I'm talking about the first 20-21 years of life when I was on a dangerous path that could have only led to pain and suffering for myself and my family. I'm talking about a dark period in my life; a time I'm not proud of and that I do not like to revisit.
I'm talking about when I almost became a black Republican.
Yes, my dear readers, the militant self-aware young black man that y'all love to read every morning almost crossed over to the darkside. I almost joined Shelby Steele, Ward Connerly and J.C. Watts in the bootlickin' Hall of Fame and put that "R" behind my name on my voter registration card. I almost became one of them.
Thank you Lord for saving me...Thank you Jesus...
Seriously, for most of my early life I was a fairly conservative cat. Thanks to my success in school and relatively easy path to college, (butt-whippings by father aside), I was one of those black folks that had bought into the whole "bootstraps" myth. Y'all know what I'm talking about right?
If only these Negroes would work harder they would be successful in life.... Poverty is a state of mind... The only reason black people don't have more success is because they love playing the victim... If I can do it, anybody can do it...
Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. Man, I had the black conservative disease bad throughout high school and well into college. I was hard on everybody who didn't live up to my standard of morality or personal accomplishment. And I managed to do this while brushing off my own inadequacies as "no big deal."
Then I went to graduate school.
Through a series of experiences in grad school, I learned that my success in life was a result of the blessings of God not my own supreme awesomeness. I got broken down to my core, and I realized that I was just as frail as all the other people I had previously looked upon with scorn. I finally understood just how easy it would have been for me to become a statistic, to become a lost soul.
I got in touch with my humanity.
I became a Christian at 7-years old, but I truly "met" God in graduate school. I began to appreciate the role he and my parents played in my life to a much greater extent. While I had always been cognizant of what they had done for me, I began to understand exactly where I might have ended up if they hadn't been there.
I wrote all of these words because yesterday's post reminded me of my journey from the edge of the abyss. Your responses helped me see my life with clarity again; the mistakes and the accomplishments.
I was going to break down some of the comments from The Uppity Negro for problems I had with them. I was going to discuss elitism among black people and how misguided it really is. I wanted to really explore the "bootstrap myth," and examine its positives and negatives.
But, I'll save that for another day.