It’s been nearly 50 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a landmark piece of legislation that outlawed racial segregation and ended many forms of institutionalized discrimination against African-Americans and women. Such groundbreaking legislation couldn’t have been possible, however, without the protests, organizing, sacrifices, and sadly, deaths of many civil rights participants, the majority of whom were Black.

Throughout the 20th Century, African-Americans have worked hard to not only be integrated into American society, but also to be treated equally. From the Civil Rights movements of the ‘50s and ‘60s, to the Black Power and Black Arts movements of the ‘60s and ‘70s, Black people have a long history of standing up against injustices and asserting our rights as human beings.

However, as the Civil Rights movement moves further and further to the recesses of our memories, and we enjoy the benefits of our grandparents and great-grandparents’ toil, I wonder if we’ve gotten too comfortable as a people.

I was talking to my coworker the other day when he posed this very question—have Black folks gotten too complacent?

We were discussing the fact that many of us haven’t had to “fight” or struggle for anything of substance. Besides overcoming the ‘hood, many young African-Americans don’t know what it’s like to be overtly discriminated against or have never felt the sting of blatant racism. Because of this, some argue that we have gotten too comfortable—too willing to accept what’s given to us instead of actively working toward change.

Even though there are definitely young people who are aware of the challenges African-Americans face and are working to combat them, however, the majority of us seem to be coasting on the toils of those who came before.

While the level of racism and injustice today is certainly not on par with what our parents or grandparents experienced, there are still things—unsafe neighborhoods, limited access to healthy and fresh foods, subpar urban schools—that we could (and should) be fighting to improve, so why aren’t we?

What do you think Clutchettes and Gents? Have young Black people gotten too complacent?

Let’s talk about it!

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  • Sugarpie

    We are all too complacent, blacks and whites. Case in point, the gas crisis!!! Shouldn’t we all be boycotting the rising cost of gas, instead of just sitting around waiting for the price of a gallon of gas to go down?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!? This is ridiculous!!!!!! It seems only President Obama cares enough to even mention it. Thank god he did though. We should all be boycotting these gas prices and pronto!!!!!!!!!

  • Soul Brotha

    As a young black man, I started teaching high school at the age of 21. I returned to my high school, where I taught for 3 years in different subjects such as Biology, American/African American History, and Algebra I & II to help educate my black brothas and sistas. You would not believe the self-hate, disrespect, hurt and pain I endured trying to help instill in them a positive mind frame and demonstrate to them there is another way than self-destructing. I just quit teaching altogether in 2010, because I was so frustrated and it is very unhealthy to be in an evironment where you are constantly being attacked by older staff, racist white people, and being around hostile individuals every day. I enjoyed giving back to my community and I am proud to have helped them learn something. I really believed that I made a positive impact on the black youth in my community. I am currently two classes away from receiving my second Masters degree.

    I also believe that the current state of black people is a result of ignorance and complacency that has been feuled by covert and instutitionalzied racism. Integration was indeed our biggest downfall becuase it damaged the unity that once existed by our parents and grandparents. Black people appear to be adament about pleasing, being loved by, and being accepted by white people. It is crazy. We have no unity and very few black people appear to be concerned about unity and love for themselves and each other. We are currently being encouraged to date white and other ethnicities as if loving each other as black people is wrong. Sadly, people are buying it. Black men in particular, are falling for these tactics and they are even having a conference nationwide to persuade black women to date white and other ethnicities, instead of promoting love among ourselves. Having respect, self love, spirituatliy, education, dignity, grace, and unity as black people is our foundation for survival. This is what I carry every day and I refuse to bow down to white people who hate me and my people in the first place. Who ever these people are, are contributing to our demise and as a black man, I know first hand that women and even some of the white men, only purse black men for sex. Other races are doing it as well. It is very disturbing. They are targeting the younger population because many of them are simply oblivious to the “real deal” with white people and racism. I have never laid down with a white woman and don’t desire to either. Black people need to wake up. We are being played big time. I’ve tried to talk to other brothas and sistas about issues concerning us, and they are completely lost and simply do not care. It hurts so bad. Yes, depression is another issue. We are angry, but it is justified considering the current conditions of ourselves and our people. Please learn to love yourself and each other. Each one, teach one!!!!

    Peace and Blessings,

    Soul Brotha

    • sli

      Our community needs more young brothers and sisters like you. However, it is sad that you had to quit teaching because of your colleagues and a hostile environment. I wish you the best. Don’t give up on trying to make a difference. I know it can be difficult to stay and give back-and so very easy to cut and run.

      Yes, black people have become complacent. We think we have arrived, After-all, we have a black president now; so there’s nothing else to fight for…

  • Used to do

    Complacent? In a sense. But progression does not merely happen over night.

  • copelli21

    Too complacent….abso-freakin’-lutely.

  • Ophelia

    I think we have gotten to complacent. Yes I most definitely believe we have.
    Stations like BET and our current cultural choke hold hip hop most definitely doesn’t help the situation.
    The programs aired like girlfriends, the game, meet the browns and etc…I feel follow a certain caricature. They go with the usual flow of upper middle class or working men and women who really have few or no values, are heavily materialistic and are either concerned with just popping this and shaking that. Sex is rampant and so it fast talking. You see while entertaining they hold very little motive for enlightenment or educational value. Sometimes I feel BET has sold out and isn’t half of what is could’ve been.
    As for hip hop I sometimes feel like it has lost it soul. Hip hop use to be inspirational, but now it’s just brainwashing system. Hip hop/rap has just turned into misogynistic crap. That values neither the individual male or female, it makes a sex object of one and it makes a beast of the other. The ego is glorified in all of it’s deviousness from riches, to representing names, women, cars, accessories, parties, violence, and etc…where’s the love in that.
    (Not all hip hop is negative just some of it…^ ^ no flames please.)

    As a young black women I have to say from watching my peers that we are grossly mis-educated, undereducated, and are utterly ignorant of anything concerning our past.
    There’s so much to look into like history, culture, literature, how did we get here?, What really happened?, where are we going?, are we valued as a people?, are we looked at like equals?, do you know anything about your grandparents and their parents plight?,
    have you ever given thought to what they teach you in school?, are we represented?, are we shown to have help build this country and given mean to make it a better place?,
    and how do you feel being stereotyped and given a certain role to “fill”?, and shouldn’t it bother you to strive and change things?
    These are topics that need to be discussed. As much as I love America and it’s people regardless of color. We as black people are being constantly put down and aren’t given a identity. We are to be refused a identity, so we have to create one our selves.
    There is still so much to fight for. Look at our prison rate why is that?
    Why are there so many single mothers? When has our own sensuality/sexuality been undervalued and just given freely to any man or women who comes around. Is that all we’re good for? Where’s our esteem? Where are our future scientist, inventors, writers, poets, mathematicians, entrepreneurs, philanthropist, journalists, and etc…We have such a rich history tragic as it may be. Why accept someone else reality of your life?
    Why let them tell you how to live, how to perceive things, what you are only capable of.
    We need to find that box and surpass it and go towards infinity.
    We need to work on ourselves and help one another, because the apathy is killing.
    We have so much potential… why waste it.