There is little that love and respect for yourself and others cannot mend. In a broken community that is constantly being torn, dissected and separated into race and class because of the events of a cultural and national tragedy, the one thing that can bring unity and peace back to a divided town is love for yourself, and your brother. When you first see value in yourself, regardless of what other people may see, you will begin to see it in other people who look just like you. Value in others should be assumed until proven otherwise. No one should start off with zero value and then have to prove themselves to be worthy of your attention, your courtesy, or their basic inalienable human rights. We are born with inalienable rights, given to us from the creator of life itself. You can call that God, or the Universe, or Buddah, or Mother Nature, or the Big Kahuna, or The Force, or the Zone. (I prefer the Force and The Zone) But it doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you understand the meaning behind it. Born into this world, you have value, even if it’s all in a potential state. Say, a college student has value which is mostly stored in potential until he or she enters the work force or uses their education to bring value to society. Even the corner boy has potential value as he can change when he desires to, and chart a new path. And there are plenty of people who contribute to society and bring value to us all, every single day. Human beings have value by virtue of being human and having the ability to change. Every life born is inherently worth preserving.
As the most recent events that are flooding the news with images of protesters, dead bodies, police in full riot gear, the call for peace rings out over a community that is experiencing the outcome of circumstances that have been in place for too long. When men fail to see the value in themselves and each other, they deteriorate mentally into a condition where they are unaware, suppressed, ignorant, and clueless to the way society perceives them. As the larger society sees little value in them, so the cycle perpetuates itself. Men who see little to no value in themselves, little to no value in each other, and a larger society who sees little to no value in them as well are more easily subjected to such tragedies. It aint right, but it happens. The cycle can be broken when the individual who is in full control of his emotions and ideas decides to change his perspective and see the value he can bring to his community and to society as a whole. Though it is not enough to just begin to think or believe you have value based on no merit in the hopes that it will change things overnight. Yes, it is a start, but for it to last, and for anything of value to last, it must be recognized and it can be done by placing this theory into action. You must then give value to yourself, to your brothers, to your community. You give yourself value by educating yourself, be teaching yourself a new skill, by actively seeking a teacher or mentor, by eating an apple a day for your health, by taking a walk around the block for the longevity of your life. You give value to your brother by seeing value in him, talking to him in the hopes that you may be able to understand him, and by earnestly wanting him to become the best version of himself possible. You bring value to your community by looking after the elderly in a respectful manner, by not littering, by guiding children who may not be your own in the way they should grow, and by identifying yourself as a respectable citizen of that community. And yes, when the time comes to peacefully protest in the face of an injustice, you surely do that to. And when the protests are over, when the news cameras have gone, when the blood in the streets have washed away, you should still hold on to your oath and your values of a strong community, a strong brotherhood, and a strong human being who has and gives value to the world.
The Modern Benjamin is admittedly not the average of men. He always strives to be above and beyond average, but it is common sense that should be taught that no matter how dysfunctional our police force, our government, our communities, our institutions, our systems, no matter how limited our resources, or how meek our voices may be by comparison to a majority, that they are still ALL WE HAVE TO WORK WITH. And we must work wisely with what we have. Such a perspective should not be reserved to the elite. WE ALL have the SAME set up and we must navigate through it and use it to get the results we want. It starts with the individual; for all great change comes from the few minds of those determined to change the present and future.