By Yako and Krystal

June 27, 2014, 12:37 pm

 

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

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

Government puppets

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

Maya Angelou quote

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


Want to write for us? We're looking for interns and experienced writers! Go here for more information.

About The Author

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 later learned that Americans speak English). At the age of 23, I traveled to South Africa where I lived for seven months to finalize my thesis for my master's in Business Administration. After that, I worked for eight years for a bank in Amsterdam, but I became restless and decided to quit my job and make the big leap across the ocean to New York. Studying arts and culture management at Pratt Institute helped me eradicate some of the prejudices I had of Americans. I never thought I would stay this long. But now eight years later, I'm still here. I live in Central Brooklyn and work for Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation with great satisfaction. So far, my life feels as if I’m on one big adventure. | Krystal: As a native of Michigan, I moved to New York with a limited perspective of the depth and importance of social differences. Having a passion for creativity, I accepted the various ideas behind expression and equality that poured out from this beautiful, diverse place called Brooklyn. After graduating from Pratt Institute in 2006 with a degree in Communications Design and barely surviving the effects of forced independence, I started an open relationship with the nonprofit world and began to willingly become my own person. Since then, I have been employed and freelance as a graphic designer, with tons of exposure to the things that fascinated me as a child. Living in two culturally different environments has granted me a faceted understanding of social norms and injustices that I feel compelled to speak on. Though visual art and design have been my concentrations since grade school, writing and sharing thoughts socially has been my core calling. In keeping my promise to my parents, I have finally decided to write for social impact. Standing up for my truth while seeking and discovering the truths of others is the way in which I've chosen to take that on. So far, I've discovered that the most direct route to societal improvements begins with the coupling of self-awareness and humility.

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 later learned that Americans speak English). At the age of 23, I traveled to South Africa where I lived for seven months to finalize my thesis for my master's in Business Administration. After that, I worked for eight years for a bank in Amsterdam, but I became restless and decided to quit my job and make the big leap across the ocean to New York. Studying arts and culture management at Pratt Institute helped me eradicate some of the prejudices I had of Americans. I never thought I would stay this long. But now eight years later, I'm still here. I live in Central Brooklyn and work for Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation with great satisfaction. So far, my life feels as if I’m on one big adventure. | Krystal: As a native of Michigan, I moved to New York with a limited perspective of the depth and importance of social differences. Having a passion for creativity, I accepted the various ideas behind expression and equality that poured out from this beautiful, diverse place called Brooklyn. After graduating from Pratt Institute in 2006 with a degree in Communications Design and barely surviving the effects of forced independence, I started an open relationship with the nonprofit world and began to willingly become my own person. Since then, I have been employed and freelance as a graphic designer, with tons of exposure to the things that fascinated me as a child. Living in two culturally different environments has granted me a faceted understanding of social norms and injustices that I feel compelled to speak on. Though visual art and design have been my concentrations since grade school, writing and sharing thoughts socially has been my core calling. In keeping my promise to my parents, I have finally decided to write for social impact. Standing up for my truth while seeking and discovering the truths of others is the way in which I've chosen to take that on. So far, I've discovered that the most direct route to societal improvements begins with the coupling of self-awareness and humility.

2 Responses

  1. Janine

    This is solo true and so deep. This should be in the good book cuz this is some real shit

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.