Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The burden of black generation Y by Starsha Valentine

As a 20-something educated black woman, I sometimes question if the education and privilege of my demographic has been squandered on the frivolous dreams of Reality TV

As black educated people, we constantly and consistently try to portray the distorted illusion of wealth and happiness depicted on these programs.

Despite all the struggles and growing pains we go through, we try to maintain that face of arrogance in a world that is chipping away at our spirit and identity in God.

We are:

Women that are living on credit cards and sugar daddies but own more than one pair of Louboutins -- because Beyonce and Rihanna have them. 

Men that can't purchase a home but can buy the bar. People like me who have maxed out 4 credit cards, yet continue to struggle to pay rent. 

Women who sleep their way through every Happy Hour searching for Mr. Right. Mr. Right who likes Mr. Jones but dates Sally, Tanya, and Jane until he finds out he's HIV positive...and the list goes on.  

All these fallacies are common place in the world of the black so-called elite. These are issues that we confront everyday.

Responsibility vs Entitlement

However, we have a moral responsibility to show those that came before us and those after us that our education and experiences aren't wasted; that we haven't all lived this fantasy life.  We must remember the privilege that our education as afforded us. 

Sadly, President Obama's election, with my total support, has only fueled the fire of my generation's self-entitlement. We define ourselves by our job positions or relationship status. We live our lives in Facebook stills. You may ask: "Didn't our grandparents work and fight for us to be here, right?" 

Yes, our grandparents fought for us to be equal under the law and protected as citizens however, the values they had were rooted in a struggle we will never know. We are a privileged class and we need to start searching deeper for our purpose and direction. 

This is by no means a pretentious rant; quite the contrary. I come from a working class family - my grandmother worked in a NY sweetener factory for 40 years and my grandfather was a Navy chef. My point of view comes from an overwhelming gratitude for the life -- albeit hard in its own way -- that was given to me and my generation. 

And to my generation: I say this all to say, let's have a conversation about what we want to leave for our children. What will be our legacy?

Starsha Valentine currently lives and works in the Washington, DC area. She received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Howard University and is currently working on a Masters of Science in Nonprofit/Association Management from the University of Maryland. She enjoys reading, people watching, and meeting new people all over DC.


  1. I like the passion and insightful honesty of your post. When I think about the hope and promise of a new educated generation, I am reminded of a quote by W.E.B. DuBois:

    “Here is the chance for young women and young men of devotion to lift again the banner of humanity and to walk toward a civilization which will be free and intelligent; which will be healthy and unafraid, and build in the world a culture led by black folk and joined by peoples of all colors and all races - without poverty, ignorance and disease!”
    ― W.E.B. DuBois, W. E. B. Du Bois: A Reader

    1. Thank you. I truly believe that we have, at the very least, a responsibility to not sink into a world that exploits us as a generation for our education but denies us the right to be different. I just want my generation to open their minds to the future for our lineage.