Egyptians are taking it to the streets and I’ve been mesmerized by every bit of their marching, tweeting and protesting. I am inspired and awed. They are dedicated, united and relentless. Not to romanticize their movement for justice, I see the violence, but it is still something to behold and yes, ponder. It makes me think of myself and my peers and what it would take for us to get our marching Choos on in 2011. I look back at the Civil Rights movement and know my ancestors were defiant, embolden and empowered to march, protest and speak out against injustice. Have we and by we, I mean young people, people of color, and young people of color, have we gotten so comfortable that we have become incapable of civil unrest?
I remember when I was in college and the Rodney King verdict dropped. My classmates and I were immediately moved to action. But I must admit in college, I think we were moved to action dang near all the time! That’s just the mindset and spirit we had. We were Liberal Arts students reading everyone from Fanon to Foucalt to Faludi. We felt like we could and should be able to demand and enact change and justice. We marched for at least 30 miles and convened in a town square where we proceeded to set that baby off. Ahh the good ole days! I felt like I had no choice, but to march and show that I was outraged and in opposition to the jury’s decision to acquit the police officers involved in King’s beating. Nowadays I have to wonder what would get my peers and I off of our arses en masse and on the streets in protests. I feel like The Million Man March was a wonderful show of that same kind of unity and fervor that we see in Cairo today, but that was over a decade ago. I even went to 125th Street in 2008 and joined about 70 other people to show my solidarity with those angered by the outcome of the Sean Bell case, but the majority of folks marching and blocking traffic that day in Harlem were not young folk. My generation is not bringing it like we could and, most importantly, like we should. I’m part of the hiphop generation that comes from the Fight The Power cipher, but this current, younger Cash Money generation is extinguishing the overall revolutionary fire we started back in the day and that ish just hurts. Frustrates me. I’ve seen jokes on Twitter about Black folks forming a Coffee Party to go head to head with the Tea Party, but that’s all it is. Just a joke, another Black Twitter hashtag. Meanwhile it was young folks who initiated the protests in Egypt. It was also my generation that led the recent political movements in London over high college tuition fees and in Paris over ethnic and racial discrimination. What will it take for young folks in the US to take up their banner and get their march on? Have you participated in a protest movement and would you do it again?