Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Desperate Need For ‘Black America’ To Address Its Cultural Diet.

December 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Ent., News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( The phrase “you are what you eat” is a common refrain among most people. I am sure that each of us has heard such wisdom directed our way by someone (parent, grandparent, teacher, coach) who felt that they knew better than you did. American youth, regardless of the generation being examined, scoffed at the insinuation that preceding generations were providing an indispensable truth via the above popular saying.

Although I shudder to think that I belonged to that number who knew better than those who’d come before me, truthfully, I think that the vast majority of us belong in that number.

Famed playwright August Wilson placed the following words in Doaker, a Pullman Car Porter, mouth in the play The Piano Lesson. According to Doaker, “Time go ‘long, time go ‘long.” This short line has always remained prominent in my mind because it serves as a reminder that time is always going ‘long.

It is this evaporating intangible substance called time that “God ain’t making no more of” that provides each of us the opportunity to not only re-evaluate the path that we have traveled, but also a few fleeting moments, if we’re fortunate, to make sense of it all. During this blessed time I have come to understand that the saying “you are what you eat” is applicable to so many other areas of our life, most notably in regards to our consumption of popular culture.

Observation and participation have convinced me of the following truism. If one repeatedly uncritically consumes ridiculous portrayals of Black life there is little chance that the foolishness that they are allowing into their minds will not become a life philosophy.

It is a bit ironic that just as one’s physical appearances is a reliable indicator of what type of food has been consumed, our public persona, worldview, language, and behavior reflect our cultural choices. In fact, the signs of a poor cultural diet are more reliable than those of high caloric, carbohydrate filled food diet. Although unfashionable to say, it is easy to identify those hooked on a vitamin-deficient cultural diet.

Most agree that adherence to a righteous cultural diet is the most important diet of all due to its phenomenal impact on the life that one leads.

Unfortunately for Black America, legions of Black folk appear to be taking their cues regarding behavior from various reality television personas and putting forth their best effort to replicate the referenced foolishness.

When applied to culture, the prospect that “you are what you eat” should frighten many Negroes. Fortunately for such poor scraps of humanity, there is an opportunity that requires minimal effort for them to reverse course. They must simply cease their consumption of negative images that they have gradually become addicted to and replace such foolishness with uplifting images. There is no other reasonable path of ending the cycle of violence, nihilism, and unbridled stupidity that serve as highlights in the dim-witted lives of so many of our people.

In many ways, the alluded to images are a double-edged sword that simultaneously damages the minds of Black America while convincing outsiders that such ilk is an appropriate representation of Black life. The psychological damage emanating from reality televisions depiction of Black life inevitably leads huge-swaths of Black America to view their kind via a prejudiced and bigoted lens that is remarkably similar to the one used by their historic opponents.

It is time that we replace shows like The Real Housewives of Atlanta with uplifting and progressive depictions of Black life such as Hidden Figures. The refusal to consume negative images is at worst a significant portion of the formula to uplift our community. Failure to do so dooms significant segments of our community in both the short and long-term.

Staff Writer; Dr. James Thomas Jones III

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One may also connect with this brother via TwitterDrJamestJone

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