Today, the second day of Kwanzaa is Kujichagulia. Kujichagulia is a swahili word meaning "Self-Determination." One of the historical problems with Black struggle regeardless of location, has been the ability to be who we are. That is we are under constant pressure to fit a mould that is made for us for other peoples convenience. Back in the day there was the stereotype of the allways smiling negro. During th late 60's and 70's much effort was made to get negroes to stop smiling. Indeed a smile was a very essential survival tool in a world where being seen as discontented could very well get one jailed, fired from employment, arrested or even lynched. Unfortunately the embracing of the image of the "scowling black man (tm)" has become the corporate standard bearer for black culture and black music. Today blacks, specifically males, are now expected to be gangstas and ready to kill at will. A far cry from the original black "gangsters" back in the day who were scowling for justice. Now we scowl for ice.
We need to reclaim our images, If for anything for our children. We can no longer let corporate media push MC's and basketball players as hero's (and sometime roll models). We need to expose our children to the Teachers, Programmers, Carpenters, Electricians and plumbers. The Contracter and the Auto Mechanic. My familu comes from Jamaica, the one thing that I have seen that is pevasive among Blacks outside the US is the lack of dependence on "the system" for self sustinence. There's no shame in being an Electrician or Mason because it was honest work. Many could not wait to have a job opening made available, theyh had to make thier job opening and do for self.
In the words of Marcus Garvey:
Do not expect that when jobs are tight for the white man that he will look to give away employment to the black man. He will look out for himself and his family first.