The Ride Home

I sat aboard the express train headed to Fernrock Transportation Center, (Philadelphia subway stop) ear buds firmly placed inside of my ears, music loud enough to drown out all other distractions, at the same time allowing me to be alert to my surroundings. Around this time, the subway cars were crowded with tired nine to fivers anxious to get home on a Friday afternoon and rowdy school kids happy that school was out. Needless to say, this was not my favorite time of the day. Still, I was thankful to have gotten a seat on the express train. After walking around shopping downtown on a warm, early October day, I was tired and wanted to get home ASAP.

As I looked around and partially listened to bits and pieces of conversations, I couldn’t help but feel saddened, embarrassed rather, by the youth, particularly those of African American descent. There was a group of young African American male high school students, partaking in behavior that is to be expected of young men of this age with testosterone flowing throughout their bodies. They cracked jokes on one another from across the seats, dropping “f” bombs as if the word were going out of style. One of the young men walked up to the group of guys and they continued to rag on one another, calling each other “ugly” and boasting about how the other one needed to upgrade his style of dress. Some passengers got up and moved their seats due to this foolishness. Finally the young men had reached their stop and exited the train.

Seated to my left, there were two light skinned, African American girls, dressed rather tomboyish. One of these girls mimicked another young girl seated next to them. She looked to be Indian with dark bushy hair. A hefty looking backpack graced her shoulders, while a large instrument case rested by her feet. She was reading a book. One of the light skinned girls continued to grimace at the girl reading the book while her friend laughed at the childish antics.

All I could do was shake my head at this seemingly lost generation. This generation who only cares about partying and fashion, this generation that idolizes the rappers on TV for their bling and drug dealers on the street because they don’t know anyone else who’s “made it,” this generation who’s top priority is getting the latest pair of Jordan’s, this generation that dumbs down intelligence, yet praises buffoonery, this generation who doesn’t realize that all of these things were created as a distraction. If they keep us distracted with things then we won’t be focused on what is really going on, what freedoms are literally being stripped away from us before our eyes.

Let us aspire to be the generation of change, just as we were in the 2008 election that literally “rocked the vote.” Let us be more like the generations of the past who were determined to evoke change whether sit-in, shut-in or hosed down. Lastly, let us aspire to be the generation that will be remembered well after we are gone from this Earth.

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