Sadly, I knew the holiday weekend was upon my North Austin neighborhood. I knew it because the three triplets were out in full force. I heard them being called by far too many adults in my neighborhood. Whether it was those living in the rental apartment building or those who own their houses, I heard the triplets being shouted by the adults living there. Now for whatever reason, the triplets are a genuine "phenomena" of the black community.
No other racial or ethnic group has deemed to name their young children like we do. Thinking back to when I was a child, the triplets didn't exist as far as I can remember. If they did, you rarely heard them being called. But this new generation of parents seemed to embrace the triplets just like they embrace the word "nigger" and any of its derivatives. By the way, the triplets are: Bring Yo' Ass, Take Yo' Ass and Get Yo' Ass.
There is something mentally wrong with parents feeling the need to not call their innocent young children by their names. The shouts weren't of "honey," "sweetie" or "pudding.'" Not of baby girl or baby boy, peaches or little man. They weren't even the names the parents had given the children on their birth certificates. Instead, with the profanity that is used with other adults, I heard the triplets being called and shouted without shame.
"Bring yo' ass on!" was shouted by a mother walking down North Avenue. Her young child followed behind her. No holding hands. No concern about any dangers that could befall the child. But with that important cell phone stuck to her ear, the mother yakked away.
Across the alley, I heard a man shout to a young boy around 3 years old, "Get yo' ass over here!" The boy did as he was told, and the man, who could be a father, uncle, brother, etc., never once gave it a second thought about his words.
From the apartment building, a woman screamed from her window to a child playing out front: "Take yo' ass around back!" And on and on it went.
Not with every adult and not to every child, but it went on often enough to make me write about it. If we are to make it as a community within a society, then somebody has to speak up about what is going on. So how and when did this phenomena start; about using profanity towards our children, and what keeps it going on? The only answer I am interested in is the one that says when it will end.
A cultural phenomenon comes and goes. It is interesting that no one ever had to give out a memo to the black community to tell us to wear baseball caps with gigantic watches attached to them, or get us to wear Obama T-shirts, or even to embrace the current "Mohawk" haircut fad.
But the profanity-laden speech seemed to be more ingrained with each new generation. Those born in the 1960s like it. Those born in the 1980s love it. What will come out of the mouths of the millennium-generation babies? They're currently the recipients of the name-calling. They respond to it the same way they would respond to their own names being spoken. What will they call their children starting in 2020?
Although this trend is currently mostly ingrained in the black community, it won't take long before the larger community adopts it. A lot of what was once only said and done in the black community has been taken on by all of America. The "give-me-five-on-the-black-hand-side" was once exclusively done in the black community. Now, it is the 'high five' many use in everyday circumstances. Once, only black people referred to others as "ho's" or "ho." Now any young person in America uses the term to disparage somebody else.
To those that would say it is too late; that the cat is already out the bag - I rebuke them. It is often said that those who "know better do better."
As a community, let's all work to help those who don't know better, do better.
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