Street Credit

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

In Community, Knowledge, Truth by Cliff Green43 Comments

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!


  1. First of all…we’re living in a world full of folks with untreated mental illness. We have parents that don’t have expectations for their kids. We have too many parents out there playing with their kids instead of teaching them and directing them. Youth now a days don’t understand accountability or consequences. Back in the day if you were out of line…there were consequences. No one has expectations of them;therefore, they have no expectations of themselves and they know they won’t be held accountable for it.

    1. Author

      Jewell, thank you for stopping by and leaving a jewel ;). I couldn’t agree with you any more. What are the solution and how would we go about implementing. The mental health of the black community seems to be on the decline. Not trying to sound judgmental. Just stating what I witness and hear daily with my two god-given eyes.

  2. As someone researching “conditions” in 1963, I am expanding my awareness. Hopefully, the novel I am writing will lead younger folks to a deeper understanding of the past so we can move forward in a positive light. I really appreciate your blog posts!

    1. Author

      I am sorry for the delayed response. I have been moving around and doing so much. I appreciate your kind words. I am going to swing over to your site and check out your work. It’s good to know that others are doing what they can to make this world a better place. Thanks for tuning in.

  3. Just an old white woman reading and trying to learn something new. Your articles make me tear up.

    1. Author

      Thanks Ms. Deborah, I appreciate that you stopped by and left a comment! I’m glad that some of my articles have resonated with you and have moved you to tears. That lets me know that I am doing something right! You could’ve been an old purple women and it wouldn’t have mattered. My goal is to put something out there that will positively effect the hearts and minds of all people! Thanks again for tuning in!

  4. Asking him why I care so much, why do I even put myself through the torment?
    Yo, I say that all the time man. It makes me want to give up some days. Sometimes it feels like we try and uplift and all for what? But it’s the moments like when you were talking to the young brotha while you were out that keeps you going.

    1. Author

      True! At times it is disheartening to care so much for your people but they don’t even care for themselves, so they damn sure don’t care about you. But that is why we do what we do. Sam Cooke said it a while back, “A Change Gonna Come!”

        1. Author

          As a whole are people don’t study and have been sheep for way too long. We can only hope, pray and work towards the best. Whatever happens to the rest is on them. The information and knowledge is out there. We all have the same capabilities of getting it. I have learned that we have to separate from people. Not everyone is going to make the cut. It’s harsh but it’s a reality. The ones of us who are moving and positively progressing have to build and hopefully motivate others to do the same.

          1. Sorry I’m late with this response. You’re absolutely right Brotha Green. It’s natural selection. Only the strong survive, and in this case the equipped. Brain Power is whats paying now, and thru the future. Our people are finding out the hard way, all that keeping it real will have you left behind. Some will figure it out. Some won’t. But again natural selection.

  5. Lack of self love and expectations. Unfortunately many of these young brothas are raised and not nurtured. Unfortunately many of these young brothas come from situations in which no one has expectations of them or hold them accountable for anything. Even more disheartening is that many of these brothas don’t know what it is to be loved. If one has love of self…he will have love for a direct reflection of self.

    1. Author

      True there is no love of self within these young men or they wouldn’t do the things that they do. But they better learn it quick because things may get real ugly for them soon.

  6. One major thing that I believe is the reason behind a lot of this, is change. People are afraid of change and focused more on what others think of them. They don’t want to be “clowney” for being proper, or talking behaving in a particular manor, especially blacks.

    1. Author

      King Wolf, thanks for the comment. I know you remember the days back in middle/ high school when you were considered a lame for being smart and getting good grades in school. That is the mentality that we must eradicate from our youth.

  7. “We are all brothers living in the same struggle!” Preach!.. Your words are excellent and inspiring my brother! I love you very much and your message will get across! You have a purpose and this my brother is it. Praying for unity amongst our people and we won’t stop until we get there! Love you!

  8. Well said Mr. Green! After reading and enjoying all of your post, I would have to say this one hits the hardest. It’s crazy and also sad how the opinions of others can control a person doing wrong or doing right. Or how those opinions dictate the courtesy or respect they show others.  It’s also sad that they don’t realize or seem to care about consequences whether it had been that the young man was injured or even worse killed because of his actions or him injuring you to the point where he had to spend time on jail. Todays generation is lacking positive leaders and nothing good will come of that.

    1. Author

      Hey Danielle! Thanks for dropping a comment. There are so many things that you mentioned (from peer pressure to not understanding cosequences) that is affecting our young men. It makes it hard to pinpoint just one and focus on that. Maybe that will be how we cure the problems that our community is inflicted with. One problem at a time. But which one do we start with? I will keep being a being a positive leader/ role model and I know that you will be doing the same. We will set the tone for our future generations to come.

  9. Heartless
    No care of consequences
    Lack of poor decisions lead to death sentences
    The streets be
    cold blooded, flooded with violence
    Paranoia got the kid in silence
    He reaching cuz guns don’t kill with kindness
    Yeah, somebody creeping up behind him
    Aiming, ready to do the time in
    2 shots fired from behind him

    It’s unfortunate that we live in a time where the value and importance of another person’s life no longer matters.
    Love don’t live in the streets.
    Pray for peace.

    1. Author

      Thanks Tequillia for blessing this post with that eye opening poem. It is unfortunate but we will continue to pray for peace and understanding within our communities. Thanks again!

  10. I posted my reply on the other article.. My fault bro! Don’t let me get flamed .. Hahah

    1. Author

      It’s all good bro! I’m glad that you even took the time to reply. In responding to your original comment, I do believe that you have the answers. If you are the man that I know you to be, then you do have the answers. The Rel that I know is a God fearing, Bible studying, knowledge seeking man. These are the type of men we need in our communities to help solve the problems that happen within. You can teach them through sharing your past experiences; in which I know you already have been doing. I believe the youth need to be taught on all subjects: local and foreign affairs. There is much Moor to be said but please continue to fight the good fight. You have a soldier right here with beside you. Peace Brotha Rel!

  11. We need to become the master of our environments. No matter what age we are whether your a teenager, young adult, or a older adult we are all masters of our environment. Everything in our life should be moving forward and progressing towards an image for ourselves. If you don’t like it, change it. So many people are afraid of change. So many people can’t see beyond their circumstances. So many young brothas all they know is the streets and sometimes some want more for themselves and strive for better while others are stuck being an product of their own environment. It all starts with you and your family like your previous post discussed. Also, it’s all about who you surround yourself with and not letting the pressures of our environment define us. Hopefully one day these young men wake up and see there’s more to life. Great post and keep up the great work:-)

    1. Author

      Tay, I believe they will wake up. As long as they see that there are people that actually care about them. Pass this article along to a young male. Say something like, “From a young black male, to a younger black male. We care!”

  12. Another well written article and a great read. I always tell you “you have an old soul” which isn’t a bad thing at all but, a lot of people are not like you and you can tell how much society has changed. Like you said people barely want to catch eye contact with you so they can avoid saying “Hello!” When I read your article, the first thing I thought of was “People say black people hold each other back like crabs in a barrel, conveniently neglecting the crab’s natural habitat is not a barrel.” Why can’t we come together and unite as one? When will our people wake up and realize there is more to life?
    Stay encouraged and I have faith in you that your message will be heard.
    Remember Isaiah 54:17

  13. Another well written article and a great read. I always tell you “you have an old soul” which isn’t a bad thing at all but, a lot of people are not like you and you can tell how much society has changed. Like you said people barely want to catch eye contact with you so they can avoid saying “Hello!” When I read your article, the first thing I thought of was “People say black people hold each other back like crabs in a barrel, conveniently neglecting the crab’s natural habitat is not a barrel.” Why can’t we come together and unite as one? When will our people wake up and realize there is more to life?
    Stay encouraged and I have faith in you that your message will be heard.
    Remember Isaiah 54:17

    1. Author

      Tay, thank you for the comment! you said something very powerful, “conveniently neglecting the crab’s natural habitat is not a barrel.” That holds true on so many levels. Nothing in this society deals with our natural culture, from clothes down to the food we eat. There are a lot things that need to be changed for us to heal and grow as people. We all must do our part to awaken the next person to the truth. I know that you will and I am thankful of that. Thanks again, Tay!

  14. I will admit, if I was in your situation. I most definitly would have done the complete opposite. Not saying I would have came back with the iron, but I know I do not handle disrespect well. But seeing that it was a group of them, you did the right thing. Thinking before I act is something I am still working on even at my age, continue to stay postive bro

    1. Author

      Remy, how are you my man? I didn’t feel disrespected. Let me add more to the story. See I had on a tank top and when you see me, especially as a young man; it looks like all I do is push ups, pull ups and workout all day (because I do, lol). If he wanted to disrespect me, why didn’t he say something to my face as I walked by. It was more cowardice than anything. I said what I said to them to maybe light a spark within one of them. If I did that, then I feel like I did my job. Peace brotha Remy, may God bless you in all that you do!

    1. Author

      Brotha Kris, I pray all is well. People back home were telling me about that incident. It deeply saddens me. My condolences go out to his family and friends. We must work hard to keep stories like this from ever happening again. Peace Brotha!

  15. Cliff, this is yet another great write-up King! The struggle is very real, as we walk talk and teach all whom we love we have to remember the enemy is working 10x’s as hard to keep us from setting ablaze the very reality (illusion of reality) he has shown us all. Let that thought be what keeps us going when times get hard or when we’re met with the ignorance of our people. We know who we are, we are Kings & Queens! Keep up the good writing and keep illuminating the darkness for which many of our brothers and sisters live, EM HOTEP my brother!!!

    1. Author

      King Rafael, thanks for the feedback. It makes this battle a little less stressful knowing that I have kings like you who are willing to fight it also. Keep shining and spreading knowledge, and I promise that I will do the same. Em Hotep!

  16. Wow cliff your article get better every time I come on and read them. Thanks for knowledge. I’m so very proud of the man you became and excited to see what else Yahshuah have in store for you ! Keep it up ! B blessed .

    1. Author

      Thanks Faith! May the Most High bless you with all his wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

  17. My little cousin, so insightful and well written. Reading your articals brought tears to my eyes. The awareness you have of the world and family makes me wonder why it can not be so self evident to all. Your passion is present in your writing and I pray you continue on your mission. I pray your site reaches and touches the hearts of all. Keep up the good work, you will touch and inspire other. I Love You!

    1. Author

      Tanae! Wow! It’s really good to hear from you. I haven’t seen you or the rest of the family in so long. I pray that this message does reach and inspire others. I really appreciate you commenting as well. Tell all of my little cousins that I miss them, and that I love all of you. I hope to see you’ll soon. Stay Blessed.

      1. We miss and love you too! I will tell them. Keep doing what you’re doing, it is a blessing. I have a great feeling about this web page, it is for a reason. Stay positive, stay focused and stay blessed. You have a message and it will be heard.

        1. Author

          Thanks Cous! I love you and pray all is well with you and the family!

  18. Wow cliff this article was excellent, it touched so many topics that pertain to one. This street credit stuff is definitely a bit ridiculous. I don’t understand why people refuse to understand like you said get you nowhere. It probably goes back to your last article for the reason why. Our family structures are not that (structured). I pray that some dude reads this article and REALLY lets it marinate into his or her mind and soul. Once again thank you cliff for the very insightful article, it’s much appreciated!

    1. Author

      My Brother! Thank you for commenting. It definitely relates back to our family structure. The best thing you as a father can do, is to build your family in the Wisdom of the Most High, while teaching those that are willing to listen, to do the same.

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