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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Taking It Back To The Old School- Before It's Too Late!

 "Conservative" is a word that gives Black folks hives. Substitute the phrase, "old school" and the same concept is welcomed with open arms.
Old school Black values are championed by two main camps: nationalists and moderate-conservatives. Obviously this doesn't exclude liberals nor less moderate conservatives from its ranks.
Nationalists and moderate-conservatives are very active constituencies. Differences aside, they form the last line of defense old school values have against decline. 
That's also why I chose Marcus Garvey and Martin Luther King as symbols of what these camps do in the community.
Marcus Garvey's old school approach was to construct a nation-within-nation for eventual repatriation back to Africa.
He took our traditional values and wed them to an infrastructure whose end game was creating an independent nation.
While the nation didn't materialize this bold re-interpretation left an indelible imprint on the Black nationalist wing of the old school.
Dr Martin Luther King's old school approach was challenging the system both in court and on the streets.
He and his followers offered their bodies to force government to recognize our citizenship.
Nameless parents; grand parents; aunts; uncles; neighbors; instructors; coaches; cops; fire fighters and others offer daily old school examples.
One of my favorite old school New Orleans examples is an immigrant police officer whose street name is Panama, He isn't merely by-the-book- he IS the book.
Panama follows the rules and while he talks tough to violators also helps the needy on his beat. He is a perfect ambassador of old school Black conservative values like trustworthiness which should be on display more.
We who preserve the old school know our cultural incline is getting steeper by the minute. 
Once common sense prohibitions against crime and public indecency are growing more distant with each decade. Old school proponents fight a war of inches against the popularity of grotesquely anti-social behavior.    
As much as Black America needs representation on both side of the political aisle, there's an even greater need for old school values to get representation too.
Coalitions of concern already exist in the form of mentor programs; peer counseling and character education initiatives. These non-partisan, non-sectarian vehicles should be go-to places for old school proponents. 
From 100 Black Men and Boys and Girls Club on the low income end to Jack and Jill for the middle class, mentorship is a strategic weapon in the war to preserve old school values.
My mentoring occurs on Canal St side walks where young men there are always in need of conversation or something to eat.
Unemployment and homelessness are epidemic among Black New Orleanians. A dollar menu item is all that guards against hunger for many downtown. 
Old school values are all we have left in the face of what I call "urban death culture."
'Taking it back to the old school" is a line from a rap song. It's also the formula for re-programming whatever percentage we can in the face of ever-worsening behavioral norms.
We can use more Marcus Garveys and Dr Kings instead of who we see on the six o'clock news and in music videos.
In selecting Garvey and King I paid homage to the chief camps of the old school, nationalists and moderate-conservatives, both of whom preached similar doctrine about our conduct and institution building.
While their differences are noted, the old school traditions they championed are worth continuing today- before it's too late!
 Cap Black, The Hood Conservative & One Man Tea Party. asks:
" When did being old school become wrong? "
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