I would like to explain my definition of the word “underprivileged” as it pertains to African American youth.
When thinking of the words “underprivileged youth”; I can form an image of Black kids in urban cities playing sports with no equipment. Children at home with no internet access trying to complete a report for school tomorrow. Black students with scraggly first edition books full of outdated information…. I can imagine the kids who’s refrigerators are on “E” and kitchen cabinets prompting mothers to “please connect your charger”. Black fathers who’ve worked all day, only to rent space from another man so his family can have a damn near dilapidated building to call home. Examples of popular imagery of what it’s like to be an underprivileged Black kid in America.
I think it’s time that Black people start redefining terms commonly used to describe our conditions. If my elders took the time to redefine ridiculous shit like the term “nigga” into an endearing word that means “friend”, then I can change the meaning of “underprivileged”.
My definition of being an underprivileged child has nothing to do with whether or not there was caviar or pizza rolls in my damn freezer.
Underprivileged youth are not children who are born into poverty. They are the children who are raised in households with no conscious parent present. These are the children who were left to learn their history from someone who could never share their perspective. Black children who’s celebrity role models teach them that liabilities like new cars and belligerent friends, alongside a phat ass are grand assets. Underprivileged youth are kids who are raised inside of stifling ignorance to historical economic and political events that sculpt modern day Black culture.
I was an underprivileged child, so I know these conditions very well…. I never felt underprivileged because my family didn’t own a big house, hell most people in the hood aren’t home owners…. I never felt underprivileged because my books at school were ugly and we didn’t have internet access. I can still make sense out of vandalized text, and what the fuck does watching fights on YouTube do for me?
I did however feel underprivileged when I noticed other young Black people who were raised by entire families of conscious individuals….. How come I didn’t have people like Malcolm X and DuBois in my family?…. Raised without a single Kwame Ture or Marcus Garvey in my life. I would have loved a William Whipper or William Hamilton…..
Poverty is not the predominant factor that determines a Black child’s likelihood of success. I personally believe that the presence of consciousness has a greater influence on the child’s motivation and overall ambition…. Providing a child with an okay parent and a hundred new book is nice, but providing a child with a conscious parent and a few raggedy highly selected books is priceless.