Happy New Year!

What does the changing of the year from 2015 to 2016 really mean if the New Year brings the same reality as the year now gone by? Every Dec. 31, we get to look back at the prior 365 days and reflect on them while anticipating the opportunity to start afresh as of Jan. 1. If the meaning of insanity is that one does the same thing over and over again expecting a different result and the black community goes into a new year doing the same things over and over again, are we not thus insane?

The news stories that filled the airwaves on New Year’s Day told of shootings and killings, carnage and mayhem. Juxtaposed with those stories were updates on the young people who are protesting the mayor of Chicago as well as stories about “Black Lives Matter.” I am a proponent of the thinking that when one states, “Black Lives Matter,” it should include all lives lost. 

However, there have been many who, in turn, critique the “Black Lives Matter” movement by attempting to compare a Tyshawn Lee killing to a Laquan McDonald murder. To do so in my opinion is like comparing “an apple to an orange.” I don’t believe the killing of a black citizen by a police officer is equivalent to the murder of one black person by another. The end result is the same, but the nuances and circumstances are worlds apart. 

It is the “known versus unknown” reality. It also involves a person authorized by the state to kill versus someone who has no right to take a life. That is why in the legal system we have degrees of murder ranging from first degree and second degree to voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

How do we begin to change the narrative of our individual lives as well as our collective lives as a group to stop the insanity that we find ourselves in? I believe it first starts with the acknowledgement that there is no “savior” coming to save us. We cannot sit around waiting on the next Malcolm X or the new Martin Luther King Jr. to lead a movement. We must admit that the first and most important improvement needed begins with self. And when we as a collective body improve our self as an individual, we begin the process of freeing our minds and using our brains for what it was designed for, thus improving the group.

Have you noticed that there is no longer a narrative being espoused that black people are suffering from a “digital divide” as in past years? Smartphones have become a reality for the majority of African Americans with even young children having their own, so they can access the Internet to look up information and gain knowledge. 

Changing our narrative first begins with reading and comprehending what is written. It begins with making a personal decision to maintain a code of conduct that lifts up the individual as well as the group as a whole. How hard is it to decide to stop accepting bad behaviors (fighting, stealing, killing, selling drugs) and begin to practice positive codes of conduct?

If each of us makes that decision to improve our individual and, thus, collective lives, we end the cycle of insanity that far too many find themselves permanently embedded in.

Join the discussion on social media!