In a war, those in the battlefield may sometimes be required to make sacrifices for the betterment of those standing alongside them... some may sacrifice their lives so that others can survive.. but more often than not the sacrifices made will be ones that cause some for a moment to remove themselves from their comfort zone.
There should be no doubt for many reading this, that we are in a war to win the hearts and minds of our kids and each other..Some dub it an information war. We are bombarded with images and messaging by the thousands that hit us every minute, working on our conscious and subconscious.
The end is to lessen critical thinking and get folks to become consummate consumers for whatever is being sold, product, ideology, culture, etc. At it times seems to be working. And why shouldn't it? Millions of dollars are poured into research and focus groups so that at the end of the day collectively speaking we move in one direction and not another..
It with these thoughts in mind, that we should look at the tale of two groups teens and our reaction to them.. By now many of y'all have probably heard or saw the video out of Houston, Tx of a 16-year-old girl named Sharkeisha who sucker-punched a friend and pummeled her. The video has gone viral, receiving more than 11 million views in less than a week.. Lots of blogs have been written about it as well as parodies and skits. Sharkeisha is the talk of the town.
The young lady has thus far relished the attention and made light of the fact that cops were looking for her as she boldly proclaimed she'd do it again. She did this on her Twitter account. The victim has been traumatized. You can also read her statements here.
The conversation about teen violence is one we should not shy away from. It's important. At the same time, while we have conversations that go along the lines of "our kids are out of control" or "our kids are dangerous" or "our kids our lost," etc., one might ask, Why are we not upholding and making the videos of young teens who are doing the right thing go viral? Case in point, while we are debating this sucker punch video, very little attention is being paid to black teenage girls from Black Girls Code. These are young sisters, many of them from the hood, who are stepping up and making major moves as high-tech coders. They are the ones who do the designing.
The woman who founded it two years ago, Kimberly Bryant, just received a prestigious award at the White House over the summer, and if I'm correct one the young girls from Black Girls Code was on the cover of Wired magazine with the caption, "The Next Steve Jobs." The year before they were nicely profiled in Colorlines.
The sisters put out a video a couple of weeks ago and to date it has gotten around 700 views. Very few are turning to them and big-upping their work and making them go viral. Why is that? It's not like they haven't been in the news. They are obviously being featured in quite a few places. But are we featuring them in our day to day conversations? Are we holding them up as a model for others to follow?
We say this is what we want our kids to do. We say we want them to make headway into once inaccessible industries, bust down doors and be success stories, but are we featuring them in the context of us being at war? Are we featuring them knowing that with all the exposure and conversation we are having about Skarkeisha we may inspire others who seek attention to go that route -- versus the route of the young sisters in Black Girls Code?
What is it about us that we won't push the envelop to big up young girls like these or make other organizations like Black Girls Rock , Girls Like Me or BlackBird Fly household names and the standard we strive for?
Moving forward, can we and will we take the bold steps of highlighting and talking up the young sisters in our community making it happen? Can we make them international news instead of an over sensationalized fight? That may the most critical step needed in the battlefield on this day.
Davey D is a journalist, hip-hop historian, activist, and host of Hard Knock Radio and Breakdown FM. This piece first appeared on his website hiphopandpolitics.com.