on young people not voting in the last election.
by, 11-11-2010 at 05:17 AM (1252 Views)
This is from a conversation on another site. The topic was based on Michael Dyson's youtube message to young voters that didn't vote.. [nomedia]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekZg3U4BiNM[/nomedia]
User X is a 68 year old man in Philly.
I'm going to guess that you spent your youth registering black folks to vote
because you had the independent thought that things were not as they should
be. You saw black folks marginalized, brutalized, wrongfully imprisoned,
murdered, unprotected by police, under-educated, economically repressed,
etc.. And you said to yourself, " I have to do something to help bring about
a change to this situation for my people". So your generation focused on the
political component.. you guys said, "they won't let us vote so, that must be
why our situation is how it is".. and you guys were partly right but you were
also partly wrong. You underestimated the burning hatred that white america
had for you and you also underestimated the lengths that the white power
structure would go to in order to preserve the status quo. But I would think
that after all the murder, exile and imprisonment of the era that you would
understand that the solution you guys sought after was incomplete.. not
wrong but incomplete.
an 18 year old in those same philly streets today is saying the same thing
you were saying then, "black folks are marginalized, brutalized, wrongfully
imprisoned, murdered, unprotected by police, under- educated, economically
repressed, etc... I have to do something to help bring about a change to this
situation for my people" According to his education, black folks won civil rights
and have been voting for almost 50 years now.. but the situation for black folks is,
as far as he can see, the same. Of course some things have changed but he can't
see the solved problems, he can just see the remaining problems.
So,it goes to reason that the young man is going to look in different places
for a solution than you did. To tell him to "just vote" is not really a responsible
answer. Not if you wish to reach him. When you were 19, one of the 60
year old dudes that had survived the south might have told you to "just leave
them white folks alone" and you would've thought that that old man was
wrong. You may have even partially blamed that old man's attitude for the
current condition of your people. And, of course, you would have been
wrong and right. Wrong to blame him for doing what he had to do to survive..
and right because the situation had changed and it was time for a
renewed attack against the white power structures strangle hold on the fate
of your people. Young folks are you and you are becoming that old man.
"just vote".. you're wrong but you are also absolutely right.
Young folks need to keep what we have gained while simultaneously striving for more and
different ground through a variety of means.. not just by voting.
I voted, but Oscar was still murdered and his killer was still protected.. I voted but the
Oakland Unified School District is still under-educating our children.. I voted
but the banks still won't loan money to develop black areas.. I voted but judges
are still throwing the book at black folks.. and the for profit prison system is
still booming.. But I voted. What that tells me and the youth is that voting
is not enough. So, when folks offer up voting as the cure for all of our ills,
they just lose credibility with the young.
I'm posting this here because I think this is an excellent angle to take in these
kinds of discussions. It's an angle that makes it possible to show both sides of
the debate where their unity lies. It also shows them how to respect the
experiences and perspectives of the other. We can't have our youth disconnected
from their elders.. both sides have to recognize the plight of the other.
I really think the fundamental question is, "How do you wage a multi-generational fight against an enemy that is constantly on the move?"
I think the answer has to do with the Family unit and family culture.. the passing down of knowledge.. of purpose.
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