JaYmes (far right) with friends
JaYmes (far right) with friends

Today, I asked my intern, JaYmes, for his opinion. He responded: “About what?” I said: “Anything you like.”

Following are excerpts of what he had to say. He did not come from a negative place when sharing his thoughts, but merely expressed openly and with power what reality looks like. I will refrain from further commentary because the words speak for themselves. Feel free to leave a reply at the end of this column though.

JaYmes (far right) with friends

An Illusionary Person Is Controlling My Thoughts

I like things to be equal
Equal chances and equal opportunities
This is not the case now
Because where I grew up
There are more liquor stores than corner stores

People are shaped to think rich
But they live poor
You get side tracked when you live in my neighborhood
I don’t even have a childhood friend on my block
Because now they just hang out on the corner smoking weed, doing nothing

People settle for McDonald’s jobs
Nothing wrong with that
But most can do much better
Do more things, have more layers
Never getting out of the hood

People are driven by fear
A lot of times its ego
It’s not worth the energy
Taking things out of context
Issues can be discussed
Instead of arguing
The next person causing me to argue with someone
And then when he is late for work
They blame me

Bringing other people down
If they do well
Bashing them down
You don’t deserve better
The government has a similar relationship with the people
It’s a cycle

The government puts in our heads that we need public assistance
And a lot of people are cool with that
They are complacent with the situation
Stimulated by a government
That does not give us any hope
Keeping us blind

It continues with every generation
You grow up on food stamps
And your kid does not know any better
You’re dealt a wrong hand

People have a powerful brain
But sometimes it feels that we build to destroy
We build foundations
But we destroy human development

Not capable of seeing there is more to life
It does take a strong person to succeed
People who are working, they got there for a reason
They had to invest
It’s not just white people
But if you see black people being successful
You know that they had to go through a whole lot of BS to get where they are

It’s always white people in advertisements
We still live in a predominantly black neighborhood
More Caucasian people come into the neighborhood
It starts to look more attractive
I never saw this when I was younger
I don’t know the reason why
Perhaps they bring more money
Not really into the politics of it

A lot of people say that rappers understand
Getting that white money
Mainly through sports and music
Is where black people have a VOICE
First black president
But Obama did not live in the hood
And does not understand all the struggles

It’s not just about skin color
Life should not be based on complexion
But I am a black man and I see the holes in our race
The negativity that people bring onto our race

When I’m in Manhattan, I see a lot of white people
And some look at me weird
Perhaps they never see black people on that block?
Yesterday, a black guy walked toward me
And I could not pass because he had his arms out
A white person would go all out of the way not to challenge me

A person living in a big mansion should not be like
“This is everything”
Even if I lived in the streets
I should be cool with myself
Being real with myself
Stop worrying about everybody else
Your true self will show if your heart is right

Making sacrifices
Challenging myself
Twenty-two years old
Don’t yet know who I am
Don’t allow myself to make mistakes
Cover it up
Battle with being perfect

Learning from making mistakes
Self-awareness
Advocate for myself and others
But don’t want to say it out loud
That’s also fear
People putting labels on you and judging
An illusionary person is controlling my thoughts

How do you break through that?
Ask yourself how important it is
You think you know who you are
But who are you really?
Write it down on paper
Another person can tell you
Somebody that you are comfortable with
Or learn from someone else

Like Maya Angelou
She was a wonderful human being on earth
That has changed and shaped lives significantly
An artist and strong woman that can send powerful messages
Through words that transpire

You have to be passionate where you come from
Unity with your race
But you also need to build knowledge on other races
And in the end it should not be about race
But about relationships
In social studies I learned about race and Martin Luther King, Jr.
And it makes sense
A black boy and a white girl can walk down the streets together

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Yako and Krystal

Yako: Born on a farm in The Netherlands, Europe, I was always on quest for adventure. As a small boy, I was already interested in learning about other cultures and pretended I was fluent in American (I...

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