Welcome to CulturalConscious.com

In a world that is rapidly changing, where the advancements of technology create larger and larger gaps between generations, some things still remain the same. Technology is bridging the gaps between cultures throughout the world, bringing them closer and closer. Yet, our cultural subconscious fights to keep them apart.

Culture is defined as the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group. Conscious is defined as aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.

I define cultural conscious as being aware of your culture, while still being able to understand other cultures and the differences that exist between them. Unfortunately, most people do not reach the state where they are using their cultural conscious. People respond to and formulate opinions of cultural differences via their sub-conscious, meaning they form a response or an opinion without new thought. The problem here is the sub-conscious is developed based on one’s own culture, so any opinions are going to be based on a cultural bias until an experience occurs that changes the subconscious. Unfortunately, the subconscious is not easily changed.

On a daily basis, we all struggle with our subconscious. Situations arise where we formulate thoughts about other people based on stereotypes, media portrayal, "what we heard", appearance, ignorance, etc. Because decisions are made in the subconscious, we are unaware of any wrong doing unless someone else points it out to us. The goal of this blog is to point out areas where our conscience should override our subconscious.

These are my thoughts…This is my Cultural Conscious.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

THIRTY IS THIRTY

Posted By: Dr. D

Thirty is the new twenty, or so I would like to believe as I’ve just celebrated my 30th birthday amongst friends. While we all can think back to the younger days when there were fewer responsibilities and careless fun, I am unfortunately reminded all too frequently on what a blessing it is to reach this milestone…especially as an African American male. I realize what you’re saying, “we’ve heard this before.” While this is most certainly the case, why has the situation continued to worsen? True story, within one weeks time, I have heard of two relatives in separate regions of the country, both black males aged 17 and the other age 23, murdered by other young black males. There was no involvement of either in any questionable activities. I don’t know why I even made that statement. As if a murder that occurs while participating in illegal activity is any different from that of a black male who is on his way to college. Some would like to think there is a difference, and others would not. Truth be told, our young black men are dying and it is all the same. We are dying at such alarming rates that many who have to deal with these deaths time and time again are becoming immune to the genocide. Whether you hear the morning news discuss the murder/murders of the previous night or work in the hospital and see time and time again our young males present with multiple gunshot wounds; it is draining and becomes tolerable. I know because I’ve been involved in both examples. The violence that occurs in the black community is different than the violence that occurs in many other racial groups. It occurs so frequently and is so senseless that many become numb to feelings while others don’t care because they feel it doesn’t affect them.

In the medical field, we use screening techniques to potentially detect certain forms of cancer in high risk populations with the goal of prolonging survival. Is it time we have a screening mechanism to protect our black males? The question is only hypothetical, but the problem is real and exists in all of our lives. Life is so important and we must somehow make everyone understand this. We are losing the black males who are murdered and we are losing those who commit the crimes to prison. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying; murderers need to be in prison. The goal should be to reach these individuals early enough to prevent them from going down this track.

As black males, we all must choose at some point which way we’re going to go. For example, my best friend growing up decided to quit high school in the 11th grade after deciding to follow a certain crowd. He was actually a better athlete than I was. I say this because I went to college on a football scholarship and subsequently completed medical school while my former comrade has spent many years in and out of the state penitentiary. This is not an isolated story. We can analyze what variables might have played into the lives of one versus the other; but we all have choices.

I am thankful to be thirty, and thirty is thirty. We must all figure out how to help our black males make it to thirty and beyond.

2 comments:

Superman said...

I like the name of this blog. I think it is extremely pertinent to the subject Dr. D has brought up. Great little piece Dr. D..

I think there are three distinct major cultural issues at play. Each of them have solutions that are on the table, and I believe would work.

1) the second Gilded Age
The Gilded Age was just before the depression (hint, hint) and was defined by a huge difference in personal wealth between the rich and the poor. Our numbers, in terms of relative wealth in poor, middle-class and rich people, are almost exactly matching those of the early 20th century. This moves our "Cultural Conscious" to think more about being a part of the wealthy class, so that we don't suffer the gross injustices the poor suffer (i.e. Le Floode Federale AKA Hurricane Katrina). I'm as guilty of this as anyone. I've made choices and continue to make choices that do not reflect my true desires simply to be included in a class that won't suffer as bad as the class I might be in had I chosen a career in theater.

2) black integration
This is somewhat related to the previous issue. As a people, we haven't invested in our own institutions. Some of the greatest scholars, doctors and lawyers currently are of African-American descent. However, unlike previous generations those people lend their efforts to mostly "mainstream" organizations. In theory, this could've changed mainstream America into a more tolerating place. However, I believe it has changed the black community by weakening its grassroots organizations like the NAACP and the National Urban League. Let's face it our best talent is no longer working exclusively in the black community, that must have a detrimental effect to those who are left.

3) American education
Education starts at home is one of those overused cliches. However, to this day the single strongest institution in any culture around the world is family. Family is the place where meals are eaten, values are normalized and priorities are set. As a teacher for 6 years in NYC public schools, I'm thoroughly aware of the breakdown in family as the single most destructive force in American education. I will close with this frightening observation.. I challenge any reader here to simply go into a toy store. Look for the book section, notice where it is (if there is one) and notice how many people are around. There's a mall in New York with over 400 stores in it and not a single bookstore. The Disney Store (a store dedicated to products surrounding stories!!) doesn't sell books at any of its stores. I don't blame the companies, its supply and demand. All this to say, wait 'til you hit 60!! :)

Superman said...

Solutions..
Sorry here are the solutions:
1) Charles Rangel, the highest ranking African-American politician in the federal gov't, has a proposal to require every American to serve (incl. military, teaching, health services, social services, etc.) their country for 2 years after school (college or high school).. I think this would begin to push service as a more important ethic on our cultural conscience.
2) This is the toughest solution. I think we just need to start visiting our old neighborhoods and studying our history. I know a white woman that took a 5 day tour through all the major civil rights' landmarks in the south on her own with a history book and a map. We should be doing these kinds of tours.
3) Buy books!