The End of Ignorance (the point on inflection)
Zachary M.C. Harris
Monday, May 20, 2013
I originally wanted to write a piece entitled “The Halfsies are Back” or something much like it, but some conversations and observations leads me to the current title, as well as saying just a little bit more.
I live in an interesting neighborhood which over the past one hundred years has probably changed racially at least three times. My small section, known as Walnut Hill, is part of a larger area called University City which in itself is just a section of West Philadelphia. And yes, I originally grew up several blocks from the playground where Wil Smith gets beat up in the opening to “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” In fact, I sometimes played basketball there as well. The area has been defined and redefined over the years, most notably within the past five so that the University of Pennsylvania can expand it’s outreach and influence within this city; right now it is the largest employer within the city as well.
This neighborhood most likely started out as primarily white, and then at one point it became largely African American. You can look at the various architectures of the houses and the layouts block by block and properly assume the social classes that lived in each style. There are lovely Victorians rising up to four levels, some semidetached and others fully on their own lots, as well as more common rowhomes that were either duplexes or two level abodes. At one point, there were a lot of Asian refugees coming over after the Vietnam war, and they settled into smaller enclaves within the environs. Coming after them, I also noticed East Indians coming in as well.
In the past twenty years, some whites started moving back into areas not too far from the main thoroughfares with the ability to purchase properties that had been neglected for years, but still had lots of potential. In the past decade, through a mortgage program that the University of Penn set up for its employees, you have had a slew of non-locals buying up houses and renovating them, and then establishing businesses that fit their lifestyle. It’s an interesting thing to see, as you see people who would normally stay within a small number of area more readily go beyond them, and feel safe doing it as well. I even marvel when I see a small group of Indian youths playing cricket in a field soon to be developed again into houses.
What you see is progress. You also see the writing on the wall to get yourself together. There are more people to interact with, and thus more to learn about what you can do with your life as well as learning about the cultures of other people. If you can’t keep up, you will be left behind and forgotten in the least.
The flip side is there are always the plentiful sightings and examples of ignorance, of those people who abandon the reality that there are opportunities out there, and unless you prepare and apply yourself for them, you will be forced to repeat the same cycle and live the same lives that the generation before you did. It is simply amazing and astounding that not less then the three to four decades since the Civil Rights Movement, so many people still shy away from education, but continue to embrace tomfoolery, fuckery and crime. And after watching at least ten years of films and television that show that crime rarely pays, you have folks willingly embrace it and ruin their lives at such an early age. It pains and saddens me to see news stories about young Black men who will no doubt be serving out the rest of their lives in prison, because they killed someone during the commission of a robbery.
I don’t agree with the theory that African American men have a sense of entitlement, but that they have the lack of sense to think that they can have a lifestyle that is only displayed in music videos and films. They can recite all of the lyrics for music that is anything but positive, but can’t recite ten lines of wisdom that can earn them legal riches. If you dress like a thug, act like a thug and speak like a thug, then why should you get upset when people treat you as nothing more than a thug? Why should you be upset when cops come at you a certain way? They might not be right, but you’re not making it any different for yourself.
I just read a news report of the cops looking for a guy with a dollar sign tattooed between his eyebrows. Really? What kind of life can you really expect with that? I can’t imagine you sitting in a half decent restaurant having a great meal and I definitely shudder at the thought of potential wedding photos. There is the fucktard that basically threw away a full ride to the University of Michigan to become a rapper. He had the nerve to say that his father supports him in his decision. If that’s the truth then I seriously question the father’s logic. But I guess if you raised the boy to essentially be an entertainer, then that’s what you’ve gotten. The bad thing is that the kid can barely speak with proper diction and that his rap game sucks. Also, for someone to have the moniker “JayDatBull” he looks like a pantywaist.
The point of inflection in math and science is the point at which something either turns from negative to positive or the reverse. This is show easily on a graph and can be compared to when you’re learning or doing something and making slow gains, but then you reach that moment where things start to click and you get it, and then your progression just starts to increase more rapidly over a small amount of time. This could be also applied to the end of ignorance, when you start to learn what you have to do to better achieve your goals, whatever they might be.
In the physical sense, it could be when you realize that you can increase your gains in muscle strength and endurance by training harder but over a shorter period of time. If you want to gain in what you can lift, it is easier to get to a point at which you lift heavier weight but for less reps.
In the life sense, it could be the point at which you stop doing the actions of children and start exercising the actions and wisdom of adults. You don’t have to prove to the world your worth – meaning that you don’t have to go on a crusade to convince everyone, because there will always be some asses out there – but your actions and activities will better be your voice. When you resemble the archetype of someone who wants to be [or is] successful, the world will start to look at you in that light. There is no such thing as looking professional on the job, but off the clock you look like the corner boy or someone who is probably a stripper. The world just doesn’t see you during a certain time, and when you especially post certain things on FaceBook, Instagram and whatever else, it will eventually get around.
The “halfsies” are both the men and boys that walk around with their pants half hanging off their asses, as well as the women who are half-dressed. It becomes even more of an epic fail when you see these people with children, and still looking like they’re at Freaknik.
There is the old saying that “where ignorance is bliss, tis follow to be wise.” I don’t know about you, but I just can’t take it anymore.