Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Canadiens Are The New Niggers

It's true.

Apparently, people here in the South (and possibly across America) have been using the word "Canadian" as an ass-whipping free substitute for nigger. The Canadian tag apparently grew out of the restaurant business, and once again seems to prove that black folks have not been off target when we've complained that white people treat us like shit when we go out to eat.


I shit you not

This would have been totally mind blowing to if I hadn't watched this comedian on Def Comedy Jam hip me to it last week.

This cat was talking about how sneaky white folks can be, and why it's ridiculous that they fixate on not being able to use the word nigger when they could just make up some other shit that means the same thing and black people would never know.

As an example, the comedian mentioned that in Boston he met a man who always called black people Mondays. Why? Because nobody likes Mondays. Get it.

He went on to noted that this dude could be in the office talking to a black colleague saying "I just hate Mondays. Nobody in the their right mind likes a Monday." The black person is oblivious, the white person has his belief in superior white intelligence confirmed.

That's some sneaky shit.

This whole story has provoked some surprise in the blogosphere cause there were a lot of black folks and white folks who were not hip to the game. In the case of the white folks they could be pretending. Jokes.

But, for me, this is just another example of how black folks are at a disadvantage in this society. A disadvantage that too many white folks like to pretend doesn't exist.

I mean seriously, how are we supposed to combat racists if the punk cowards won't even announce themselves as racists and instead hide behind code works and double speak? How can we ever truly judge white folks on an individual basis if they have these collective insults they are hiding in plain sight?

It boggles the mind. Really.

So as black folks, what recourse do we have? Do we take the high road and try to stay above race-based assumptions? Do we adopt the mindset that all tallow-faces cannot be trusted and behave accordingly?

What the eff do we do?

You Can't Win!

All my black folks know that feeling.

That nasty swirling in the pit of your stomach when you realize that because of the color of your skin you've been backed into a corner where there is no clear good choice, but only a less evil choice.

Barack Obama is there now.

After months of having to answer questions about whether he's truly black, whether Bill Clinton is blacker than him and whether he's getting a little too black, Obama understands how the (white) world backs black people into the corner. If he didn't understand it before, he surely understands it now.

The latest example is the newly bubbling media-created controversy over whether he snubbed Senator Clinton by not shaking her hand at the State of the Union. If you follow the political news you've now heard it dubbed "The Snub."

It's bullshit.

As a media member, I know how the game is played. I know exactly how much power reporters have, exactly how we decide what is and is not newsworthy. Apparently, the mostly white press corps has decided that Obama not "playing nice" and shaking Hillary's hands was a huge snafu and proof that maybe he's not the coalition builder he's promised to be.

Excuse me, I call bullshit.

It wasn't that long ago that the media was telling Obama that he need to be tougher, that he need to fight back more. Then, when he had a few chippy exchanges with Hillary, (or chippy in their eyes) suddenly he wasn't very gracious and maybe he's not all he promised he would be.

Funny how that works, you know.

Almost every black person in this country has been in this position before. If we're quiet we're anti-social, if we're gregarious, we're unprofessional. Be assertive, you'll probably be labeled aggressive, be aggressive and you'll likely get hit with the "angry" tag.

You really can't win.

But, the stakes for the average black person are a little lower. See, for the most part, we don't need a consensus from white people to do our jobs. We don't have to constantly seek their approval to do our jobs. We do some of that, but it's not like what Obama has to do.

By virtue of his skin color and the job he wants, Obama must be everything to everybody. He has to walk a tightrope so high that altitude sickness is a very real possibility.

And all that time he has to deal with media jackals who crave respect, access and attention. A press corp that has yet to make an all out push to truly document how Hillary and Bill have tried to marginalize Obama. A press corp that shies away from words like racism and bigotry unless there is a cross burning in someone's front yard. A press corp that regularly complains if the campaigns don't have enough "fireworks."

I thought I called bullshit.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cracker Bill

Yeah, I used that word.

That's right, I'm familiar with the word cracker and I'm not opposed to using it. Now you know.

I used that word cause that's what Bill Clinton is rapidly showing himself to be. His continual "aw shucks" attacks on my main man Obama are starting to reveal what apparently has always been beneath his saxophone playing, weed smoking, faux black veneer.

(Side note. Anybody who continues to compare Obama and Bill Clinton's blackness is opening themselves up to be slapped and labeled a coon. Just fair warning to all you coons, I mean good negroes.Bullshit )


I like Obama. I actually bought his two books and checked out the man's thoughts on the world. He's a centrist, a moderate and a fairly assimilated black man. Consequently, he's nothing at all like me, yet I still like him.

Why?

Well first of all, he seems very, very intelligent. Then, he seems genuine. But, mainly, he's a black man who can get white people to change a little bit.

I'm a realist. Black people make up roughly 12 percent of the population in the United States. We ain't never gonna run this shit. Ever.

So to correct some of the lingering problems in our communities, we're going to have to appeal to the better natures of white folks to finally right some longstanding wrongs, and Obama seems fairly well equipped to do that. That's why I like him.

But, Mr. Brains is trying to eff that up. See, when he's not making it rain on interns, Bill likes to acquire money and power. And, he knows that if his wife ends up in the oval office he'll have his hands on both.

So, Bill is taking the gloves off. He's laughed and chuckled with the negroes for long enough, now he's drawing his line in the sand and letting them know that all that stupid ass talk about his blackness doesn't mean a damn thing to him.

"Look here coons, I ain't black, and I ain't never gonna be black. Now give me my money."


That's what Bill and his better half have basically said with the tenor of their attacks on Obama. And make no mistake about it, all of those ridiculous comments made by Clinton's surrogates came from the former first family. That ish was not random.

It's all part of a calculated strategy to limit Obama's options and paint him into a box. It's all part of campaign to make sure he recognizes and remains in his "place" until they've decided he's worthy to do something else. That shit should sound mighty familiar to all black folks and completely end any discussion of whether Obama is "black enough" for us.

So, with their decisions, Bill and his lovely wife have revealed themselves to be crackers. Not just any kind of crackers, but Saltines. They're bad for my pressure and bitter in large doses.

But, it's cool. I mean, it's not like I'm surprised. As I said earlier, people have always drawn lines in the sand. In all of our minds, there are certain sacrifices we're willing to make to get where we want to go.

Bill's sacrifice was his nigger bona fides, I think he feels just fine with that sacrifice.

Getting Grown

First of all, Cee-Lo is one of the most underrated rappers of all-time and it's absolutely criminal that he has moved fewer units than Solja Boy Tellem. Damn you hip hop fans.


I mention Cee-Lo because on his first CD he had a song called Gettin' Grown that talks about all the travails individuals face trying to make the transition to adulthood. It's a poignant song with a catchy beat, and I was thinking about the song's premise the other day.

See, I'm fully grown. But, I had to get there. And man, as a fairly self-aware kind of cat, looking back on the path I took to adulthood can make me cringe.

When I started this blog, I got a response from a young lady who introduced herself as a friend of a friend from college. Only, she used the word "friend," and she was talking about a guy, so that means they weren't just "friends." Get it?

However, I suck at remembering people. I typically either remember somebody's name or their face, but rarely do I get both. This makes for pretty awkward interactions with my former classmates from high school or college because typically a handsome, rotund brother like myself leaves an impression.

Or it could be because I was an asshole in both high school and college.

Now, when I say that, I mean it in the best possible way. I was a nice guy to a lot of people, but man, I could be a tool too.

For example, when trying to ascertain this young lady's identity, I wrote an email to my friends asking for their assistance. Because they typically were not a-holes, and were much more social than I was, they remembered the young lady right away. But, they also remembered a very, very telling incident that displayed the true levels of my obnoxious behavior.

See, the reason why this young lady knew me, besides her former relationship with my homeboy, was because once while being my typical asshole self, I busted into my homeboy's room while she was not properly clothed for visitors. The reason why this sucked, was because I didn't do it on mistake, I did this effed up thing on purpose.

That's right. I purposely walked into my boy's room while I knew he had a girl in there who might not be dressed. I didn't do this to cockblock (I never break that rule), but because some of me other friends told me I didn't have the balls to do it.

Channeling my inner Billy Badass, I walked on into the room, embarrassed this nice young lady, and could only utter a smooth "Sorry baby" in the thick New Orleans accent I sometimes used to sound cool.

That's an asshole move right there. And I regret it.

I've had a bunch of those moves over the years. Once, when I was going through a butt grabbing phase in high school, I grabbed this nice young lady's tush and she took umbrage. She slapped me lightly on the face, a love tap really. I reacted by grabbing her arm and threatening her in a very, very uncool manner as if I had the right to be pissed at her!

Now that's an a-hole move.

The thing is, even at the time when I made these moves I knew they were wrong, knew I wasn't behaving in an acceptable manner. But, I shrugged off those feelings and instead pretended like everybody else was tripping.

Which is why I wrote this post. Cause, it's a terrible thing when a man is wrong, knows he's wrong but still won't admit he's wrong. Only a sad man (or woman) can't acknowledge his shortcomings and try to do better.

Now, I sit and relive many of the asshole moments in my life and cringe at the people I offended, the disrespect I displayed. Even though I know those people probably don't think about me at all, I think about them.
I think about the many, many eff ups I've made in life and I imagine Judgement Day. I think of watching the reel of my life play on a massive movie screen while God and the rest of humanity watches me at my most debase and immoral moments.

That shit scares me.

But, what scares me equally, is that I'll grow into the kind of person who cannot objectively review their lives, and therefore, does not have the capacity to change.

Everybody has met those people. The wonderful bastarads who never examine those deep corners of their hearts, the people whose entire lives have been devoted to reinforcing the idea that they are wonderful.

I hate does people. Wait...scratch that... hate is too strong a word, hate crosses a line. I dislike those people. Seriously dislike them.

They make life harder for everybody in the world who wants to do better. I don't know about y'all, but I hate putting myself out there and admitting I'm wrong and having the other person reply simply "Yep, you're wrong."

M-effer, you are wrong too!

Self reflection can be painful, but it's typically illuminating. Confronting the worst aspects of who you are can often bring your best qualities into focus. Not only that, if you're honest with yourself about who you are, you're less likely to get taken in by some shyster with a slick mouthpiece. Somebody who flatters and cajoles you by appealing to those dark traits that you don't even know exist.

Anyway, I'm working on changing my asshole ways. Judging by the response from Big Man's little woman, I'm not always successful. But I'm working dammit, I'm working.

So, I take my trips down memory lane, I wander through my worse moments.

And I learn.

And I ponder.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Damn

I can't believe Joe got popped like that.


That was my first reaction when HBO's The Wire ended. I'm not going to explain what The Wire is about. If you don't know too bad, google that shit.

But Joe, damn Joe. How ironic that one of the most intelligent and aware characters on the show would be unable to figure out that his nephew was driven more by greed and pride than any sense of loyalty? Or, that in the midst of running from the bogeyman in the dark (in this case a royally pissed off Omar), Joe would be bitten by the viper he invited into his bosom to grow warm.

When Marlo told him that he wasn't cut out to be the son, it was like the viper hissing at it' victim that it was still a snake as it pulled back its venom dripping fangs.

I liked Joe. His cool demeanor, constant calculation and underlying code of honor appealed to me. He seemed like an old school gangster, somebody who did dirt and did evil, but had not let it consume him totally. Somebody who would live in an old row house in the hood because his ancestor was the first darkie on the block. That shows a certain mindset, something I could hold on to even as he committed heinous acts.

But, what the fuck is honor to a gun? Honor ain't shit when Marlo is getting a hard on watching your last few moments on earth while mostly mute henchman nuzzles a nine millimeter against the nape of your neck. At its core, the game is still the game.

Marlo was buying, and, well, it's a buyer's market.

Oh, and Kenard is a funny little motherfucker.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Family Ties

Remember that show?

As a youngster, I always thought the show was interesting because of all the different personalities under one roof. You know, Michael J. Fox as the Reagan loving conservative, his parents the converted hippies, the wild older sister and the funny youngster.

I liked different aspects of each characters personality. But, the show almost always rang false with me.

At the time it seemed impossible to my young mind that you could be a family and have everybody see things that differently.

I mean, when I looked at my family, it seemed like we all saw the world pretty much the same, even if I vehemently argued with my parents when they wouldn't let me go down the street to play or get my ears pierced.

Looking back, it's clear exactly how much I viewed the world through a child's eyes.


See, my family (nuclear and extended) couldn't be composed of more disparate people. I look at my family now, splintered and uncomfortable around each other, and I wonder how we stayed together and stayed close for so long.

What binds families? It can't just be love, it can't just be actions.

What makes you hang out with and even love individuals who you feel disrespect you at every turn? How can you truly enjoy the company of a person you despise on a certain level?

How about when you just don't know what to talk about with your family? Or you wonder if they truly care about what's best for you?

I talk to people and I see so many fault lines is so many families. Jealousy, bias, callousness, dishonesty.

Tradition binds some families, fear binds others. The best families are bound by love, shared goals and mutual care.

What binds my family?

What binds yours?

I love my family, each individual member of it. The ones who I wouldn't trust to shave my neck still have a special place in my heart.

But, I wonder, what makes you love your family when they do wrong? How do you move past mistreatment? How do you reconcile when so much has gone wrong?

I'm trying prayer and personal evaluation. I hope it works.

Bros Before Hos

Anybody seen those shirts?

You know, the ones with the disrespectful message that currently adorns the headline on this blog? The message proclaiming support for Obama in the most disrespectful way possible.

When I saw them, I'll admit that I laughed a little. Actually I laughed a lot.

It appears that I have some very bad sexism residing in my psyche. Who would have thunk it? Well, actually, I would have.

I mean, growing up in the same household with my father it would have been difficult not to be a little sexist. My pops, who I love dearly, wasn't one to think to deeply on the male/female power dynamic other than to make sure that he had the power. Not in a particularly bad way, but he did ascribe to the biblical view that men should be the dominant voice in their households.

I pretty much agree with him. I know that sounds horrible to many, and I understand why. After all, nobody wants to be the subordinant in a relationship these days. We all want to be partners. Cool, I respect that, and I think it's a good goal.

Notice I said goal. Cause right now it ain't happening. The gender roles are too ingrained in our society. Plus, there are all these weird exceptions where women shouldn't be treated as equals and deserve special consideration just out of tradition or common sense.

You know, like holding the door open for women, or walking on a certain side of the street to protect them from traffic. How about the rules on going dutch at a restaraunt? There are a few token benefits to being born a women in society, and it's unclear what will happen to them when we all become equal.

But, anyway, I digress. My point about the t-shirt is that it now has become a very telling marker in the Democratic presidential nomination. I mean, the whole race has now boiled down to who are you riding with. You've seen the news stories, the blog posts even the television programs. It's clearly time to choose.

The Afros or the Hairy Armpits. Black Power or Bra Burning. The bros versus the hoes. Obama or Hillary.

Sucks doesn't it. Not cause I don't know my side (bros for life suckers) but because it really doesn't solve anything.

I mean, it's a good exercise to show exactly how far we have to go as a country when it comes to undertanding racism and sexism, but I'm not convinced that anything is going to change. Everybody has gone to the mattresses, and nobody is giving an inch.

I don't have a solution, just making an observation. It's weird how easy it is for us all to pretend to like each other and then divide up again when the chips are down.

Weird, but not surprising.

Another blog

Damn, there's another one. One more person screaming his opinion out into the internet hoping that somebody, anybody, wants to listen to what he has to say.

I've thought about having a blog for a minute. That's a long time for people who don't follow ebonics.

See, I'm always spouting my opinion to my friends and co-workers about the world in general and they are always telling to write it down. So this is it, they better read.

Obviously, I'm a black man. I like women, I actually married one and now have an above average son with her. I live in the South, I work in the media. I'm college educated, and have carved out a pretty nice life for myself.

But, I'm still angry.

The world makes me angry, and the overabundance of stupid people in the world makes me really angry. So, while this blog will discuss sports, music, politics and anything else, it's mostly a place for me to vent my anger.

That way, even if nobody reads it, my anger will be out there so people will know that it exists.

One last thing, if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination and does not select Obama as her running mate, I'm staying the fuck home.

Good day.

Raving Black Lunatic