Redefining the Labyrinth was a project I began while teaching at a local Memphis High School. With the current uproar about all that is wrong in the Memphis City Schools, I thought it would be interesting to post the work generated by four high school seniors, who are products of a system that everyone assumes is not capable of developing and producing productive students who can compete in this socioeconomic culture. I edited the book and contributed essays to give the book a shape and form, but it was the work of the students that allowed for the completion of this work. The artwork was completed by the student author DeVarius Fisher and the idea to make the name of each chapter an allusion to a song in Hip-Hop was a collaborative effort. I will post each student essay here on the blog. There is also a Question and Answer section in the book. If you would like to purchase a copy click here.
13 2nd Verse
Featured Artist: DeVarius Fisher
Never Be Peace
African Americans continuously encounter problems due to our history. These problems consist of inequality, prejudice, and a general disrespect towards African Americans and our contributions. These mistreatments are the foundation of the current situations African Americans face in society. While stereotypes, Misogyny, Education and the prison industrial complex are all important issues, poverty could be the most important and the root cause of these issues. African Americans should acknowledge the fact that poverty is the root cause of these problems we encounter, and address it as a continuous struggle.
Education is the basis of preventing homelessness and providing opportunities for people. It is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality as it lays a foundation for sustained economic growth. It is the key to creating, applying, and spreading knowledge that helps when dealing with life’s pressures. Education allows us to exist in the everyday society and those who are not receiving this knowledge often fall short of what is needed to survive. People often say that those who live in the suburban areas usually are better off because of their better lifestyles, but are well-off people better educated because they can afford education, or are they better off because they are well educated? Well-off people were well educated with knowledge that was needed to gain opportunities in society. This knowledge allows them to know their history and end any misrepresentation that could happen. Education can help a family climb out of poverty mainly by increasing a household income or by allowing opportunities to higher-paid jobs. Clearly, poverty is associated with education but also the spreading of unity could really help in our society.
Support Black Businesses
People who acknowledge that African Americans do not support black businesses, understand our continuous struggle for unity in our race. Most African Americans who buy hair do not know that the black haircare industry is owned and controlled by Koreans. Even though we should be proud of who we are, African Americans usually fall into trends and often try to look like the next person. With African Americans continuously buying hair from the local beauty stores, the black haircare industry usually generates over $3 billion a year. African Americans may spend that amount on the hair but it does not go into our communities. Instead this huge industry benefits Koreans who dominate 80% of the black haircare industry in the United States. African Americans should begin to invest in their own communities. It is vital to rebuild our communities by putting money and investments into the hands of our own people. The reason that I am so passionate about this is because the only way that the Black Community will sustain financial growth is if we support each other. Typically, with African Americans not supporting Black businesses, there is not much money going into our community. Supporting black business will lead to more jobs for blacks and more opportunity for small business by keeping the money in our community. We have watched other races support each other in business without a problem but only in the black society there is a struggle with supporting each other. We should not only support our community as a whole but as individuals who are in our community.
Invest in Children
Parents often think that they are investing in their child by buying them things, but when investing in your child, it not only involves money; time and attention often helps a child with their future. African Americans often have their priorities mixed up when investing in their child. We would rather go out and buy a pair of high priced shoes instead of buying our child a computer. These children often know that they can get things that are in style or involve themselves in the current trend. Those who continue to try and fit in with society often change as more trends continue to become common, but those things that they receive have no long term value and after a certain amount of time become useless. Typically, African Americans teach their children to become laborers. Children that are raised this way often do not take many risks because they only feel that there is always only one way to do things. Once a child is given things that can be used long termed, they will be set with knowledge that will open the doors for many opportunities in society.
African American history is one of the most important reasons for the problems we face in society. Inequality and prejudice inside our race has grown, and harmed the way we support each other. While other races are currently growing in society, African Americans continue to struggle with unity in their race. African Americans do not buy things that can be appreciated and often adore trends, instead of education. Poverty is the root cause of problems our communities face and to reduce this, we should acknowledge the fact that our lifestyles are hurting us and address it as a continuous struggle for African Americans.