Because these movies fail to enforce the dictum; nosce te ipsum - in that they fail to teach that the oppressed group always had the power for change on their own.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Because these movies fail to enforce the dictum; nosce te ipsum - in that they fail to teach that the oppressed group always had the power for change on their own.
But the one number I seem to notice more than most is "444".
What is it's significance?
Before I moved to Texas, I'd always wake up at 4:44.
Regardless of what time I'd go to bed, "4:44" (am or pm) seemed to always to be the time I'd look at a clock.
This coincidence caused me to imagine it's significance.
The night before I found out I was coming to Texas - I took a walk on the local golf course to clear my head.
As I was walking, I found three balls that had been lost during someones play.
Three golf balls that all had the numeral "4" imprinted upon them.
Not all in one place, but spread across the length of three or four holes.
Later that night, my boy Turtle and I were headed out for another usual night of drinking, gambling and hoing.
As I noticed an oncoming thunder storm, "Some one is going to die tonight", I said.
"Maybe we should just have people over", my boy said.
"No foolio, not one of us. But someone we we know.", I said.
"Oh, that happens all the time.", he said.
"No, someone close to one of us.", was my reply.
"The next time we talk, one of us will mention that so-and-so died this night." I continued and then forgot all about it.
After a night on the town, I fell into a deep sleep that was filled with lucid dreams.
In this night's dreams, I would find myself in a Big Band Swing Club filled with people I'd known but who'd since passed away.
As I was dancing with some baad bodied-up girl I didn't know and enjoying a conversation with my departed grandfather - "But you better get out before the clock strikes four, because there's always room for just one more." was the lyric to the song the band leader was singing.
At this time my grandfather kicked me in the ass to quickly remove me from the dance floor.
I had wanted to stay a bit longer to have imagined conversations with friends I hadn't seen since they were alive.
But my grandfather forced me to leave the dance floor.
At this time, my grandmother joined my grandfather in a routine that would impress even Cab Calloway.
Later, I would awaken to news from my sister that my grandmother had passed away in the early hours of that morning.
Later still, I would inform my boy of my need to fly to Texas to handle the probating of a will because someone had actually died on the night I seemed to possess the gift of prescience.
On the night of Obama's election - I commented that Obama would win because he would be the 44th President if elected in an election that would take place on the forth.
Since he'd noticed a painting in my home with a (not so) hidden 444 as a backdrop - he'd asked of it's significance.
When I retold the above story, he just stored it in his memory.
After Obama won, he'd reminded me of my fascination with the number and asked if numerology was real.
Shortly after, he would find himself checking the mail at his grandmothers house.
The clock in her car read "4:44".
"I'm going to get some money in the mail", he exclaimed.
"You don't have anyone who owes you money." she said.
Sure enough, he received a check in the mail.
"4" points on a compass.
"4" walls to rooms.
"4" phases of the moon.
"4" Beasts in Daniel.
What is up with "4"?
Then I was looking up quotes for the above post -
John 4:44 (KJV) - For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet has no honor in his own land."
That was the kicker.
It semmed to be screaming at me, "John 4:44!.".
Maybe I belong in this seemingly God forsaken city.
Maybe "444" was my destiny after all.
Damn... I knew USC was in trouble when the fell behind early in the game.
Unlike past years - this year's Trojan team usually starts fast and finishes slow.
This game was over before halftime.
Maybe I should move to Philly.
L.A. had two teams fighting for pennants - and both choked.
This Trojan loss was a terribly frightful way to end the week for any L.A. sports fan.
1 Florida - Embarrassed Georgia.
2 Alabama - Idle
3 Texas - Spanked Oklahoma St.
4 Iowa - Oh..... it doesn't even matter that they, along with TCU, Boise St., and Cincy, won.
My season is over.
Maybe the Trojans will enjoy being in the Holiday Bowl.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Pa-lease! How many photos of Tyra, Halle or Beyonce have been taken with makeup that is lighter than their own skin tone?
Is that "White Face"?
Real Black Face is a caricature of Blackness which exaggerates traits that are seen as different.
How many Black people are really that black ?
How many have big white lips?
One instance is using skin tone as an artistic expression,
the other is using skin tone to degrade a whole race.
(Not everything involving one's perceived racial traits is "Racist".)
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I had a stepfather who thought his limited experiences and expectations would determine what was to be expected by us children.
While hard working - he never seemed to grasp the concept of growing beyond one's circumstances.
Anything aspirational was considered to be "Putting on Airs".
If we failed at something, he immediately told us that we were scrubs and that we would never be good in anything.
Since he was only my stepfather, I learned at an early age to ignore his ignorance.
I learned that, with enough practice, one could become proficient in most things.
I learned that there was no one way of acting Black and that Blacks were not confined to any limited definition.
Why do I bring all this up?
Because today I had to chastise a self righteous grandparent for telling her grandchildren that, "They will never be shit".
Sure, the kids were effing up. But their actions could be corrected.
The thing the grandmother failed to realize was that, while she was quick to berate, she offered no guidance on how to fix the problem.
Since she failed to solve the problem, she was part of the problem.
But this mentality is not endemic to one's family. Most self proclaimed "educated" people are quick to point out problems - but very few offer workable solutions to those same problems. Their biggest concern? Not being seen as a member of the group which they condemn.
But in reality, how can they offer practical solutions for problems they don't understand? Sure, most have the data - they just don't know how to interpret it. Without proper interpretation, what good are their views and answers?
My girl forced me to watch The Real Hoodrats finale.
Lisa - Okay, I could deal with her. She seems to be able to work with whatever condition arises. When she had to downsize, she just looked for the potential in the situation. The woman understands that she and her husband are a team.
Kandi - Maybe she lucked out of a bad situation. Not to be mean but she seems as though she could do better than a man with eight kids by ten baby momma.
Sheree' - Her fashion line was choppy. It was just a bunch of pieces - not cohesive collection. I like her fitness level but the bitch would get on my nerves.
Kim - Bitch please. Fake hair, fake tiddies - you're the most ghetto of the bunch.
Except for Nene - I guess every show needs an Amorosa character.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
and it's sister sites, it seems that they are celebrating sex this Halloween.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Or why do people even attempt the impossible?
Is there really such a thing as the Talented Tenth?
Most people who have "made it" seem to think that if everyone followed their example or their way of thinking then everything and everyone would be alright.
But most fail to realize that the paths that led to "success" are many and varied.
That most success stories are filled with as much inspiration, Divine intervention or luck as they are hard work.
That there is no one "right" answer.
But the motivation behind such thinking is usually selfish in it's origin.
Most people who have all the appearances of being on the other side are often sick of being; "The only Black...", "The first Black...", or the "Best Black...".
Most of these people are only seeking some form of familiarity in an unfamiliar environment.
For many, these blogs are the only place where they can openly discuss issues with people who have a similar experience as their own. (Even if their places of origin vary.)
Another difference is that many are discussing problems from a point of view that is beyond that of being aspirational or acquisitive.
Their goal is not to conform nor to fit in to a certain affectational (My word, I don't know the variant of "affectation".) group - but that of getting others into that group.
For many, they have the game figured out.
Their goal is to translate their own success to others who may be seeking the same end.
I (as have many on these blogs) have been the first Black attending, playing, working or having many things.
But that gets old.
I have been hated on by other Blacks for "Selling Out", only to have another more credible brotha' put the haters in their place by explaining that I was breaking new ground for others to follow.
When I was a freshman in high school on the varsity swim and water polo teams, I had to walk past the brotha's as I went through the usual freshman hazing of carrying the teams equipment.
The brotha' running things pointed out that I was shattering stereotypes and that they needed to support my efforts.
I think it was the first time that our school had a mass of Black football and basketball players cheering at the "Whiteboy Sporting Events".
(The brotha who had my back was later repaid years later when his younger brother was caught up in a bad situation that I could handle. Doing the right thing seems to catch up with you.)
I have been called a "Company Man" only to open doors for others who were seeking a position.
I have been called a "Tom" because I developed social relationships with cops who would later handle situations for brotha's who where about to be railroaded.
I have been called a "House Nigga'" because we moved out of the hood to the hills.
I have been called "Soft" only to prove that I also came from the hood.
I have been threatened with being jumped - but that has never happened.
I have as much reason to hate those with less means as does anyone else - but I don't.
How many hoes (I don't mean all women, just the easy ones.) can a man do?
How many homes can one own?
How many cars can one drive?
How many parties can one attend?
How many Valentino suits, Vacheron Constantin watches or Salvatore Ferragamo shoes can one wear?
When has one had enough of the game to realize that winning that game really doesn't matter?
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man..."
2012 is the end of of a (roughly) 5125 year cycle of the Mayan Long Count calendar and the Tzolkin and Haab.
But why do many believe the hype?
Wasn't Y2K sandwiched between the expectation of Hal and the party thrown by Prince?
Pumping ones fist in excitement, a la Arsenio Hall, is permitted - but do it right.
The motion is a forward throwing motion - not a reversed motion as though one is reeling in a fish.
Forward = excitement or approval
Backwards = reeling in a fish.
Now the next pointer.
The Man Hug is permitted for those with whom you have developed a close relationship.
But it isn't really a hug at all.
Hugging a man is wrong.
(*Unless you go that way - then, that's your business.)
The proper man hug is really a hand shake that is amplified by a quick shoulder bump followed by a quick verbal expression of joy at having run into a brotha'.
(*No caress is involved.)
This has been a public service to those who are now forced to interact with those of a different culture.
Monday, October 26, 2009
"Why should I care about them" seems to be the common response.
Really... you shouldn't care.
Someone once said, "The best thing you can do for the poor is to not be one of them.".
I never liked that saying,
but for some it makes sense.
Lifeguards are taught to save themselves (first) when attempting to rescue a drowning person.
Because if the lifeguard drowns, they both drown.
On airplanes, parents are told to first place their masks on their faces and then to place their children's masks.
Because if the parent passes out they won't be able to save their children.
It would seem that being selfish can be in the best interest of all involved in a situation.
Earlier, I attempted to use Entanglement Theory as a metaphor for caring about the poor.
But that was stretching it.
Let's use the Butterfly Effect instead.
So why should you care about the poor or their conditions?
- Because these same poor will be the ones who may rob you at your local upscale mall as you walk to your car with your purchases from Valentino.
- Because these poor will lower the average of your town's school ratings and hinder your town's ability to attract better businesses.
- Because these poor will be the ones serving you as you dine on your Ahi or lamb chops and mint at Ruth's Chris.
- Because these same poor will be beating up your children at the local schools.
- Because these same poor will prey on your children to buy drugs from them.
- Because these poor are a drain on your taxes.
- Because eliminating the the culture of the poor will make it easier for you to safely go about your day-to-day lives.
You shouldn't care about those who have less than yourself - not unless you care about yourself.
Even as a little kid, I'd always worked.
The difference with kids today is that many have never worked.
Maybe this is a consequence of our relative financial successes - but it doesn't seem to be in the best interest of future generations.
I grew up in the inland desert town of Riverside, California.
Half my childhood was spent deep in the hood, while the other half was spent in the sprawl of the area's suburban hills.
But regardless of location or financial circumstance - I'd always worked.
While in the 'burbs:
I used to pull weeds in the sweltering desert sun at neighbors homes for one dollar an hour.
I used to set up and run Kool-Aid stands.
I used to substitute babysit for my older sister.
I used to watch homes when neighbors went on vacation.
I used to mow lawns, wash and walk dogs, and wash cars - anything to supplement my minuscule allowance.
My best friends would sell Kool-Aid and used golf balls to duffers at the nearby golf course.
Many had newspaper routes and also mowed lawns.
We kids always had a hustle.
While in the 'hood;
We would collect protection money from the weaker children (sometimes paid by their parents).
We would sell pornographic magazines and condoms to adults and children.
We would break into vacant apartments and charge kids to come to our parties.
We would charge 25 cents a pop to take a neighbor's trash to the dumpsters.
We would collect and sell aluminum cans.
While we never got into the drug and prostitution business - we were on good terms with those who did.
Even in college, I worked.
Not so much to make money, but more in response to my grandmother's threat of cutting my $150 a week allowance.
Since the sewage plant job sounded as though it was the worst on campus - that's what I did.
Upon hearing of me working at a sewage job - my grandmother increased my allowance to $250 a week.
Even after paying for all fees, tuition, books, meal plans, dorm fees and anything else associated with college - $150 a week in spending money put me in the "poor" group of those at my school.
Before I started working at and running bars and clubs - we would always try to make a quick 10 or 20k by putting on Raves.
This business can make a lot of money in a short time,
but if caught - the legal fees, bail and fines wipe out most of one's profits.
After one such incident, I took a second job (probably my worst job ever) making cardboard boxes.
This wasn't something I could do for more than a week so I quit after four days.
But I still needing to pay off some business losses.
I learned construction from some friends in the business.
Since most of the complex mitre cuts of custom homes required a bit of math, I was a natural.
After a few years of solving problems others created by their lack of skill, I developed a reputation as the man to call when someone effed something up.
(Re-building costs more so I did 'aight.)
What's the point?
Only that no one should expect everything to be given to them.
That sometimes we must work jobs that we don't like.
That the downturn in the economy can be overtaken by one's ability to work and properly manage one's resources..
Would a family like the Paynes be considered middle class?
A fireman with a stay-at-home wife and one son - is this middle class?
What about an entertainer and his ATT VP wife?
Are they middle class?
I'm sure Pol Pot thought this would be the ideal for Cambodians by Cambodians too.
But what were the results of the years of rule by the Khmer Rouge?
No one saying that everyone should just get along - but what is being asked is whether we could get along with each other if we started with just ourselves?
Do we have enough qualified people to run political, economical, educational and social infrastructures without a huge loss in our quality of life?
How many people would be willing to give up their modern comforts if it led to long term gains?
Thinking that Blacks should develop their own economies and educational systems is not racist.
It is just a practical view that should lead to greater equality.
It is just creating a larger pool of individuals who could operate from a position of power instead of from a position of being the dependent.
An example of this is seen in professional sports.
When Blacks we not allowed to play in the major leagues - Blacks created their own leagues.
When enough Blacks developed skills that were at or above the level of performance of the leagues from which they were excluded - these Blacks then began being recruited by the same leagues.
Today, most of the highest paid athletes are Blacks who are playing in leagues from which they were formerly excluded.
But maybe we can just get along.
Again, using sports as an example - do the athletes on teams generally get along?
Are these athletes all from the same race?
Do athletes still believe many of the stereotypes about those from another race?
Sure they do - but that doesn't matter because they are all working towards the same goals.
What another person thinks doesn't matter because every person knows that they are at a level that few reach.
Each person views his teammate as a worthy member of a larger group.
One's race matters little - only how well one performs.
So the trick to getting along with others seems to be being equal to others.
No, not in the form of direct competition - but in the form of being a contributing member of a group.
This is what those who are trying to elevate the status of those who under perform are trying to accomplish.
It is their wish that all are judged by their contribution rather than their race.
It is their wish that we all can get along.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
But is this what has happened in America today?
Have most of our racial issues now been converted to class issues - even within each race itself?
I often read where one group of Blacks feel as though they are above the effects of racism because of their acquired wealth, status or social position.
But have they forgotten the lesson of Skip Gates?
I currently live in a neighborhood of custom homes and manicured lawns.
My neighborhood is 99.99% Black (One man married an Asian woman as his second wife).
The "poor" people in my neighborhood work at the local refineries with spouses that do the same (Each earning $100k+ yr.).
Everyone else is a business owner or a professional.
But across town, in the neighborhoods of my rental houses, the life of Blacks is vastly different.
This area is every stereotype of Blacks multiplied by ten.
If you think NOLA was bad - this area is much worse.
Sharpshooter homes are still common and decay is everywhere.
Even with the vast amounts spent on social programs - this area makes Detroit seem like Martha's Vineyard.
My neighborhood is over forty years old and has remained desirable even while maintaining it's Blackness.
My neighborhood was never White.
In fact, many whites assumed that the homes were given to the Blacks by some government program.
Many whites couldn't believe that Blacks in this area could afford homes that are better than much of the city.
But what are the differences between the two areas of this small town?
My neighborhood has few fences.
The older neighbors feel free to pick and can fruit from a neighbor's trees. (As long as the neighbor receives some of the preserves.).
My neighbors know each other and their families.
My neighbors usually have both parents in the home.
When a neighbor is working on a project at their home, my neighbors rarely fail to assist.
Being the only single guy on the block, I receive plates of food most days and most meals of every day.
My neighbors still feel no shame when correcting a neighbors child.
After hurricanes, we organize clean up and repair crews and check to ensure the safety of each neighbor's family and property.
My neighbors still enjoy conversations on other neighbors' porches. (The best meeting spot is in a neighbor's juke joint (really a small brick guest house that was built to prevent a man from cooking hog cracklin's in his wife's $85k kitchen))
Some mornings turn into "gun shows" where the men gather to see what skunk, rabbit, snake, armadillo or opossum some neighbor had been shooting at earlier. (Really, everyone is making sure no one is shooting at someone who may have been attempting to rob a home. These mornings, everyone ends up explaining that it was just some vermin and we end up showing off our newest weapons.)
In short - my neighbors are still neighborly.
But the hood in which my rentals are is very different.
Fences, dogs and guns are used to intimidate anyone who approaches a (usually rented) home.
People hide behind iron bars as night approaches.
Few people share - most charge for every little instance of assistance.
Most children are raised by grandmothers or single mothers who can barely take care of themselves.
Most adults fear the bad ass little kids who roam the streets at night.
The local hangout is the car wash or corner store, but these are usually frequented by dealers, prostitutes, beggars or bangers.
Gunshots are often heard and ignored as being somebody else's business.
Most consider their neighbors to be their biggest adversaries.
Both neighborhoods are Black.
Both neighborhoods are near high paying places of employment.
Both neighborhood's kids attend the same schools.
But why are the visible results so different?
1 Florida - Pulled away from Miss St. in the 4th quarter to keep their top spot.
2 Alabama - Beat a weak Tennessee team by blocking two field goals. Maybe the tide is over rated.
3 Texas - Showed Mizzou how real football is played.
4 Boise St. (late game) - Should go on to beat Hawaii.
5 Cincinnati - Spanked rival Louisville.
6 Iowa - Squeaked by the Spartans of Mich. St..
7 USC - Almost choked again but avenged last year's loss to Oregon St. in their likely fashion.
8 TCU - The only Texas team I like remained undefeated and on track for a BCS bid by beating #16 BYU.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Gary, Indiana 84.0%
Detroit, Mich. 81.6%
Birmingham, Ala. 73.5%
Jackson, Miss. 70.6%
New Orleans, LA 67%.3
Baltimore, MD 64.%3
Atlanta, GA 61.4%
Memphis, Tenn. 61.4%
Washington, D.C. 60.0%
Richmond, VA 57.2%
The Best Places For Blacks To Live (Black Enterprise 2004)
1 Atlanta, GA
2 Washington, D.C.
3 Dallas, Texas
4 Nashville, Tenn
5 Houston, Texas
6 Charlotte, NC
7 Birmingham, Ala
8 Memphis, Tenn
9 Columbus, Ohio
10 Baltimore, MD
Atlanta, Washington D.C., Birmingham, Memphis, and Baltimore make both lists.
Only half of the Blackest Cities also are good places for Blacks (or any others) to live.
So it would appear that being a "Chocolate City" isn't necessarily the main qualification for being the best place to live.
What is the difference between the Black Cities that make both lists and those that don't?
The presence of Black people doesn't seem to make or break a city - so what does?
IMO- White Flight was largely accompanied by Black Flight - when most of the better educated and more financially, socially and culturally stable residents moved to the more affluent sprawling suburbs to chase the American Dream.
This left only those who were unable (or unwilling) to do better in cities that may have once flourished.
Just look at the hood.
Many of these areas were once thriving communities.
But what changed?
As more people became exposed to a life better than what they were used to - many decided to pursue that life.
This left those without means (or volition) to make the best out of what others left behind.
As these areas became more depressed and affordable - they attracted others who were without means.
In other words - The hood created (and grew) itself.
So... Can the hood (or these cities) be saved?
Are they worth saving?
or good looking women who are dumb as rocks on our local news broadcasts.
But World News Now seems to have gotten the right mix of both hot and smart with their choice of Linsey Davis to sub for Vanita Nair in their overnight newscasts.
I just love a girl who would look good in Chanel.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Of these Blacks - only 6.8% have at least an Associates Degree, and I'm sure the percentage with a Bachelors is much lower.
But even with only an AA, it is possible to earn over 100k yr. in one of our country's cheapest (cost of living) markets.
Cities With The Highest Percentage of Blacks With At Least A Bachelors Degree
(Sources; Census Bureau & Infoplease)
Washington D.C. - 29.5 (4th most literate American City, *9th Blackest City)
Atlanta, Georgia - 25.4 (3rd most literate, *7th Blackest City)
Phoenix, Arizona - 23.6 (59th most literate)
Boston, Massachusetts - 23.0 (11th most literate)
Los Angeles, California - 22.8 (57th most literate)
Seattle, Washington - 22.6 (Most literate)
New York City, NY - 21.8 (42nd most literate)
San Francisco, CA - 21.1 (9th most literate)
Dallas, Texas 21.1 (49th most literate)
Riverside, California - 20.8 - (56th most literate, the only city on this list with a higher percentage of educated Blacks than the the city's overall population (20.8-19.1))
But most Blacks in my town complain that their failure is tied to their Blackness - when in reality, most of their failures are tied to their lack of education, practice and preparation.
This lack of education keeps many Blacks from even being qualified to experience discrimination.
My town funds African American students and schools better than any others.
But the town lacks a City or Junior College.
Why is a J.C. important?
Because in cities that have them, the "dumb" kids go to City College - city colleges do much of the remediation that is needed to augment an often insufficient high school education.
But what do these stats say?
Only that if D.C and Atlanta can fail - what can we expect for most of the rest of the Blacks in America?
Isn't taking this type of stand beyond the reach of most judges in today's society?
(No short arm joke intended;)
Maybe he doesn't suffer from Holt Oram Syndrome, Maybe it's Nager Syndrome.
But my diagnosis is Nigga' Syndrome.
Maybe he's getting back at all the Creoles who teased this Inbred-Jed about having short arms.