Monday, June 30, 2008

Bitch Please

Read this.


Finished?


Now you understand the title of this post. How the hell can you claim that you had your daughter wear an inflammatory shirt to elementary school to spark racial dialogue when you're afraid to talk to her about what the effing shirt means?

Do you think we're stupid, do you?

See, I like kids, but in order to teach her mother a lesson it would have only been fitting if this little white girl got beat the eff up for that shirt. Then the mother would have been all sad and crying, but she would have learned. Anyway, I just needed to share that and get it off my chest.

I'm cool now.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Golden Vagina

Some of y'all are going to be pissed at this post, but eff it, sometimes you gotta let your nuts hang. (Shout out to old school CMR.)

I'm cruising through a celebrity website the other day indulging my guilty pleasure of watching the rich dress badly, when I stumbled across something that just wasn't right. No, it wasn't that pic of Reverend Run in a swimsuit with Bigfoot's armpit hair, it was the item on the proposed child support payments the Reverend's brother may have to pay to his estranged wife.

Uncle Russy is looking at spending nearly $1 million annually for the two bundles of joy he produced with Ms. Kimora. If you think I'm playing read this. I'm just going to get it out the way before I continue:

What the fuck?

Now, I know many of y'all ladies and even some fellas are cracking your knuckles and preparing to write me a scathing message about how Kimora deserves everything she's getting for popping out Russell's big-headed babies. That's pretty much the standard response any time a man expresses surprise at a child support or alimony settlement.

But, I don't care what y'all write, none of y'all are going to convince me that the CEO of Baby Phat, cause that's what Kimora is, needs an extra $1 million just to take care of her kids. Unless she wipes their asses with Monets, there is no way she needs that kind of money to raise two children.

See, we hear a lot about deadbeat dads, and I really don't mind because those losers need to be exposed. But, what we don't discuss are these crazy ass settlements women get when they convince a rich cat to settle down with them and then divorce him. I'm not saying these cats don't deserve to get dropped, most of them are serial philanders, but the cash these women are drawing is just off the chain.

Right now I'm raising a child, and it does not take $20,000 a month to take care of him. If it did his little ass would already be working in a sweatshop. I know Russell is paid, but does that mean he needs to be ponying up a cool mil for the care of his children? Even though his wife is a frickin' CEO?

See, for a long time I've thought there is a serious problem with a court system that determines child support payments solely by salary. I think we need to come up with the specific amounts that it costs raise children in certain income brackets and then charge fathers based on that.

There would be a low income child-rearing rate, a wealthy child-rearing rate and several others in-between. It would be a flat-fee based on the calculations of experts taking into account the income of the non-custodial parent. That way there is a sliding scale that considers income, and is not some outrageous figure pulled out of somebody's ass.

I've found that people who make similar amounts of money often lead simliar lives. They eat at the same places, shop at the same stores, take the same vacations. Consequently, their children also have somewhat similar lives. Therefore, if we can establish the average cost of raising a child within a certain income bracket, we could establish a fair rate for these men to pay. Now, if that rate is still $20,000 a month I will shut up and deal with it, but I think we need to at least try to establish a baseline.

It's not healthy to have these ridiculous child support payments. I'm not even going to discuss the idea of having to pay alimony to someone when they decide they no longer want to live with you because y'all just don't get along. I would be here all day.

The current system encourages irresponsible behavior and creates unnecessary tension between men and women. Do y'all remember the nationwide debate that the Michael Jordan settlement sparked in the black community? Brothers and sisters were at each others throats debating whether Juanita deserved to get paid when she never hit a game winner, but had popped out two kids while dealing with Mike's infidelity. What about all the women who angle to get impregnated by a rich man, and are only left with lower self-esteem and a groupie t-shirt?

Anyway, I have no idea why Kimora and Russell couldn't make things work. And I'm pleased that they have managed to remain fairly cordial. But, if this new settlement goes through it will just be one more example of irresponsible behavior by America's judicial system. The Golden Vagina will have triumphed over good sense once again.

(Addendum: Russell Simmons does not agree with me. I don't care.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

It Ain't Tricking If You Got It

Scene: Darkened hotel room, small desk lamp on the nightstand that gives off a faint light. An older white woman sits on the edge of the bed near a window with shades drawn. A slim African American man, reclines on a chair near the door in the shadows. The woman wears a gray pantsuit with a yellow shirt. (The man wears a midnight black suit, with a crisp white shirt adorned with a purple tie and a purple pocket square in the suit jacket.)


Big Homie Outstanding: "Sweetie, I heard you got some money problems that only Big Daddy can help with. It's ok, come tell Daddy all about it."

Her Royal Coldness: Don't "Daddy" me buster, you know what I need, don't play these games.

BHO, smiling slightly: No, baby, I don't know what you need, you're going to have to speak up if you want Daddy's help.

HRC: What you want me to beg nigger, do I got to get on my knees? You motherfucking men are all the same. How many times do you need a woman to stroke your dick and your ego before you're happy?

BHO, stubbing out a cigarette and beginning to rise from his chair: Look, I don't need this shit, heifer. I've put up with enough from you and your ignorant ass man. If you got a problem with dicks getting stroked you need to speak to him. I'm here because you need me, not because I need you. I've proven that already.

HRC: Wait...Sit down, (sigh) I'm sorry ok, I'm sorry. Do you know how hard this whole thing is, do you know what I had to put up with to get here? Now, I've got to deal with this bullshit. You think I want to be asking your ass for money, you think I want anything from you?

BHO: I could give a fuck what you want to do. Don't talk to me about what you want to do. You called me hear to ask me something now ask me, Dammit. I need to get home to my girls.

HRC: How are the girls and your lady? You know I always liked her, no matter what I said or what other people said. She was always so--

BHO: I don't want to hear that revisionist shit. If you like her, tell her you like her, don't come to me with that. Look, we need to move on with this. You of all people know I've got things to do.

HRC, her face crumpling: Fine... I need the money...I need about 23.

BHO: Did you just say 23?

HRC: Yeah, that's what it's going to take for me to get right.

BHO, completely out of his chair, heading towards the hotel room's door: I'll see you around, I thought you wanted to be serious for a minute. (places hand on door handle)

HRC: Wait! What's the problem?... You know how much I spent, you know I need to break even.

BHO: I don't care about you breaking even. I didn't come here for you to break even. I came to help, I didn't come to be no trick.

HRC, rising from the bed, moving towards the door: Are you calling me a hoe? Motherfucker did you just call me a hoe! Yeah, leave then... I'm going to let everybody know your uppity ass came to my room and called me a hoe because I asked you to come together in the name of unity. We'll see what happens to your black ass then!

BHO, still holding the door handle: You finished?...Are you finished?... Good, if you're finished, we can talk. Otherwise, get all that out your system first...Now you know I wasn't calling you a hoe, stop playing games. Don't try to chump me, that shit ain't gonna fly. Don't let the suit and accent fool you.

BHO returns to his original chair, crosses his legs. HRC walks over to the window, slightly cracks the blinds.

HRC: Look at those lights...Those were my lights, this is my city. I owned this damn city for eight years. I should have owned it for eight more. Instead, they took it from me, they couldn't stand the thought of someone without a dick running things...Look, I need at least 18...Eighteen puts me close to the finish line, it's not that far from there.

BHO: 9

HRC: Nine?... Are you fucking serious?... Nine ain't shit. Give me 15 at least, if I got 15 from you I could find the other 10..

BHO, leaning forward slightly in his chair: I'll give you 10, and I'll only give you that 10 if you shut the fuck up about these conspiracies. I need you to nod your head, show your teeth and play your position... I'm not giving you 10 to have your pet crackers making snide remarks behind my back. I'm not giving you 10 so Billy Boy can pout and complain because I didn't kiss his damn ring...I ain't kissing no FUCKING RING! Shit, y'all are lucky I ain't spit in your water like Kizzy...

The offer is 10.

HRC, shoulders slumping, facing away from BHO: I'll take it...You're a cold motherfucker, you know that? This whole thing was cold.

BHO, door open, light from the hall illuminating cigarette butts on the table where he sat: It was business. Nothing else. I got it, you need it. That's business.


BHO closes the door behind him. HRC continues to stare at the closed window...



Link.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Little Black Boy Lost




This picture touched me. The photo is from this story in the NY Times about a new program for struggling students in Spring Valley, New York. Kids are held back in school if they can't meet the requirements and then placed in a special class, called the "Gift of Time", where the teacher concentrates on basic skills. The kids are promoted if they reach certain benchmarks. Check out the story if you have the time.

Then look at that little boy's face again.

He doesn't seem like he received a gift. In the story, educators, experts, parents and students discuss the program and give it mixed reviews. They talk about its pros and cons and the article is very balanced. Yet, when I looked at that little boy, at his expression, his clothing, at his eyes, well I knew everything I needed to know.

It's very clear how he feels about his gift.

I remember the kids who flunked in elementary school. Maybe it was because I went to public school, but I don't remember there being a huge stigma associated with flunking, although everyone was aware of which kids were one or two grades behind. Shoot, a lot of the "cool" kids in elementary school and middle school were kids behind in the classroom.

I wonder now if those kids were embarrassed about being behind. Did they view school as some sort of torture chamber where all of their weaknesses were exposed? When I constantly raised my hand to answer questions (Yeah, I was that kid.) did they view me with jealousy or hatred? What went through their minds when teachers said "this is the reason why you always fail!?"

I can't really decide if this program is good or bad. We all know that whenever institutions start grouping folks based on perceived intellectual ability black folks get the shaft. Some people would argue that is because black folks keep effing up, but y'all know what I think about that.

I know that school systems have a history of labeling black children, particularly black boys, as being "special needs" children in an attempt to remove them from regular classes and warehouse them. These children often are very intelligent, but have other emotional problems that can make them harder to educate. Often, by labeling these children as being "special needs" school systems can avoid having their test scores count on the same scale as the scores of children in regular classes.

Yet, hasn't it been proven that smaller class sizes and individual attention help children learn? If programs like this one give children the type of instruction that benefits them, can the program really be bad? Sure, there is a potential for things to go awry, but is that potential enough to invalidate the entire enterprise?

I grappled with those questions when I read this article, when I read these people's comments. And I kept coming back to that little boy's picture. To me, his picture says that this program has an effect on the psyches of these children, that something vital is lost inside them even as an education is gained.

My past experiences say that children don't have to be outcasts if they are removed from regular classes, but looking into that boy's eyes, I'm not so sure. That little boy looks like he's already lost, like he's already decided that this education thing isn't for him. His eyes seem to say that he's not one of the smart kids and he never will be.

I know that's not true, but I'm not sure he ever will.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

He's Baaaaack... And Still Stupid.

To get my regular sports fix, I often visit sites like ESPN, Sports Illustrated, SLAM and Sports on My Mind.

Except for SOMM, all of those sites present sports from a mainstream, or white, perspective. Anyway, whenever an issue of race is raised on those sites, particularly when it's done by a black columnist on ESPN.com, the comment sections typically take a fairly nasty turn into the racism underworld.

Random stereotypes about black people are tossed around, black columnists are called Affirmative Action babies and folks just lose their damn minds. However, without fail, at some point multiple commenters will bring up two issues that they feel clearly outline just how often white folks get the shaft in the sports world. Those issues are the Duke Lacrosse case and the Don Imus "nappy-headed hoes" debacle.

For those of you unfamiliar with sports and current events, the Duke Lacrosse case refers to the incident a few years back where several white players on Duke's Lacrosse team were accused of raping a black stripper. It turned out she was lying. The Don Imus incident relates to his decision to use the aforementioned racially charged term as a reference towards the Rutgers women's basketball team because he thought they looked a little "rough." Imus got canned, white people got pissed.

In any discussion of race and sports, those two incidents are the Big Joker and Little Joker for white folks and people who think like white folks. They whip those suckers out as soon as it looks like the discussion is proceeding on a logical path that will eventually lead to the condemnation of the current white power structure. The shit is like clockwork.

It seems like those incidents represent the deepest darkest fears of many white folks when it comes to racial matters. As I've said before, most white people are deathly afraid of being labeled racists for any reason, and in both of those incidents that term was thrown about like a cabbage ball. In addition, despite all the evidence to the contrary, many white people felt like neither of those incidents had anything to do with race, so both incidents seemed like false accusations of racism, which made things even worse.

Anyway, I brought up this phenomenon because Don Imus is back in the news. Like most racists, Imus could only keep his disdain for black folks bottled up for so long before it had to spew forth from him like a geyser. If you think in racist terms it's only a matter of time before your thoughts reach you lips, no matter how hard you try to behave like a civil member of society.

Imus was recently discussing NFL player Adam "Pacman" Jones on his radio show. A producer told the Wrinkled Wonder that Jones had six arrests in the past two or three years and the racism kicked in. Donny Boy asked the producer what color Jones was, and when the producer notified him that Jones was of a darker hue, Imus simply replied "There you go. Now we know."

Now we know.

Imus did not immediately elaborate on what it was that folks now knew. After the usual suspects surfaced to call him a racist, (Yes, The Perm was involved,) Imus said that he really meant that Jones had been arrested all those times because he was being targeted by the police as a black man. Yep, he really said that.

Whatchu talking 'bout Imus?

See, that's the part of the story that really pushed things over the top for me. I wasn't surprised that Don Imus made a racist comment; he had been making racist comments for years before the Rutgers incident. I wasn't surprised that Imus' most recent comment was about a troubled black male; we are the easiest targets to take shots at.

Nah, what's surprising is that when he needed to find a quick way to deflect blame, Don Imus blamed The Man! Seriously, Don Imus is The Man, and yet he's blaming The Man for causing his words to be misconstrued and distorted. That is the apex of hilarity.

Does Imus really think black people are that stupid? You know, I'm going to have to say that he doesn't. See, his comments weren't really to forestall the outcry from black people and our surrogates. Nope, Imus' bullshit explanation was directed at another group.

He was talking to the folks who gave him a pass that last time.

See, those folks are scrambling right now to find a way to give Imus the benefit of the doubt so they don't have to admit that they've been supporting a racist these past few years.

They know that racism is a communicable disease and they don't want anybody to suspect that they might be infected. So, Imus knows that all he has to do is offer up any sort of excuse and those folks will fall all over themselves to give him a pass just so they don't become suspect. That's what happens when you are clearly on the wrong side of an issue, you have to create more and more ridiculous explanations to justify your opinion.

Racism makes you stupid.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Change You Can Believe In...Or Can You?

Big Homie is all about change.

Changing the Washington culture. Changing the way America does business. Changing the way we handle ourselves overseas. The "C" word is Barack Obama's favorite and he wields it like an Uzi, its powerful rounds have cut down all of his enemies so far.

But, what I've noticed is that now that the shock of watching the Clintons and their surrogates slice up their black card has dissipated, folks are starting to wonder exactly how much change Obama is going to bring. With his recent disappearing act on FISA and his comments on Father's Day, folks are asking if Obama's change message was just more of the same old political bullshit.

I'm going to have to say yes. And then I'll say no.

For everybody all disappointed and whatnot, y'all really need to get a grip. If you thought Obama was going to get the Democratic nomination and start challenging the basic tenets of America, well y'all need to put the bong down and take a walk.

I'm not siding with Obama on all of his recent decisions, but the anger some folks have felt at those decisions has been fairly amusing. I've always said that anger is a byproduct of either fear or surprise. However, anybody who has paid attention to Obama's meteoric rise really shouldn't be feeling either of those emotions.

See, from the beginning, Obama has been talking about incremental change, not fundamental change. How many times has he made it clear that he thinks this is the greatest country in the world? It's pretty clear that he believes that America took a wrong turn on its journey; he's not one of those folks who believes the whole trip was a bad idea.

I'm not insinuating that Obama's message of change has been insincere; I feel he truly believes that change is needed for this country to progress. Yet, I think he's talking about the kind of change a woman makes when she goes from a brunette to a red head, not Britney Spears rocking a baldy change. Obama grew up in a home where the core greatness of America was emphasized and praised. Unlike a lot of black babies, Obama's breast milk wasn't infused with righteous anger and justified disillusionment. It was just funny-tasting milk. (Yeah, I know what it tastes like.)

So, I understand where he is coming from, and I appreciate his mindset. Plus, I think that Obama understands that with his black skin and funny name he already has used up most of his "change" quota with many white people. I think he knows that his margin of error is much smaller than a white politician, which means he cannot afford to get labeled as some crackpot if he still wants to be effective in November.

In some ways he is behaving like a typical politician, and as I have said many times, we must never forget that Barack Hussein Obama is first and foremost a politician. However, I believe you can be a politician and still be effective when it comes to improving the lives of most of your constituents. Shit, if Bill Clinton could balance the country's budget while getting some brain in the Oval Office and shipping all the niggers off to jail, I can only imagine what a focused intelligent fellow like Barry could do.

What I see as Obama's biggest hurdle is the feelings of people who bought into his change message and ran with it like they were Barry Sanders.

These folks, whose pain I can feel, seem to believe that given how often Obama mentioned change during his campaign he should be willing to stand firm on issues that represent a wholesale departure from politics as usual. It's an understandable position, but one I don't ever expect most politicians to support because many Americans don't like that much change.

Anyway, I just found it interesting how differently so many of us view the idea of change, and how we all have different standards for what is a serious level of change. Given the horrible presidency of George W. Bush it made sense for Obama to link his candidacy to the "change" mantra, in fact, it was masterful.

Now he just has to deal with the fallout from the political Pandora's Box he opened.

Monday, June 23, 2008

What Would Obama Do?

So, as is my habit, I'm sitting in a church pew Sunday morning.

It's after service and one of the associate ministers is talking with the men about our plans for fifth Sunday and the male chorus. He's just finished explaining to us what our uniform will be and is encouraging us to take pride in our singing so that we can outshine the female chorus.

Then it happens.

Just as the minister is explaining exactly why we all need to dress the same, he drops a comment that I've heard in a plethora of places. It's always delivered as if it's the most sensible comment in the world, but it's not. It's actually kinda of crazy. The minister says:

"Now that Obama has won this thing, we've really got step things up. With him in office we've got to do better."

Welcome to the Obama Effect.

I'm sure some of you have had your own experiences with the Obama Effect. It typically comes into play around older black people, usually when they are complaining about some failure of the younger generation, or trying to convince someone to do something they think is necessary.

The comment may follow an exhortation for some young cat to pull up his pants, or a plea that a young lady pull down her shirt. It might be tossed out as a commentary on the trifling folks who scam the welfare system, or just an aside added on to a rambling rant about traffic in the hood. No matter the situation, the comment always seems to stem from the same core belief.

With a black president, we've got to do better y'all.

When I first encountered the Obama Effect it gave me a bit of a shock. While I've been an Obama supporter since the brother declared just because of general black solidarity, I don't see big homie as my moral North Star. He seems like a cool cat, and I like how he handles himself, but homeboy is quite clearly not The Chosen One. He's a politician in a suit who I think would do a good job. Period.

But, somewhere along the line, maybe when he vanquished Hillary Clinton or raised $300 million, Obama became much more than just another politician for a lot of black folks. This is particularly true for older black people who I believe really cannot fully comprehend a reality where a black person has a decent shot to be president. His transfiguration grants him a ludicrous amount a leeway, a fervent following and, most importantly, WWOD status.

What Would Obama Do?

Y'all know the last black person to get to that level was Martin Luther King Jr., right? Now, I would never compare Obama to Martin, that would be stupid, but I'm just noting that the last time black folks placed one of their own on that sort of pedestal was when Dr. King walked the Earth. No matter how many speeches and marches Jesse and Al participate in, they will never get to that level, it's just not happening. (Sidenote: That's probably why they always salty with Obama.)

Now, I'm of a mixed mind about the Obama Effect. On one hand, I can see how this ends horribly for black folks. Remember how big of a deal it was when Ralph Abernathy and Taylor Branch revealed that like many other preachers Dr. King was a special favorite of church ladies? Shoot, some black folks are still trying to recover from the betrayal of Bill and Hillary and they weren't even black! When we build folks up, we tend to take it pretty hard when they inevitably fail to live up to our impossible expectations.

Then again, I can see the potential of WWOD. Think about all the good Obama could do in the hood as a sort of mythical ideal. Can't get your son to do his homework? Whip out WWOD. Daughter think it's cool to hang around when the neighborhood knucklehead? WWOD to the rescue. (Actually, I would probably whip out "What Would Michelle Do?" in that situation, but that's not important.)

Got an urge to curse out your ignorant boss and steal some supplies? WWOD would help you control that urge and keep the job that pays your bills. Seriously, there is no ceiling for how often you could use WWOD and get yourself and others to shape up. In fact, you might even be able to use WWAWOD on your white friends to get them to act right. (That's "What Would a White Obama Do?" for all of y'all who missed it.)

Anyway, I might not totally understand the Obama Effect, but I must admit that I'm both intrigued and excited by its potential. Obama ain't even close to perfect, (Have y'all seen homie dance?) but he is clearly a pretty good role model for many of us.

After all, it's better than WWRKD.

That's "What Would Robert Kelly Do?" and I shudder at that thought.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Black Man Dilemna

I'm a black man.

Been one for nearly a decade and I was a black boy and teen before that. As a black man, lots of people are saying that I should be a little pissed at what Obama said about deadbeat black fathers on Father's Day. They tell me that he focused on the negatives, pandered to white folks and threw all the good brothers under the bus.

I say...*Yawn*...

This discussion is so damn boring. It pops up every few months when somebody or some media outlet says something greasy about black fathers. People repeat the same tired arguments on both sides, we yell at each other really loudly and then people go back to their daily lives.

Rinse and repeat.

Obama pandered.
Black men be effing up.
Black women need to consider avoiding trifling cats.
White folks need to stop relying on stereotypes.
The media blows chunks.

See? I covered everything.

Why do we keep arguing about this dumb ass topic? I'm not pretending to be immune to getting sucked into the debate, but I've begun to realize how pointless it really is. The issue has so many landmines that it's pretty much impossible to have an in-depth conversation with strangers without saying something fairly offensive. More importantly, I don't think anyone believes that these discussions are going to solve the main problem.

Too many black kids are growing up without positive male and female influences.

That's the real problem. It doesn't mean all single-parent households are bad or that all two-parent household are good. It means that it seems to work better for kids when they have two parents who share the burden of raising them. Period. And I think that we as a community need to acknowledge that all of us are to blame for the fact that too many kids are not being raised by both parents.

We all like to pretend that we don't understand how somebody could have a kid and not care for them, or how a woman could get pregnant by somebody who is clearly not a good catch. But, that's bullshit because we understand; we just don't want to admit it.

See, we've all dated folks that were subpar and some of y'all have even slept with them. And if you sleep with somebody, then you gave them the chance to be the parent of your child, whether you planned to or not. If we were honest, many of us would admit that we might find it hard to sacrifice the things we like to pay for the care of a baby we never wanted, particularly if the person we had the baby with makes our lives difficult. We might not like to admit that about ourselves, but that doesn't mean it isn't there. Those are just the facts.

So, when folks climb on their super high soapboxes, you know the ones that allow them look down on every baby mama and deadbeat daddy, it just tickles me. Because I know that those people really aren't being honest with themselves about what they are capable of doing. Don't get me wrong, irresponsible sexual behavior and failing to care for one's children is wrong, but it's not like these people are the scum of the Earth in most instances. They are just people who've made mistakes.

And I know it may seem like I'm castigating Obama for what he said, but really I don't care. Obama was just pandering to his audience. Black folks would like to believe that he was pandering to racist white people, but the folks with the most vehement dislike for baby mamas and daddys are actually black folks. Many of us love talking about all the trifling black folks doing trifling things, although we bristle when that label is directed towards people we know and love.

So, it's funny to me that folks are all mad at Obama for speaking to an incredibly large segment of his most loyal voting bloc. The fact that his message also resonated with racist white folks who might vote for him was just an added bonus. He was really just giving black people what they like to hear.

Now, let's be clear. I'm not saying that what he said was right, in fact I have several problems with it. One of the main ones is that it gives cover to people like this. I also don't like that a person who excels in giving nuanced answers likes to stick to polemic responses on this issue. However, it really doesn't make my blood boil like it does for some folks. I'm past that phase in my life and I really just want to see how folks are going to solve the problem.

Anyway, I wrote all those words to say this: I'm a black man, I read Obama's speech and I really don't care.

I'm over it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hello Black Girl.

I want to write this post, but I really don't think I can.

See, it's about fashion. And it's about black women. I guess it's about black women in fashion.

And, while I know a little bit about black women, the fashion world is another story.

Anyway, this blog was inspired by this article in the NY Times. I suggest all of you read it because it's about a pretty groundbreaking event.

Italian Vogue is going black.

For one issue, slated to be released shortly in America, the Italian fashion magazine will only feature black models in its photos and will discuss issues related to minorities in the fashion industry. The issue will feature older models who blazed the trail and younger lesser known models who haven't been getting the attention they deserve.

It's pretty freaking impressive.

I can't pretend to understand exactly what the dearth of positive images in beauty magazines does to the psyche of black women. I'm not a woman.

But, I have seen how much it hurts sisters to contantly be told that they are the opposite of beautiful by mainstream America, and I've seen the self-hate that many black women develop because of this unyielding bombardment.

I see it in the things they do to their eyes and hair, and I've seen it in the way they talk about their beautiful African features.

It's highly unlikely that this one issue will rid the fashion world of its deeply ingrained biases, but the issue will provide some measure of comfort for many sisters. I'm sure many of y'all will purchase the magazine to just to have it as a keepsake to remind yourselves of what is possible when people are willing to take a chance.

I hope you enjoy it.

Who Am I?

Hello, nice to meet you.

No, there's no need to get up, I'll just take a seat next to you on the couch. I love the paisley by the way.

Are those lace doilies? I've tried my hand at knitting, but I've never had the time to really get into it with all the craziness at the law firm and later at the hospital.

Oooh, your children are beautiful! I have two daughters myself, Sasha who is 6 and Malia who is 9.

You know, I got Malia a dress just like that when she was 3 years old. She loved it, and was so cute prancing around the house carrying her favorite Barbie.

You seem surprised that my daughter would play with Barbie. Don't tell me you've gotten caught up in the rumors and believed I wouldn't let my daughter play with Barbie because she's a "whitey?"

Girl, please.

Now, I had to take the Barbie away when Malia got a little older but that had nothing to do with skin color. I can't have either one of my babies looking at 44 DDs and a 20 waist wishing they came in that size. That ain't a realistic goal for a black woman considering the hips and butts God gave us.

Anyway, I wanted to talk to you about Barack, and maybe a little about me.

I know you've heard a lot about us; that we're angry, that we're different, that we don't share the same values that you share. You know what? Some of those things are true.

We are angry. When we travel around this country we see a lot to be angry about. We see people who remind us of our parents and grandparents, good people of every hue who are struggling to eke out the same standard of living as their parents while the people in power are trying to live better than any generation before them. That makes us angry and it should make you angry.

Honestly, we're different too. We're black, for one, so that makes us different from 65 percent of this country's population. Not only are we black, but we're well-educated, gainfully employed, married black people, and that's not the type of black people that you probably see when you turn on your television or go to the movies. I'm sure our existence, not to mention that fact that Barack wants to be president, is a big deal to you.

It's ok to admit that you feel that way. Nobody is here but me and you, and I tend to keep it real. Did you catch the fist bump?

But, don't let these folks tell you that we don't share your values, that we don't understand what you're going through. Yeah, Barack and I are doing good now, but it wasn't that long ago that we were struggling to pay off student loans and private school tuition. Make no mistake, we've been blessed, but just because God blesses you doesn't mean he removes every stumbling block from your path.

You think it's easy being married to a man who wants to run the world? You think it's easy having to sit my daughters down and explain to them that Daddy might never come home because some people don't like his skin? It's not easy, it's definitely not easy.

People tell me I talk about race too much, that I want to focus on all the bad things in America. They wonder I can't just be proud of the progress this country has made.

Are they stupid?

Don't they see that you can be proud of somebody or something but still want better? Don't they understand that being satisfied with what you have is a good way to lose everything?

Wait...Don't turn away. I'm sorry if I upset you. I am just emotional sometimes. Sorry again.

It's just...Well sometimes I just get so frustrated with the way we discuss things in this country, the way we avoid the hard topics and scream at each other about stupid stuff. I want to explain to people just how important their lives are, and how much power they have to make this country great. But, they have to demand better from the people they elect to represent their interests.

I watched my father struggle his way to work everyday to pay for our house, to get my brother and I the education we needed to get into Princeton and it hurts my heart that the opportunities we had aren't being offered to more people. I remember curling up in his lap, smelling his cologne, feeling his arms and just feeling safe. I want that for every little girl, not just the black ones; I want them all to have that safe feeling.

Anyway, I just hope you consider Barack, he really means well. You see how hard he's trying to quit smoking after I bothered him about it? That man is driven when he sets his mind to a task... I love that man.

It was nice talking to you, I really appreciate you letting me in your home and listening to me talk for a while. You have a beautiful home and a beautiful family.

Oh no....Just call me Michelle.



(This piece was inspired by this article.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An Elder Brother Attitude

This weekend I went to visit my parents for Father's Day and attended church with them.

The Reverend preached a good message using the parable of the prodigal son as his main text. But, instead of the typical spiel about the redemption of the young man who left whom and squandered his fortune, the minister discussed the attitude of the brother who stayed home with his family.

The message castigated Christians for having an "elder brother attitude," which was defined as failing to recognize the blessings of God, failing to properly appreciate those blessings and failing to rejoice when someone who is on the wrong road finally sees the light because your focus is on their past missteps.

I really enjoyed the message.

One of the things the preacher discussed was the tendency of church folk to overlook the progress of others in their Christain walk. He said that instead of giving the former wino credit for staying sober five days out of the week, most Christians still whisper behind his back because of the two days he slips up. Far too many so-called Christains love to focus on the negatives in other people's lives instead of the positives because it makes them feel better about their own shortcomings.

This part of the message really jumped out at me because it immediately made me think about my attitude towards white people and racism in this country. Those of y'all who have read this blog know that I harp on the many shortcomings of this country when it comes to matters of race, and I've been known to sharply attack anyone who tries to use the "progress" argument to suppress discussions of racism.

I think too many people people are satisfied with the status quo in America when it comes to race relations, and if they do see the need for improvement, it's not a pressing concern. That's a pretty easy attitude to have when you're white and your race benefits you in most situations, but when you're a minority dealing with minority problems that attitude can be infuriarating.

However, as I listened to the minister speak, I realized that if I only focus on this country's negatives without dedicating some time to appreciating its progress I'm being unjust. It was a hard pill for me to swallow because, thanks to my mother, my life has been steeped in a pretty negative attitude when it comes to race and race relations.

But, what I began to understand was that for my own mental health I needed to let go of some of that pessimism, to acknowledge the good and the bad lest my perception of reality become as skewed as those folks who argue that racism is a thing of the past in this country.

I know this post seems kind of out of the blue, but the minister's words really motivated me to try to be more accepting and more patient with white folks. Things had gotten so bad with this election that my racism gun had a hair trigger and I was willing to fire on any white person with a hint of bias.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share my revelation with y'all because I understand that my daily rantings may have made some of you a little more crazy. My pops always told me that when you make a problem, you need to be ready with a solution.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Keep Pimping, Keep Pimping

Do y'all remember the most famous line on on Bel, Biv, DeVoe's smash hit Poison?

Never trust a big butt and a smile....


Well, I have to admit that I'm partial to large derrieres and smiles, but I've never trusted a Press and Curl and a megaphone. Which means I always saw this news about Al Sharpton coming.

Poverty pimping to the fullest.

Check out the article, it appears the most famous perm in America, (What? James Brown is dead and Michael Jackson lives in Dubai.), is using his position as the mainstream media's spokesman for Black America to line his pockets. And not just his pockets, but the pockets of his fake-ass non-profit corporation that is surely slinging money to all of Mr. Dark and Lovely's friends in New York. Also, Rebbin Al is using all the personal information from the people who attend his conferences and other events to entice sponsors to give him more dough.

Hmmmm, why does that sound so familiar?

Pimp hard, pimp harder.

Look, before anybody gets too upset, I know the New York Post is a suspect news source only slightly better than Fox News and owned by the same cat. I read that article and I can see that it was a thinly disguised hit piece on Sharpton designed to provide cover for racists by assailing his credibility. I can see that.

But that don't make it a lie.

Shoot, check out Sharpton's response to the allegations. Basically, homeboy says that everybody is doing this and you can't prove that I'm getting paid off. He claims that all of his advisory roles have nothing to with the companies he advocates boycotting and that any appearance of a conflict of interest is off base.

Does he think we are stupid?

Man, I respect that Al is trying to eat, but when you're this obvious about shaking white folks down through claims of racism it does all other black folks a disservice. See, despite his flowery rhetoric and ability to generate media attention to injustice, Al Sharpton's first priority is clearly taking care of Al Sharpton. He ain't trying to change the world, this nigga is just trying to eat.

Really it's a damn shame. Sharpton is an astute man who understands the power dynamic in this country and understands the problems black folks have. Yet, with his actions, and his inability to keep those actions a secret, Sharpton has revealed his true motivations and has jeopardized any future protests he is a part of. Seriously, he has made it even easier for stubborn racists to ignore black complaints and chalk them all up to Mr. Conk looking for a quick buck.

I'll admit that I was never a huge Al Sharpton fan. I respected his intellect, respected his willingness to speak for the those without a voice, but, as my many insults show, I could never get past the fact that the brother had a perm. I know he calls it a tribute to the Godfather of Soul, but in my mind it was always a symbol of ignorance.

Most intelligent black people know that the root of many of our community's problems is self hatred that was created and encouraged by white people's insistence that everything black was inferior. Consequently, I believe that any man who is advocating for black people and trying to uplift our race cannot have an overt symbol of self-hatred like chemically-processed hair on his head. It sends the wrong message because of the reasoning behind the whole perming process for black men. (I have different feelings when it comes to women.)

Anyway, my bias means that I'm not surprised by this news and I'm more willing to give it credence than I would be if the Post was making similar allegations about Barack Obama or some other black person I was fond of. Nothing I've seen from Al Sharpton leads me to believe he would be above extorting money through the threat of racial protest or boycott. Nothing.

Pimps up and hoes down.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Is God Running for President?

Nah, I'm not calling Barack Obama the Messiah, I ain't that drunk on the Kool Aid.

I'm talking about an article in the NY Times recently that discussed the role of God in today's political campaigns. Timothy Egan, the column's author, argues in here that the Almighty might as well be on the campaign trail given how often his name is referenced in stump speeches.

Egan, who has been a critic of religion in the past, notes that since 1980 it's almost become mandatory for politicians to talk about their faith constantly if they want to be taken seriously, and he posits that this new focus has not had a positive effect on our lives. Egan longs for the days of Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and JFK when a man's religion was his business and not something that was political currency.

Excuse me while I stop laughing.

It's ridiculous for Egan to pull out random quotes from these politicians and then pretend like there wasn't pressure in the past for politicians to toe the line when it came to religion. Come on, he expects us to believe that when the U.S. was a far more conservative nation and much less likely to deal kindly with those who failed to conform, a politician's relationship with God wasn't a big deal. He really thinks that if there was a rumor that Jefferson loved Satan and killed goats Old TJ wouldn't have had to jump out of Sally Hemmings' bed and deal with that?

Yeah right.

Look, I understand where Egan is coming from about the detriments to allowing religion, particularly Christianity, to govern American policy and I think he's correct that all these questions about politicians' faith are intrusive.

But, where he and I differ is that he thinks a candidate's comments about their faith tell voters nothing about what type of leader they will be, and I disagree. I think that voters should take faith, or lack thereof, into account, just like they should examine economic policy, national security policy and every other policy.

I'll be the first to acknowledge that it's difficult to get a true reading on anybody's relationship with God just by watching them speak. However, I think that if candidates' profess a belief in God, voters can then watch their actions, watch how they conduct themselves and get a feel for the honesty at that candidate's core.

More importantly, as a Christian, God and his tenets guide me in life and I must admit that I like the idea that the person making decisions about this country's future also turns to God and his word for some guidance. Now, that doesn't mean I align myself with conservative Christians and their agendas (I don't think most of those are from God), but it does mean that I would have a problem voting for a Scientologist. And I know Dubya claims that God helps him make decisions, but come on, do y'all still believe in Santa Claus?

Anyway, there is this mindset among many intelligent folks that a belief in traditional Christianity is incompatible with intelligence, which in turn makes them uneasy when it appears that politicians are traditional Christians. Egan never says so in his article, but it's pretty obvious that the reason he thinks it's a bad idea for religion and politics to mix is because he thinks folks who focus on religion might have a few screws loose.

(Also, Egan admits that Obama's focus on his faith might be a result of the smears leveled against him, particularly the Muslim lie. Egan then fails to offer a way for Obama to deal with those smears and still maintain Egan's proposed ban on talking about God.)

I don't think we should run America as theocracy, nor do I believe that Americans should be forced to live according to the tenets of Christianity. But, I do think that God does have a role in politics because God has a role in most people's lives. It makes sense for politicians to account for this.

God might not be running for President, but he probably deserves a cabinet position.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Does Barack Obama Have to Slap a Hoe?

I'm sure most of y'all were fans of the Dave Chappelle show on Comedy Central.

Dave's biting comedy about race and his outstanding hip-hop acts made the show must see TV for a lot of folks. He had a lot of classic shows with the most famous skit being his epic retelling of the relationship between Rick James and Charlie Murphy.

But, I consider his skit with Wayne Brady to be one of the most underrated performance by Dave, and one of the most impressive performances I've ever seen Wayne Brady give.

For those of y'all who weren't fans or have bad memories, Dave and Brady basically decide to hang out one night and do the town. Chappelle and Brady have a history because on several occasions Dave has lambasted Brady for being a cornball Negro who is more than willing to shuffle and jive for the white man. (Those of y'all who actually watched the Wayne Brady Show know what I'm talking about.)

Anyway, the pair decide to hang out and Chappelle discovers that Brady's saccharine demeanor is actually a facade, and Brady is actually a stone-cold thug who pimps, commits drive-bys and is basically just like Denzel Washington's character in Training Day.

I laughed so hard during this skit I damn near had to change my pants.

One of the highlights of the skit is when Chappelle and Brady pull up to a "track" where Brady has some prostitutes working. Brady hits his pimp horn and the women come by to drop off their cash. The only problem is one of the girls is fairly short. Brady then looks in the camera and says "Is Wayne Brady going to have to slap a hoe?" Classic.

Anyway, that skit was the first thing that popped into my head, when I read this article. which also was posted over at Jack and Jill Politics. Fox News apparently thinks it's ok to call Obama's wife his "baby's mama."

Seriously now, is Barack Obama going to have a slap a hoe?

I'm not talking about Michelle Malkin or the other woman who is featured in the segment discussing Michelle Obama. It's not even about them.

See, the point of the Wayne Brady skit, at least in my eyes, was Brady poking his tongue out at all the other comedians and regular black folks who had been questioning his manhood. See, singing show tunes and dancing the Carlton Banks two-step is not something that black folks generally consider "manly" or cool.

Brady was basically letting these folks know that they really don't know shit about him, that all the things they think make him a cornball could actually be the mask he wears for white folks so he can make his money. Wayne Brady could be a Hoover Crip and none of us would know about it if he decided to hide that part of his life. I think Brady was letting people know that they needed to respect him as a man. His conversation with the prostitute encapsulated that idea since he was reminding her that if she did not respect him as a man and produce some ducats there would be consequences.

Which brings me back to Barack Obama's pimp hand.

We all know Obama has avoided being labeled an Angry Negro like that shit is the plague. He sucked it up when Hillary came at him with both barrels, he did the same when the media attacked him on the most asinine topics and it appears he's taking the same path when it comes to conservatives. In fact, the only time Obama has let his cool and calm pose crumble is when folks have taken shots at his wife. He's let them know that type of behavior will not be tolerated, and while he didn't go into full-blown Angry Negro mode, he did let Slightly-Peeved Negro come out to play.

So, I'm wondering if this latest attack is going to bring the Bruce Banner out of Obama.

"You wouldn't like me when I get angry."

Personally, I would be fine with Obama getting medieval on the ass of Fox News and their rampant racism. As Charlie Murphy said, those bastards are habitual line-steppers; they cross the line so much we should just call them Scab News.

But, once you go angry black, I hear you can never go back. Even if Obama is fully justified in his anger, once he unleashes the Angry Negro that resides within him I wonder if he will ever be able to resume his current pose. After all, white people have a tendency to remember it when they get their asses handed to them by a black person and they then bring that incident up in perpetuity.

Obama still cannot afford to be branded a typical, angry black person because once that happens I believe huge portions of the electorate will write him off without compunction. It comes down to whether Obama thinks it's worth it to really engage Fox News for the disrespect they directed towards his wife, or if he would rather let the rest of us get in their asses.

I'm sure his pimp hand is quivering right now, but he might have to put it away.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

1.3 Million Mofos With Their Heads Up Their Asses

I'm tired of talking about Hillary Clinton, you all are tired of reading about Hillary Clinton and we all wish she would pretty much go away.

Homegirl finally gave her concession speech and she's pledged to support O-tastic in the general election. She seems ready to make her exit stage left.

Yet, for some reason, The Sandman's music just won't come on.

It seems that far too many of Clinton's supporters are so upset about her defeat that it's impossible for them to move on with life and vote for Obama. They are blathering on and on about sexism and media bias and threatening to stay home or vote for the Old Fogey.

Loyal reader WNG touched on this topic in an astounding post from a feminist point of view a few days back and The Field Negro also got in on the action Wednesday. Media commentators have debated how serious these voters are and many of them have come to the conclusion that these folks are talking big now, but come election time they will fall in line because John McCain doesn't represent any of the same things that Hillary Clinton did.

I have to humbly disagree. Last time I checked, Hillary Clinton was white.

In his post, The Field Negro linked to this website as proof of just how much some Hillary supporters claim to hate Obama. If you look at the site, the creators made it clear that they hate Obama, that their site is dedicated to that hate and that no dissent will be tolerated. Cool, it's their site and the internet still respects free speech.

What I found interesting was that the site was only started in May 2008, and it has already had nearly 1.4 million visitors. That's right, in a little over a month more than a million so-called Democrats have participated in a hatefest against Obama and a love-in for John McCain.

Damn.

You know, when I listened to cable news hosts debate how serious Hillary supporters are about defecting I usually end up screaming at the television because they always use euphemisms for racism and racist. In addition, I always felt that the media was overhyping the extent of this problem.

But, once I read that site I realized that maybe, just maybe, the media might be on to something. Then I thought about it some more and decided that they were definitely right.

Look, despite the optimism some of us like to cling to, (I'm looking at you WNG), the simple truth is that folks are pig-headed and idiotic. And make no mistake, calling yourself a progressive feminist and supporting John McCain is idiotic. I don't know how these woman can convince themselves that The Great White Hope is the better candidate for president if they've actually looked at his resume. Maybe they are convinced that if he's elected he will screw up so much that people will have to select their candidate in 2012, but I'm thinking they have been sipping the crazy juice.

Unfortunately, white people have been infected with that type of crazy for a long time. How else do you explain the fact that the parts of the country most dependent on government assistance, the South and Midwest, are often the most staunch supporters of the political party that shits on poor people? Black people get branded as emotional nitwits, but when it comes to voting we've been making pragmatic choices about candidates since we got the right.

Anyway, it's sad that these people gather together to hate on Obama, particularly since he has shown amazing restraint towards Hillary and her evilness. I do worry about his candidacy, but I've pretty much decided it's in the hands of God. It's not Obama's fault people do stupid things. Some people like having their heads up their asses.

You can hand somebody shampoo, but you can't force them to wash the shit from their hair.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Who is an American Girl?

This post almost didn't happen.

My day was winding down, I was scrambling to finish up some work and I had no idea what was going on in the world and what I could write about it. I was worried that my streak of never failing to post on a weekday was coming to an end.

Then, a friend of mine brought something to my attention that begged for a longer discussion, not just by me but by all the smart folks who visit this blog. What she pointed out to me was a series of books and dolls called American Girl.

That link introduces you to "Addy" one of the 14 American Girl characters immortalized by a doll and book series. The toys appear to be based on an amalgamation of historical character in certain ethnic groups and are designed to tell diverse stories of America's past through the eyes of young girls.

Oh, and Addy's a slave.

Yep, of all the periods of black life, of all the little girls that could be immortalized through a doll and book, Addy the slave wench made the cut. Actually, I guess if Addy had been anything other than a slave it would have been pretty unrealistic since the only time black people are involved in any thing important is when they are being oppressed.

Ok, I'm toning down the snark and bile.

Honestly, when I initially sat down to write this blog, I couldn't decide whether Addy made me happy or angry. The books do attempt to teach important lessons about racism and discrimination, the writer of the series is a sister and Lord knows there aren't enough black dolls on the market for young black girls. Addy has several sets of nice clothes and wonderful accessories so it wasn't the typical presentation of a slave ragamuffin. I really had to think about why my initial reaction to Addy was so negative.

What I determined was that Addy's slavery had nothing to do with reality.

Oh, she suffered at the hands of white folks, saw her family separated and had to deal with hardship, but Addy just didn't feel like a slave. After all, what type of slave has six or seven sets of clothing? What type of slave or newly-freed former slave owns summer dresses, traveling trunks and bonnets? What type of slave sleeps in a cute little trundle bed?

That slave doesn't exist.

Clearly the author of this series and even the manufacturers of these dolls had a good intentions, but some things just don't lend themselves to cute back stories and pretty clothes. I know it's hard to discuss racism and slavery with kids, but the answer is not feeding them a sanitized, happy-go-lucky version of the past that comes equipped with matching galoshes.

If y'all take the time to look over all the dolls you will notice that the creators played fast and loose with stereotypes for everyone. I know children need things simplified, but sometimes things can go too far. More importantly, even in their rush to present an authentic black experience, the doll designers still decided to go with long straight hair for Addy; a decision that will surely spark some uncomfortable moments for black parents everywhere.

I want black children to have dolls that look like them, that tell their stories, but I also want those children to understand that those stories didn't begin or end with slavery. (Although the doll designers did give a shout out to Addy's African heritage with a straw dress and bone necklace.) Black people were involved in every step of American history; our stories do not have to be limited to slavery and the Civil Rights era. I also question whether these dolls were really being targeted to black kids considering the fact they cost roughly $90.

It's good that somebody thought to tell the story of a little black girl who showed pluck and courage. There is nothing inherently wrong with discussing slavery or the families it affected.

But, I think I'll stick with Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry when it comes time to introduce my children to historical fiction for black folks.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Check out the sidebar

Please give my y'all's thoughts on the new Raving Black Lunatic gear I'm trying to hawk, I mean sell on my sidebar. One of my friends and I have been talking about putting out pithy t-shirts with racial messages for a long time, and this was my first stab. Please offer suggestions or purchase a t-shirt if you think they are funny enough.

They're Getting Some, How About You?

One of the first things you hear about marriage is that it is the antidote to a frisky sex life.

Tired of multiple sessions of marathon sex? Put a ring on a woman's finger. Just plain fed up with doing the horizontal mambo wherever y'all can find a non-stick surface? Well take that long walk down the aisle and your problems will be solved.

Now those comments are not going to endear me to my wife or my in-laws, (all of whom read this blog), but y'all know that a Lunatic has to keep things honest. Marriage doesn't completely cut-off the sex spigot, but when it's combined with children things can slow down to a proverbial crawl.

I'm bringing up this topic not to put my family on blast, but because I've read several articles recently about several couples who have used sexual goals to stimulate their flagging marriages. My marriage isn't flagging, but like all relationships it has its good days and its bad days.

The first of these articles I saw was in the St. Petersburg Times, the most recent article ran here.

Basically, these couples committed to having sex everyday for a set amount of time. In the St. Petersburg article it was an entire church commiting to sex everyday for a month, for one of the Times couples it was 100 days and for the other couple it was 365 days. That husband in that couple, Brad Mueller, had this to say about the state of his sex life after the year-long challenge ended.

“It made it much easier to be open to the idea, more spontaneous,” he said, “So you don’t go back to that always gaming for it and always trying to get out of it.”


I thought that was a powerful sentiment.

From what I remember about my single life, (it seems so long ago), the mating dance between men and women was a lot like a game of chess. Both sexes were constantly skirmishing, looking for a way to engage in intercourse without sacrificing too much power. Consequently, every sexual interaction was a contest and rarely did you get to fully relax and reveal your true self for fear of sacrificing some well-earned advantage.

One of the things I loved about finally getting married was that it seemed like those battles were over. If you're going to be with someone forever, it makes sense to put all your cards on the table, including the sexual cards. Consequently, I assumed that meant I wouldn't have to plot on how I was going to entice my wife to bed.

It doesn't actually work like that.

Marriage is the most intimate partnership anybody can engage in outside of a relationship with God. There is something special about binding yourself to another fully-formed and totally different human that can't be replicated. Even the bond between parent and child does not require the same level of intimacy as marriage.

However, far too often it's easy to get sidetracked in marriage in a way that damages the closeness couples should share. It could be work, or children or just that vagaries of life, but without fail every marriage will be tested and strained. Since sex is just one component of the marital melding, it can also be affected.

That's why I found the Times article so interesting. It's easy to forget when you're involved in a marriage just how much of a role sex plays in the bonding between human beings. My mother used to say that when you have sex with someone you share a piece of your soul, and I imagine that sharing is only amplified when you commit to sharing souls for the rest of your life.

The idea of making sex a goal in marriage, not just a duty, opens up a whole new way of thinking I believe. I'm sure it can get tedious having to make a sexual appointment everyday, but I wonder if the routine, the scheduling of intimacy, does not force individuals to think about their partners on a more regular basis. As many of us know, the hardest part of any relationship is sacrificing your desires to meet the desires of your partner, and I think regular healthy intercourse helps get in that habit.

I don't think every couple, married or otherwise, has to commit to having sex every night for a set amount of time, but I think it's important to acknowledge that sex isn't just some random act to pass the time, but that it's an integral part of what makes marriage and relationships special. The Bible encourages married couples to copulate for procreation and recreation and their is a reason for that. Very few acts bring couples as close together as intercourse, and I tend to believe that God understands that.

It might be time for everybody, particularly the married folks, to commit to getting some on a regular basis.

The world would be a better place.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Darkies Only Bring Pain and Suffering

If Chicken Little had been a racist his catchphrase wouldn't have been "The sky is falling" it would have been "The niggers are coming."

Seriously, if there is one thing that scares the bejesus out of white folks with racism lodged in their hearts, it's the idea of black folks invading their neighborhoods. That fear, which has provoked riots, lynchings and all manner of non-violent discrimination, pays no respect to the the class, education or predilection towards violence of black folks.

It only cares about skin color.

Here is the latest manifestation of that irrational fear. Hat tip to the lovely ladies at Racialicious for hipping me to the newest saga in the fight against white fear.

As the article states, Lola, a new restaurant that caters to black folks with disposable income and a love of baked chicken and overpriced drinks, is trying to open up in a part of New York that has typically been fairly vanilla in flavor. In order to continue helping educated black folks drink away the sorrows they've accrued after a day on the plantation, the restaurant is trying to get a liquor license.

And white folks ain't having it.

The Village Voice article talks about the totality of the issue (although they couldn't resist making a snarky comment about claims of racism), but I'd like to focus on one fine gentleman who makes his presence felt the moment he's introduced to us. Sean Sweeney doesn't want Lola on his block if it's going to be blasting jungle music and attracting the "wrong sort of people." Sweeney makes his objections known in no uncertain terms.

"I don't think you need a martini to go with chitlins and collard greens. What wine goes with jambalaya? I can't think of one," he says, ridiculing Lola's need for a license. "There is a place right next to them that sells empañadas, and they don't serve liquor. You don't really need liquor if you are a good restaurant to stay in business. Liquor is like cream."


Did that motherfucker just pull out the chitlins and collard greens card?

"I am not racist. [Gayle Patrick-Odeen] is from Barbados. She's a British subject; she's not African-American. She didn't suffer Jim Crow, Reconstruction, lynching. . . . For her to exploit the true sufferings of African-Americans is disgraceful," says Sweeney.


Shameful.

As I've said many times, nobody in America is a racist if you let them tell it. In most people's minds, nothing they ever do is racist and there is nothing any minority can say to convince them otherwise. Period.

Truthfully, this angry cat amused me more than he angered me. If you read the article, despite his racism denials, Sweeney makes it pretty clear where he stands on the issue. It's the other folks quoted, the ones who try to hide behind other lame ass justifications for opposing Lola's liquor license that really piss me off. Sweeney doesn't pretend that race isn't an issue, he's just certain that he's no racist. Those other folks want to pretend like race has nothing to do with their decisions and that's much more egregious.

It's a damn shame that black skin equals evil in so many white people's minds, but I could deal with it a little better if they would admit that this plays a role in their thinking. It's okay to admit that you've fallen victim to society's brainwashing, it's really not your fault. Shoot, black people are still making babies to get good hair, so we really can't point any fingers if white folks admit that they've had their minds warped by the media and their parents.

But, white folks just won't do it. They cling to their stereotypes in the deepest parts of their minds and try their hardest to deny that those stereotypes exist. It's as if admitting the fallacies in their world views would somehow cause them intense physical pain.

Anyway, the black folks who go to Lola's are understandably upset that white people don't want them drinking and dancing down the street from their antique shops. As one sister put it, these are Superlative Negroes and the white folks have nothing to be afraid of.

"We love this place, and the people are wrong," said a woman at the party named Sharun, speaking of Lola's opposition. "This neighborhood thinks because of Lola, there are going to be fights on the street. But the people who come here are TV anchors, lawyers, doctors, businessmen."

Friday, June 6, 2008

"Let Me Holla At You For a Second"




The Devil is knocking, will he open the door?

It might seem harsh to label Hillary Clinton as the devil, but as I told a commenter on another site, I can only judge a tree by the fruit it bears. And Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign has borne poisonous and evil fruit.

Let's be clear, Barack Hussein Obama would have been challenged no matter who he battled in the primary. With that name, that skin and that confidence he was going to rub some folks wrong even if he promised them free gas for the rest of their lives. Ain't nothing he could do about that.

But, that reality does not excuse Clinton's devious and dastardly actions or the actions of her supporters and surrogates. There is a clear reason why black people no longer see the Clinton's as the de facto first black couple in the White House and it's not because we had some sort of racial Lasik surgery.

No, Clinton and her putrid husband have displayed their true colors during this primary, they showed black people that we are nothing but pawns on their political chess board and they are more than willing to sacrifice us if it protects the Queen and King. And y'all know who the King and Queen are.

Hillary and her band of bitter losers are concentrating on pressuring Obama to anoint her as his vice-president as if they have some sort of leverage in this ordeal. While Hildermort has toned down her defiant rhetoric and is conceding to Obama, it is clear what her ultimate goal is. She wants to align herself with Obama so that she can be next in line if crazies take him out, and so she can be right back at the epicenter of political power in this country.

This woman does not care about change, she does not care about making good on Obama's campaign promises. She cares about taking care of Hillary, Bill, Chelsea and anybody else that family owes a debt to. She is willing to play second fiddle to Obama only because she is convinced that once she has access to the White House she will easily usurp the authority of a junior senator from Illinois. As one media member posited on the night Obama clinched the nomination, Hillary has made it clear that not only must Obama select her, but added that caveat that if he doesn't select her then he cannot select any other woman. She doens't care about women, she cares about one woman.

Hillary Clinton.

The question now becomes whether Obama is so supremely confident or helplessly naive that he thinks he can win this election with her on his squad. I'm of the mindset that he can't because of everything she now represents, but I don't have a crystal ball. Obama has shown that he is man with his own ideas about what is and is not possible, and he may very well believe that he can achieve this goal even with an Arkansas anchor attached to his hip.

To be honest, besides her loathsome racism and dishonesty Hillary is not a bad politician. Before y'all become alarmed, I am not advocating on her behalf and I want her to stay as far away from Obama's campaign as George Bush is from reality, but I can recognize game. And Hillary definitely has some game.

Yet, despite all of her many abilities and advantages she was unable to garner a victory in this campaign. Consequently, I don't care how many people in Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania love her, I'm not convinced she is completely ready for the big stage.

But, there is no question that Obama is ready. He is poised to achieve one of the most amazing feats in the history of civilization (hyperbole anyone?) and everything about him says that he is ready for this moment. He has gotten where he is on his terms, so who am I to dictate to him how to move forward?

I wasn't even convinced he would get this far.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I'm Late to the Party

I guess I missed the bus.

Yesterday was the day everybody took time to reflect on what it meant to the world that a black man named Barack Hussein Obama became the Democratic nominee for President. I decided to put up a post about a mythical law against racism.

Yeah, I effed up.

When I wasn't working, I spent Wednesday just trolling black sites looking at the love folks have for this moment. Because no matter how you feel about Obama and Hillary and Democrats that's what this was.

A moment.

Damn y'all, a black man is the nominee of a major American political party. A man with skin that wouldn't have allowed him to ride next to the driver back in 1962 is now in the running to be the leader of the Free World. The same cat who at one time would have had to be home before darkness came in Mississippi could be running shit come January.

Am I high?

Actually, I thought this whole exercise would seem a bit more surreal than it actually does. I mean, one part of me is shocked that Obama did the damn thing, but on another level, after all the bullshit he endured, this just seems right.

My pops was telling me how Obama eloquently praised Hillary in his acceptance speech (yeah, I missed it because Grand Theft Auto IV is the devil) and my dad was amped at the level of professionalism and humility that Obama displayed. All he could say after a while was "that boy got some charisma. He knows he got it."

It's true. Some conservatives have tried to ridicule Obama as an empty suit puffed up by rhetoric and Affirmative Action, but they are so out of touch with reality that could be George Bush's conscience. If you listen to Obama speak, if you watch how he pivots from issue to issue while handling most political wildfires with an aplomb that belies his years, and you still aren't moved, well homie you need to check your fucking pulse.

You're lost.

This is a moment because I didn't just see a black man accomplish something I never imagined, but I saw him do it while avoiding the very pitfalls that I often thought were insurmountable. Sure, Obama is a safer black man than most of us, but he is without a doubt a black man, and I never thought a real one of us could achieve true power in this country.(I know I'm jumping the gun, but I'm caught up.)

Not only did he snatch him some power, but he did it while hurdling a horde of racists and hatemongers desperate to prevent him from getting to where he is.

Big homie got skills.

Anyway, I guess I finally made it to the shindig, even if I was on CP time. Shoot, I might even take the wife out even though I already cooked for this week and hate spending money when I've got food fixed. We need to celebrate, we need to acknowledge that an important step in black life was taken last night. We need to have some sort of party.

Like it's 1999.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

It Really Sounded Like a Good Idea

(Update: Seems I have a gift for seeing the future.)

Remember a while back when France opposed the United States' decision to go into Iraq?

There was a huge backlash against the French over here, with some idiots even removing "french fries" from their menus and adding "freedom fries." Many in this country fell back on trite insults about our wine and colonizing-loving friends and it become pretty acceptable to characterize the French as pansies we had to bail out in World War II.

Of course, now that everybody in this country realizes that Iraq was a colossal clusterfuck and remembers that wine and cheese taste great together, some of the animosity directed towards the French has abated. While they had their own motivations for opposing that war in Iraq that had nothing to do with the common good, they actually appear to have been right about it being an unjustified and unnecessary war.

I began this short discussion because a friend of mine recently pointed me to an article that displayed another way the French are offering Americans some good advice, albeit in a roundabout manner. The article, which can be found here, discusses the recent conviction of actress and former sex symbol Brigitte Bardot for inciting discrimination and racial hatred. Bardot was found guilty of encouraging racism against Muslims after she engaged in a ridiculous rant a while back that accused Muslims of ruining France. She was fined, and it was her fourth conviction on the charges.

Basically, she's been convicted multiple times of being a racist.

Now, this article got me to thinking the same thing that I'm sure most of y'all are thinking right now. If we could convict folks of racism in America, who would be the first ones to go to jail.

Off top Pat Buchanan, Michelle Malkin and Anne Coulter would be in stripes. Then you would have Rush Limbaugh and a bunch of other garden variety racists in the bing. Geraldine Ferraro and the Clintons would also be facing some hot water, and Larry Elder and Ward Connerly would finally have a chance to get close to some of those "bad niggers" they so despise.

It would be like Christmas in July for black folks, at least initially. Got a boss that thinks it's okay to use "you people" in conversation? Turn his ass in. That mean old lady who clutched her purse close when she passed you on the street would be ripe for fingerprinting and mug shots. Blacks folks would finally have the power to point out everybody making our lives harder and force them to face the music.

It would be so sweet.

Then, I began to realize that the list of folks who have incited discrimination and racism is just too long in America. I mean, if we started locking folks up for that, we would have to just go ahead and incarcerate the entire states of Kentucky and West Virginia. If you factor in the explosion of anonymous racism that the internet has fostered, I would wager confidently that black men would no longer be the only group where a third of its members are on parole or probation.

I think most of us understand that racism and discrimination need to be confronted regularly and swiftly, but I'm wondering if the answer would be a law like France's.

How would we really enforce that law in this country where it seems like we can never come to a consensus on what racism and discrimination really are? Besides, I'm pretty confident that if this law was enacted black folks eventually get the shaft once white folks trotted out the reverse racism argument.

Nah, as good as it sounds, having the government punish racists just wouldn't work here in the land of the free and home of the brave. It's a damn shame because our current practice of giving white racists television platforms doesn't seem to be deterring them at all.

Oh well, we still have french fries to thank the frogs for.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Memory is Like an Elephant's Nose

I see you Miss Ann.

Pandering and insinuating, using innuendo to make your wounds so nobody can find the blood from a direct cut. Your platitudes and smiles are the wool used to hide sharpened canines; you are the wolf and you are hunting.

I smell you.

Oh, you long ago realized that this hunt has been squandered, all that is left for you now is the carrion forgotten by the victor and the hope that the next hunt will be time for you to make your kill. I see the calculations in your every gesture, the forced smile that stretches your skin into a ghoulish mask.

Your focus is surely on the next hunt. It's why your every every thank you is followed by a plea for sustenance. You claim it is for this fight, and that may be true. But, it is not to continue the battle, but so you can erase the debt you have gathered.

You claim to be the choice of "hard-working people," yet, you cannot convince those folks to support you with what they've earned through their "hard-working" ways.

I see you.

You await the young lion's failure; you are confident that the wounds you have inflicted on him will render him unable to take over the pride. When he fails, you plan to supplant him; your goals are so obvious they are almost childish.

Your plan hinges on the short memories of the pride, particularly it's darker-hued members. Ahh, but that is where you err because we, the darker brothers, do not forget even when we forgive. Our memories stretch back for generations, and once we have marked you it is forever.

And you most definitely have been marked for what you truly are.

No longer can you or your underlings beguile us with soft words and trinkets. We have seen your true face, viewed your true soul and the putrid stench overwhelms us.

We shall not forget.

We still recall the Middle Passage; we still feel the sting of whips, the ripping apart of the wombs and the destruction of families. We still bear rope burns around our necks and wipe spittle from our faces because of our encounters with a bird named James. Our memories stretch back for generations, their roots are deep.

Oh we do not forget.

So, move forward with your machinations, proceed swiftly with your plans. Keep your eyes trained four years hence, foolishly believe that time holds your triumph. We watch with silent mirth for we know the truth.

Our memories are long.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Little Things.

Really, quickly I want those of you who have loose bills of various denominations in your pockets to pull them out and lay them on a flat surface in front of you. Now, while looking to the side, mix the bills up so you don't know which denomination is in which spot. Finally, close your eyes and try to identify the denomination of each bill.

Difficult, right?

Now, imagine if you weren't just trying to identify those bills because some random blogger told you to, but because you were working in Walgreens and a customer wanted their change. They told you they gave you $20 for that 25 cent pack of gum, but you have no idea whether they gave $1 or a piece of paper shaped like a dollar.

That would suck wouldn't it?

I'd never thought about that scenario until I read a recent article in the New York Times that discussed some of the basic struggles blind people endure in America. The story's peg was the fact that it has been determined that the federal government must now include some way for blind people to identify money on all new bills.

I've often said that I lead a charmed life. I know I've portrayed myself as the prototypical "angry black man," and in many ways that description fits me, but ultimately when I take stock of my life I thank God and find contentment. I have a good family, a decent job and nice amount of happiness. There are far worse ways my life could have turned out.

That's not to say that I consider being disabled as some horrible curse, but it does seem to make life a lot more difficult. According to the article, almost every blind person has a story detailing how they were taken advantage of by an able-bodied person when it came to money.

Comments like that make me take stock of my life, take stock of my place in this world. They make me wonder how much I take for granted, how many blessings from God I don't recognize or acknowledge.

I hope they do the same for you.

Raving Black Lunatic