Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Blackest Men On The Planet

Nah DV...
This isn't about you.

What makes one Black?
Is it ones amount of melanin?
One's upbringing?
One's level of success?
The way one speaks?
Or the way one dresses?
Where one lives?
Or with whom one associates?
Is it one's (learned) culture?

Maybe it's a combination of all of the above.
Maybe it's none of the above.
But IMOHO - It's the ability to overcome whatever hurdles one has placed in front of them, contrary to what society tells them they are supposed to do.

So how does Mike qualify?
Because he danced and kicked down the doors of an MTV that refused to play videos by Black artists.
Because he ruled the airwaves as part of a group - and as a solo artist.
Because he raised the bar concerning what was expected from other Black people.
Because Mike help to make progress.

Jack Johnson, Ali and others also furthered the cause of a race.
But it was Jackie Robinson who first had the temperament and patience to endure the taunting of a nation.
Some Blacks probably thought, "We have our own league. Why do we need to integrate.".
But Jackie understood the old axiom of being the best by beating the best.

Lewis Hamilton gives the Formula One world a big eff you by winning (and dating that baad chick from the Pussy Cat Dolls).

Obama won in spite of not asking permission first.
Obama's eff you helps to shape the world.

There is no way imaginable that an unattractive, fat, poor, abused Black girl from the South was expected to be a success.
But Oprah can say "Eff You" in more than a billion ways.
People often dismiss Eldrick as not being really Black.
What's more gangta' than forcing formerly all white country clubs to accept Blacks?
Ummm. Did you watch Wimbledon?

Some would say that this is a true and complete image what is means to be Black.
That this is true Black culture.
That this is what we are all expected to be.
But who do you admire more?
One who stays within the confines of the plantation and performs within the norms that were determined by the master?
(Or calling one's culture that which has been determined by those whom you call your enemy.)
Or he who escapes and defies the rules set forth by one's supposed master?
(Or creating one's own culture that is predicated on the best one can be - without regard for those who have failed before you or those who wish to subjugate you.)

To (mis)quote Forest Gump; "Black is as Black does".


Mr. Noface said...

I keep saying that black is not a color, it's a state of mind. That state of mind is "because of or despite the color of my skin, I'm gonna win!"

FreeMan said...

In the examples above all of them are so called Black wins by overcoming whites so isn't it the same as defining oneself in relation to another?

Black to me is defined by our color and shared origins. This allows us to interpret what we are and who we want to be without the concerns of comparing or trying to beat others. Race is not the olympics and just because we swim faster and others don't think we can swim doesn't mean we should include swimming as part of racial makeup.

Michael Jackson qualifies because was born and was Black. Now whether he defies the odds or goes to jail for crack he is still Black Born. We have to stop trying to quantify blacks by shallow emotions and rewards like singing, dancing, levels of excellence and all other things that can be interpreted by others to access those titles. We just are Black!

RainaHavock said...

Great post!

Kristin said...

@Freeman, thank you. I don't understand peoples fixation with trying to make Black something other than what it is, a color. It is not a state of mind anymore than when people say Freedom is a state of mind. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am black because of my skin tone and my heritage. Thank you.

CNu said...

UBJ is truth.

accept no substitutes...,

alicia banks said...

black is and black looks and does...

and mj died a white vampire with white kids

see more

brohammas said...

If black is as you said defined by overcoming obstacles than is one who has less obstacles less black, as well as one who fails to overcome less black as well?

Black people who overcome deserve celebration, and that is an aspect of black culture that deserves celebration but to make that the definition is, IMHO... which is usually irrelevant in such discussions... far to narrow.

Jack Johnson was Awesome, and I had no Idea MJ was a vampire. I guess this is a very educational forum.

Anonymous said...

How do Africans fit in this mix? We're black too... but our experiences are a bit different.

I think in the US there's usually a visible and invisible system with a goal to discredit and supresss the work of African-americans.

Africans have thier own challenges... but I don't think they ever question if they are black.

FreeMan said...

@Abanks - C'mon a white vampire what the hell is that all about? Are you Billy Jean or something the real girl he was talking about in that song?

@Anon - Africans are always in the mix but no one questions if you're black. The African Americans just are going through the process of purging thier idea of themselves over a period of time. Colored, Negro, Black and African-American and the next step will be just African give us a couple of decades. We just have a couple of intellectual eggheads who keep trying to answer the question which came first the chicken or the egg when realistically it's irrelevant.

RainaHavock said...

Vampires are awesome. :) Just thought I throw that in me being a vampire lover and all.

SjP said...

You hit that nail on the head with the head of the hammer! Great post!