A movie came out with Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith called “After Earth“.
In the movie, Will’s character, Cypher, makes a profound statement…I’m not sure if the statement is to Jaden Smith’s character Kitai Raige, or is he making the statement outright. Cypher says,
“Danger is real, Fear is a choice“.
This statement is so applicable to life. The statement applies so well to the subtle choices that young African-American men are faced with and the balance of fear and danger in those decisions.
For most young adults the questions of;
who am I?
what do I want?
how do I get there?
…are always looming.
Do I Party or Study?
Am I a Good guy or Bad boy?
Do I want to enroll in College or Military? Am I going to school or prison? Do I want to be a Baby daddy or Husband?
Do I have a Closed Fist or an Open Mind? Do I want to Exist or Live?
…these choices will define who you are as an individual.
It’s easy to make the wrong decision because it’s the easiest…let’s just cheat and not study for hours…let’s skip class and play basketball in the gym...I’m going to mind my business and not stand up to the bully ...the right decisions are always a little harder.
With every decision there’s an element of fear and only sometimes a reality of danger. The more fear you face and overcome, the fear slowly becomes nonexistent. The habit of facing you fear builds confidence, it reduces the impact of the next challenges or future obstacles. The sooner you understand that those fears or insecurities are NOT real, the easier it will become to make the right decisions.
Making the right decisions will change or elevate everything in your life; friends, career, money, your quality of life. I will blog about this later.
For example, when I was younger, I was a little shy and avoided speaking in front of people…I had a common case of glossophobia, a fear of public speaking. So what did I do, I enrolled in toastmasters. http://www.toastmasters.org/ It’s an organization that coaches individuals that have to speak publicly. I also enrolled in a speech class in junior college. During the class I gave 5 speeches and learned that I actually like speaking in front of people, almost to the point where I wanted to do stand-up comedy. It’s funny what you can learn about yourself and how brave you can be when you face your fear. I developed an outspoken nature when there are matters of right and wrong. That trait got the attention of people in power and a resulting nomination for the Vice-Chair position of the National Organization of Concerned Black Men, Inc.
The unfortunate reality as a black man is that you have to recognize when Fear and Danger are heaped on you where it should not be. Society has reinforced a condition where men of color are feared and dangerous. It’s something that we have to understand, navigate and respond accordingly. Just because you are not fearless in your environment, does not indicate the people around you are not afraid. Be ever cognizant that these fears are present in people of authority over us; judges, teachers, neighborhood watch captains, state troopers, mall guards…you name it. All these representatives of law and order are inherently fearful of a men of color. Their subsequent decisions prior to making a distinction between perceived or real danger can affect or end your life. I’m not an “anti-establishment” kinda of person, but understanding societies insecurities about black men are somewhat of a rite of passage for all men of color. Without falling too far off the message understand that you must not allow fear to dictate your decisions.
Remember this when you’re on an interview,
remember this when you’re followed in a store,
remember this when you get pulled over by the cops,
Remember this in life.
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
Author: Theodore Roosevelt
All comments welcome.
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