Makes Me Wanna Holler Too
I remember reading Nathan McCall’s Make’s Me Wanna Holler for the first time back in 1998 and how it made me feel. The book chronicles the author’s story as a Young Black Man in America transforming from a life of crime to being a respected journalist at The Washington Post. McCall did an excellent job of shining light on the role that race and race-relations played throughout his journey.
I’ve read the book a few more times since my first read but it’s been a few years since I’ve last read it. Each time I’ve read the book, I was able to take something different away from it. This was obviously due to the growth, maturity and new life experiences that I was able to factor into my perspective with each reading. Recent events in our society have sparked those emotions from 1998 to resurface. When I think of Trayvon Martin, the gang violence in Chicago, the recidivism rate of young black males in America and a host of other economic and political issues, it all makes me wanna holler too!
My work with the millennial generation fills me with encouragement in regards to race relations in America. This generation of youth and young adults are culturally curious, embrace diversity and much more inclusive than generations past. The recent Trayvon Martin case however was a reminder to many Black Americans that although we have come a long way in regards to race-relations in this country we still have a long way to go.
As much as the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case made me wanna holla, it served as a well needed reminder for me and a nation of others like me that we have a lot of work to do. As tragic as Trayvon’s death is, it is one of many tragic deaths that are destroying a generation of Young Black Men. We all share in the responsibility of putting an end to these tragedies. This is not just an issue for Black America but for all of America.
Black Men in America, we have to be the Priests, Providers and Protectors you were called to be for our Young Black Men. We have to be the Priests that first fill their hearts with faith over fear. We have to Provide them with the love that inspires and empowers them to achieve greatness. We have to Protect them from the ills, evils and malice of those that may want to cause them harm even if that means protecting them from themselves.
Young Black Men in America, you have to take responsibility for your actions and your perceptions. Please understand that people’s perceptions are their reality. Each of you is your own personal brand and everything that you do and say determines how people will perceive your brand. Your circumstances and your environment do not dictate your outcome. Your beliefs and your choices dictate your outcome. Success starts with a decision followed by the action to see it through. Anything else is just an excuse. Transformational journeys are not exclusive to Nathan McCall.
All of America, we have to recognize that we are a nation of biases and prejudices. We need to recalibrate our moral compass and allow our decisions to be guided by moral rightness instead of stereotypes and perceptions. We can no longer allow our inappropriate actions to be justified by inappropriate rules, laws or regulations. Justice should always supersede justification.
Yes, the verdict of the Trayvon Martin case made me wanna holler too. But I understand that hollering won’t solve anything. We have to take action. Hollering won’t fix anything and pointing fingers won’t fix anything. A better world starts with a better you. Be the change that you want to see in others. Inspire the change that you want to see in others. Lead the change that you want to see in others. None of us can do it alone, we’re all in this together.
Tru Pettigrew is a founder of Tru Access