The common vernacular for the majority of Black America is based in the fact that as a group we lack self esteem. Self Esteem by definition reflects a person's overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self. As a group we commonly refer to ourselves as niggas, bitches, dawgs, hoes, pimps. We quickly tell people "it's hard in these streets", or "that we are grinding", and "the struggle is real". ( We were taken from Kingdoms, the streets aren't where we belong. Grinding suggests something isn't working properly or something is being broken down. Pain is inevitable, suffering/struggling is optional) Having a low self esteem we take these words and phrases and we try to make them mean something positive. As opposed to using positive words, we've been conditioned to think that we aren't worthy of positive thinking, that our thoughts and words aren't valuable. Until we understand the power of words, we can not progress as a group. (I use the term group as opposed to community because right now, there is no common unity between Black people) Although most of us don't understand the power that words possess, as a group we've released that power in the negative. The words that we continuously use have built a foundation of failure,rejection, and disappointment. We've come to believe that glorifying money, drugs, partying, sex, and violence is the way to gain respect. Respect then equates to approval, and when you don't have self esteem or respect for self, you automatically seek approval. You can see us searching for approval every time, a Black person does something in this society that no other Black person has done. We hear things like the first Black to graduate from Harvard Law, or the first Black doctor to perform brain surgery, or the first Black mayor of any city, USA. We see us seeking approval even amongst ourselves. We buy the flashest car, or the newest shoes, or the most expensive bag, all in hopes that someone will see it and rain down their approval. We see it in our music, when all that is talked about is if a record went platinum, or which MC is best. The lack of self esteem and self respect is seen daily in words we choose to use, the fashion we choose to take part in, the music that we choose to accept, and the god we choose to serve. We were robbed of our culture, thus our self worth and self esteem. When we were given our freedom in the late 60's there was never a collective effort to redevelop a "Black culture". We were left to our own devices, devices that were based on the culture that our oppressor beat into us, all while beating out our self esteem. Hip Hop is the first collective effort at rebuilding "Black Culture", and unfortunately we are in the process of giving that to our oppressor as well. Which as I type this, makes sense...we don't even trust ourselves enough to know whats good for us.
My thoughts continue to run while typing out this blog, so a part two may follow. I close with positive words. We are GODS, we are stronger than we know ourselves to be today. We must change how we think of ourselves, so that the power of words manifest the reality that we all deserve. To my brothers, you are loved, believe that and allow that to permeate your spirit and soul and heal the hurt that we deal with silently and sometimes daily. To my sisters, thank you for loving us while we are unsure of how to love ourselves and haven't been loving you. Your strength has proven stronger than our hate for self, and we need it as we transition into the Kings that we truly are.