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Lest We Forget…

 I deal a lot with the topic of racism on my blog. I hate it. As a Christian, I find it impossible to juxtapose racism and true saving faith. As a result of a posting of Pastor Ben Parkinson’s sermon a couple of weeks ago, I received some comments from a couple of fellows which pull the curtain back from what is hidden in the hearts of many. I don’t know if they claim Christianity, but I think that their views are echoed by many who populate white evangelical churches.

I have met some truly wonderful people in this blogging endeavor — white black and otherwise —  and I want to be clear that I know that they and multitudes do not share these racist perspectives!

It is just that, in the Utopia that is my diverse church, I can easily forget that not all people have the desire to love honestly and openly.

Mr. Roach, whose comments follow, is one of the people who has poured cold water on my way of thinking and reminded me of racism’s thriving heart. He is a conservative in the vein of Hannity, Limbaugh, Buchanan, Rove, and yes, even Reagan. He has been kind enough to openly share the true nature of a lot of the rhetoric we hear nowadays. His comments (part of the thread entitled, “Go, Tell it in the Suburbs”) follow a lengthy discussion on Affirmative Action, reconciliation, and reparations, etc. You may check it out further to get the context… Please excuse his language. I did not edit any of it.

We paid at the office, home boy. Have you seen a rich white person’s tax return lately! Wow, it’s a lot of dough going to welfare queens, midnight basketball, and paying for all those section 8 housing vouchers.

 To this, I replied:

  1. Who are you, Mr. Roach? Do I know you? Did we grow up in the same neighborhood? Or the same city?
    How is it that I am your “home boy”? Or ANY kind of “boy”?
    No, I’s ain’t privy to you white folks’s bidness, NawSUH!
    But I know THIS: There are a whole lot more white folk on welfare than black folk!
    I know that a whole lot of white folk know how to manipulate the tax laws so that they don’t pay nearly as much as they (you) should! That’s a lot of your hard earned tax money going to military defense, too, buster! Law enforcement, fire departments, etc! Thank you, Mr. Roach, for not scurrying back into the cracks while the light has been shed on your (and so many other of your compatriots’) true feelings, as is the norm for those like you, Mr. Roach.

So, you think that you have summed up what the black experience is, huh? Section 8 and basketball. You got us all in a bag, huh? I think YOUR comments sum you up, buddy.

There is a whole lot more behind why blacks in this country are in the state we are in, and your either admitting it or throwing up racist smoke screens do nothing to change the facts.

  1. And one more thing: Basketball was just fine when it was George Mikan and Bob Cousy, wasn’t it? It was just fine when black folk were not allowed to play against whites.But now, since it is not being dominated by those who look like you, Mr. Roach, it is turned into a racist cliche! Just like dancing, singing, and ANY other activity that ALL people love to partake of! If you don’t get to be the best at it, the SUPERIOR one, why not just act like Aesop’s fox and act as though you never wanted the sour grapes anyway! Turn something great into a negative.Michael Jordan is “naturally gifted” but Larry Bird “works hard.”Why don’t you tell us what YOU want, Mr. Roach. Tell us where YOU want black folk to go and where YOU want us to go. As if we don’t already know. Since we can all jump so high, I guess it would be peachy with YOU if we leapt to the moon, hunh?Comment by maxdaddy | February 27, 2008 <!– @ 3:24 pm –>|
  2. Roach continued;

Actually, I don’t want you to go anywhere, unless you hate this country like Michelle Obama. Then you can move to the country of your choice.

I just don’t want to see any more affirmative action. Do well in sports, you’ll get people’s respect. Do well because affirmative action, and white people think what you worry they think: These black people around us sure are kinda dumb, incapable, privileged, and all the rest. It’s little different than nepotism or legacies; if you don’t get somewhere on your own merits, you’ll never have the respect of others, nor will you have self-respect.

Midnight basketball, incidentally, is a feel good social program designed to reduce urban crime. It gives kids a place to go. It also has never been shown to have any effect whatsoever. I don’t care if blacks do well in sports, but to make a big deal about sports over other more attainable middle class jobs is silly, and it leads to a lot of young people haveing unrealistic “hoop dreams” that would better be directed into hard work in algebra class. 

Affirmative action doesn’t threaten me. I’m a lawyer and I make a lot of money. Affirmative action, however, is unjust. It also makes people like Michelle Obama feel bad about herself. Affirmative action is the mirror image of Jim Crow. I support merit, IQ tests, and treating people as individuals when individual information can be found out through things like standardized tests, GPAs, etc. For this reason, high IQ Asians have done very well, in spite of the supposed epidemic of white racism. Why is that do you think?

As for whites resisting blacks for centuries, that’s certainly not true of all those whites–including my relatives–who came over around 1900-1924 is it? I mean, we were broke and I’m the first one to go to college, so I don’t feel too bad about rich Southern plantation owners because they have nothing to do with me and my bloodline or family. I do know, however, that I like blacks that act like white people, and I don’t like whites that act like (most) black people. I like civilized behavior, and most majority-black areas don’t have it. But I’ll give anyone a chance, particularly if he does well in school and is as smart as his white competitors. But I see no reason to cut blacks any breaks with affirmative action. Slavery was 150 years ago. Jim Crow ended at the very latest in 1965. It’s time to take some personal responsibility for your individual and collective circumstances. Racism didn’t make a cult of the pimps in the 70s. Racism doesn’t make blacks call “doing well in school ‘acting white.’” So get the fuck over it already, grow up, act white (i.e., civilized), and you’ll do just fine.

emphasis added

Comment by Mr. Roach | February 28, 2008

I am sorry if this disturbed you. Imagine how I feel. I know that every day I leave my front door, or turn on the TV I face the possibility that my neighbors, or the guy walking in the store ahead of me, or the mechanic, the real estate agent, the waiter, the potential boss, the cop, or the LAWYER all feel the same way. Yet I am not bitter, not hateful, not perpetually angry, not the victim, and not the failure. It is life. It is my America, OUR America. This Roach, Mr. Roach, has done me a favor!

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February 29, 2008 Posted by | Affirmative Action, Arrogance, Black Life, Christianity, Civil Rights, Conservatives, Diversity, Larry Elder, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Race, Racial Reconciliation, Racism, Religious Right, Republicans, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity | 41 Comments

Juanita: The Transparent TeleVANDAList.

You ever had a feeling about someone, an inkling, an undelineated indication that you can’t specifically identify? I know you have. We all have from time to time. I have had this feeling on numerous occasions, and have been wrong a couple of times. However, I have been right a LOT.

 The person about whom I have this feeling currently is Juanita Bynum, the -self-proclaimed, self-fulfilled (pun)- prophetess. This feeling does not stem from my bitter aversion to her abuse of doctrine, or of her OBVIOUS prostitution of the Word and name of the Lord for her own personal accruement of wealth. (No, I am NOT jealous of her! No more than I would be jealous to usurp the position of anyone who would dare put a millstone around his own neck in the enterprise of misleading baby Christians!) No, this is not about her abominable doctrine.

I’ve heard her screeching at the top of her shrill voice countless prophecies that did not come to pass.  I’ve heard her say some of the most inappropriate, titillating things on the altar of the Lord that appear to be only for shock value. The shrieks of her mostly female audience prove my point. To her proponents, she is only being “real.” She intimidates those in her presence in a quite masculine manner. I’ve heard her demanding folk to empty their bank accounts and send them in. I’ve heard her speak of having “intercourse in the spirit(!)” with a male televandalist, and heard her justify this statement by saying “you have to have a male and a female” to do this! I’ve heard of her blessing out a woman in front of an entire assembly who DARED enter a thousand-dollar line with only fifty dollars! I have heard her torture the Scriptures in a more efficient fashion than an abattoir overseer!

I have heard all this and much more that I’ve forgotten, but her heresy is not my issue right now… When I hear her speak, I hear a profound arrogance. A pronounced self-importance! I get the sense when I hear her, that there’s no one in that room on her level. No one as important as she. The words she speaks seem to roll syruptitiously (my word) down her surgically reconstructed nose to the longing ears of her eager thrall.

I cannot STAND arrogance! How dare we seek to take credit from the Lord for any ability or blessing? Yes, one may claim to give God the glory, but their actions usually spell out the truth. She may claim humility, but she fairly drips with hubris.

I remember her relating a story one time recently where a niece of hers asked for a key to Bynum’s house. Bynum reproved her shrieking, “Naw, honey! I got MILLIONS in my house!” Her audience hummed approval; “Yeh, she DO! Umm-Hmm. Thass right, gurrl.” ARROGANCE. She often has her audience at the point where she can say just about any crazy thing without fear of reprisal. 

I come from a neighborhood where a lot of “worldly” guys lived. We had a pimp named “Percy” who lived down the street and always kept a yellow Cadillac and a woman with a rabbit fur coat on. Percy the Pimp!! The man next door did time for accessory to murder in the commission of an armed robbery. His son would lie and say, “He gone to the Army,” or, when we found out he was in prison, “He stole a lawn mower.”

There was a housing project in the neighborhood behind us, and when it was built, bikes mysteriously began coming up missing, and fences were erected in previously open yards. There were people who had a little, and people who had nothing, all living in the same neighborhood. We had police officers, teachers, like my parents, laborers, drunks, and hustlers, all there on Gainsville. There was a time when I was fairly gullible. I was quick to trust and believe the word of someone I thought my friend, because I thought the world was a nice place when I was five. I soon learned that if I were going to make it, I would have to be able to discern the truth from a lie. You see, a liar is not going to come straight out and say, “Okay, I’m gittin’ ret ta tell a lie, but ack like you believe me anyway*!” I had to get burned a few times before I figured out how to spot a liar. I had a guy in the second grade tell me that if I gave him my Hot Wheels ’68 Cougar, he had this machine at home that could turn it into a fancy CORVETTE! I’m STILL waiting on that car… You don’t have to have grown up on the streets to recognize a hustler when you see one, but it doesn’t hurt. (I saw Kobe’s arrogance WAY before he got into trouble!)

Watching Bynum on video doing an interview on her recent, alleged, beating at the hands of her Rook-I mean-Bishop husband left me with the sense that something was amiss. She was double-talking, contradicting earlier public statements in which she stated unequivocally that, “even if we KILL each other,” she would not leave her husband. Here, she emphatically pronounced the marriage over. She seemed the perfect victim: a few tears, an uncharacteristically calm, demure demeanor… All who know her story know that she is the dominant partner in the union. Just look at some of their photos.

 She has spent most of her on-air time since then touting her new destiny as the “Face of domestic abuse.” Not a scratch to be seen on that face. Now, I don’t expect her to come right out and say, “I’m gone ride this hoss till it DROP!” (that would be counter-productive) But something in her words and manner says just that! Growing up as I did makes me kind of recognize when someone is “Runnin’ Game,”** as we say.

I noticed that she said repeatedly, on the video, that she would not disparage Weeks, “As long as he is my husband.” (transparent statement) But I also heard her repeatedly refer to the occurrence as “a parking lot incident.” Over and over. I was reminded of Mark Antony’s clever speech in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.” He claimed that he came not to praise Caesar, but to bury him, all the while subtly turning the crowd’s wrath on the men who murdered him while constantly repeating that they were “All, all honorable men.” I don’t know if the “Prophetess” ever read the play, but I recognized the strategy, and she employed it deftly!

I have seen the faces of beaten women, and they look just that. Beaten. Why do I have to pause here and say that any man who hits a woman is a punk? Of course that is the case. If he did it, HE needs to be medicated in the same way, so to speak. But I suggest that even if he just pushed her down, or tripped her, she can SAY that he did whatever to her, and will automatically be believed. I have seen it happen. Why were there no pictures of her face?

Why did she go after him when he chose to leave?

If you are going to fight in a parking lot, you’ll fight in a restaurant. If he was that angry, he would have done it inside. They are both public places.

The bellhop said THEY were fighting, not just that he was beating her.

She has used her platform as a motivational speaker (that’s all she really is) cleverly enough so that her legion of fans need nothing but her word that he did whatever she says he did in order to be convinced. She is so arrogant and prideful, that she, supposedly a minister, adamantly pronounces the marriage over- with NO adultery, the ONLY Biblical reason- and states that she would have to give 250% to her union in order to save it, while her ministry, her DESTINY, is more important, requiring only 190%! Does she not know that God says that you sin if you forsake marriage for ministry? Is it more important to be the the face of domestic violence than to lead souls to Living Water? Or, is it simply more lucrative?Does not Christ and the Gospel suffice? Should she not concentrate on proper exegesis and marital soundness? Should she not learn how to-Biblically- submit her pride and arrogance as a proper wife? 

Has she not made a cottage industry out of “teaching me how to love you,” and counselling couples and “ministering” to hurting women who need a good man? Should she and her husband already know how to navigate such waters as these? Don’t they know that God can fix anything? Are her “millions” more important than her standing before the God she claims to serve and obey?

I guess I write this because I know that she is about to milk this incident dry. At the expense of women who really have been brutally abused and murdered at the hands of their husbands and boyfriends. I am tired of her ubiquitous presence on “Christian” airwaves. I am sick of hucksters, pimps, and dream-sellers abusing those really in need, and unlearned. I am sick of the arrogance and pride with which they so boldly bilk the multitudes. It is just another business angle for her, and I’m frustrated because it is all so transparent.

There is just something about her demeanor and attitude that rubs me the opposite way. Something in that shrill, croaking voice that does not impress upon me the love of God… There appears to be a character chip missing from the programming. I don’t see that she truly respects people. Certainly not the ones whom she demands empty their bank accounts and such! There is refuge for her, I guess, in the fact that I’m not a prophet, not a mind-reader. But I know I’m right, and many of you feel it too. Is that what the Bible calls, “discernment?”

Maybe. However, I can’t stand arrogance in people. It’s okay if I esteem you, brother, as better than me, but humbug it if YOU esteem yourself so! How dare you, Rosie O’Donnell, or Trump (Paula White’s landlord), or T.O., or Bynum, or anypuffed-up “Apostle,” or “Bishop,” or any other phoney prideful prognosticator seek God’s prominence for yourself based on how much money, or power, or influence you have?! I don’t hate you, but according to I Cor. 5, specifically, verse eleven, I wouldn’t, don’t have to, even EAT with you, or anyone so haughty and disingenuous as to claim Jesus and be so obviously, repeatedly, out of His will. Get fixed up. Quickly.

Pride goeth before the fall, baby girl! Thass Proverbs 16:18! 

*”I am preparing to prevaricate. Conduct yourself as though you are benighted to this fact!”

**Being deceptive

September 9, 2007 Posted by | Bishop, Bishop Thomas Weeks, Character, Charlatans, Christianity, Commitment, Common Sense, Current Events, Divorce, Faith Healer, False Doctrine, False Prophets, False Teachers, God, Humor, Jesus, Juanita Bynum, Language, Marriage, Morality, Paula White, Personal Responsibility, Prophetess Juanita Bynum, Prosperity Gospel, Pulpit Pimps, Rationality, Religion, Respect, Sin, TBN, Televangelists, The Bible, Thomas Weeks, Word of Faith | 6 Comments

“This is Gonna Sting a Little…”

They Don’t Hate You.Coaches.Fathers.

Teachers.

Drill Instructors.

I used to think they hated me. They were so mean. Making me do stuff I couldn’t do. Didn’t want to do. Pushing me. Frowning. Yelling.

They never told me they were trying to make me better, stronger, smarter, tougher. They never said that the purpose was to make a man out of me. I didn’t know the true purpose until years later. I just thought at the time that they wanted to win at whatever the game was, and that I was simultaneously failing and causing them to fail. I thought they were trying to live through me, or to get a raise or promotion.

Had I known, I might have tried harder at more things and not given up a little inside. Maybe then, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to realize I wasn’t a loser that nobody liked. I wouldn’t have had to find out for myself.

This, however, is not about self-pity.

It is about my son. My children.

And perhaps yours.

“Max, the world is hard, and soft things get crushed. Those who can’t take it get taken.

This world sniffs out weakness and devours it, and you will be strong. Some people will try to take advantage of you. I will try to teach you to discern friends from abusers. But learning takes effort. Soft muscles become hard under pressure.

The first time you try to throw a ball, shoot a basketball, or ride a bike you will fail. No athletic endeavor is perfected without hours of dedicated practice.

You will have to wash dishes, wash cars, cut yards, mop floors, learn manners, eat things you don’t like, and not ask ‘why.’ You will at times think me mean, but I will not be swayed by that. It is not my first desire to be your friend, but your parent. You will be a citizen. You will improve this world, not burden it. We can be friends when YOU have kids and understand why I did what I did.

The first, even the tenth, math problem you encounter will be difficult to solve. Your first sentence will sound funny. Repetition is what will bring you understanding. You don’t get to give up. You will learn.

You will learn when to laugh, when to cry, when to fight, and when to listen. You will know when to comfort, how to be loyal, how to treat a woman, and how to pick a friend. You will know the Lord, and show the Lord. Above all else.

We will have a lot of fun in life, but I’m going to push you sometimes. There will be things that I will make you do that you will not want to do. You will fail a little now so as not to become a failure. Just understand that I do it- they do it- not out of hatred, but out of a desire, a responsibility, to make you more than you can become on your own. A knife needs a stone to become sharp. A sword needs fire to be shaped.

Daddy loves you.”

September 6, 2007 Posted by | Advice, Childhood, Discipline, Fathers and Sons, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Parenthood, Parenting, Parents, Personal Responsibility | 1 Comment

“Please Don’t Let Him Be Black!”

Thank you, Pac Man Jones.*

Thank you, Chris Henry.*

Thank you, Tank Johnson.* Thank you, Michael Vick.*Thank you, Ron Artest.**Thank you, Kobe.**

Thank you, gangsta rap.

Thank you, BET.

Thank you, video hoochies.***

Thank you all, and all you others that I forgot. Oh, yeah. Thank you, Flava Flav, and all of your “ladies.” YOU know what time it is…

I just wanted to thank you guys for all you’ve done to advance the worthy cause of racism today. We needed to keep those stereotypes and presuppositions going, and you all have done an exemplary job in keeping them alive and thriving! I love “fitting the profile!”

We ARE all sexually irresponsible criminals who only live to drink, drug, and dance. We can’t be faithful to our wives. We are all inappropriately loud, unraised, and devoid of decorum. We all drive and wear our net worth. We are all more violent and threatening than Vikings or Cossacks could have imagined.

What’s the use of talking through a disagreement when we can SMOKE**** a fool?! We are all wary of books and of education. If we had our choice, we would all either pimp women, or prostitute ourselves. Sex, money, crime and violence. That sums us up. Thanks, guys, for making sure no one forgot that.

I surely don’t want to hear that tired argument that the White man just plays up Black crime just to make us look bad. The White man didn’t make you drown dogs, or buy those guns, or get into all those strip club fights, or paralyze bouncers, or write those “lyrics,” or shake it in those porn-eos, or AIR them. You’ve got the receipt for that stuff!

The fact is that when you blame others for what is so clearly your own work, you make it nearly impossible to cry foul when racist acts do occur! How can I righteously rage against the Sean Hannitys of this country, who cloak and disguise bigotry with the flag, when they bask in the sunlight of stories like yours, revelling in the use of racist code language like “The Race Card?” As if all those years of slavery and Jim Crow, all they have wrought to this very day, can be boiled down to a card in a deck!

Thank you for making it so easy for me. I’m so popular nowadays. When I walk into a grocery store in a good (read: White) neighborhood, all those nice White people stare at me in awe, admiring my got-it-going-on-ness. The security people are so curious of my shopping habits that their cameras follow my every move!

When I shop for clothes or big ticket technological items, the salespeople are courteous enough to not bother me with questions or offers of assistance. They know I have the money to afford the merchandise, but they are kind enough to let me find what I need on my own.

Cops are so concerned about my well-being that when they see me, they make u-turns in traffic to ensure my safe arrival at home! They give me tickets to courtroom dramas, in which I get to play pivotal roles.

They’re so nice to us that when we kill each other, we get little, if any, jail time. And that’s if they even bother to investigate.

(I mean, who would care if all the mosquitoes or slugs wiped each other out?)

They’re so interested in our input that when a South Carolina woman drowns her kids, or when a Boston man shoots his wife, the cops round US up to hear what we think. That’s so thoughtful.

When I seek to buy a home, the real estate agents, knowing that birds of a feather need to live in the same cages, thankfully steer me away from those stuffy, boring, quiet neighborhoods. And they make sure that I get the good kind of financing that changes with the market so that I can get a better percentage rate later.

 Dey sho looks out fa me!

Thank you Al, Jesse, and all the Supreme Black Thinkers for shifting the focus. Thank you for blaming the White Man while the seventy percent baby-mama rate goes unlamented, uncrusaded.

Thank you for ignoring the astroromical dropout rate.

Thank you for showing up (rightfully so) when a cop does something wrong, but giving only weak kool-aid lip service to Black-on-Black cultural, and actual, genocide.

In terms of number of offenses, you dump an ocean on a lit match, and spit on a wildfire!

We don’t need our “dirty laundry” aired publically anyway. All those gang killings and drive-bys will thankfully continue to go unnoticed. The wider society would get a wrong notion of who we are if we marched and protested about all of the murdered school children and innocent bystanders.

Thank you ”leaders” for raising all that noise about Don Imus, instead! We know who our real enemies are. “WE can kill each other by the thousands, but a White man bett’ not even SAY nothin’!”

Keep on keepin’ it real!

I truly believe that, although only God could get them to admit it, there are those in law enforcement, on television, and in my own neighborhood, who want us all either in jail, in graves, or in Africa! But overt racism is no longer chic, and has thus gone COvert. I am not a fool. I live it.

Do you think that even the CHURCH, the last bastion of accepted segregation, would be so if that were not the case? Even those who (falsely) claim Christ don’t want us around them.

The aforementioned Sean Hannity, and many of his conservative contemporaries claim to be fair, but try every other option rather than admitting a single case of racist behavior.

(The thing these conservatives seem to “conserve” most is compassion. They need to be more liberal with the love!)

“Oh, it’s out there, but it’s rare. The great Dr. Martin Luther King cured it!” Well, why is it that I see it so often, when I’M the one they try to hide it from? Wouldn’t they logically display it to “one of their own,” believing him to be of like mind?

Regardless of your selfish, irresponsible acts, guys, “they” who would degrade you will do so anyway. They will laugh at your lips, noses, and skin color. They will belittle your accomplishments. They will still deny you job opportunities. They will still not want us in their neighborhoods, schools, and stores. They will still see us all as shiftless, unteachable criminals out to rape all the women. They don’t need reasons to hate us, but you all continually hand them excuses to point the finger.

Thank you for giving a bat to a head-beater! (obviously, I am speaking here of racists, not everyone.)

Yes, I know what atrocities occurred to get us where we are. Black folk are not intrinsically dumb, or project-prone. There is a reason why we always end up being the porters, busboys, dishwashers, maids, cooks, sharecroppers, garbage men, ditch-diggers, country club servants, defendants, laborers, bathroom attendants(!), and custodians.(yes, we can get  some other jobs, but we are the only ones who get these!) We want good educations. We want to live in tree-lined communities. But SOMETHING has kept us from “the good life” as a norm, and it ain’t laziness!

This is not about transferring blame, though. This is about realizing that, like it or not, fair or unfair, groups of people are judged by their negatives. For minorities, Black folk in particular, this fact means that the fullest measure of the “American Dream” is not achieveable for the whole. We have to speak better, know more, work harder, and act more civilly because each misstep affects the perception and opportunity of, and for, the group.

(Yes, we have it harder. If you don’t think so, go to the ghetto and look at all those poor children and try to believe that they did something to be born there. They are just the current link in a loooong chain. Their starting line is MILES behind even poor White kids.)

I know that you fellas don’t care about that fact. You don’t give a… HOOT what White folks think about you! But because you don’t, the burden is made heavier for the rest of us. We care to have an accurate assessment made of our character. We don’t want to be measured by your rule. We are tired of being embarrassed by your uncouth actions. We are tired of hoping the “perp” isn’t Black when the news comes on. I don’t want my child, or yours, to suffer because of what you have done.

You get stuck with the pin, and I feel the pain.

Christian love is thinking first of the next man.

Quit being selfish and show some personal responsibility!

THANK you.

*NFL player

**NBA player

***Spectacularly endowed, sparsely-clad women of nebulous morality.

****Shoot, kill.

July 25, 2007 Posted by | Al Sharpton, Crime, Current Events, Jesse Jackson, Personal Responsibility, Race, Racism, Sean Hannity, Segregated Church, Sports | 8 Comments

TURN LOOSE THAT MICROPHONE!

TOO MANY PEOPLE HAVE A VOICE

Everybody has a forum today, and many of them don’t deserve it. And, yes, I DO taste the irony in my mouth… Everybody has a mic in his mouth and a camera in his face speaking his opinions and attitudes and predilections to the world, changing the idea of what is acceptable.
We — Blacks– are marketing a version of ourselves to the world that is distorted and degraded. We aren’t ALL about sangin and daincin and runnin and jumpin, which IS beautiful. We have surgeons and mechanics and pilots and programmers. But prison, gang life, and “skrip clubs”* are the prevailing images we present. We appear to be childishly materialistic and distressingly carnal.
We, like all cultures, have a well-rounded array of attributes to offer the world. Sadly, though, our entertainment-obsessed society refuses to be distracted long enough to notice anything except all the “Mantanning.” Just as the internet was immediately commandeered by porn-peddlers and identity thieves, hip-hop, once upbeat and promising, has been given over to the basest of human behavior in a relatively short time. As the beats got better, the content got darker. And I don’t want to hear that, “lt’s no different than ‘The Godfather’ ” argument! Marlon Brando never got into a fight with Robert DeNiro at the Academy Awards. John Wayne’s security never shot Kirk Douglas’ “manager” over some beef about who was the baddest fake gunslinger. Theirs was truly just MAKE BELIEVE!
Okay, you have a forum, now. Don’t use it to glorify the aspects of ghetto life that everyone generally wants to escape. Why is that not a fair request? Drug infestation, sexual irresponsibility, high crime, illiteracy…. What is good about any of this?

”If I wasn’t rappin’, I’ll probly be in jail.”

Nowadays, with the glorification of prison life I don’t see where that would be seen as a bad thing! Why not be in the midst of that which you glorify? Sagging pants, tattoos, untied shoes, ”down-low” brothahood, all these trends are said to come from jail. Prison chic. Whoda thunk it? What do you expect, though, with more brothers in jail or on probation than in college?
Let’s just get this straight: Ain’t NUTHIN cool about jail. If you wanna do something that proves how hard you are, join the Marines or go to Africa and kill a lion with a knife. Or marry the girl you impregnated, and stay there and raise freekin’ citizens! At least then, you wouldn’t have to worry about getting shanked in the throat or being raped or being forced to braid hair in a halter-top!
Another thing, everybody “on lock” ain’t a political doggone prisoner! Some people in jail actually did it! They ain’t all heroes or victims of racism (some are, to be sure). Let’s worry about rehabbing and returning to society with a positive story to tell. Prove to your people that you didn’t deserve to go, or that you regret what you did. Then you would be truly respected. As it is now, I don’t want my kids being role-modeled by some cat with a prison mentality.

“lf l wasn’t rappin’, l’ll probly be climbing through your window.”

And if l heard you, you’d probably be getting shot! Just kidding. No, l ain’t. So, your point is…? That if it weren’t for us giving you platinum chains, 22 inch rims, and a boat, you would just take what WE have? What makes that a cool thing to say? How does that make me wanna say, “Ooh, l gotta go get that ‘Gangstafied’ cd, cuz he so HORD! I gotta keep him paid so he don’t jack nobody.” So, you get it from us one way or another… l admire strength and power, too, but l want to know that a person has some artistic integrity before l go out and spend what l earned on him. People spend their food money on a lot of this trash, and all they get in return is a mind full of rotten potatoes and used baby diapers masquerading as art.
Kids who can barely speak (toddlers AND teens) quote this musical iodine like Scripture, talking about pimpin’ and stripping techniques and drug transactions and prison sentences.
But they can’t write a sentence!
The videos are so explicit, that I feel I need to put a trench coat on before I watch them. I’m not a Puritan, or a prude, but sex belongs in a context – a category – and a music video is not it. I don’t go to “skrip” clubs, or solicit prostitutes, or violate my marriage vows. Not because I’m so good and pure, but because I’m tethered to a Standard way higher than my own ability keep from to slipping and falling prey to my weaknesses. Stop pouring grease on a wet floor!

”If I wasn’t rappin’, I’ll probly still be sellin’ drugs. Thass how I paid f’ my firss album.”

Well. That’s cool to know. Selling drugs. At least you’re not perpetuating any STEREOTYPES and making it hard for me to, say, drive my nice car through a White neighborhood! Matter of fact, l can’t even BUY the car l like because that’s the one the ‘dope boys’ drive. What you do now is no different than selling drugs, anyway. The wanton, glorified violence and irresponsible sexuality you peddle is probably more insidious. And it is just as addictive and generally devoid of hope and purpose.
The “Not My Problem” rationale you employ so lamely is the same as the dealer’s:
“Iss the parent’s responsibility.” lt’s so obvious you heard somebody else say that.
“If you got a prahlem wit it, turn the channel.” To what? it’s everywhere! I can’t even watch a sitcom without hearing cursing! And every month, a new word gets admitted. Pretty soon, the only reason to watch pay TV will be to see snuff films and executions. Am I to be expected to walk through life blindfolded to keep from being offended? Is it now MY responsibility to sidestep your un-scooped poop?
“If l wasn’t givin’ it to ’em, SOMEbody would.”
But, why does it have to be YOU?
Well, take your ample share of the responsibility and wear it proudly. Wear proudly the fact that in so short a time, we have gone from martyrs in a righteous cause to the office joke. From glowing accomplishments to debauchery, from jazz to sequenced ignorance, from scatting to Ebonics. Be proud that in a community on the precipice of collapse, where practically NO one has a father, where children learn nothing in the way of discipline and order, where all they learn from the outside world is of the excess and permissiveness of the majority, where their souls are hemorrhaging at the brink of extinction, be proud that rather than help stop the bleeding, you instead rummage through their pockets taking what little hope they have left. The lessons they learn, YOU teach them, for you are all they hear. Your foul lyrics are the words to their too short life stories. “Selfish” is way too soft a word for what you do to your own people, your FAMILY, in a sense. And don’t bother thanking God for your “Shake it Like it’s Hot Up in Here” award, unless you mean to thank Him for not smiting you for producing so much gabbage! Don’t say you love Jesus for your material blessings, because HE said that,”What you do to the least of these, you do to ME.” Marinate on THAT!
And now ain’t the time to talk about what the White Man did. The White Man didn’t cause the over 70% out of wedlock birth rate or the outrageous murder rate. The White man didn’t tell you to drop out, or to not read a BOOK! He didn’t force the production of gangsta rap or the glorification of thug life. Nope, the Blame the White Man peg, sometimes justified, won’t fit in THIS hole. We did this one to ourselves. Deal with it. Change it. And GIVE that durn microphone to somebody who has something to SAY!

*Strip Clubs

July 2, 2007 Posted by | Art, Celebrity, Fame, Gangsta Rap, Hip-Hop, Music, Personal Responsibility, Race | 3 Comments