Did we drop the ball? Do we yet ask for or expect direction from youth having not given them guidance? The other day I heard a sixty-year old woman chastising some youth about not saying good morning upon coming into the presence of elders, and then, she ventured into her time and how elders would make you feel so shame, even make you go away if you were dumb enough not to hail.
But, did we pass on the old adage that " manners maketh man"? Is the loss of manners somehow psychologically correlated with the want of the past generation to get away from the strictures of "yes sir massa boss"? Did we throw out the baby with the bath water? There are many things we did not pass from generation to generation in our enlightenment, or maybe our blindness, or stupidity, or timidity, or laziness, or carelessness; for instance superstition. Does it lie with enlightenment?
I remember when we would go pom, pom, pom, pom, pom, , i.e. speed thru between the two cemeteries on Bath Road at night on our way to Newtown. We use to be in a dilemma as passing on Victoria Street between the then High Court and the Public Library was even more scary as it was said there was a big man there at night with one foot on the high court and the other on the library. We would run pass that area too.
If you mistakenly pointed on a grave you would have to at once bite a finger to keep the dead away. If you smelled a good food at night you would have to say " phṅ mwṅ parlaye" or ''smell I doh smell" so you would not get 'jumbee' visitation. Bad men would rule the night as by just dragging chains along the streets people would stay in doors for 'lugawoo' was passing. I once heard a Dominican soocooyaṅ had flown quite to England and stolen a dress of the Queen.
Here's the joke. At least my family thought it was for they laughed for a month. As a kid you sometimes 'picked up' a dollar here and there but one day I lifted a whole five, too much. My people said that they were going to put " leemhier". Frightened, me put the five back. I can still here them laughing some fifty-something years after. That is one battle present day youth do not have to fight, that of superstition but, what of the many things that seemingly plague them that we could have made a difference with.
Do they know that we use to be tear-gassed in Roseau demonstrating for black power and pride and to free Nelson Mandela?. When one sees the number of women actually creating an industry, flirting away valuable resources, buying hair to add on or to hide their natural, one must wonder did we educate them and pass on the gains of our generation and is it a retrogressive step, back to the Fifties when people scorched their heads, when style overcame pride and ignorance and self-depreciation was the norm? Am Black and I am proud. Remember?
I remember people use to talk having all kinds of things to say when my mother started dressing my young sister in a tent style dress which had not yet taken hold. ''How they making the child look pregnant and grown up''. Today, many mothers, if not the majority, are allowing their young girls to dress like sex bombs and are hoping that 'subliminally' men will make a distinction between fifteen and sixteen year olds.
On June 6, 2016 I asked a young librarian about Muhammad Ali. He did not know of him and asked "is he one of those fellas who put the bombs?" That was also after CNN, BBC, MSNBC, ESPN and others had been trumpeting ALI's greatness for three days non-stop. Should we then take a look at ourselves for the aches that hurt? Should we point in instead of out and ask, is it us?