I was reading an article on the website Stereogum, about a comment that Chance The Rapper made about Spike Lee’s new movie Chi-raq. In it, Chance criticized the movies message by describing it as being on, “some Bill Cosby, ‘pull your pants up’ type stuff.”
Chance contends that it isn’t so much the lifestyle choices that young people are making, (ie..sagging pants) but that PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is actually more responsible for the troubles that are affecting communities nationwide.
Chance says, “Kids as young as seven, and younger than that, have seen people murdered in front of them, so that starts a paranoia in your mind that you’re walking around with. When you’re walking around and you feel like people are trying to kill you, you shoot when you get scared. That’s a problem that even I have. That’s a problem that a lot of people suffer.”
I’ll concede that he has a point!
I don’t want to argue the validity of his assessment of causality for now, so let’s back up to the “some Bill Cosby, ‘pull your pants up’ type stuff“ comment that Chance made.
I’m not much for preaching the cultural, ethical, and moral ramifications of something as trite as fashion, and I’m a bit turned off by any talk that does. Maybe that’s because it’s just not that important for me to spread my brand of morality to people.
At times when I was a youth, my nickname could have easily been, “Can’t Get Right,” just like the character from the 1999 movie, “Life.” Back in those days, there was a period when I just couldn’t get my act together. In other words, I’d fallen short of my own expectations for myself and those of others (and at times still do).
But as I consciously and continuously evolve, I’m learning what works best for me as I strive to grow nearer to living my own authentic truth.
I can only practice being the best person I can be, while encouraging others to do the same.
If you find it necessary to wear your pants down below your butt (even though I wouldn’t) who am I to judge that, or to try and attribute your choice to the systematic decline of society? Your personal style is your prerogative – a byproduct of the beauty of free-will!
So to all those who still concern themselves with other people’s clothing, and the manner in which they wear them, (as if these decisions will lead to some great calamity) I ask you this question.
Are you being your best self?
The truth is, only you can answer that for yourself!
The point I feel Chance was making from the perspective of a young person is that, older folks act as if we know what’s best for everyone simply because we are old. It’s true that experience is the best teacher, and I believe that we should respect our elders. However there is a difference between experience and wisdom.
Unfortunately, wisdom does not always come with age alone. There are many philosophical thoughts on how one obtains Wisdom, but generally speaking, it is acquired through the learned ability to discern (decide between truth, error, and what’s important), and to show discretion (speak without being offensive).
An unwise person may come across as preachy and authoritative, while a wise person may allow someone to find their own way, by simultaneously providing gentle guidance toward helping them become their best selves.
This is also the mark of good parenting, and the approach I strive to use most often with my children.
We must be mindful to avoid our natural tendecy to be self-rightous in our approach to dealing with young people. Because remember, it wasn’t long ago that we old folks were having OUR fun, and doing things that the previous generation thought was questionable at best.
When it comes to things of merit, issues of great importance, it is our duty to speak up! But when it comes to superficial things like fashion, we could probably afford to pump our brakes a little bit.
I know it’s difficult to do so, because the hardest thing about business is…learning to mind our own!