Guest Post by Khadeejah Shakur, sharing her reflections as a young Londoner.
Growing up in the inner city of London, it has really opened my eyes to a lot of things. It’s funny because I grew up hearing my mum always saying ” the children in Nigeria would not behave the way you children are behaving, or “the children in Nigeria would appreciate the things that you people take for granted.” Now it’s easy to pick out the obvious factors that the Nigerian children would appreciate, but no one really takes their time out to look unnoticed side of things .That side is the struggles of young people growing up in London. Simple things like having someone to look up to or guide them was not always easy to find.There was fun and games but on the other hand, a big battle was being waged. I can only take my hat off for those that managed to survive the trials and tribulations that growing up threw at them.
Choices were minimal; you either beat the system or the system beat you. There wasn’t really a way out and was equally hard for the boys and girls. I remember being in secondary school, which wasn’t that long ago. When I started, I had to have a Pastoral Support Worker; now I wasn’t the naughtiest of kids, had a little attitude and was a bit cheeky, but still it was seen as a problem which needed to be managed . I do appreciate the fact that I had the opportunity to have a mentor through out secondary school because if not for that I wouldn’t be here typing right now.
”This generation is f**ked” ( excuse my French ) is a common statement that is understandable to a certain extent but can be very annoying. Who is to blame ? Do we blame our parents, friends,the system, or ourselves? A lot of people will automatically say it’s the system. It definitely plays a part. From a young age our boys are introduced to closed doors, few opportunities and deceptively heart warming but ultimately cold streets. Streets where they’re able to raise themselves, raise their pride, raise their ego but lose focus on raising their mind and educating themselves. Growing up in a system that is not built for you is hard, it’s like wearing a jumper that doesn’t fit, eventually it rips. Now there’s two things that can be done to that jumper . It could be left as it is or it could be sewn back up. A lot of us have worn this jumper, a lot of us have made it rip and a lot of us haven’t sewn it back up and there’s the problem. Settling for less.
Our parents, feed our physical appetite but do not feed us with enough diligence. We take what they know and what they know sometimes isn’t always enough for us. They’re not to blame.
Our friends, just like us, are a product of their environment so they are bound to influence us. They’re not to blame.
The system, again, it fails us. It’s not to blame.
Ourselves. We pick our poison. We are to blame.
We are to blame simply because we have the choice to stick with what we know or to mentally migrate. Often, we choose to migrate only in our image. We spend so much time trying to look like the ‘It’ thing as young black adults we forget where we’re coming from and where it is we’re going. Of course this generation is going to be pants when we don’t look after it. It’s simple; those who do not build will be controlled by those who are building. Having a system that fails us doesn’t justify us failing ourselves.The future of the black race can not be built on what we want others to do for us instead it’ll be built on what we do for ourselves.
The foundation we set is what our young ones will build on. Mind elevation.
We need to make sure we rise above the madness out here.