Sunday, November 14, 2010

Know Your Place ?

 The hardest thing about doing business in many parts of the South is the old school thinking of many of it's residents.
(Besides Amanda) How many women would approve of the above image?
In this day and age - not many.
But I meet countless Blacks who still hold onto the beliefs of their parents and grandparents.
Many people still believe that their value is determined by the rules set by others who have no real power over them.
Many of these still choose to remain on the plantation even after emancipation.
Many have become so inculcated with a culture of inferiority that they cannot even imagine what freedom looks like or how it feels.
May are so accustomed to prison that they cannot acclimate to a world without limitations.

This past week I had a group of employees at a club revolt against my teachings.
These people were so upset with me that many were on the verge of tears.
One guy decided to 'man-up' and confront me because I had apologized to some disappointed patrons because his skills as a DJ were lacking.
His (hostess) girlfriend then told me that I needed to 'Know (my) place.".

Most people who work these clubs have other jobs.
Some are secretaries for judge so-and-so or assistant managers at some store or laborers for some company.
But each has some sort of title.
"You don't even really work here.", the girl said angrily.
Which is true - I just advise owners and train staffs.
My livelihood does not depend on nightly tips.
But these people were mad because I had taken it upon myself to ensure that every patron had a good time and was properly served.
I make sure that every patron gets his money's worth.

But these employees don't see things the same way.
If it isn't in their job description, they don't do it.
Most will not clear a table because doing so would be beneath them.
Most will not clean up a spill because that is also thought to be beneath them.
Most defer responsibility up through a chain of command instead of taking the responsibility themselves.

But the thing is, I did know my place.
The club owner heard the grumblings and left early to avoid confrontation. (A weak leader.)
As I listened to the employee complaints, "Know (my) place.", was all that I seemed to remember.
This is the same thinking that keeps people from taking full advantage of opportunities.
This is the same thinking that causes people to settle for less even though more is readily made available.
This is the same thinking which keeps one safe but also keeps one subjugated.
In the end, the DJ was shifted to working the door and the hostess was dismissed.
(I guess they now also know my place.)

But this incident brought to mind the parable of the Unjust Steward.
The guy could not dig yet he was too proud to beg.
Many people from underprivileged areas are so caught up in their tenuous positions or titles that they will not do the work which needs to be done.
Others are so accustomed to being ruled that they cannot function when given responsibility.

Another blogger once mentioned that while living in the hood his mother always taught him that they did not belong there.
Apparently, he did know his place but he knew that it was not where he was at that time.
It seems that many in the South do 'know their place' and these are those who live with the consequences of poorly performing schools, crime infested neighborhoods, crooked political representation and poor familial structures.
Sometimes it's good to know your place,
as long as that place is not determined by someone else.


DF said...

The only way to break tradition is to start at the bottom with the children. Otherwise the next course of action is to seek to become the person who determines what life is about.

It's easier to set the course and build momentum than to ask people who see nothing wrong to follow.

The naive are that way primarily because they have heard stories of someone in their family getting their ears cut off. These stories have forever changed these people to be docile. They know their place because this is the one that seems to have kept their family alive.

You don't know your place because you are not from them. You are a Westerner like myself with a very different view of the world at large. Sometimes you have to know your place is to be on top of those who don't know and understand what motivates them as they are the masses. Once you pull the hood off the cowards they'll all see what they really are. But you have to be the one to do it.

In the meantime it would be better to understand their place that they accept. Accommodate them and lead them to a better life all the while knowing what they value is worthless. Ignorance can be seen two ways.. one in the lack of information and the other in the fool who tries to inform the ignorant.

You know better so do better. Otherwise know the place you're in physically and keep the place where you are mentally to yourself.

amanda said...

Ahh hmm, I foolishly agreed to a spanking at the weekend.....he ended up with a bite on the leg for his efforts ;-)

brohammas said...

Isnt the whole American dream thing that we all get to decide our own place rather than having it dictated by caste or society?

BTW, where's FreeMann been?

Liam said...

after being deployed by my former employer to the poor side of town simply because i was black, i learned a lot about the people in that area.

Most dont strive for anything beyond that life because to them, they have made it if they have a car sittin on 20 inch rims and a system. That is the equivalent of success.

I foolishly tried to help a guy understand that the world is bigger than that side of town. his only argument "them crackas aint gon let a nigga have nothin, you the idiot for believing you can make it in a system thats built to work against you"

they live in a world where having things means you have done something with your life. the reality is they value things that have no worth.