Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

The great thing about a good post is the ability to repost – enjoy:

When I was a child I spoke, thought and reasoned like a child but when I grew up I put away childish things. 1 Cor. 13:11. When YourBlackfriend was a youth, in the years before the first celebration of Dr. King’s birthday, there was a lot of opposition to the creation of a national holiday. Part of the opposition argument was the potential cost to tax payers, singling him out above other persons and his controversial career (but we can celebrate Columbus Day?). Of course another great part of the opposition was singularly focused on his minority status as a Black man. And once the holiday was pushed through I, like many, was glad for the possibility of a day off– nothing more. But worse than that I had bought into the idea that this was somehow a holiday for Black people.

Today it’s hard to imagine people getting caught up on those things if you understand that Dr. King was a humanitarian. This means that while his primary work appeared to be centered on civil rights for Blacks, his overall goal was the improvement of conditions for ALL mankind. The only way this doesn’t apply to YOU is if you’re not human…and maybe not even then. [It seems to me Dr. King would hold the Navi lifestyle in high regard.] Nevertheless, I know that there are those who still have a problem with this Holiday.

To you I say that it’s true that as a youth I only understood Dr. King intellectually. But older, wiser and more educated, I now understand the connectedness of ALL mankind and appreciate the impact and meaning of his legacy. Simply put, we rise or fall together. This is clear in the age of globalization and poignantly highlighted by the current plight of Haitians. They and others are OUR problem. It is high time to put away childish thoughts, reasoning and petty squabbling; we pay tribute to a higher level of consciousness when we do.

Enjoy this day of remembrance but know that beyond this day, any hope for a better world depends on an ONGOING ingrained sense of duty and obligation to work towards fairness and equality for all peoples. You are your brother’s keeper and “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Who needs a Black friend?

The answers to most of the questions I receive on this website have the same general themes: (1) Have you thought about it from the others perspective? (2) Do unto others (i.e. how would you like if it were done to you) and (3) What do you think (because people usually stop thinking when they can defer to an “expert”). Additionally, the questions are mostly repetitive and/or can be found in my book. Among other reasons, this is why in all these years I’ve resisted writing a follow-up book. “All these years” is significant because the book still sells pretty well.

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #32,078 in Books  #15 in Books > Reference > Education > Questions & Answers  #22 in Books > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > Race Relations > America

And while that’s great for supplemental income, mine is the type of book you’d like to see fade into obscurity for lack of need/interest.

I mean it’s simple (and sometimes funny) to point out our differences. And I could easily cobble together enough new material from this very unchanged post-racial Obama era. But I won’t because as far as I can tell, drawing awareness to and documenting differences (in treatment or behavior) hasn’t caused any major positive shifts. Yes, I know change happens slowly and progress has been made; but we are way behind where we should be race relations wise. Just as knowing better does not mean doing better; neither does acknowledging our differences lead to wide range acceptance or appreciation. And in my opinion, racial tolerance is low sight to set. So, I am leaving it to the comedians, race baiters/mongers and the defenders/racial apologists. Until I can find a meaningful way to address what I see as a not so complex race relation problem, I am exiting ala Dave Chappelle (minus the fame, money and opportunity) and there will be no follow-up.

This is not a concession or acceptance of the status quo. I DON’T believe our problems have been solved or will work themselves out. I DO believe our current adversarial paradigm is due for a major overhaul. And we can do better starting with me. In the future look for something from me that strongly advocates a change in oneself as a first step. Sure, I’ll continue to answer your questions (I am your Black friend afterall) but please consider the themes in the first paragraph before you ask – then buy my book. Thank you.

 

Why do WE hate US

Your Black friend answers many questions but today has one of her own.

Has “the Man” successfully turned us against ourselves? I mean we have to blame somebody right? The deck is indeed stacked but each generation that preceded us intended that we progress/benefit from their trials. And given all the bloodshed, pain and anguish suffered so that WE might have an opportunity – this is the outcome?

What I see manifested is outwardly directed rage and self-loathing – I don’t know how else to describe it. Black on Black crime, burning and looting our own communities (this I will NEVER understand), an obesity epidemic, HIV/AIDS rates to rival Africa, disdain for education, the popularity of “entertainment” that disparages our rich cultural heritage…shall I continue? And please don’t tell me things aren’t ALL bad – they are bad enough. So bad that we cannot afford to ignore the truth. But first we must be honest with ourselves.

Intra-racism (within the race) is rampant and a leading cause of our dysfunction. Many of us are turned against each other ala Willie Lynch: dark v. light, old v. young, women v. men and add to that the class issue. Yes I understand some of you feel above the fray because you have more money/education – I got mine now go get yours. But as you well know we are ALL painted with the same broad brush. The war against “those” Blacks includes you and your family (even if you don’t claim them) and is coming to your town. Even as you seek to distance yourself you will not be spared the stigma if nothing else. Ask Obama.

Since we’re afraid to even speak of the ills in our community how can we hope to fix them? They’re obvious to any and everyone who is paying attention and/or profiting from our self-destruction. And if someone (in-house) dares to speak the truth (Bill Cosby), no matter if you like how he said it, they get cut off at the knees. And God forbid a non-Black person raise the issue.

We are choking on denial and the stench of our dirty laundry all the while accusing, blaming, crabbing and waiting for THEM to right the wrongs. It ain’t gonna happen. America is all about WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) and until the majority of people realize a humanitarian approach benefits everybody, WE should not expect help where none is forthcoming.  Yes it may be the right thing to do but charity begins at home. I begin my part by not deceiving myself and pretending things will naturally sort themselves out. They will not. I still believe WE (not some non-invested pastor, politician or media commentator etc.) can turn the tide.

WE are the ones we have been waiting for.

Recommended reading: Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Joy Degruy Leary 

I’m Not Yo “Nigga”

It has become popular among non-Blacks to question and even be mad about the fact that they cannot freely use the N-word. These folks are actually feeling self-righteous anger about being blocked from saying nigger. But wait, you wouldn’t be saying nigger in the negative way; you’ll be saying it the “cool” way – “nigga”, just like Black people. In the same way you use it amongst your friends or when singing along to your favorite hip-hop song. It’s casual, non-offensive use and you’re not a racist (you have Black friends) so what’s the big deal? Black people do it all the time so why can’t you?  

Oh brother. Well, the first part of my answer SHOULD go without saying – but I’ll say it anyway in case you’re thinking Black people are of one mind.

 A lot of Black people do NOT EVER use the word (in any variation), are extremely offended by it and are none too pleased with the fact that “nigger” (or nigga if you prefer) has become a part of common parlance. And you do know the history of the word (see nigger and book Nigger)? So, why would YOU want to say it? Is it due to a sense of entitlement (you shouldn’t be deprived of anything)?  It’s strange that you think it’s cool to say it but know it’s definitely not cool to BE it. Lucky that you can use the slang without ever having the experience (here’s a hip-hop explanation of how that might feel). 

Anyway, I say go ahead and use the word if you want. Your friends will think you’re daring and cool for using  a taboo word enveloped in so much negative history. As for the other people who hear you, well, one possibility is that they might want to (and actually will) administer a beat down of epic proportions (i.e. you might get hurt). That my friend is the risk you take. Not to mention the many people you’ll offend who will suffer your foolishness in silence. And why, just so you can say nigga? 

Listen, I am all for freedom of speech so if you insist on using the word remember that no matter how you say it, the N-word has nothing positive to do with you. You’ll want to be very careful and not get overly comfortable (John Mayer-like) with it. And if you see YourBlackfriend on the street, I don’t respond to nigger or nigga so you can save your misguided shout- out…holla.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

When I was a child I spoke, thought and reasoned like a child but when I grew up I put away childish things. 1 Cor. 13:11.  When YourBlackfriend was a youth, in the years before the first celebration of Dr. King’s birthday, there was a lot of opposition to the creation of a national holiday. Part of the opposition argument was the potential cost to tax payers, singling him out above other persons and his controversial career (but we can celebrate Columbus Day?). Of course another great part of the opposition was singularly focused on his minority status as a Black man. And once the holiday was pushed through I, like many, was glad for the possibility of a day off– nothing more. But worse than that I had bought into the idea that this was somehow a holiday for Black people.

Today it’s hard to imagine people getting caught up on those things if you understand that Dr. King was a humanitarian. This means that while his primary work appeared to be centered on civil rights for Blacks, his overall goal was the improvement of conditions for ALL mankind. The only way this doesn’t apply to YOU is if you’re not human…and maybe not even then. [It seems to me Dr. King would hold the Navi lifestyle in high regard.] Nevertheless, I know that there are those who still have a problem with this Holiday.

To you I say that it’s true that as a youth I only understood Dr. King intellectually. But older, wiser and more educated, I now understand the connectedness of ALL mankind and appreciate the impact and meaning of his legacy. Simply put, we rise or fall together. This is clear in the age of globalization and poignantly highlighted by the current plight of Haitians. They and others are OUR problem. It is high time to put away childish thoughts, reasoning and petty squabbling; we pay tribute to a higher level of consciousness when we do.

Enjoy this day of remembrance but know that beyond this day, any hope for a better world depends on an ONGOING ingrained sense of duty and obligation to work towards fairness and equality for all peoples. You are your brother’s keeper and “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Book