A Polarized Culture

Over the past few years its been my observation that this generation of people has become the generation of yes men. We are not open to contrasting perspectives of those things we hold dear, and as a result, we have no identity.

Fanaticism, reality television, social networking, materialism & lack of education is driving us in a very narrow, empty shallow direction. Here are a few things I think we could stand to grow from to become a stronger era and generation of people.

Fanatics

Beyonce is in my opinion, the best & most popular mainstream female entertainer of this era. She has proven her excellence in vocal performance, dance performance, visual aesthetic, sex appeal, grace, and the utmost professionalism. I have personally admired her since her Destiny’s Child day’s and admit that I have often been inspired by her and have her music in my creative DNA. I have spent years praising her work that I admire, I have purchased several of her albums and concert tickets.

However, I do not love everything Beyonce does. She is super talented. But she is not super human to me. When I do not like something she does, I am equally as vocal about it as I am when I’m in awe. There are many people who feel Beyonce and other artists are in such a God-like position in life, that a diss in any form is blasphemy. There’s a lot of fans like this who dedicate their life and time to making sure that they impose their opinion of their favorite artist, actor or athlete on the entire world. When anyone has an opposing opinion of their favorites, they raise hell and turn from a fan into a psychopath.

There’s an emptiness in these groups of people that’s been trending lately and that emptiness compels these fans to literally take on the identity of their celebri-god in the way they dress, speak, think and behave. The scariest part is that they condone any and everything these people do. The artists that lead these fans take no accountability for the evil that their fan bases put out on their behalf. Which in its own way condones the behavior. But it interests meΒ that people can not handle the opposition or even the idea that their lord and savior of a celebrity could be with error or disliked. It forces people into a sense of peer pressure to be hush about their dislikes and gives the world a false sense of acceptance for things that are deeply objectified. People feel afraid to comment on Jay-Z, Beyonce, Rihanna, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga or Katy Perry. There’s a talent in each of these artists that deserves plenty of praise. The question comes in when there is no tolerance for criticism. It takes away the balance of good and bad and makes it all very one-sided. In my opinion, this fuels these celebrity egos to the brim making them believe whole-heartedly that they are incapable of mistakes and in turn we get more ego-driven content.

I think we need to chill out a little bit and let people disagree with our opinion. Who we like doesn’t need to be proven to other people. It’s not important, but most of all, everyone is not required, nor are they supposed to all be lit up by the exact same things.

Reality TV

Reality TV showcases a very warped sense of Black relationships & families that is built on either the premise that if you are shaped like an hour-glass, have wavy hair or a long expensive and well done weave, you can marry an athlete or hip-hop star and live a lush life getting paid to exploit your relationship OR if you’re in a dysfunctional family that literally works day & night to destroy each other, you can become a celebrity.

These ideals are giving the world a get-rich-quick scheme, fast food perspective of relationship, family, wealth & success. What’s not showcased in the shows is the effect these images have on the actors involved but also on us as a culture. We have become so accustomed to weaves and sex symbolism that in our elementary schools, 3rd grade girls are wearing weaves. 5th graders are in skin tight leggings and heeled boots totally too advanced for their age. This is not a statistic from a study done by some random person, this is what I’m seeing in my communities as I work with students all over my hometown.

Our aspirations have changed from discovering our special niche in life, to chasing after the lifestyles we see glorified on television. It isn’t television’s job to raise our society, but we can’t ignore that what is being showcased there is something that could slowly and unconsciously make a conscious generation of people null and void.

As a result of this non-stop pressure to be a “celebrity” we are becoming quite the narcissists, totally our biggest fans and not in the ways that bring about deep love for self and humanity or for confidence and security within ourselves, but the kind of narcissism that forces us into desiring constant approval and attention from others and the need to be validated and verified just as commercial celebrity lifestyle is presented.

Where is the drive to start our own creative business? To work hard to have something that will last forever and fulfill our purpose? We can only get there by following our passions. And in order to follow our passions, we have to let go of the fear of opposing opinions and glorified lifestyles presented in the media. When I say media, which in my opinion is a widely misused and vague word, I mean music videos, radio, television programs, magazines, popular blogs and gossip sites, red carpet and celebrity events, the news channels, news papers, talk shows & interviews.

Social Networks

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Vine, YouTube, Vimeo, etc. have become our primary source of information & interaction with the outside world. We are constantly an avatar, an image posed as our true selves, behind a computer, tablet or cellular device. This process has been both a gift and a curse. The gift is obviously the communication and exposure. The curse is obviously the communication and the exposure. Whether its heaven or hell is truly dependent upon the mentality of the person behind the device. What is often presented in 140 characters over a digital signal isn’t always what we would get face to face. This is the most dangerous part. It’s easy to be a bold person when the accountability for your words generally stops at the keyboard. But where does all that energy go? The energy of pretending, being a persona, portraying a fantasy character etc. What is the sponge that soaks all of this imagination up? Well, it’s us. We read our timelines each day, for hours and we are all becoming what we are seeing and exposing ourselves to. We are getting tons of information, ideas and opinions at mach speed and this energy stays with us and affects how we think and how we behave.

It’s very important therefore to filter what we are taking in. To challenge what we are taking in. And to verify that we are in approval and agree with the content as it will become part of our character. If we are idle with our mental awareness in something as secretively powerful as social networking, we are contributing to our polarized state of mind.

Material Things

I’m so sick of hearing about Maybach’s and Gucci and Chanel and blah, blah, blah. We have become so much in love with acquiring possessions at any cost. As a result, there are 1400 billionaires in the world and 7 of them are Black. One of these 7Β is American. She is Oprah. She has been our only Black billionaire for a decade now (As far as what’s listed as public information.)

Having nice things is FINE. How we get those things, and if we can manage them with our lifestyle and longevity is the question that causes for concern. Plenty of us are leasing automobiles, wearing Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Christian Louboutins and every other hot label, and our savings account is missing. Our pink slips are missing. We don’t own anything. We aren’t starting our own businesses. We aren’t investing in ourselves. We aren’t preparing for the future. This is the part that’s taking us down. We all need a savings account. We all need to think about when we retire and how we will live a comfortable life when we no longer want to or are unable to work. We’re on one side of the spectrum and it’s the wrong side. There are guns and butter. We have all the butter, which melts away and wastes. But the guns protect you. The guns are your defense. We don’t have enough guns. So we have to get them.

Education

I ain’t talking about school systems and diplomas. Even though that counts as a gun. I’m talking about our desire and capacity to remain educated on our health, on our finances, on current times and history. Our capacity to find a book or manual for anything we want to learn and add it to our repertoire of weaponry. I’m talking about not relying on television and newspapers and school systems to give us information we need to survive at the most optimal rate.

We have to challenge everything. Investigate. Research. Make sure it’s right. Act on that information we receive and pass it along. This is the beginning of ending polarization. It starts with being objective. Challenging the status quo and learning as much as we can to use our lives at their highest capacity. We’ve traded this important element for several things that pass us by and ruin us. We are still trapped in mental enslavement in too many ways to disregard the plethora of information available to us 24-7.

Finale

I wrote this post because it’s something that frequents my mind. I’m not always able to fit this into a song, but I do feel it’s my life purpose to bring a bit of balance to music and culture. I think it all roots in self love and awareness and taking the time to truly learn who we are and then be that person. Polarization is synonymous to living in Black & White. If we want color, we have to welcome them all and count them all joy as we will never reach our full potential locking ourselves in one sided thinking. Find the middle ground. End the polarizing mentality. Share your comments and opinion below.

-Deja B.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s