I’ve yet to see the movie Get Out, but I have heard a lot about it & seen quite a few memes referencing it. Now, I understand the meaning given all the talk, but I (as well as, at least, thousands of other Africans here in Amerikkka) am familiar with a slightly different version. In fact, I became familiar with this version before I even experienced racism. “When y’all turn 18, y’all gotta GET OUT.” In 10 days from today, I will be returning to my hometown in Georgia from West Virginia. Initially, I was excited about leaving this place a month from that moment. With 3 weeks left, I was super hyped. At 2 weeks, the excitement came only when I thought of the move. Today, I am still ready to GET OUT of this place, but the excitement has died. It isn’t because I’m having second thoughts of leaving (fuck that), but rather I’m an adult now. To elaborate, I recall the day I was accepted into Savannah State University. I had several months before departing home, but I was excited the entire time. I didn’t realize, at the time, that I was not prepared for life away from my dependence upon my mother & grandparents. I remember composing an extremely hostile letter to my parents within a couple of months of being away, expressing anger from no one taking care of me. Was I wrong? Was it really my fault that I was not ready for an independent life away from someone else providing me with basic necessities? Before you say “Uh, duh!!”, let’s think about this issue for a moment. Why was I not prepared to be out in the world alone? Was I supposed to learn such survival on my own? (Now, I’ve blogged a lot about my upbringing, so if you don’t understand why I’m asking these questions, my suggestion is to read my earlier blogs.) This declaration of “18 equals GET OUT” is prevalent in the black community, at least during my generation & back. Not only that, but in addition, we were often left to raise ourselves due to reasons that include parents not being around because they had to work crazy hours, being raised by grandparents who were too weak to rear elementary aged & teenage kids, abuse & neglect, television, & peers. In all of this, we weren’t taught about saving money, building resumes, applying for jobs, looking for homes instead of places to stay, taking care of vehicles, or overall economics. Our parents were just anxious to get their younger lives back before procreation only to then realize that they are too old to do the things they used to do. Then, ironically, they want us to call, visit, or move back in after we’ve established ourselves. Get THE FUCK out!! Many of the problems in this world can be traced back to parental teachings, or lack of such. These days, I can’t label a child as bad without wondering what the parents contributed. In such cases, that child is more than likely being neglected at home & is acting out for attention. (Ignoring an attention-seeking child is probably one of the worst behaviors I’ve seen in adults. Yes, that child just wants attention, but if you as his parents don’t give him that attention now, he will grow up looking for it all his life.) By the time that child is old enough to leave home, he isn’t an adult simply because of his age. He is still a neglected child unprepared to survive in the world. The Shyamalan-twist is that his learned behaviors will aid in making this society worse because he wouldn’t be the only neglected or abused child entering into it, & what they contribute is what has been familiar to them their entire lives. Going back to my future departure, yes, I will be excited again once I am on the road, but just to recap, the difference between when I was leaving for college & now is that, now, I am aware that there is more to come after I GET OUT of West Virginia as opposed to staying focused on the thought of just leaving. I still have to survive: I still need a source of income & a home. I will still need to take care of myself. I am aware that I cannot depend on anyone for my own well-being. When I was leaving for college, none of that crossed my mind because the message beaten in my head throughout my life was that once I became a LEGAL adult, that was the time for me to (say it with me) GET OUT.