For far too long there has been a question surrounding American race matters. That question is quite simply, ‘What is wrong with Black males?’ This query sits at the forefront of a multiracial and socioeconomically diverse population of Americans. They have not been able to reconcile the seemingly predictable nature of many African-American males toward guns, drugs, and a criminal lifestyle; one I might add, that they willingly flock to.
I believe that the “featured image” for this post depicts an African-American male cutting a birthday cake adorned with the ingredients necessary to create ‘crack cocaine’. Although many may be shocked by greatly disturbed by the image, I believe that it is highly revealing of the contemporary cultural values that a sizable population of African-American males hold. Put simply, this photo reflects the ‘trap’ lifestyle that so many African-Americans’, male and female, find so enchanting.
The alluded to ‘trap’ lifestyle of Southern-based drug dealers, has been glamorized by today’s rappers such as: Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane, and Cheddah the Connect. The traphouse is usually an abandoned house where “dopeboys” operate their business.
When placed within a larger historical context, the “dope boy” life style is little different from the vaunted Cowboy persona of yesteryear. Much like the Cowboy, the dope boy life style has gone Hollywood and become endeared by significant segments of the African American popultion. With films such as “Snow on Tha Bluff”, a film that depicts the trials of dope boy Curtis Snow who struggles to survive in the mean streets of Atlanta Georgia.
To the chagrin of most African-Americans, the trap lifestyle has made its way into their homes. However, many fail to consider why the ‘trap’ lifestyle has become adopted by so many within our midst.
It is my fervent belief that those who have adopted the aforementioned lifestyle have done so with a conscious mind. Put simply, the allure of fame and fortune has proven to be seductive and enchanting for such individuals. Such individuals apparently operate from a position of the ends, justifying the means.
Considering the raging “school-to-prison” pipeline, as well as the “prison industrial complex” African-Americans can ill-afford to become ensnared in the criminal justice system.
We as a people are moving backward each time that we forget that the best way to succeed in a capitalistic society is gaining and sustaining wealth. The best wealth in this society is one gained legally, because is then not easily taken away. We must remember that seeking knowledge and education is the true path to a more sustainable and pleasurable lively hood. Meaning, if one accumulates wealth with a solid foundation is more difficult to take this wealth away. Furthermore, we must remember that the best way to insure our safety is to invest in ourselves, by creating companies and organizations that work together to protect each other.
There are opportunities for those who have previously had issues with the justice system. Trade Schools are a great means for mastering a craft, using it to provide, and eventually branching out on your own. No longer can we settle for an unnecessary fantasy lifestyle that can be torn away in a moment. We must begin to break away from our habits and search for better prospects.
The growing popularity of the trap lifestyle, is one of the many distractions African-Americans face. We must follow those in our community who act on the behalf of the community. Our professors, doctors, and lawyers must again become the head of African-American momentum. We must not become stuck in a ‘trap house’. We must denounce this lifestyle and reveal it for the low-life snake it actually is. Through these means we can hope to regain a thrust and save our people before it is everlasting too late.
©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2015