A LESSON BEFORE DYING POSTS: WHY THE COMPANY YOU KEEP MATTERS

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“The choices we tend to make in life.”


The above photo is of the historical fiction novel, A Lesson Before Dying. This book would later go on to be made into a motion picture played by Don Cheadle, Cicely Tyson, and Mekhi Phifer. A story about a young man sentenced to death for the killing of a store clerk and two of his associates. The film gave a really great depiction of the racial relationships of the South, as well as the harsh realities of growing up Black in the region. Now my topic today is how does ones’ choices influence their lives moving forward. Because in A Lesson Before Dying, all the main character had to do was pass on a ride with his friends.

We may all see it as nothing more than just a ride with some friends. Yet, in the film, there was something that made Mekhi Phifer, the young man sentenced to die, hesitate before getting in the car. Something in him knew he shouldn’t have been riding with those guys. It’s a feeling at times that we all have when being in the presence of someone we know we shouldn’t. It does not necessarily have to be a group of friends. You could be in the presence of family and a monogamous relationship. But the reasoning for Mekhi’s character getting into trouble is a story anyone can relate to; outside the racial premise of the film.

So many young men have been offered rides by their friends. Then get into the car and find out in the course of the ride, their friends have just committed a crime. How do you explain to the judge that you had no hand in the matter? The answer is, you don’t; and unless they state you had nothing to do with the matter, you’ll go to jail as well. Better yet, what happens when you ride somewhere and the people you are with commit the crime while you’re there with them? There is no way to plead your way out of that situation. In the case of A lesson Before Dying, the culprits died themselves, and Phifer was charged and executed for the crimes. In today’s society, you might be able to argue your way out, but not Jim Crow South.

Which brings me to my last reason point regarding the company you keep. You need to understand where you live and the laws as well. Southern laws are of the strictest laws in America. And what may be a slap on the wrist in one state is prison time in another. So in the end, you need to understand a few key words of advice. Watch the company you keep, be comfortable with decisions you make, and understand the place in which you reside.


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