Ever since George Zimmerman was acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin, it has been open season on black people as a whole, as critiqued by non-blacks. Bill O’Reilly, a right-wing conservative was one of them. In a nutshell he stated that black youth choose a criminal lifestyle over conforming to the norms.

So when Don Lemon, a former reporter here in Chicago and now a weekend correspondent for CNN did a verbal editorial agreeing with him and then went even further, many blacks took issue with Lemon. First, because he mentioned O’Reilly’s name; second, because when Don Lemon gave his five-point plan on fixing Black America, he did it in the context of Trayvon Martin’s murder.

I can agree that it was totally unnecessary to bring up O’Reilly’s name. And Trayvon’s murder had nothing to do with Lemon’s five-point plan solution for fixing Black America.

But as usual, many black folks got caught up in the periphery of Lemon’s message as opposed to focusing on whether or not his five points were valid.

Those points were:

5) Pull up those saggin’ pants

4) Stop using the word “nigga”

3) Respect where you live — don’t litter

2) Finish school and

1) Stop having children out of wedlock.

I am not going to address the positive merits of Lemon’s plan because I have already done so in the past.

However, given the opportunity to get on the national stage and give Black America a solution to fix our problems, I have a one-step plan, which is one word long:


All of our problems stem from far too many in our community who seem to grow physically but not mentally.

The refusal to leave childhood behind and focus on adulthood is becoming more the norm than the abnorm.

From age 1 to 9, we get to be little kids. From 10 to 13, we get to be “tweens.” We have seven short years to be teenagers, 13-19. We get from 20 to 25 to be young adults.

By the time you reach 26, you’re one-third done with your life. And that is the time to begin the one-way journey into full adulthood.

Even the Bible tells us in Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

As a group, black folks have far too many individuals who want to act as if growing up is something that can be ignored or reasoned against.

The rule of behavior should be the calendar and not how young one looks or feels. Just because physically someone looks like a teenager when they’re in their 30s doesn’t mean they get to act like one. Just because one feels young, doesn’t mean you get to act like you’re still in your teens when you’re in your 50s.

Growing up also has a lot to do with what one wears.

I happened to glance at a morning television talk show a few weeks ago where the two male hosts wore sport jackets and dress pants.

The two black male guests were dressed from head to toe in athletic gear.

I couldn’t hear what the subject was about, but how serious can one be if real athletes put on business suits to discuss their professions and others in different professions put on athletic gear?

Childhood is just a fleeting moment in the time we have on this earth.

It can’t be recaptured nor held onto.

The message to those under 25 is that adulthood is where they are going, so focus on preparing for it.

For those over 25, your childhood has gone and you can’t go back.

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