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The Power of Guilt

by Tanya Cromartie-Twaddle “Drop A Coin Into The Withering Hand…” – Kahlil Gibran I have always been fascinated by the nature of guilt. Guilt works in mysterious ways. It is a powerful force. Guilt makes us commit all kinds of craziness and at the same time, it can keep us in check and force us to do good. Kobe Bryant. Rich. Unfaithful. Basketball Superstar. Human. Undoubtedly, he is a role model to scores of young inner city dreamers, whether he wants to be or not. I heard he blessed his forgiving wife with a 4 million dollar ring! His choice. It’s his business, of course. But it angers me when I think of all the programs in our inner city that could benefit from that kind of generosity. Or should I say guilt! I know this young man gives to charity…gives back to his community in some way or another. Yet and still, I think it’s a shame that one woman will walk around with such a fortune on her finger. I don’t care how wronged she was. Material things can’t heal the soul-deep scars of infidelity. So don’t waste your money! If this ring is a token of this shady husband’s love, appreciation and respect…see I can’t even finish this sentence. Man, take the ring back and donate the money to some group or initiative that works to build the self-esteem of disenfranchised youth. Bless some deserving agency with that token of love and devotion so that they might continue to provide programs that foster self-empowerment, self-respect, and aid youth in making healthy choices. Support responsible sex education. Donate millions to help teenage girls and young women who feel their only way out of poverty is their sexuality. Give that ring to a rape crisis center, or would that gesture signify guilt? Positive youth service programs and efforts are shutting down all over the place. Four million dollars would go a long way in Milwaukee’s ghetto. I don’t mean to blast Kobe. Well, yes I do. I’m vexed because I feel this young leader should try just as hard to “make it up” to all the kids who look up to him. Let redemption come in the form of community service. I’m no saint, but I could never rest easy under a million dollar roof knowing someone is going to bed on an empty stomach, between dirty sheets, and will wake into a bleak morning. Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 9 – September 2003