When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong
I think of Dave Chappelle’s skits, When “Keeping It Real” Goes Wrong when I see someone get themselves in trouble in the name of “keeping it real”. The truth is most people are copying someone else and doing a poor job of it. In our over-saturated society of media whores, reality stars and fake “rich people”, it’s easy to pretend that you are bigger, badder, richer, happier and more successful than you really are. People try too hard to be edgy, funny, snarky and end up failing miserably.
I overhear so many young people use acerbic wit as keeping it real. Yet, when you engage them in a conversation, you realize that they’re masking some kind of insecurity. They’re just regurgitating wheat they’ve heard from someone. So much for keeping it real. There’s also this misconception that keeping it real implies that you can be rude and obnoxious to people without any recourse. Trolls hide behind anonymous identities and spew their venom at unsuspecting people online just because they feel the need to be real. Parents use social media to shame their kids in the name of keeping it real. Kids record fights in the name of keeping it real. People write blog posts to demean others in the name of keeping it real.
But what is real? We talk to our kids about realness but how many of us live by those words. Kids are like surveillance cameras and they are surveying our behaviors and actions even when we’re unaware of it. When we tell them one thing and do another, they see through our hypocrisy.
It’s imperative that kids understand that keeping it real does not mean keeping up with appearances. Yet, we tell our kids one thing and do something different.
As parents, we have to be consistent and clear with our message. We can’t tell kids that they shouldn’t care what people think and then post something on social media so our friends can think we’re cool. If we’re not being authentic, how can we expect the same from our children? Once we start keeping it real, our children will do the same.
Are you keeping it real?