Acknowledging accomplishments of our young adults

William T. Robinson, Jr.

Contrary to the negative depiction of African American young adults (especially Black males so often aired by the media), there remains an unheralded regiment of young Black adults who are making unprecedented strides in their given professions. One of the reasons their accomplishments and accolades go unnoticed is because of a Euro-centrically biased media that is often obsessed with depicting a negative stereotypical image of young Black youth—especially Black young men.

As sad as it may be, another culprit keeping us from recognizing and celebrating the achievements of our young adults may be the parents and relatives of successful children. These parents are hesitant to share the positive achievements of their children because of ‘haters.’ Haters are jealous people who may feel you are bragging because their own children or loved ones may be giving them grief. The truth is that often those you feel should be happy about the success of your child or young adult is not. You would think (as a people) that when one young adult does well, we all do well. Unfortunately, this view is not always shared by all.

I have personally found that there exist groups of parents and relatives that are ecstatically proud of the accomplishments of their children and their children’s friends. These children grew up with your children, and you consider them extended family. These are your children’s friends and acquaintances from various schools and sport endeavors. They grew up in the same neighborhood. They are now young adults, so you will miss the noise and laughter that once bounced off the walls of your home.

These youngsters are now young adults, so you can only now be in awe of the awesome and productive individuals they have become. I am truly elated and extremely proud of the young men and women who grew up with my two boys. They are now highly noted professionals and entrepreneurs. Their professions include educators, engineers, pharmacists, policemen, firemen, health care specialists, banking executives, corporate business managers, doctors, lawyers, pharmaceutical sales representatives, and IT technicians, etc. The support they offer each other is phenomenal. There exists a mutual bond of respect and support that they have for one another that is highly commendable and impressive.

I know I am not alone. Many parents personally resent the ever-present coverage of the illegal, illicit behavior of some young African adults as presented by the media. It insinuates that such behavior is the norm among our young men. Much of the media seems obsessed with presenting a negative narrative about Black young adults. You know better, and it hurts. It is not fair because they don’t equally cover the positive and hard-earned achievements of so many Black young adults who are working to eradicate negative stereotypes of the way we are perceived as African Americans.

All too often I have found some African Americans more involved in belittling or denigrating other African Americans than in acknowledging the positive virtues or accomplishments of their brothers and sisters. Is it fair to say that we don’t work hard enough to acknowledge our young adults who shine and literally do us proud?

In the future, I will speak more about the many positive and successful young adults I consider part of our extended families. If some feel I am bragging when I speak highly of my children and their friends, I don’t care. I feel blessed and honored to have been part of their lives in some way. It should be understood that when our children do well, we all do well. Thank you, young adults, for exemplifying the best you have, giving us hope for a better future. You know who you are, and you should know your loved ones are keeping you in their prayers daily. They have nothing but love, admiration, and respect for you.