Merging forward with unclipped wings

William T. Robinson, Jr.

The months of May and June hold precious memories for a plethora of families celebrating the ascension of their children and love ones as they graduate from high schools and colleges, continuing their quest to realize and materialize their dreams, hopes and aspirations. Like many of their predecessors, I am literally overwhelmed by these young graduates’ zest and zeal in their unyielding determination to fulfill their goals. They are undaunted with any negativity, doubts, or skepticism and are totally confident in their ability to continue to rise in all areas.

But there may be pending trepidation apparent in many of their loved ones. They may fear seeing their children or loved ones fall short or become disappointed in a world that doesn’t always offer everyone the same opportunities and resources. This wailing skepticism shared by some older relatives may be attributed to looking at our previous history, especially among African Americans in this country where many have excelled academically only to be relegated to working jobs beneath them or being denied jobs because of being overqualified.

If we are to be blatantly honest, systemic discrimination and racism is sadly rooted in our institutions, corporations, and society. However, it is not a definitive deterrent to this young and optimistic group of African American achievers. While some older relatives may harbor such reservations, make no mistake that this younger generation of millenniums is shooting for the stars to excel in their chosen fields and professions.

There is no shortage of young Black professionals and ambitious entrepreneurs entering the job market today. They should have our blessings and support. But as a word of caution, those young people considering a career path should be mindful of pursuing professions in marketable areas. Some career choices from the past are no longer considered marketable.

If the playing field is undeniably uneven, it doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for many Black achievers who refuse to let anyone clip their wings. Their peers share their dreams and offer support and networking when possible. They elevate each other and fuel each other’s motivation. But let’s make no mistake, the leading factors contributing to this positive stride by so many of our youth to fulfill and meet their goals is fueled by their strong spiritual faith, strong family support system, and belief in themselves and their peers.

The emergence of so many young African Americans excelling in their chosen fields and professions is refreshing and hopeful to so many African American families. But the media continues to offer a gloomy, negative narrative of African Americans, especially Black males. Much of the media is complicit in claiming these young Black men are on a downward spiral engaged in activities leading to their own self-destruction or incarceration. Like any other population or group of people, there are those involved in drugs, violent crimes. The produce children they can’t take care of, which will lead to impoverished and undereducated youth. But there exist alternative groups of positive, driven, productive and highly motivated youth. This includes young Black men who don’t get equal media attention. If you are going to educate the public about the disposition of Black youth, tell the whole truth. Give the good and positive equal coverage.

This month has been an awakening for me as well as others. We see a multitude of family members and friends graduating, going forward with an adamant fervent passion to soar with the eagles. I only ask that the pessimistic naysayers be quiet and support these young gladiators in their endeavors to be productive and successful. Don’t attempt to clip their wings. This young generation does not have the trepidation and doubt that plagued their fathers and grandfather’s generation. Nevertheless, many gains were made despite those horrific deterrents associated with discrimination and racism.

We need to let our children know just how proud we are of them and continue to supply the wind beneath their wings in their soar to realizing their dreams. I can’t speak for everyone, but I find many of my true heroes in my children and in many of their friends (my extended family). These young people (especially Black millenniums) are inspirational and make us all proud. Continue to fly and fly high, utilizing the faith, love and determination you have within. This inner force will aid you in your ascent in reaching your destination.

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