Archive for the ‘Life in General’ Category

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.

Obama Needs YOUR Help!!

If you know me then you know I don’t love President Obama; but that doesn’t mean I hate the man so let’s not make this an either/or proposition. Let’s just say I was never caught under the spell of his special-ness (or skin color). Be that as it may, I do NOT want to see him fail. 

Post-election, I admit to holding high hopes for Obama’s vision. I too was feeling audacious –could WE create some real change in our nation? After witnessing a masterful campaign and the display of an incredible ability to rally and inspire followers, I wanted to believe. And now, I’m just saddened by the lack of follow-through. But that’s where WE the people come in.

The follow-through I’m talking about should have naturally flowed from the fact that Obama is well -versed in community organizing. As it stands, Saul Alinsky would NOT be proud of the fact that Obama built a massive amount of momentum and simply let it dissipate. It’s almost like all of his brilliant outreach and consensus building was for naught. And I have a feeling Obama is sitting in the Oval Office wondering, where my people at? 

Well Obama, your people are waiting to be told what to do, seeking instruction or dare I say…leadership. And by the way, hearing you repeat, “no one said this was going to be easy” does not inspire confidence. It’s like Super Chicken used to say, “you knew the job was dangerous when you took it…” —right?  In politics, the ability to spread your message far and wide, over and above the opposition is critical. Look at Rush Limbaugh’s impact; accurate or not, squeaky wheel gets the grease. So where are all the Obamites to shout down the Dittoheads? I know, I know, it’s so undignified but let’s be real; appearance is everything and your boy is in desperate need of a rally. Just say the word Obama, and like they say in church, “make it plain”.

As reality sets in it’s likely that this deflation of spirit was inevitable; however that’s not a reason to give up hope. Obama is 100% correct in acknowledging that he CANNOT do it alone. And that’s an open invitation for WE the people to get involved. Of course he needs agreement in Congress but Obama was NEVER going to be able to make the kinds of changes he promised without the help of WE the people. It is OUR responsibility to light a fire under the collective ass(es) of our obstructionist Congress and/or be ready (organized) to give them the boot. They serve at OUR pleasure and clearly this fact is something we and they need to be reminded about. Ultimately, now is the time to ask what you can do for your country… and President Obama, it’s time to unveil your iron fist.

 Recommended reading: Unite and Conquer by Kyrsten Sinema 

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.

Racism is Dead

What is Racism? The Census Negro category, Senator Harry Reid’s comments about Obama and Glenn Beck’s most recent statement that African-American is not a race – are NOT racism. So what is it? It boggles the mind really, and not because we can’t find a definition (or it doesn’t exist); but because it all depends on whom you ask. Even my selected definition may not jibe with what you believe. Maybe you mean prejudiced or a bigoted. There is a difference you know. But in the end does it matter?  You call me a racist (it happens) and now what? You might as well have called me a Gubardink for as much meaning as it has. I have no way of knowing what that means to YOU.

In the midst of a heated conversation where a charge of racism might be made, the only thing I know is that you intend to offend. For me it’s the same as calling me a nigger. I know you mean harm but I can’t do anything with it since it has nothing to do with me personally. It’s a non sequitur. The worst part is “racist” tagging is a conversation ender. It’s intended to put you in your place because really all you can do is deny (which makes you seem guilty) or ignore – which shuts down the conversation. Just like race baiting (i.e. playing the race card), calling a wise person a racist has become passé. It’s a shame because there ARE instances where use of the word is appropriate when defining a pattern of behavior or actions. However, all this random usage makes it nearly impossible to call it when it’s real. It’s a classic case of the boy who cried Racism and it has backfired – big time.

And what if I call YOU a racist and you stopped to ask what I mean? Not assuming my intention but literally asking what I meant to imply? Not EVERYTHING is racist / racism. People tell me my book title is racist. Huh? Maybe like text language this willy-nilly use of the word represents a general breakdown in communication skills; when all else fails cry racism. I don’t know. What I do know is that people have to be bold enough to stop their accuser in their tracks. Get some clarification. If not how can we ever hope to advance past rudimentary name calling to intelligent dialogue and productive relations? A cynical part of me thinks the overall goal is to NOT advance the conversation; things are just fine the way they are. I don’t think there’s a conspiracy per se, just a lazy way of thinking and relating to each other. And that is something we truly need to “get over”. 

Why Am I still Single?!

This is a frequent question I get from male prospects and well-intentioned people generally. I think it’s supposed to be a compliment. In other words, you’re so wonderful, how could you possibly still be single? Of course the other read is that I must have major issues or I wouldn’t still be on the market. Hmmm…I choose the first interpretation. But what is the market? Am I a unit for trade, hot today and less valuable tomorrow?

Well, I AM Black so apparently I’m supposed to be gnashing my teeth at the lack of available Black men. One reason that’s not going to happen is because I don’t buy it. Off the top of my head I can reel off the names of five single, seeking Black men of the type highly sought after by any woman. These five also just happen to want to partner with a Black woman. As unlikely as this sounds based on media portrayals, they ARE out there. And since I know them, why aren’t WE together? The answer is also the common sense reason why I’m still single: these men and me were/are NOT compatible.  Great guys  – not for me. So if I’m going to do any weeping and wailing it’s going to be at the difficulty in finding a compatible man –period.

It is far too easy to get into a bad relationship so these things should not be forced. And because of my “quirky” nature (and age), I can’t afford to rule out by race. Of course we are all multi-faceted but I’ve been told I’m a little harder to characterize. For example: I’ve never dreamt of the day I would marry, my biological clock has never ticked and I accept that monogamy and love are two entirely different concepts, not dependent on each other. These qualities are attractive to some but not the vast majority. I just think the odds are better for those whose values and ideas of happily ever after are aligned with mainstream thinking. And even as I acknowledge my unique challenges, I haven’t made “finding” him a priority. If I were really concerned (or desperate) I’d be out there; trolling the marketplace like a…well, like somebody on a mission. The men are out there to wade through, no sense in blaming statistics. I enjoy being single and that is the real reason why I still am.

And when being single is not fun, I console myself with the fact that it’s better for me to be alone and happy than off the market and miserable. This is not a band-aid fix. I know it’s not either/or and I look forward to the day when I meet the right person. But in the meantime, it’s not so bad being single…not bad at all. Besides, I know my happiness makes me much more attractive to whoever is interested in taking me off the market. All things in due time or not; life goes on.

The Book