Man Up

There are Three D’s of Success that every young black male needs to conquer before he gets older.
They are: Discipline, Dedication, & Determination.

That is what a speaker, during a Minority Male Initiative event at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (also known as A&T), said to an auditorium full of high school students. He told them that without applying the Three D’s into their lives, that as young black men, either the streets, or a cage which they call jail, would be what awaited them. He wasn’t just speaking at them. He was speaking to their subconscious, he was talking to their imaginations. He knew what these young men desired, it’s the same desires we all had when we were in high school. Money, women, and the lifestyles that were flaunted to us in rap videos. It’s the same lifestyle flaunted to these young men, just broader than before.

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The truth was broken down. These young men were here for a reason, they had plans for furthering their education. Whether it was forced or voluntary, it was in their thoughts. They were told that in college, life is like a free-roam game. Every action, and every reaction to an action is all based off of the choices you make. Your parents are no longer here to be your guide, to instruct you, and they are not there to make sure you wake up in the morning so that you make it to class. It’s all on you. The choices you make in college, and in life general, is decided based on how disciplined you are. How affordable is your life? The answer to that is yours only to make. You show your self-worth to others based on the choices you make. People are watching, and at most times they bystanders are the people you’ll end up meeting later in life, or may need for whatever reason. Based on how you show respect for yourself, people will either treat you 10*times worse, or 10*times better. Speak appropriately for the occasion, dress appropriately for the occasion, and be quicker to say “No”, before you say “Yes”.

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“Some people really are, still dreaming”. One of my favorite lines from a Nas song titled “Still Dreaming”, featured on his “Hip-Hop is Dead” album. That one line is a global truth. There are more dreamers than there are doers. That saddens me because I can only imagine how many beautiful dreams people in this world are having, that if only they were pursued, this world would be a reflection of that beauty. I, as well as the speaker that day, knew there were some big dreamers in that auditorium. We already knew that one of their dreams is college, and in college, nothing counts so much more than how dedicated you are to accomplishing what you dream to be, and conquering your fears of failure. Fear is an illusion created by thought. Success is a reality, but only when decided. Look in the mirror. Don’t pay attention to who you see now at first, vision the future, look at the dreams in you and see the man you want to be. Now come back to the present, and decide for the young man you see staring back at you, that he will be the man you want him to be.

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If you want it bad enough, no matter what it is, based on how much thought and fight you put into getting it, you’ll get it. In order for these young men to be successful in life, they would have to be determined to keep themselves disciplined, and determined to stay dedicated to their goals until they became conquerors of all the trials & tribulations that tested them. As I looked around the auditorium I saw lives awaiting to be sprung out of the seeds that were being groomed and watered everyday. I saw bright futures with the possibilities of being dark, if these young men didn’t learn from now how to Man UP against everything that was against them, because they were young black men.

The speaker said something which resonated deeply in my own mind. He told us that 1/4 in the ranges of 18-33 year old black men, are either in jail, on probation, on the streets, or on the parole. That means there are 75% black men in the world who are actually doing the right thing. Wow! Who would believe that?

When you see 95% of this

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And only 5% of this

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It’s because black men who are apart of the 75%, are not speaking up for ourselves and are not speaking up for our people! It’s just like in a relationship. A woman is with a man who doesn’t treat her right. He doesn’t take her out as much, communication is a stranger in their relationship, he speaks as if he doesn’t respect women, and his actions say he has multiple women. She doesn’t like this one bit. She complains about her situation to her friends, her family, yet does not confront the one person who needs to hear face to face, exactly how she feels. Yes, she’s brought it to his attention multiple times, but after some fancy words what she knew as a problem for that brief moment, was no longer a problem. Her unhappiness lasted up until the one day when she had enough. He had put his hand on her. It was the first blow from his fists that struck her face that caused her to have a flashback of her father. She remembered how her father treated her mother as if she was the queen of the universe, and she remembered how her father told her that from birth, she was born a queen, and that not even her father had ever struck her. Did she strike her boyfriend back? No. She stood up, held her face, and told him “thank you”. Then walked away deciding from then that she would never let anyone on this planet ever treat her less than a human, and a woman. No matter how much he cried for her to come back, she knew what she was worth and she knew what she needed to stand for, and that was her womanhood.

Black Men, we need to stand up for our Manhood. The same manhood that they’ve been raping us out of since we were little boys. Yes, there are black men who are in prison, there are black men who have killed and have raped women. But I do not recall the Caucasian man, or the Hispanic man, or the Asian Man, or the Indian Man, being any type of saints above all saints. Every human being has had their wrong in life. We have all sinned. A black male is not a mascot for jail and failure. We represent success, we represent powerful men, we represent good fathers. But a child will never know that if a father doesn’t take a stand for it. It takes more than one man to say “we are kings” and “we need to represented better”. A Woman will make sure you respect her right? You’ll think twice before you call her a “bitch” or a “hoe” right? Well make them think twice before they even think of trying to call you a criminal… Black Man

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