The Weekly Dream: A Tree Without Roots

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
Do not remove the kinks from your hair–remove them from your brain.”
-Marcus Garvey

Happy Black History Month! I was having a discussion the other day in various circles I travel in, and the same topic kept coming up: Where is the youth’s sense of history? Technically, in America, our historical memory is extremely short. We suffer from Societal Alzheimers. I am constantly surprised at how many people do not think about or remember major events they have lived through. In the alternative, perhaps we cannot appreciate it. It is too fresh. But what ends up happening is that either we begin to take things for granted or a lot of injustices occur.

Lift Every Voice
I believe that a major source of the ills in the African American community stems from a lack of knowledge of our history, which is partly our fault and partly not. I was surprised that my little cousins did not know the Black National Anthem. And then, Garlin posted the “Girl Like Me” documentary and it confirmed what I had already seen. The younger generation do not have a true sense of history. Thus the question becomes, how can we do a better job communicating our legacy and see it as a source of strength and pride?

Some Tips

I think we must begin by respecting and educating our legacy ourselves. How many of us “older” individuals (a relative term)really appreciate our own legacies and history? Respect begins at home. This comes by educating ourselves. Read about the men and women behind the movement. Any body can tell you about Dr. King (no disrespect), but what about the Marcus Garveys, the George Washington Carvers, and the list goes on.

Next we need to realize what the generation beneath us is dealing with and the world they live in. Every generation and time has its own zeitgeist, and we have to respect that. We may not agree with it, but we have to meet them where they are. The older generation has the responsibility to bridge the gap, come to the table without judging. There are some things about us you are not going to understand, shoot we do not understand it. But we need more inter-generational dialogue in our community.

Younger cats, lets restore the respect for the Elders. We should humble ourselves enough to soak up the wisdom and the knowledge they have. Even if we feel it is outdated or they are out of touch, you can learn something from anybody-if you are ready for it.

We must realize that our history lays the ground work for where we have come and where we are going and where we are now. It is because history is more than events in time, but they represent ideologies and ideologies do not die because they are replicated and become a part of our society, systems and culture (e.g. Slave/colonial mentality).

At the end of the day, it is all about respect. We need to educate ourselves and pass it on-By Any Means Necessary.

Realize you are the hope of your ancestors and appreciate their sacrifices. The ball is in your court.

Truth and Peace,
Steven M DeVougas

The Weekly Dream
Black Issues


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3 responses to “The Weekly Dream: A Tree Without Roots”

  1. Raye says :

    I really enjoyed this post, and I agree wholeheartedly. Where I’m from, our elders have begun to give up on the entire population of young folk simply because of the demeanor of a (disturbing) percentage. As much as it is important for the younger generations to hold their history tightly, it’s just as important for the older generations not to quit on us so soon. Neither side is going to be around forever.

  2. Garlin II says :

    My question is, why does the history that Raye is speaking of continue to repeat itself? Why is it that each generation of old heads is always on the verge of giving up on the generation behind them? Why is it that when a lot of people in my generation get older, they will be ready to give up in the same way? This creates a level of resentment between generations that is truly detrimental to progress.

  3. "The Consigliere" says :

    Thanks for the comments. Personally, I believe that it is a little bit of fatigue and forgetfulness. As normal, older people forget what it is like to be young. But the difference is, it is always different being young depending on what time you are dealing with. Back in the day, they had to deal with Jim Crow. My mama, my grandparents cannot relate to growing up in the AIDS generation. So we dealin with not only our parents’ problems, but our own unique set. Also, I know older people are short on patience. They have what they came for already, so their time is money. So I can sympathize a little bit as I am almost to that point where my time is worth a little change and you do not want to talk to brick wall. Plus, you know what it is like to talk to some one who thinks they know everything. At the same time, how many of our elders are doing what they can with those who listen?

    A lot of us do not even spend time with the people in our house. You cannot wait until somebody 15 or 16 to try to start telling them something. You should have been doing that all along. So tey have to understand what we are up against and meet us where we are.

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