right!?

          Link to report:

          1. Darryl, what up! Thanks for sharing this article. You’re right; 83% is ridiculously high for students not receiving formal sex education prior to their first encounter! Like you said, it only takes one time. With that in mind, I wish the CDC would have included data on how many of those teens experienced a pregnancy before vs. after receiving that formal education. That would be really informative, I think in understanding the role of formal education in their decision making.

            Especially considering how the CDC described the quality of this formal education. Mostly using an “abstinence-only” model instead of providing medically accurate information? Focusing primarily on female responsibility as opposed to how both parties can practice safe sex? In all honesty, after reading, I question how beneficial the formal education is/has been for our teens.

            The one relief I received was in seeing that the conversations (for ¾ of them) are still happening at home with their parents. So it’s not that the majority are receiving NO sex education at all, thank goodness. They are receiving information on birth control, which is great (but not surprising). Pregnancy seems to be a much hotter topic in households with teens than STDs. But conversations around the emotional impact of intimacy as well as details on STDs seem to be what’s missing the most. And those I feel are just as damaging!

          2. Hi Josie! I hope all is well with you! Great points! I agree – it would be interesting to see how formal education is directly related to teenage pregnancy before and after.
            The way some of these formal education programs blame the girls is upsetting. As a child, I didn’t have that – so I wonder if this is region specific (I live in the Northeast which is more “liberal” than a lot of the country). The programs I had did the condom-banana routine, and showed us pictures/ told us about STDs. These programs gave everyone $50 to the mall as an added incentive to attend, which was cool!

            It is good that a lot of conversations take place at home. My pops gave me that talk about the birds and the bees and it was good. I think it is best to have parent discussions AND formal education – because, sometimes, parents have inaccurate or incomplete information.

            You are spot on: it would be good to have discussions about emotions as it relates to intimacy, not just the physical aspects!

          3. lmao @ the condom-banana routine. I don’t think I was ever subjected to that. But I would have loved that $50 incentive! Definitely wouldn’t have been spending it on any bananas after that though lmao.

            Good observation about the education possibly being region specific. Question. Do you think it would be best to structure/tailor the content of the formal education classes based on specific factors like cultural and economic differences, gender, sexuality, etc? Or would it be best to have one format across the board to avoid bias and misinformation?

            And you’re right – parents definitely have their own interpretation based on experiences and their own lack of formal education as well!

          4. Lmao you’re hilarious! Thing is: I like bananas – so those little experiments ruined it for me. Now, if I am going to have bananas, they have to be cut up or in the food already. You won’t catch me just eating a banana lol. I wish they had used a phallic food that I don’t eat … like zucchini or even cucumber!

            Hmm … that is a great question! This is sorta difficult. On the one hand, it may be a bit problematic to have tailored programs for reasons you have hinted at: it will be biased. We all have bodies and we tend to do the same sexual positions – so education should be fairly standard. The thing is: centuries of heteropatriarchy and racism have convinced us that intercourse with and for each group of people is somehow different. There are a bunch of sexual stereotypes that, I am sure, you are familiar with: ‘black men are big’, ‘Asian men are small’, ‘all gay men do anal’, etc. Penis size is not correlated to race or economic status; there are gay men who do not do anal, and there are straight couples who do. So I worry that a tailored program will perpetuate such stereotypes.

            I think that a good sexual education class will encompass all sexualities, debunk sexual stereotypes, and address the physical and emotion aspects of sex, as well as stressing the risk of STDS.

            What do you think? Do you think the classes should be standardized or tailored?

          5. Well, not so much the physical component of it. I agree with you that we don’t want to perpetuate those stereotypes. Which is probably why a banana was used rather than a zucchini or cucumber =P. LOL! So inappropriate but I couldn’t help myself.

            But after reading your comment about the differences in accessing birth control in our community, it made me think. We do face different resources, conditions, outcomes, norms and pressures based on culture, religion, class, etc. Is it possible that our children could be better prepared to respond to these things if we chose to share and present more relate-able and relative information?

          6. I think it is certainly possible. The education class I attended was certainly relate-able because the instructors were young, people of color like us, and they knew our language and needs. The relative information will change from place to place – because there are differences in distance to resources such as contraceptives and counseling. Children should be empowered with enough information to be somewhat self-sufficient: give them the name of the free clinic, and tell them which bus/train goes there. So I think the information itself will be somewhat standard, but we have to tailor it to fit the practical needs (i.e. Planned Parenthood isn’t accessible for everyone, etc).

          7. That makes perfect sense. I really like the approach in telling children not just where to go but how to get there. If we could take it a step further and help them feel unashamed during the trip, then we’ve nailed it.

          8. Author

            LMAO @ you can’t eat bananas! Man don’t have me change my outlook on bananas. I already feel suspect eating them but now I don’t think I can anymore.

          9. Lol – bro, if it wasn’t the condoms that ruined the bananas, it is the fact that I am a black man and I can’t be caught eating a banana in front of white folks who liken us to monkeys! Lololol

          10. I just realized I said “on the one hand” but never got around to saying what was on the “other hand”. Allow me to introduce my left real quickkkk lol

            Even though a tailored program MIGHT perpetuate sexual stereotypes, there may be some value to it – because stereotypes have a life of their own. People actually believe them and act based upon them being true. This may not be the case in every region or within every group of people. So it may be good to get an understanding of the sexual stereotypes held by certain people, and then have a tailored program that debunks each of them.

          11. I like this Darryl! I agree with you. We do allow stereotypes to be reinforced. by feeding into them. I think debunking those sexual stereotypes would definitely aid in creating a much needed safe space at an early age. Think of how many adults have acted privately on / have suppressed their sexual preferences out of fear of being shamed or embarrassed.

          12. Exactly! I can understand the desire to push abstinence – but lets keep it real, its not going to happen. Christian conservatives are out of their minds with this stuff. When I hit puberty, sex was all I could think about lol. If there was a pie chart that represented 100% of my thoughts: 90% would be sex, 5% would be eating food … so I could have sex, and 5% would be sleeping … so I could have enough energy for sex, lol. I remember on one episode of the Cosby Show Heathcliff said that since “Theo is a teenager, he will hit on a snake!” That is so true. I do not think the problem is having sex per se – I think the problem is having uninformed and unprotected sex. There are farrrrr too many taboos around sex – and we need to take these shackles off! I have a post about the pleasures of sex and developing a “new sexual ethic”, if you are interested, I think it’s titled “The Eroticization of Violence….” would love to hear your thoughts on it!

          13. lmfao your pie chart is terrifying! Food would definitely be at least 50% of mine. Sex is never better than food! You may not realize it but I have your entire blog open in a separate tab so that I can read each article to date. Your articles are too thought-provoking for me to read with a tired mind. I swear I use them for education and conversation starters. If only you knew lmao

          14. Author

            I’m trying to catch up on his blog as well. My life isn’t normal tho. So as you can tell it takes me a while to respond and read everyones’ blog.

          15. Author

            Man I can’t even recall if my pops had “the talk” with me. He may have but it was so long ago that I can’t remember. I don’t think the schools can teach the youth thoroughly enough. Plus that’s kind of strange when you think about it. This random grown man or woman (teacher) telling your kid about sex. I put no trust in the school system’s of today if you can’t tell. lol

          16. Lol, when you put it like that, I can see how it is a bit weird. I think it helps a bit more if the teachers are fairly young and there is a cultural similarity to an extent

          17. Author

            True. Young and more “hip” teachers definitely get more love. They know how to relate to the youth.

          18. Author

            No one speaks on or teaches us as youth about the emotional/ spiritual side of sex. At least I can’t recall anyone telling me.

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