Monday, May 10, 2010

Spoonful of Sugar

Y'all remember that Mary Poppins song?

I used to watch that movie every day in after-school care. I can't tell you how many times I watched that little British nanny transform the lives of those children before flying off into the sunset. Other than Charlotte's Web, that's probably my most watched movie of all-time. (I know, I have more layers than an onion.)

I started thinking about the Poppins' song when I read this story about the overall optimism of some black youth. The story notes that black youth, despite typically having more difficult home situations than their white counterparts, tend to have a more optimistic view of the future, particularly since the election of President Obama.

Now, I'm sure this survey did not include many of the cats caught in the absolute worse situations in the black community. I would wager those cats don't see a rosy future for themselves no matter who is the president.

But, that doesn't mean the survey is completely bunk. Nah, I think that many black people, in contrast to the popular stereotype of us as whining babies, are pretty optimistic about the world, although that doesn't prevent us from acknowledging that it's still pretty effed up.

Look, if our history has taught black folks anything, it's that dwelling on the worst aspects of a situation is counterproductive and debilitating. Therefore, we often adopt an attitude that sees a silver lining in the most dark clouds. I'm not saying we're always spewing sunshine and dandelions, but we do tend to have faith that things are going to turn around at some point. How else can you explain the accomplishments of black folks during the dark periods of American history? (Which, for the record, includes the entire of history of America. It's all been dark for somebody.)

Simply put, black folks create our own spoonfuls of sugar.

I'm happy to hear these young people are still doing that, although I am a bit disturbed that they've invested so much of their hope and confidence in President Obama. It's not that I don't like dude, but he is a politician and this is America. Inevitably Obama will disappoint them, and I worry that their young minds may not be able to process that disappointment and still understand how stay motivated and focused. I've seen far too many young folks lose their drive and confidence because an adult they idolized disappointed them.

But, that's a worry for another day.

Today, I'm celebrating the fact that these kids have found some sugar to help the medicine of life go down a little easier. Here's hoping things stay sweet.



CNu said...

careful with the jedi mind tricks Big Man..,

you done messed with my whole morning referencing that tune which has been on-again/off-again going round and round like a virus in my mind....,

Big Man said...

My bad.

Shady_Grady said...

There is a blues song by Albert King titled "Down Don't Bother Me" which sort of has the same feeling you write of in your post.

"I've been down so long/down don't bother me no more".

Things can't get any worse so I might as well be optimistic...

Raving Black Lunatic