Street Credit

The Irony of Street Credit: If I had the Iron on Me

In Community, Knowledge, Truth by Cliff Green

Everybody wants to earn their stripes. Everybody wants to be recognized for being something great. How do we get our young black men to want to earn more than just street credit?

About a month ago, I was walking through the streets of D.C., as I was walking back to the metro, I saw a brother and as I usually do I said, “What up brotha?” He responded by saying, “What’s up black man?” Being intrigued by his response, as typically I don’t receive many, I stopped to talk to him and told him how I appreciated him (for acknowledging me), especially in the manner in which he did. I went on to explain to him how when I walk through the streets, people here barely look you in the eye and do everything possible to avoid having to speak to you. It is as if they think that I (a simple person, just trying to be polite and say hello) am the enemy.  We sat and politicked for a few minutes, both agreeing that it is pretty crazy that no one likes to speak anymore and how we wished for the simpler days, when respect and common courtesy were actually common. Then, he handed me his card and I continued on my way. I went on to make a few moves and ran a few errands throughout the day.

At about eight o’clock that evening, I made my way to the library to do some studying. After the library I went to the grocery store to grab a few things. The walk from the grocery store to my house is about fifteen minutes long, (in addition) I was carrying 15-20 pounds of groceries in each arm, plus a 25 pound book bag on my back. The struggle is real. As I am walking back home I came upon five, maybe six young males chilling by the gate of an elementary school. All of them appeared to be in their teens; I thought nothing of it, but I guess the lady in front of me knew better, so she walked in the street to avoid them. I stayed on the sidewalk, and as I get about 25 – 30 feet past them, I heard a clump then felt something slide down the side of my shirt. I turned around and looked down only to see a nice size rock on the ground. There was another young bull who was leaning on a gate closer to where I was who saw the whole thing. He said, “Oooh, they’re wildin!’” I turned around and said, “Yeah they are, but I could’ve sworn we were all brothers living in the same struggle! But that’s cool!” Young bull said, “I respect that!” I nodded my head at him, turned around and kept walking.

After about five minutes of arriving to my house, the pain finally hit me. Not a physical pain, but a spiritual and mental pain. I am in no way comparing myself to Yahshuah/ Jesus, but his story immediately popped into my head. No matter how right you may be, there will always be an opposition. The Most High then reaffirmed the truths within Psalms 91 verse 10: “No harm shall befall you; No disaster shall come near your tent.” Think about that, he threw a rock at my back. It could’ve easily struck me anywhere and severely hurt me, but it hit my book bag.

I sat and cried and prayed to the Most High. Asking him why I care so much, why do I even put myself through the torment? “Why keep working so hard to awaken the people, to only receive this type of treatment?” That’s the pain that I felt, I am tormented by my peoples’ ignorance. I am tormented by our hatred of ourselves. A self-hate that would allow a person to pick up a rock and throw it at a person who looks exactly like them for no reason at all.

To my young men out there reading this, think thoroughly before you act. The next guy might not have the same compassion as I do. I could’ve easily had the IRON on my hip and turned around and sprayed at everyone. In that moment that young man wasn’t thinking about his future, he was thinking of the points (Street Credit) he would earn with his boys. How many points would he have earned, if I did turn around and took his life?

There are companies right now, at this very moment, buying all the land and forcing you out of your homes through gentrification, but you threw the rock at me. As I discussed with the man earlier, “Am I your enemy?”

To put even more icing on this cake filled with irony, the elementary school where this incident happened is called “Malcolm X Elementary”. You are not disrespecting the person you do these things to. You are disrespecting yourself and every ancestor that came before you.

Street credit gets you nothing positive in this life. It gives you three options to choose from: a six by eight cell, six feet under or probation. Street credit leaves you constantly looking over your shoulder every time you step foot outside. Have you ever seen a man buy a house with street CREDIT? Naw! Have you ever seen a man buy a car with street CREDIT? Naw! Yeah, of course, some dudes do have cars and maybe a home, but is it in their name? Probably not! Try to leave the country while on probation and let’s see what happens. Yup, you guessed it; you’ll be right back in that six by eight. And that my people is no way to live, we should call this article “Burial Credit” because that is the only thing you are earning. Let’s start thinking about earning some real credit, something that can actually change the quality of your life and circumstance.

25 Black and ALIVE is the title of this website and I will finish with writings from my father, who captured so vividly, how I feel and why I created this site:

I won’t stop until you understand that this fight is not between you and me, but against a system that makes you see me as your enemy. Is my color that much different than yours? Do I not see your pain as my pain? You are my Father’s son, my brother and though our mothers reared us differently; our Father loves us equally. So I can’t strike out at you in physical brutality, but in faith of our Father’s love and omnipresence. His spirit calms your heart for your mind to see, that street credit is death to the black family. The imprisonment of the minds of our princes and kings, under the influences of evil deeds; while families are devastated and Satan succeeds. Filled with the delusion of hip hop fantasy and its degrading of your moral vitality, through its suggestive and subliminal images, it continues to destroy all of our intellectual possibilities.

Thanks for reading. Please leave a comment below. Let’s change what we value, and then we will change the world.

To the fallen soldier, Mitchell White, another victim of street credit, R.I.P. We will forever love and remember you! To all of the fallen soldiers from my hood, I’ll have a special post paying homage to you one day soon. Your gone but not forgotten! We’ll love you’ll forever!