Wednesday, August 20, 2008

How I Almost Became the Anti-Christ

Nah, I'm not talking my stalled bid to become America's first black president.

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.

*Shudders*...The horror....

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.

19 comments:

WNG said...

humor, honesty and depth - nice.

Like I said yesterday, Papa G never let me forget where I might have been if not for the hard work and prayers or his parents and mine, but I'm proud of you for having come to it on your own.

AND you've got a little something over on my blog.

blackgirlinmaine said...

Great post. Like you I almost went down that path as well because despite having taken some detours in early life, I was able to get back on track as far as getting an education and all that jazz. Its easy to get caught up and think folks can just pull themselves up but really there are so many layers to it.

For everyone one of us who does "make it" there are many many who don't and yes some may be that folks have made poor choices but what about the hardworking folks who are trying but never keep their heads above water?

I think its important to always be mindful of others and remember where we came from and that we stand on the shoulders of others who have come before us and not forget it.

That said, having read many of the Black conservatives every now and then there is a nugget of truth they utter but too many times they are just delusional.

Of course the other issue that rarely gets covered in the Black community is the issue of class. Just like in the white world, class plays a huge part in ones success. If your own parents were educated and held jobs abd maybe even owned something, that bodes well for you. By comparison if you come from a more piecemeal existence its harder to pull yourself up when your boots don't have straps.

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

Big Man, I never felt that way, it’s probably the by-product of being from a very large family. My mom is the eldest of 6 and I have 13 first cousins, who until I was in high school, were raised up with me like brothers and sisters. We saw each other at the least once a week and pretty much everyday during the summer, as my grandmother’s house, thanks to me, was the summertime destination for baby-sitting.

You see some of my family was/is “Dem Negroes”. And it was there I realized that it ‘twas but by the grace of God that my story wasn’t the different. As the eldest grandchild, I watched them grow up. Some started out like me and fell off completely, others started slowly and then hit a stride, fell off, but then recouped and got it together, others never were like me and had no intention of being like me, street life was for them, one had down syndrome and cerebral pausey and lived way beyond life expectancy, one never lived to see 23 despite a promising future, and others hustle and try to pretend in front of my grandmother, some have even done extensive stints in jail and mental institutions. So for me I never forgot. I knew it was more than a solid core and good work ethic; after all we were all raised with that. Even the differences between my little brother and I or the differences between my mom’s family and my dad’s always let me know that being young, black and gifted was not enough.

Also the exposure to the world other members of my family bought to me let me know how much a kind word or simple gesture or just living out ones dreams could inspire you to make the most of your breaks in life and to fight through the bull. It is the main reason I will always be a part of the collective and NEVER dismiss or be condescending to those who are not at my level, however I do take it upon myself to break down some of those who think they are better or a different kind of black person than the rest. As you know I can’t stand the attitudes of elitism or entitlement.

It the one reason I don’t have a lot of friends from college, because I felt graduating as a black person from an elite institution many felt they were and are better than those cats out there just trying to live. They spend time doing things to convince themselves and others that they are somehow better, and will neverend up like “dem Negroes” when in reality “dat Negro” status is/was just a bad decision or wrong choice away.

GREAT BLOG!!

-OG

BBCSR53 said...

Many of us have traveled the road to Damascus and have had this life altering experience; I am so glad that you traveled this road; I wish someone would give Shelby Steele, Ward Connerly ,J.C. Watts Clarence Thomas and others the directions.

Big Man said...

Thanks everybody for your comments. I really liked the info you shared O.G.

Truthiz said...

I've always had a "Conservative" bent to my way of thinking. But I can't say that I've ever thought about becoming a "Republican."

I can say that I got really tired of being a "Democrat" and 4 yrs ago decided to register as a an "Independent." I wish there was a viable "Independent" party.

But back to you point, Big Man, regarding the "Grace of God" and family. Those 2 factors, more than ANY other factors in my life, have always had the biggest influence on how I think, act, and feel, as well as how I view myself and others.

Without either, I would surely be a nobody!

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

so u almost became Bill Gates - LOL

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

Big Man you inspired me to blog off topic today!!

-OG

the uppity negro said...

Well, tell me how you really feel!

I'm looking forward to this post "for another day."

In high school I used to consider myself a conservative Democrat. One who was a bit more middle of the road. I got through college and then I got to grad school and I really have turned into a bleeding heart liberal. I mean, I'm probably right behind socialist and Marxist thought--and I'm okay with that.

However, I want to clear something up, there is a difference between elitism and uppityness.

Elistism is the condescending brand of talk that uses "you" a lot and has no problem talking about "Dem Negroes."

Uppityness is the kind of talk that speaks to challenging the status quo and attempting to change their own situation and moreover the situation and lives of those around it.

To get in your post before you write it, the positive behind the "bootstap myth" (but is it a positive if it's a myth in the first place?) only exists if everyone has boots to put on, and let alone bootstraps to pull up--not some old dried out leather strip that the moment its gets tugged it breaks.

Chaser said...

i've read uppity's comment about five times now... and i still have no idea what he's talking about.
can someone translate.
thanks.

Imhotep said...

"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"

Big Man, don't you mean a white period in your life?

Personally, I never ventured that close to the white side. Must admit that ocassionally I would read something from Juan Willimas or John McWhorter and would have to rething a position or two. But eventually I would gravitate back to left of liberal.

the uppity negro said...

@chaser

Go back and read the comments from the blog post yesterday and you'll see what I was talking about. I was really carrying over the conversation from yesterday's post.

@imhotep

Have u read McWhorter's book "All About The Beat: Why Hip Hop Can't Save America"?

Imhotep said...

Uppity, Have not read "Why Hip Hop can't save America" I believe that's McWhorter's latest work, don't see myself reading it.

I've read "Losing the Race" (his seminal work) and "Winning the Race", both of which delve into his attitude towards the hip hop movement.

Losing the Race is a must read for any card carrying member of the talented tenth. For Black republicans, well it becomes their bible.

the uppity negro said...

@imhotep

Well, don't get me wrong, I was in Borders and saw McWhorters name and figured the same.

But, um, I think he may be onto something just from the title. I'm not convinced hip hop is the savior many of us (me included) had made itout to be...

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight. You want to keep a bond of solidarity between yourself-- hard working, highly educated, upstanding-- and the lowest low lifes on the streets, some of which are rotting away in jail. That has to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard. I myself have no sense of solidarity whatsoever for white trash, they can die for all I care.

No wonder you continue to feel victimized if you take what the low lifes are subjected to as if it was being done to you. I'd feel victimized too if the trailer trash's jerry springer moments somehow instilled solidarity in me. You're being ridiculous.

Let us remember the words of the prophet, Chris Rock. There are two kinds of black people. It is a civil war. You need to destroy the other side, not join them. Destroy them. Be hard on them. DESTROY!! Whitey is working hard to destroy trailer trash. I would be terribly offended if someone tried to equate me with that incestuous, KKK sympathizing, Republican voting, high school dropout, 8 kids at 18 filth.

YOU people (yes, that's right I said you people), cut that cancer off, fuck em, ridicule them like we ridicule our scum. No wonder you feel like victims and stuff if you take the burden of defending these idiots. Idiotic. Makes me mad to read this.

Big Man said...

That last comment is exactly why Chris Rock retired that joke and said he's never telling it again.

And why Dave Chappelle quit his show and Richard Pryor stopped using the word nigger.

But, it's cool, I know its hard for a white person to understand what it's like to be black in America. Most of y'all ain't built for it.

Deacon Blue said...

Whitey is working hard to destroy trailer trash.

???????????????

Really?

Gee, I didn't know the Republicans were out to destroy one of their most loyal voting blocs.

In fact, not only is Whitey NOT out to destroy "trailer trash" but rich white corporate power brokers and politicians are doing their best to ensure that lots of PhDs and other professionals with lots of education will have to live in the trailer parks with the "trash" since the economy is being increasingly designed to whittle away at the middle class and send them into poverty.

Shit, that is one of the most ignorantly stupid comments from a fellow white person that I have ever seen. NASCAR alone would never allow White American to clear out the trailer parks...

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Your experience growing up followed by finding the truth in grad school may have been to your advantage, Big Man. You got to see how mainstream whites think, but as an adult learned this national perception of success comes to anyone who tries is incorrect.

Thus, like being bilingual, you have learned to be 'bi-thinking' and can see both sides of the coin.

Anonymous said...

Not only are white people not destryong their white trash, they are letting them control this countries elcetions and futures. That's why we can't have a President who sounds to smart and the last teo Democratic presidents in 30 years were Southerners who sounded like dumb crackers even if they weren't. Trailer trash are controlling the destiny of this country.

Raving Black Lunatic