It’s really hard to find urban African teenagers living in the United States who aspire to be someone positive in society anymore, too many have embedded the common urban mentalities that surrounds them. Mentalities chained to negative poetry behind ghetto walls aspiring to be a BET topic; sporting the latest trendy name-brand clothes and sneakers. Mirages of the fast life residing their thoughts; planted on the corner mimicking a failure that African Americans have tried so hard to bury. Teenage thugs wondering the streets from dawn to dust on a school day harboring trouble. School becoming a playground to attract the opposite sex and associate with gangs and drugs.
What many people don’t understand is, this mentality that these African teens adopt is none but a facade. Many of these young African kids never have known what a harsh life is; because foremost if they’re living in the USA, it’s most likely that their family was/is wealthy in Africa. Therefore they were never that eight-year-old-AK47-totting-kid that you saw on CNN, nor were they that no-shoes-street-wanderer-kid you’ve seen on the Discovery channel; or anyone poor and rough. They were most likely the children of wealthy corrupt politicians, or successful businessmen. Born in a society where they belonged in the rich elites of their poor nations, where they’ve enjoyed living in mansions that would make MTV Cribs jealous. Born with diamond spoons in their mouths, they were never “gutter” beyond their wildest dreams in front of a mirror rocking to a Tupac CD.
Like a wealthy White kid in the suburbs (wigga) who embodies the gangsta lifestyle he pictures in gangsta-rap songs and perceives in hip hop videos; these wealthy African kids indulge in this mock-gangsta lifestyle to fit within their new found community; the “hood”.
Now, how did a rich African teen ends up in the “hood”? Well; because wealth in Africa does not equal wealth in America. You, living in the wealthiest neighborhood in your home country may mean that you have enough to live away from the projects in the US, but not enough to live in Beverly Hills. Nevertheless, sometimes even if these kids parents afford a rich area in the US; they’ll still find themselves fitting the stereotypes they see in the videos. It’s like being Black in America automatically translates to Gangsta, thug, and ghetto.
What saddens me the most is when some of these kids grow up with this type of mentality, being destructive rather than productive. I mean, I can understand a 16 year old associating with a gang, even though I don’t condone it; however at that age we all start to find a niche, and we tend to associate ourselves with the most popular and attractive niche to the opposite sex. Teenage years (High School) is when we try our best to fit-in while our sexuality builds.
Two things are in a teenager’s mind; his persona and sex; he’s always worried about how he’s being perceived and how his personality will get him the girls. He figures if he’s to be seen as “cool”, girls would want him. And that’s true. Girls tend to like “cool” guys. Now the sad part is this: if being a delinquent is what is being perceived as cool; then that’s what these kids become; young delinquents (READ older post about this…). Therefore delinquency becomes the niche; but a niche only the weak would fall for; however it’s nothing more beautiful if one grows out of it and recognize it to be just a phase. That’s something a lot of these young adults don’t realize; it’s just a phase; therefore they get lost so deep in this delinquency that they lose their footprints and a way back home becomes impossible, destined behind bars or early burial.
So when these African teens come to this country, they leave home their friends and their morals; Lil’ Wayne’s words suddenly become alive. The climax happens when they learn the language; so the self destruction begins. They start mimicking the young delinquent mentality. They start forming their own associations “to help their African communities” – remember the Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, MS13? They were all associations designed to help their outnumbered communities. And just like the former delinquent associations; these African “associations” composed of nothing but African teenagers and failed adults start fighting each others, no others but each others.
It’s going to be little by little until they eventually follow the footsteps of the Black and Latino minority that have befallen into intercultural-gang-warfare. Hard working Mexicans are really ashamed of these young Cholos in South Central LA; along the line with hard working African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Salvadorians etc… all around. Every minority in this country that is associated with violence was once associated with peace and good work until their kids arrive emulating the gangsta-lifestyle. And I’m very sad to admit that Africans are to end up like this, if nothing is done. The situation is escalating day by day. Although the majority of these young African teens “living” the fast life aren’t really about it; however you always crawl before you walk. They may be posers trying to impress peers, and may not dare pull the trigger on another human being; but that’s how it all starts. We never know what the future generation is capable of. When you see a bad apple in your bowl; you get rid of it before it contaminates others asap.
The seeds bought here to produce and make a change while maintaining a positive
representation of Africa, contract the disease found here and help build it by destroying a remarkable and respectable foundation. A foundation set by Africans (and descents) all over the world to help better Africa, so we can finally catch up and perhaps lead like we did before.
P.S. This is not meant to overshadow all the hard working future building African teens and young adults; they’re around and doing a great job. However a small observation leads to generalization. And generalized as lazy, no good thugs is not what we want for our community. Therefore something must be done.
Well this is just a one man’s words.