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Generations are cultures — a realization I’d attained while having a sit-down with a couple of my in-laws.

There are certain people in this world I’ll “peel my ears for” — people who will always have my attention when they speak and are usually a decade, or so, older than I. Wisdom has been the greatest teacher in my life. More often than not, I seek life lessons from those who’ve endured the world’s trials.

I’m also a believer that having too much tradition can be a fault and ruin progressive thinking. Which was not the case this day in the Fall of 2019, a few months shy of COVID. I introduced my brother-in-law and my 79-year old Guyanese father-in-law to a favorite beer style of mine — barrel aged stouts. Just as it is important to build family tradition and create a village of wisdom for the babies that bear your name, so is having an open mind to change and new experiences.

As a kid, the thought of engaging with other cultures and ethnicities, while maintaining my truthful origins and speaking honestly of systemic inequalities as a result of complexion, was my mission in life. Along the way as I matured, my experiences grew while taking on new traditions and connecting with others from varying ethnicities, orientation and trades. As a 42-year-old father and husband, the remembrance of my adolescence has provided a noble trail of ethical direction to understanding, patience and sensitivity to others.

Recently, there’s been lots of actions carried out by individuals who refuse to let go of deceptive traditions. Spurious customs that are woven into the seams of social and political constructs have forbidden their ability to adopt progressive measures of society. As the lack of humility and the systemic tradition of their privilege accrues, the land they often refer to as theirs is progressively transitioning to the land for you and me. This is fostering emotions of elation among the progressive, and bogus reactions of entitlement by archaic traditionalists. It also affirms a theory — excessive traditions, over generations, have the ability to kill. Traditions that have constitutionally designed false superiorities for generational benefit have finally begun to fall short.

From what life has shown me, it takes great humility and work to accept change. Efforts to communicate and understand cultural differences will be a constant for the duration of humanity. Our abilities to accept ethical differences in political and social agendas will preserve hearts and minds while creating a tradition of embracing change and understanding.

We’re currently at a divide that has the potential to sway in favor of entitled traditionalists. Widening the gap in favor of progressiveness will take patience to know – we may not see the changes this generations, but we have tilled the land for our children to grow in their respective acceptances. Not everyone is built for it, but most generations are, reminding me of a colloquialism often said by elders back home in Charleston, “Either fish, or cut bait.”

Do the work that others won’t do.