Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Color Code Of Success

But what is "A Real Black Man"?
Is he one who had had the stereotypical childhood seen in every Blackploitation movie?
Is he one enveloped in a life of crime, single parenthood, poverty, drugs and gangs?
Is he one who is always the victim of "The Man" keeping them down?
Does he belong to a Baptist church, or attend a Muslim mosque or even hate religion altogether?
Does he run from success in order to retain his street cred?

Is he dark or light skinned.
Does he have be-bees and a dirty kitchen or a woolen mane?
Does he speak in Ebonics, SAE or a blend of both (and a little Spanish too)?
Does he date/marry Black women, white women or just fine women?
Does he just talk about helping others who are still living the stereotypical life, does he donate money to causes, or does he get actively involved?
Does he wear Robert Graham shirts or does he sport Roca Wear?
Does he live down in the hood or up in the hills?

Does any of this have anything to do with being Black?
Many Blacks use a Color Code of Success to determine ones credibility in speaking about "Black" issues (Which are usually just part of larger social issues.).
Were would "You" fit on the Color Code?
Are you too smart, rich or good looking to retain your street-cred?
Do you "Think you're white"?
Or are you too ignorant, disenfranchised and oppressed to objectively interact with others on a topic that you may not see as your own?
So you are now the authority on what is "Black"?

Is our self esteem so low that we get our feelings hurt by those whom we don't even know and who may disagree with our points of view?
Are we so busy fighting over crumbs that we fail to put the ingredients together to make a meal?
Are we hating on our own to the point of us failing to remain a group, race or culture?

So where is the cut off point of Blackness?
Is it just below white,
or is it only anything below slate?

Is our culture (Which isn't really our culture. Much of "Our" culture has been dictated by those who happen to be in charge at any given time. Culture is learned - it is not inherent.) limited only to the images seen on television, in magazines or in movies?
Or is there a broader definition?
And who gets to make this definition? Us? Them?

All I'm trying to say is that we cannot expect to succeed on a larger scale until we first succeed at learning how to succeed with our own.
We cannot treat others with respect until we first respect ourselves.


FreeMan said...

All any Black man has to do is keep himself aligned with the overall goals of his group. Would a Jew be lesser of a Jew if he hung around Germans, dated a German woman, spoke German and overall appreciated German culture? Yes, he would be less by his own group.

So overall all a person has to do is realize that they are indeed part of that group and not speak out against the bigger group good. It's not a Black issue as much as it's identifying with another group that pisses people off and brings out the you're not Black stuff. It's just the people who want to say I know the way out loud in anothers medium that gets treated as a traitor!

brohammas said...

This issue alone is at the root of why I voted for Barack.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ FreeMan - Ummm... I'm not sure.
During WWII - there were probably many Jews who were "passing" for German in order to get out of a situation over which they had little control.
In this case, they were just trying to survive.

But the recent example of the Jewish kids shouting "White Power" when speaking against Barack Obama is almost laughable. (Since when have Jews been able to join the Aryan Brotherhood?)

But the example I think you're using would be of one who a Jew who runs around and points out where the other Jews are hiding to the Germans.

What about the Jews who were in America and enjoying a good life.
Are (were) they less Jewish?

@ brohammas - To redefine the meaning of "Blackness"?

brohammas said...

I had not thought of it as a redifining what blackness is, but in the context of your diagram, maybe.
I do not like that idea that success is a white thing, therefore causing a black person, a daughter perhaps, of having to either fail or sell out.
Obama is not the savior but he does set an example of possibilty, and he has more t-shirts on the street than T-Pain does.
is that changing the definition?

RunningMom said...

What do you think when you pass a light-skinned black guy on the street with nice curly hair or maybe it's even almost straight? Is he less black than you? Do you view him as lesser, greater, or is he your equal?

What about a super-dark black guy? When you pass him on the street do you wonder where he is from? Is he really American or is he from one of the islands or Africa? Is he more black than you or do you dismiss him because he's probably not American?

What about when you see a black woman with a fair-skinned child? Do you wonder if her husband is black or white? Does it make a difference?

What if you see a medium complected child with a black woman and then suddenly a white woman joins them. Do you wonder who the mom is? It could be either.... Does it make the child more or less black if his mother is black or white? He doesn't change - only your perception changes. Where would you place that child on the totem pole?

FreeMan said...

@UBJ - For the Jews to blend in with being white at large is not a issue here in the USA. If they were in Germany and being excluded I am sure one of them identifying with the Germans would make them be called a traitor.

Anytime someone identifies with the oppressor brings about a certain amount of resentment and traitor talk. They don't have to necessarily be a snitch because if the main group is hated then any likeness to them is enough.

Mr. Noface said...

I think the black community as a whole have lost the ability (if we ever had it here in America) to define ourselves. So we rely on the definition offered to us by the Dominant Culture (read white folks). When those within our number reject that definition and go beyond the perameters set by the dominant culture (and at least subconsiously accepted by a majority of the black community), their "brothers" are perplexed and in turn acuse them of trying to emulate (or intrude on the province of) the dominant culture. This is wrong, but I feel like things are changing.

Black (in America) is not a color, culture, or movement. It is a state of being that cannot clearly be defined (since race is a social construct), nor does it need to be. For example, A black man who is an "Uncle Tom" or a "Slave Catcher" is still black, no matter what those in his "group" may think of him.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ brohammas - I wonder if the t-shirts will have any lasting effect (or even affect) on what is expected or accepted.

@ RunningMom - I've lived in Cali surrounded by military bases (a lot of mixed race couples), Hawaii (a lot of mixed race couples) and South East Texas (which is really South West Louisiana - you can't really tell what most people are).

I've usually been in situations where there weren't enough Blacks to segregate based on hue or a variant of color - black was always Black.

So really, I'd be like ... whatever.
I always thought that black was Black and not limited to anyone else's definition.

@ FreeMan - Being as Daniel and his Biblical friends is the ideal - but not that common.
Everyone adopts at least some of the ways of their "oppressor" to eliminate being caught up in that which is really not that important.

@ NoFace - I'm not really concerned with what someone who may not like me has to say about me.

Their limited definition has less of an impact than our limited definition.
Their limited definition may slow us down - but our limited definition puts an end to progress.