All the teenagers I know have been pounding the pavement in our area looking for a summer job. One of them found a job but it was back in March before other kids started looking. It's at a dry cleaners and there is no air conditioning. It gets super hot in there but, to her credit, she works hard and feels a sense of satisfaction when she gets paid.
Another of them works for his Uncle for a few hours per week. His uncle makes and sells all natural, good for you, soap to Whole Foods and other local shops. The teenager wraps the soaps and labels them. When he talks about his job he's pretty blah but you can tell he feels good about working and making his own lil piece of money.
The other two are looking, one is too young but he's looking. Unfortunately I think the ship has sailed for summer work...but it hasn't stopped them from looking and I'm really proud of them for not giving up. They are still having a good summer even though they don't have their own money. Still going to the movies, hanging with friends at the mall, going out for pizza and ice cream and kicking it at the pool.
And T-Monnie lays back in the cut and observes.
Taking it all in.
The other day I had a frank discussion with a couple of them about a video they found outrageously funny. The video was of a gay, Black man pretending to be two women holding a phone conversation. He (she) was cursing and referring to women as B's and thots (I hate that by the way) and popping, rolling eyes and generally acting like the worst case of everything.
But, this is what they pass on to each other and follow on Instagram, etc.
I wanted to know the thought behind the hilariousness of these videos to them at their age and was told that it's in their culture to laugh at ratchet people and stuff. I had been being in a mood so I kinda just listened without saying too, too much but ended with sharing that the guy on the video was behaving like some people think all Black people behave. Sure...they don't behave that way, that I know of, but, because of videos and whatnot of things out there like that with millions and millions of views...that's the standard by which they are being judged so they are directly affected by these videos in that they are Black teenagers in a predominately White area, trying to get a job.
Later that week I was talking to an Elder about something going on in our family and I expressed how I get so annoyed with people who stereotype Black people. The Elder pretty much said something like..."Is it stereotyping if it's true? A lot of Black people act like that so why is it odd to think that the few who don't act like that don't? I saw a documentary not that long ago about this man who made friends with a lion once. That lion was rare and so was the relationship he had with that lion. I bet he didn't roll up on random lion he didn't know trying to pet him and shit."
Funny how old people can say some stuff that you never want to think but that you know has some validity.
When I was in New Orleans recently, I ran into some very interesting things. The first of which was in the airport bathroom. There was a group of women in matching t-shirts ready for New Orleans and Prince. They were sooooooooooo hype. In line in the bathroom they were singing and one put her hands on THE BATHROOM FLOOR and started bouncing her booty up and down, up and down. Two others pretended to dry hump dance with her. The one washing her hands hurried up to dry her hands so she could pull a dollar out of her pocket and throw at them.
In the line to use the bathroom.
With other women and children in the same line.
These were not silly teenagers. These were grown women. Older than me. Or at least they looked older than me.
I stood in line with a blank look on my face watching all of this. I saw one woman get out of line with her daughter and head out. I saw plenty of White women laughing. I saw one chick slyly recording them. And I'm sure that video is going to end up passed around sharing the ratchetness of grown women cutting up in the airport bathroom. I can just see the comments now filled with "they" and "them" and "that's why."
Like I said. I've been in a mood for a while and I don't rightly know what to do about it this time so I'm going to just write it out and try and figure it out with your help. Do you ever feel like it's all just too much? Do you ever get so down because you don't think anything will change anytime soon?