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AFRO STAGES
Redefining the Stages of Life for Black America


American society has taken it upon themselves to define the stages of life and what people should expect, and do during their lifetime, including Black Americans. If we study these stages, we will find that there lies an agenda for people, one laced with an industrialist undertone that fuels the need for production.

As Black Americans in a capitalist country, we must recognize this society's stipulated stages of life for what they really are and redefine what we should expect from life. By doing this, we redirect ourselves away from being mere cogs in the operation of industrial capitalism and can begin to structure a purpose for our own lives.

By following the stages of life according to American scientist and sociologist, we will dissect this theory - the stages of life - and put into place one that would work better for Blacks as a people within a land of self-centeredness and the monopolization of the masses as a labor force only.

Normative Life Stages Theory

America - Age 16-23 - Youth and Adolescence
The stage in which young people are traditionally expected to finish school, leave home, and begin to establish work careers and intimate relationships. Because this period of life involves so many changes and is often a time of searching and trying out new roles, it is sometimes said to involve an "identity crises," a period of self-reflection in which young people try to understand more about who they are.

Afromerica - Age 12-18 - Young Adulthood (redefined)
First, we redefined the age bracket of the first stage. It is well known and documented that in Africa and many other countries, boys begin training as men as young as 12 years old. To date, there are young boys who live their lives in their teen years as if they are adults equaling 30 years here in the U.S.

The concept behind this is that people, by nature, are capable of developing and understanding life at younger ages such as 12-15 than what is actually expected of them today in America. It is believed that young people can begin a skeleton of a life at 12 years by realizing that at some point they will be adults and on their own. They learn the particulars of responsibility to their family and community (the Black family and community), and to the greater society. This is a lesson that Black Americans should become accustomed, teaching young people at early ages that life is more than materialism, but a strategy of living.

The dark secret behind American's definition of the stages of life is that it prepares people for the workforce. All are expected to "finish school, leave home, and begin to establish work careers," thus people are subconsciously preconditioned to become contributing mechanisms to the capitalist structure by working for corporations.

They are not encouraged or taught to become business owners nor is there academia in public schools to teach this and prepare children for becoming their own business owners and community developers, but the academia is specifically for developing workers, which is needed to run a successful labor force.

Black America should teach their children, and demand from urban schools, that lessons on becoming self-sufficient business people and barters should be taught as curricula instead of learning to become workers. On the contrary, Blacks shuffle through life with one and only one paradigm of what a normal and acceptable life is, which is becoming educated enough to find a good job and working for others.

America - Age 18-40 - Young Adulthood
The time when formal schooling is completed and roles associated with work and family careers become more important as many people marry and begin to raise children. The major challenge facing people in this stage is balancing work and family commitments.

Afromerica - Age 18-35 - Adulthood
By this time, young people should be prepared and ready to leave the home and start a business in the community. They should have had formal training and schooling by urban schools to understand how to do business with others in the community, basically their graduating peers and other already established businesses. If the cycle were to begin with a foundation of funding for new businesses, there would be enough of a business base for new businesses to grow and serve the community.

Where family is concerned, the family should consist mainly of relatives such as brothers, sisters, distant relatives and elders. Exploring self and the character of others should be encouraged but not to an extent of marriage until the person has a good understanding of how to treat the other gender. This should be taught to young men and women, and by the early twenties, a couple could then begin considering a family and children.

According to America's stages of life, "the major challenge facing people in this stage is balancing work and family commitments." In order for corporations to succeed in their undertaking of molding and utilizing the labor force, they have to give incentive for people to work. In other words, they place people in the position of needing to work so to depend on their jobs for survival. Such is the concept of balancing work and family.

If people have families, it is expected of them to support that family, and rightly so, however, one can support their family by working for themselves instead of others. And in the rebuilding of the Black community and the stages of life, Blacks will learn to run and maintain a business for the Black community before starting a family. Once the business is solid, there will always be a place for the children.

America - Age 35-70 - Adulthood, Maturity, Middle Age
The stage in which children get older and begin to leave home and the struggles involved in balancing work and family demands tend to lessen. Both men and women begin to feel encroaching signs of age, report experiencing more health problems, and often have parents and other elderly friends and relatives who are in failing health.

Afromerica - Age 35-60 - Middle Age
By this time in the stages of life, Black Americans will have successfully established a business (family business) and are preparing and or raising a family. They have strong ties with the community and can now reach out to distant communities and regions of Black America in intercontinental trade. They travel and begin to enjoy the fruits of their labor. They also contribute to the continual building of their own communities by teaching classes and directing the young.

According to the American stages of life, however, it is during this time that people begin to lessen their ties to work and family when on the contrary, the Black community should be strengthening theirs to keep the cycle going. Also, according to them, people begin aging physically along with those around them. This expectation is a defeatist one because one becomes more dependent on government assistance and the madness of today's medical field, which furthers the endeavors of big business.

Black America, by this time, will understand that health and well being can last as long as happiness and prayer is involved in life. Gathering regularly with other elders for prayer and meditation and through group healing, people can live longer without dependency on government or medicine but on the knowledge of nature alone.

America - Age 60-90 - Late Maturity, Old Age
The stage in which people begin to retire from work and suffer from some type of disability that requires drastic changes in activities. Changes generally involve unavoidable loses, such as jobs, significant others through their deaths, and health and energy. The major challenge of old age is learning to cope with the new identities and roles associated with these losses.

Afromerica - Age 60-100 - Elders
Older aged individuals in the Black community according to the stages of life are happy and healthy, though general nature of life claims the body as far as aging is concerned, Blacks are more happy, longer because the fruits of their loins have grown to become successful people and pillars in the community. They are also happy because there are no dysfunctional families or drama and no worries about medical assistance.

The business has provided well for them and the community is a continual comfort at this age. Instead of falling by the way side of American life and retiring in Florida, Black elders are rewarded from their accomplishments and honored as elders. They are sought after for advice and council and are not neglected by family or the community.

These are the stages of life for Black America, redefined. We do not have to live up to the expectations of American society concerning how we live our lives. If we accept this model, we will always be subject to corporations and the new form of modern day slavery. We should not allow society to use us as workers and be given only the hope of succeeding in a career job; we should have new expectations and set better standards for our children and ourselves.

Source From: Discovering Sociology (Stockard 2000).

© June 2005 by CR Hamilton




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