Thoughts of a Potential Hate Crime Victim

Unless you have lived as a Black Man in America, you could not even begin to understand the inherited negative emotions that we live with EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Thank God for Our Mothers. If it were not for them, we would have nothing to counter the devastating emotional conditions under which we live.

We have to combat fear and learn confidence.

We have to lower our guards and learn to trust.

We love just like everyone else, but we learn to hate through our skewed portrayals and treatment… And then we have to learn to love despite that.

And 99% of the time, after all of that learning, we have only learned to be accepted tolerated in a society by neglecting the pride of our own culture.

What I would love is for Our women to understand, or at least try to understand, that this a systematic approach to destroy the strength of Blacks as a whole. Don’t ever think ALL of you beautiful Black Women succeeded because you are so great and the Black Man is not. Understand that the Black Man faces more systematically placed obstacles because we would pose a different type of threat if we succeeded in the rates in which you do. This is not to take away from what you accomplish, but please do not throw us to the dogs because of what we may seem to have become.

It is coming to a point in America where I seem to be facing an unjustified death every time I leave my house. If that fate were to find me, I would love to know I was loved amongst my own people.

There is no love for a “nigga” in America. Society (globally and domestically) is taught to hate, fear, and exploit us. The hope of love for the Black Man in America does not stretch far past his Mother, Father (if he is present) and his children.

– A Proud Black Man

The Wiz Live! (Help Me Review)

I spent the week waiting for The Wiz Live! to air on NBC. With the 1978 Diana Ross version being a favorite of my family and most black families I know, it was a must see. I watched the production wide-eyed and giddy, enjoying pretty much every single moment.

Here is my overall assessment of the play.

Cast

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Shanice Williams was a wonderful Dorothy. Even though I did not know her before now, I look forward to seeing her in the future. She was great!

Elijah Kelley, the Scarecrow, was another unknown to me, Read More »

Special Love

Nah… Not that type of love. Not the kind that you have for a significant other and want to spend the rest of your life with.

I’m talking about special love.

No. Not the kind that loves the face that only a mother could love, because you may be the mother. Neither am I referring to the kind that loves a mother despite her flaws, because you may be her child.

I’m talking about SPECIAL love. There is a type of love that you have to develop for those that you have no intention, no desire, or no incentive to love. Read More »

Macho Hype

I am a walking textbook definition of macho hype.

Macho… hype — the art of keeping up an invulnerable persona regardless of surrounding circumstances. It is a practice of self-distraction and being able to block out and compartmentalize certain thoughts; or simply put, repressed emotions. So when in stressful and emotionally volatile situations, men (generally speaking, but especially me) tend to avoid anything that will evoke less than manly reactions. For example: If I read, I will read sci-fi or comics. If I get bored, I will find something to fix. If I get tired and want a nap, I will sleep on the floor with my legs propped on the sofa. If I get hungry, I will even go as far as to eat a big sloppy burger because it is more masculine than a civilized and balanced meal. Although it may sound like a stretch, it is completely true. Thoughts about Grandma, career path, the future, social issues, or even the ad for the missing puppy outside of the grocery store have to be placed on hold until you are so doped up on testosterone that you can think about them without being phased.

Which brings me to my point…Read More »

Love While You Can

The most unfortunate thing about my mode of thinking is that every once in a while I have to turn and face what society forces me to accept as reality. On one of my trips back to what we call the “real world”, I realized that if the conditions under which we live continue in their current direction, the possibilities of growing peacefully to old age are slimming each passing day.

Pessimism is not my forte. However, being aware of factors that could effect my wellbeing is indeed my forte.Read More »

And Then There Was Mr. Andrew Young

In my Week 26 Recap (just posted last night), I stated that I was going to give my six week long focus on Black American issues a break…

…and then there was was Mr. Andrew Young.

The bottle in the background was his idea! Photo by @anthon256
The bottle in the background was his idea!
Photo by @anthon256

I mean, what do you do when you are having a typical day at work, minding your own business and see Black American Civil Rights Legend, Andrew Young, coming down the hall? What do you do?!Read More »

#Selma50: To The Bridge

This past Saturday, I watched on CNN as Obama spoke at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. I was glad just to be watching the events unfold live. The longer I watched, the prouder I felt to be culturally connected to the many struggles that have been overcome by the efforts of black men like Martin Luther King and Hosea Williams; producing President Barack Obama.

As I watched, I questioned (as I often do) the time, thought and energy that I put into educating myself on race issues and attempting to bring awareness to them as I see necessary. It seems that so much was done during the eras of slavery and segregation that there is nothing left to fight for. There is plenty though; as long as lives are being lost there is plenty to fight for. The tricky part now is finding out what angles to fight the injustices from as most of them are covered by laws riddled with loopholes (i.e., The Stand-Your-Ground law).

There is enough for me to fight for and still make a difference; even if it is just in my community. Besides, the fight for Civil Justice, could soon turn into a fight for Religious Rights — this could be practice.

Sunday morning, I headed to Selma with a tank full of gas, a heart full of pride and a very inquisitive little sister.

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On the way, we got more and more anxious with every road sign marked for Selma. The traffic was thick, but flowed smoothly. We saw license plates from all over the country, but being an Alabama native gave me game an attitude to want to welcome everyone else to the state. There was no horn-blowing, no fighting for parking spaces (even though there were none), and everyone seemed to know everyone. I found myself in conversation multiple times with people that I had never even seen before; yet I cannot call them strangers. The theoretical sense of unity that I often speak of was present there; all of our differences were overlooked by perspective, compassion and love.

When I first laid eyes on the Edmund Pettus Bridge from five blocks away, I took it as the sight of our Statue of Liberty. It was beautiful, and I could not wait to get to it (neither did the thousands of other people there).
IMG_6988As I read the name, Edmund Pettus, stretching across top of the bridge, I saw an awful name, that represented an awful person, and should remind us of an awful past. Instead we took that awful person’s name and monument and made it a symbol of equality and freedom that is now more closely related to our triumph than our bondage.

My march across that bridge represent more to me than I realize yet. I am still taking in the fact that I was there for such an event in history. I believe as time goes on, I will be able to build from what I experienced on the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama.

Is White Pride Shameful?

A movie buff asked me today, “Man, you haven’t seen Action Jackson?!”

“No, I ain’t seen it yet, but it’s on my list.” I replied.

“It’s cheesy, but it’s good. I mean it was the 80s… And Apollo Creed.” I cannot recall what was said after that — and I hate misquoting — but then the was the reference of black war heros. If my grandfather had served and ranked highly in the military, I’m sure I would extremely proud of that. The courage that it calls for to serve and excel in the face of death is surely a legacy worth leaving behind. “It must be pretty rewarding to tell of your grandfather’s heroism,” I thought.

But what if you are white, and your father, grandfather or great-grandfather fought for the confederacy? Can you be proud of that? Should you be proud of that? Can you be proud without agreeing to the siding of his allegiance? Or could you agree with his allegiance for strictly political or economical reasoning without being considered prejudice or racist in 2015?

I wrote a list of questions as if I were a young white male from the South who had ancestral ties to the confederacy. In doing this, I realized that this could cause some identity conflicts with for whites as well. I am very slow to develop an opinion and speak on a situation that I cannot personally relate to; and being white is one of those situations. Family, family history and traditions are all very important to me. This are the things that will account for a majority of your identity; I never put myself in the shoes of those who are unable to be proud of what their forefathers DIED for. Plainly put — that sucks!

I do not believe that the ignorance and wrongdoings of a confederate soldier are all passed down to his living descendants. That would be an ignorant assumption on my part. However, I know some really nice white people whose roots are here in the South. I am also pretty sure that if they have ancestry that fought for the confederacy, they know about it. Should they hide it and be ashamed? Can you be a proud southern white man or woman with those roots? I can see how it would be difficult to answer and be politically correct, but I believe politically correct is the cause of a majority of America’s suppressed tension that seems to erupt at every racially motivated incident.

I’m going to look further into these questions, from this perspective just to see how I really feel about it. Black Power is a term that simply implies pride in our heritage and we say it, shout it and sing it to remind us that we are in fact, proud. Have the history of whites eternally robbed them of being able to openly expressed pride for their heritage?

Just looking for a different perspective.

February Recap

Unfortunately, I did not cover half the topics that I wanted to cover. The topics could have waited, but I really wanted to cover key people whose actions contributed to my personal outlook on races relations; or people that I relate to or would like to relate to. That’s a long list too.

The good thing is that I learned way more than I had expected to learn. There are so many things that you think you already know, but every once in a while you need a refresher. Your understanding change as you grow older and add experience to your life. Malcolm and Martin are not the same Malcolm and Martin that I had learned about in grade school; I had not even been called a nigger yet. 🙂

I have literally fell into a pit of questions ranging from music to how county zoning works. America’s foundation —the very foundation — was built along lines drawn by race. How is it then that race is no longer an issue when it is what our country is built on? People act as if talking about race relations is beating a dead horse. That horse isn’t dead at all. Just because we choose to ignore it, or act as though we have risen above it, does not mean that it does not exist. I was told that black people still make it such a big deal because we teach it to our children from generation to generation. To logically refute that, I simply ask, “Are black parents the only parents teaching?”

As the country grows and more social developments take place, there seems to be less and less room on the political agenda to ensure that black people are treated fairly. We have just enough equalities (on paper) for there to be nothing left to profit any political candidate, so the fight and struggle becomes the responsibility of each black individual. While I worry about the condition of Black Americans, I question whether or not there is actually a fight to be fought at all. If the majority of our people are content with how we are portrayed in the media, who am I to challenge that mass opinion? If we are content with being the most marketed people in the country, who am I to change that? I cannot say that injustices happen everywhere all the time to black people, but I can say that it happens so much that I see personally that I am numb to it.

There was speculation that the low Oscar ratings this year was due to a boycott of blacks refusing to watch. I had hoped that there be some press coverage on it, but then I considered, it would not be smart for media to bring awareness to the power of our numbers. We have power to change whatever we have problem with. However, if we continue to learn from television and social media, what is important and what it not, we will continue to be molded into the consumers that we have been led to become.

The best example of a family I can find on TV is the Duggar’s from 19 Kids and Counting. I cannot even think of a current TV show where black people are shown in a positive light. Then we wonder why  black children think like this:

There is a fight to be fought, but we have to be awakened to it. The unfortunate and scary thing is that the time for fighting for Black Rights is running down, while the time for fighting for Christian Rights are just beginning.

Colorism

I can freely discuss my position on black people and white people alike. I am one and not the other. I’m black. I am not white. I have opinions on both races and can clearly define my position between the two.

That’s race though.

When it comes to colorism, I find myself in the same type of limbo that I described in Washington vs. DuBois. In the case of colorism though, the boundaries that I seek are strictly physical. I am neither dark-skinned nor light-skinned; I’m just brown.

The problem of colorism is a worldwide problem and is a lot more serious in other places than the tone that I take with the issue. If you went to a predominately black school in the inner-city, you would understand how one could become numb to the issue. When it comes to the colorism among blacks, it’s basically just light-skinned and dark-skinned. Brown is pretty much a neutral zone. However, because of social stigmas that are subliminally taught to us through every angle of society in this country, it’s not uncommon to grow up thinking lighter is better and darker is worse.

Normally, as we grow into adulthood, these ideas and ways of thinking diminish. For those who don’t grow out of this way of thinking, are probably just ignorant or scarred. I believe a majority of black people could care less about a person’s skin tone, especially when it comes physical attraction.

Attractive is attractive, no matter what color it comes in. I believe we all have preferences and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem comes in when you choose a preference based on thinking one is better than the other simply because of the skin tone. I think black girls are attractive, brown girls are attractive, and light girls are attractive, but the one thing that overrides all three of those are pretty girls. Your complexion doesn’t make you cute. Since more awareness have come to issues of colorism in our society, darker skinned blacks have been claiming their territory in the media and evening the playing fields. I mean Rick Fox, Shemar Moore and Ginuwine had to move over for Tyrese, Taye Diggs and Idris Elba. (These are the jokes that blacks tell amongst ourselves.)

We are all comfortable being who and what we are this day in time. There was a time when the only way we could have a shot at mainstream success was to look like Lena Horne. Thank goodness for her because her skin open the doors for Lupita’s success. It’s a beautiful thing.

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Lena Horn; almost indistinguishable from a white lady
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Lupita Nyong’o is now the winner of an Oscar Award. Her beautiful dark face should have won another.

I understand that it is still an issue that plagues the minds of young girls all over, especially after they see celebrities gradually grow lighter and lighter year after year in the spotlight. However, that’s irrelevant, and I think as time progress, it will become more and more apparent that we do not have to do that to be accepted.

It’s really a wonderful thing. The TEAM LIGHT SKIN and TEAM DARK SKIN feud will probably be around for a while, but only as a reference to each party being proud of what they are.

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