Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grown Children

Last week featured grown folk behaving badly and adults gone wild. From Serena Williams’ temper tantrum and tirade at the U.S. Open tournament to Kanye West’s disgusting and ill-timed protest of an MTV VMA award winner and from Republican U.S. Representative Joe Wilson's disrespectful outburst during President Barack Obama’s speech at a joint congressional session to the hissyfit thrown by conservative pundits, politicians and parents who jumped up and down to prevent the President’s speech to school children from being shown in class and labeling it as a “scheme to indoctrinate our youth into the president's socialist cult,” the cuttin' up rolled on seemingly out of control.

However, while grown people acting childish - impetulant, irrational, impatient and self-preoccupied – is ugly and sad, the growing presence of children who, because of the current economic crisis are forced to prematurely bear the weight of grown-up pressures is even more shameful, disgusting and disgraceful. It is also a subject that goes almost unnoticed.

Only 20 percent of teens are able to get jobs leaving over 1.5 million unemployed and 12 million young people without food. There are 14.1 million children or one in five, who are poor and living in poverty in the richest nation on earth according to The Economic Policy Institute. In 2009 a quarter of all children in this country will be living in poverty and by 2010 the child poverty rate will be 26.6%. This would represent an increase of 10.4 percentage points from 2000 to 2010. The EPI terms it – truly a lost decade.

Nearly 800,000 homeless youth are in schools attempting the nearly impossible feat of learning while simultaneously sharing in their parents' physical and mental anguish concerning how they will eat, handle illness, buy daily necessities, and pay for utilities, rent or mortgages.

I used to fret over what was termed "the first generation of African American children who grew up outside of the black church." But to also have to grow up in the hopelessness and despair of the 21st century's economic crisis and never experiencing access to the jobs and material resources of previous generations is exponentially worse. It means that the normal stage of innocence and children's future have been stolen by having to shoulder poverty, unemployment, crime, drugs, violence, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy and other effects of inequality and economic disaster.

Growing up too late is a pity, but growing up too soon is a tragedy.


MilesPerHour said...

Rev, this is one reason I enjoy your posts, you expose some topics that many of us don't even think of ourselves. Thank you for doing so and raising awareness in places that are generally hidden in plain sight.

Revvy Rev said...

Thank you Miles for your kind words.

underOvr (aka The U) said...

Hi Rev,

Last Friday our nation rememberd the dead from the terrorist attacks eight years ago. We could better honor them by how we choose to live our lives.

Children in America are our legacy; they need our investment.

I appreciate that you continue to illuminate that which is hidden by shadows.


Chi-Chi, The Original Wombman said...

Rev, thanks so much for this post. I've read all kinds of analyses on these recent childish outbursts but no one has brought it full circle, shifted the focus from the superstars (who are superwealthy, btw). I so appreciate this perspective.

Keith said...

Hey Rev.

I haven't been by in quite awhile, and after reading this post I can see it's definitely been my loss. Great work.

pjazzypar said...

Hi Rev,

Last week was the African American rendition of "Grown Folks Gone Wild"! I have been saying for a long time that Kayne is in need of some psychotropic medication. I was surprised by Serena, because she and her sister have been able to keep their cool after being slammed by the press repeatedly. I think she was just pushed to the brink and exploded. It was unfortunately and I felt badly for her. I think you are on to something about growing up without the comfort and support of the church. Believe me it can and does make a difference.

MacDaddy said...

Hey, Rev. I just got a new computer and am finally able to comment on your blog. Now the letters appear to put in the word verification box.

Important post. It reminds us of how so many of us talk about love for kids but give little thoughts to things that can really harm their development. Thanks for reminding some of us.