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Still gifted and Black

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Ingrid Bridges

Since childhood my parentsgroomed me for a future in the arts. I guess my creative juices were flowing even then, and my pen can attest to that.

After 400 plus years of pure human bondage, Blacks across America truly deserve a great piece of American dream, rather anyone feel they earned it or not. Forget about those feverish realities perceived as a slave mentality gone mad.

Blacks, I always refrain from saying African Americans, are who they are thexe days, many are good and some are not so good.  Moreover, Blacks are an exceptional people made of God's magnificent wonder. Blacks are no longer coming into themselves by way of any person's good words.

Today's Blacks need no one's approval for existing especially in the land of the so-called free. Blacks are living better lives than their ancestors of 50 years ago. For some feel they will no longer be haunted by grueling statistics decided by any assembly of nerds, who lost out with dating in grammar school or high school, but now lead another pack of wolves for the slaughter in higher, secret places.

I recall being among the young children resounding the strengthening lyrics of the song "To Be Young, Gifted and Black."  What pride would swell among those who walked in their broken in shoes of those days.  We  were young, gifted and yes, Black. We collectively sang a song that helped me and my classmates probably believe that we can do all things, great.  Today, I hear nothing about our young people singing about how great they can be or will be. 

When I was a young girl, all city streets were safer, even our babysitters were law abiding people, who were good to us. Life was good, innocence had a chance to spread her wings. We sang about being young gifted and Black in our school classrooms, each morning.  Our teachers would encourage us, and prepare us for the quest ahead of us, the journey of life. 

Fast forward 30 years....We are not faultless because of what harm our youth have inherited from a declining empowerment session or pep talk no longer shared in classrooms or living rooms. Most parents work two or three jobs to make it or no job at all. So whose smiling in their faces, whose singing I am somebody to them, whose laughing about the goodness of the times? Have we forgotten to hug our young?  Have we touched our young with any finger of love, told them they are wonderful, courageous and the greatest asset to humanity these days? Yes us, who were taught that we are somebody, not so long ago.

What self esteem building tools have we given to them who cry out silently down the street or around the nearest corner? Are we lending hope to the ears and eyes of our youth of today? Television is not the parent nor the answer to their idle moments. Most shows and films portray urban communities as battle grounds where shootings and killings are a way of life.  Subliminally portraying that all young Black men are gang bangers, dope peddlers and killers. 

I ask my young brothers every time I see them walking our bold clean streets of Chicago, "How are you young man?  I tell them "you are blessed to be living in the now, instead of yesteryear." This may sound pretentious, but from my lips to their ears, my words are sincere. I applaud those of their generation who want a taste of the American dream, for continuing on with their personal struggles, for being determined to rise above bad news, bad thoughts, bad press and bad stats.  Statistics that paint them as a sorrowful generation never to make it in this big world. I applaud those who try to better their best. I applaud them  for trying to find their way out the maze of a foolish society.

I bless them like someone blessed me, when I was a young girl. A girl with big dreams and ideas about tomorrow. I pray a collective prayer to enhance their journey - offering a motherly love I guess, confessing that all generational curses of their ancestors be diminished forever in Jesus name. 

And now that the first Black American president is comfortably sleeping in the white house, I realize each day that his face turns no darker nor any brighter because of his title, nor does the people who look like him, who went to the same schools he attended or live in the same Chicago neighborhood where his mansion yet stands. They are still Black and proud to be so.

Blacks are an important people, even to their own people, and even to others who sit in board rooms, councils and in private country clubs.  And for those who live to reject the ideas of Nubian brothers and sisters and their great deeds of the day, they must know that they win no war alone, especially when they wrote the script. I feel that suppressed hate is such a useless guard rail to hold on to, its slippery when wet.

Now that a new rain has come from God's mysterious sky, why not chill I say to the doubters and the haters who cannot see the true rain will continue to fall. I say to them all who hold tight to hate, regret, old ideas, bitter plots,  why not start to read a new chapter in this new millennium, for its already written in the heavens above their heads.

Yes  I say,  read some new history. Turn the page and yes the next, it's rather colorful these days. The young, the gifted and Black have risen, yes the chosen few. Black is now blacker and better than ever, despite our young crying out from behind the stolen wall of truth and justice. And I must add for those who ask," Why me Lord?"  I say know that some of us, who are not arrogant or soiled by success, but  those of us who are smart enough, wise enough, intelligent enough, and spiritual enough, are still praying that one day your idea of the American dream will someday come true too. 

Quote from the "According to Ingrid" diary:

Stop hating so much. Hate is wasted energy, wasted power, and for what? Love is a more peaceful roommate and oh yes a more profound dinner guest. Choose love, it actually weighs less, and gives more.

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