Written By Eugene D. Watson III
In today's youth there seems to be a new attitude toward life and toward situations in that are faced in everyday life. The general malaise has seemed to spawn from the predominantly black ghettos of our modern era. The attitude is one of disdain toward fellow man and a belief that there lives are destined to nothing more than working at a local grocery store, selling drugs or playing professional sports. This attitude is called 'Thug Life', and it is no longer contained to the underprivileged areas of America. In today's generation it has reached into even the richest of communities to infect the youth that inhabit them.
This thesis will focus on four major points. The first question will ask 'what is the 'Thug Life' and what does it philosophy entail'. Secondly, 'What leads a youth to take on the 'Thug Life' attitude? Another question we must ask is 'why would one want to have the 'Thug Life' attitude. And lastly, what can be done to change the acceptance of this terrible mantra in the lives of today's highly impressionable suburban youth.
Since we have already partly discussed what 'Thug Life' is and where it has come from we must now ask ourselves why anyone would want to dedicate there life to such an negative path as this. Critics often state that the idea of thug life is associated with music and/or growing upon in an impoverished environment. Could this be the cause of the 'Thug Life' attitude that is being picked up by today's modern youth? I would have to disagree. Let use the cities of Hampton and Newport News, Virginia as a limited reference. The median household income of Hampton, Virginia is approximately 31,000 dollars. The population spread is a 48-48-4 percent mix, that being 48% white, 48% black and 4% being a part of a race which in not stated. Yet this 'Thug Mentality' seems to be present in over 85% of the youth of the area.
None of these have been exposed to the hardships of the traditional ghettos that we know. There families live in middle and upper class areas. So we ask 'What other factors lead to integration of this attitude in there daily routine. Could it be the music? Hardly. If we try to pin the problem on rap music, we are only looking for an easy way out. Yes, some of the genre does enforce the mentality but is human intelligence so low that it would affect someone's daily routine? I think not. And to blame rap music in general is racist. In rap there are positive musicians such as Jurassic 5, Fugees, and George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.
This rap music doesn't use the 'Thug Life' to sell records. Yet instead they use creativity to define there music. So what else could be left to influence these youth?
One of the main questions that must be asked is 'Is this a fad?' something fashionable to do, or is it a true mental condition. Are these youth doing this to relate better with there friends and to participate in something that there parents are clueless about? Or are these youth truly lacking something that was given to the youth of earlier generations. This is one of the questions we must try to understand before we can fully understand the 'Thug Life' mentality.
So as responsible citizens of our society, we must ask 'What can we do to change this?' Some suggestions from the writer follow.
1. Integrate the arts back into schools. This is one of the few things that I can see that link the 'Thug Life' of the 80's to the thug life of today. Students no longer have an effective way to display there abilities like the used to. The lack of art programs first hit the ghettos and impoverished area of the country because the areas could no longer support them. It has been proven that children who participate in the arts (art, theater, dance), are less likely to ever be jailed in there lifetime. Also the arts stimulate the brain and allow students to use creativity more.
2. We must try to cull the idea that 'It is just the black race who is the cause of this problem.' It's the general problem that parents no longer support them in social activities. No longer to children participate in activities such as 4-H, Boy Scout/Brownies, and Little league. These students don't learn the value of presenting themselves properly in the community.
3. Instill Morals into children. Just general social morals will do. Religion is NOT a necessity, just an idea of how to conduct one's self around others.
These are just a couple of suggestions that should be taken into consideration. Yet there could always be more. But without taking this problem seriously we are allowing a generation of youth to lack the moral abilities to be affective in today's society. I ask myself 'Could I possibly hire an individual who cannot portray him/her self in a positive way, someone who could care less what people think of them or how they are seen in others eyes.' The answer is NO, I would rather much hire an individual who was incompetent rather that someone who is involved in the 'Thug Life'. Yet until we take this problem seriously we will never stop in infestation of our youth.
Please let me know how you feel about this thesis and your ideas on the subject.
This writing is property of Eugene D. Watson III and can only be reposted outside of ArsTechnica with my written consent. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org