Man up.

As thirty something year old black man, I see other men my age who walk pass younger black kids and don’t speak. I think that’s wrong and it sends the wrong kind of energy. I know these young brothas out here can be a lil aggressive and even intimidating but we have to find the courage to approach them sometimes. Whether it’s just a greeting to show respect or love or we may have to tell them to pull their pants up or to mindful of where they are. Example, I took my daughter to the park one day. She was 3 at the time. There were a bunch of kids playing on one side of the park. They were accompanied by their parents or some kind of adult. The park was super crowded. The kids were all saying that they wanted to play on the other side of the park where the smaller slide and swings were. The adults simultaneously said “No, don’t go over there.” With a very concerned/strong tone…. There were some older kids over there gambling, talking loud, and whatever else you can imagine. It was about 5 or 6 of them. Honestly, I wouldn’t have had any problem with what they were doing, especially if they weren’t bothering anyone. It wouldn’t have been any of my business, but in this case they weren’t conscious or mindful of what they were doing and how it was effecting other people. Especially when you’re taking over a kids playground and the parents are basically terrified and wouldn’t dare say anything to those guys. I don’t blame them. Who knows what could happen when you see some teenagers gambling in a park. I beat myself up over it for a second because I didn’t act immediately. But when my daughter said “daddy, I want to go play on the other slide.” I could not and would not tell my child that she couldn’t go over there because some teenagers are over there by the slide/monkey bars. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. I was nervous, wasn’t scared at all but I’m in tune with what’s going on in the streets these days, shit can get outta hand pretty quick. Plus I couldn’t be a punk, my daughter and her mother were watching. I calmly approached the young men, introduced myself, gave them all a strong dap, looked them all in the eyes and asked them to be mindful of these little kids and their parents. I also told them that in no way was I trying to tell them what to do and honestly I let them know I can’t make them do anything. My sole purpose was to make them think. To possibly think in a way they’re not use to thinking. I told them the cool thing would be to take this activity maybe around the corner or at least some distance away from the slide so the kids and parents could play, run around freely and feel safe. They shouldn’t be restricted in a park that was created specifically for them. It worked. Right away the teenagers picked up their things and moved away from the slide. It was all love. No negative energy, no disrespect on either side. I’d like to think that we all walked away from that situation feeling a little better or slightly different.

Author: shaneanthony

observer. learner. student.

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