Sunday, February 28, 2010
I first heard the term in the movie "Tales From The Hood" (1995)
A Klan member got his comeuppance when the little Negro dolls formed a revolt a killed his ass.
When I asked the boys referred to as "Niglets" whether the term was offensive - all said, "No.".
Maybe they don't know enough to be offended.
But then again, maybe it's just a different generation.
When I asked what image came to mind when I referred to them as such, "Those little Niglets my grandma collects" was the answer.
(Not to be confused with the "Sambos" Big Don collects.)
People often lament that they're aren't any jobs available.
The same people complain that they cannot live off of $7.25 an hour (minimum wage).
Odd - many of these same people are living off of zero dollars an hour.
I just caught a story on the CBS Sunday show which featured a middle aged woman who runs a shoe shine company.
The lady only hires women and she even shines shoes herself.
When no one else is hiring - hire yourself.
"Yeah, but they listen to you.", is a common remark made by the mothers of the boys I mentor.
It's not so much that they listen - but that I have rules.
I often hear complaints that these boys don't follow rules.
But the real issue is that these boys don't follow unknown expectations.
If a kid is never told what he may or may not do - the kid will use his own poor judgement.
If a kid is never told how something should be done - the kid will use his own low standards.
If it isn't forbidden, it must be allowed.
Simple; It's the same as someone deciding whether to turn left.
(I asked. These boys said they were not offended by the term "Niglets". They say I only use the term when they've done something wrong.)
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Other than Everybody Hates Chris, few television shows present a positive role model for Black male fathers (or even Black male surrogate fathers).
But I'm not Julius - I have more of a Bernie Mac situation to deal with.
Initially, I thought I'd be able to blog about theoretical issues, about esoteric concepts, about art and science.
I'm still waiting to open the package that contains a $65 Gurdjieff book that I long to read.
I still have blank canvases on which to paint.
I still have a few women whom I'd like to "date".
But things change and we must adapt.
My interests shifted from trying to solve the problems of (once) complete strangers to trying to solve the problems of my cousins, their families and their friends.
Recently, I had an occasion to receive gifts and accolades from my friends, family and those whom I help.
One of my gifts was a box set of the old Little Rascal films.
(Yeah... I also received a few more pairs of Shox.)
I like the Rascals, I can identify with the Rascals.
Styme is my man.
The Rascals weren't bad kids - they were just being kids.
And at one time, I was a kid.
This realization helps me cope with some bad-ass little Niglets and their almost useless family members.
As a kid, anything could could be turned into some sort of game or activity.
During the rainy days of an El Nino season - our surrounding hillside neighborhood streets would flood with the runoff from the local hills.
This gave us a chance to try to ride our Boogie Boards down the asphalt streets.
Sure, it sounded fun at the time - but the water wasn't as deep as we'd anticipated and we ended up bruised and broken.
But still - we'd walk back up the hill for another fun ride.
El Nino was also good for generating large waves.
During our weekly beach trips we would always decide to play Chicken with the crashing waves which pounded against the jetty that separates Corona Del Mar from The Wedge.
Even after we almost lost a kid to the rocks below - this was a fun activity for youthful boys.
During the hot summer nights, we kids would buy a large block of ice and ride it down the driving range of our local golf course.
This was know as "Ice Blocking".
A towel placed on the ice block would act as a seat of this warm weather sled.
Yeah... it was a fun ride - but we never managed to learn a proper dismount.
Even though my cul-de-sac had two pools and we had our own in our backyard - we kids would often swim in the local irrigation canals that wound through the surrounding orange groves.
The water was clean and cool - but after an hour long drift, we'd have to walk the five or so miles back home.
The hillsides proved the perfect setting for kids playing Cowboys and Indians with B-B guns.
With refreshments stolen from their parents liquor cabinets many boys were impervious to pain.
I didn't drink so that game ended up hurting more than I'd liked.
We decided to dig a small cavern in one of the hillsides.
After a summer of digging, we had our own "Bat Cave".
As the city workers noted the danger of collapse - the cave was quickly imploded.
While reciting these youthful games to my young cousins, "You were baaad!" seemed a strange statement to come from their mouths..
I was just being a kid.
These childhood dalliances help me to catch my cousins when they try to get over on me.
My childhood mistakes are those I wish for my young cousins to avoid.
But sometimes these bad-ass little boys get on my nerves.
When I warned a couple of cousins that, "You'd better run" if they got caught by me doing something bad - one occasion lead most of them to take off running down the block when I caught them drinking liquor from my bar.
I had to laugh at the sight, but a couple of kids failed to take head to the warning.
"Be here when I get back", I said as I searched for a belt.
When I returned, only my most favored little niece remained.
When I asked why she didn't run, "You said 'Be here when I get back'. And besides, I didn't do anything wrong.".
I had to laugh at her, but she was right.
She had just been watching her older cousins getting drunk.
She was just doing what I had said to do.
It's odd, this blog has gone from my attempt to figure out theoretical problems to that of trying to figure out my personal problems.
This blog has turned into those Bernie Mac "Talking to America" asides.
Where I'd love to be able to "talk" to erudite adults about esoteric concepts (I need the mental exercise) - I now have to ask questions on the best ways to teach an unlearned generation the best ways to prepare for their futures.
I guess I still have the reruns in syndication - but Bernie, I feel your pain.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
In Britney Spears' hometown near NOLA - one often ends a sentence with the interjection, "Shea!" (or "Shea?").
As in: "You get down from da ca an git some Gumbo, Shea?".
(Are you getting out of the car to have some Gumbo? Yes?)
But while watching the Olympics from Canada - I noticed similarities between Canada and Louisiana.
Canada has Nelly Furtado - Louisiana has Britney Spears.
Thanks to the Acadians, French is spoken in parts of Canada - French is spoken in parts of Louisiana.
Canadians often end a sentence with "Eh!" (or "Eh?") - those from Loisiana often end a sentence with "Shea!" (or Shea?").
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
In a state where those from the 'superior race' are burning down churches and crashing planes into buildings (Unlike Fight Club where the buildings were evacuated first - the IRS building was seen as the Death Star where it's inhabitants were seen as complicit.) - one has to wonder, "What's wrong with Texas?".
But the thing is - Texans are the Jan Brady to California, Alaska, (and now) Alabama and Louisiana.
What are the Texas rallying cries?
"Remember the Alamo" - which they lost.
"The South will rise again" - they lost the Civil War too.
Texas is not the most populous state - that title goes to the hated California.
Texas is not the largest state - that title goes to Alaska.
In a state which celebrates it's "Friday Night Lights" heritage, Texas is not even the "Football State" - that title goes to the University of Alabama for college and to smaller poorer neighbor Louisiana in pro.
Texans see themselves as the eternal "Second Place Jan" whining, "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia...".
But at the crux of this malady is their lack of education.
Texas ranks 42nd in the nation for it's schools (Which is up from 47th and 49th a few years ago. "Way to go Texas!" - I see that the "No Child Left Behind" policy is really working for you.)
It's not even surprising that 30% of Texans believe that a Flintstones scenario could be true.
(Sorry, my editing page will not allow links that work.)
As the five largest insurance companies in America (Wellpoint, United health, Cigna, Aetna, Humana) posted profits of about 56% - Anthem Blue Cross of California (A subsidiary of Wellpoint) is set to raise it's rates by 39%.
All this from a profitable company with more than 700 violations of the state's laws governing insurance companies.
The insurance behemoth cites 'investment losses' as the reasoning behind such practices.
But when did a company's profitability become so entangled in it's investment portfolio and not it's product?
IMO - THIS is what's wrong with our current financial system.
Most companies rely on their investments in Wall St. more than their own company's performance.
Most companies have become vehicles to raise capital through their pension plans and their employees 401k programs.
Most companies are so beholden on profits by wise stock trades while not enough focus on their core reason of being.
Most companies believed the hype of there being a bigger sucker to purchase their overvalued stocks.
If we wish to reform health care - first we must transform the banking/investment system back into a service driven industry and away from that of a profit driven industry.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
An old Chinese axiom states; "Wealth does not pass three generations.".
Why is this?
Sure, some could argue that the first generation only had to provide for three... maybe four people.
That the limited fortune was enough for one family to do well - but not enough for eight families.
But the real problems are ones expectations.
The first generation does all the hard work to acquire their fortune.
The second generation may see the benefit of hard work (without the fiscal need to do so themselves).
The third generation will become accustomed to having things given to them.
This is where we currently find many of those within our society.
Even many minorities have benefited from the Civil Rights progress made by their grandparents. (First generation)
Most of their parents enjoyed freedoms that couldn't even be imagined by their parents. (Second generation)
And today - even many "poor" children enjoy a lifestyle that would have put the middle-class of past generations to shame. (Third generation)
Walk into ones nearest teen aged relatives bedroom - what do you see?
More clothes than their parents would have had in five years.
Usually a computer, television, some sort of music system, gaming system and personal phone are also present.
These children need all these gizmo's to take up the time gained by a more lax lifestyle.
How many children; do the laundry, mow the lawn, clean the house, babysit siblings, walk to school or the homes of friends, read a book (even if it's for their homework), sew or learn to build?
There is no need to develop these skills - it's just easier to pay someone else to do it.
Ojo asked whether his generation would march on Washington, stage sit-ins, or be able to lead.
I didn't think they would.
Most have never been in a real fight in their lives.
Most are more accustomed to throwing a temper-tantrum over something (and ultimately getting what they want) than they are actually solving the problem.
Most have been coddled to the point of them fighting imaginary windmills.
Their complaints are usually over things that have little or no impact on their daily lives.
C'mon, are; Tiger Woods, Reggie Bush, or a white drill team winning a step competition on the same level as; being hanged, being denied schooling or being denied the right to vote?
But it's not really their fault at all.
Their grandparent's struggles are just old "Black History" to them.
The various media have taken the place of sitting on the front porch and listening to family stories.
Instant pizza and Mac Donald's have taken the place of conversations over dinner.
With parents working longer hours to maintain this lifestyle - friends have become a child's primary source of influence.
Many see themselves as consumers - not creators.
Can this tide be turned?
How do we make it past the third generation?
By learning to value what is really important (work, skills and knowledge) and not focusing on what is not (pop culture, the facade of status and a life of ease).
But who wants to do or teach this to another generation?
Isn't it just easier to let them learn it on their own?
Don't parents have their own lives?
Isn't the "I" just as important as the "We"?
Monday, February 22, 2010
The spinochordodes tellini (a hair worm) causes a grasshopper to seek water - where it eventually drowns - to enable itself to end up in it's optimal breeding environment.
The Helminthes enters crabs and causes them to leave the shelter of it's native tide pools (by lowering the crab's inhibitions) for the feeding areas of sea birds (which are the parasites primary hosts).
With our suspect food supply - maybe we are victims of some sort of parasitic control over ourselves.
A recent comment by SeeNew put it all into perspective.
Those Tea Baggers aren't really mad at the government itself - they are mad that they are not the key holders to the government themselves.
Most see Obama and Steele in positions once reserved for only a certain group.
Even if these people were never capable of attaining that level themselves - most assumed a sense of "Success by Association".
Most saw themselves as part of the elite based on prevailing social factors.
But as the game became more complex and required more speed and agility - some have chosen to form their own own league.
The old leagues (political parties) have become overrun by those who are not "Real Americans".
So what's left to do?
Start a new league reserved for those who lack the ability to adapt?
Attempt to take the ball and run home?
Maybe even burn down a few churches or blow up some buildings.
What else can one do when they realize that they are not capable of competing in a non-fixed game?
Back in the day - I used to like the Rebels.
Coach Tark started his college career at my town's local city college so I felt inclined to follow anyone from my small(ish) town.
Larry Johnson, Stacy Augman, Armon Gilliam, Greg Anthony and Anderson Hunt would appear twice a week on our local television channel on their way to final four appearances and ultimately an NCAA title.
In fact, the reason I hate Duke is because they beat UNLV to win the NCAA championship.
Yosemite Sam was just the dimwitted foil of Bugs Bunny.
Even the mascot of Ole Miss looks more like Colonel Sanders than a Klansman.
And almost everyone remembers the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazard.
The imagery from the South is both a celebration of ones history and the admission of defeat.
Maybe all these Tea Baggers are just holding out in the hopes that the "South will rise again".
Saturday, February 20, 2010
During Prohibition, many from the South would soup-up their cars in an effort to outrun the Gub'ment.
These were men who despised anything government run or government controlled.
These men were rebels who believed in an alternate (but losing) version of The American Dream.
These Bill-E-Bobs even turned their passion into a marketable "sport" which included much of their history.
But when did these guys from "Deliverance" begin to stake the sole claim of American ideals?
When did Bill-E-Bob begin to celebrate flyovers?
I talk to a lot of women who are upset that Eddie from "Family Matters" took the role of Malcolm on "The Young and the Restless".
Being that many in this small town work shift-work hours - many are home during most days of the week.
What many are quick to point out is, "THAT'S NOT MALCOLM!".
Damn... now that's just effed up.
Maybe we had to go through a bunch of mess to realize that the Wizard didn't have all the answers.
Maybe it took the struggles to awaken many of us from our malaise.
Maybe the belief in this great Wizard was/is our downfall.
What if one decided to take his place as the ruler of what is thought to be the most powerful country in the world?
What impact would this have on those who believe in the Wizard?
Many of us have bought into the hype surrounding a "Superior Race"
But some chose to rise against this thinking.
Some chose to become so dominant that many of those from another group began looking for a "Great Hope" to take back what many thought was rightfully their own.
Oprah was born with the Grand-Slam of Unfortunate Circumstances - Poor, Black, Ugly, Fat, and Female - in the South.
But now many are worried about the impact of her leaving Day-Time television.
Maybe it'll have the same negative effect as "Friends" had for NBC.
Who would have thought that a woman with so much going against her could become so pivotal in such a hostile environment?
Many thought that Blacks were too dumb or ugly to be accepted by a larger group of consumers.
But what happens when popular culture is filled with those others previously thought unworthy?
What if these people become the new influences of what is cool to many American youths?
What if the death of an icon gets more coverage than other more pressing events?
Should one group fear that another group is exerting undue influence over their media?
What if some decide that the barriers put upon them by others do not apply to them?
Could some become dominant in those pursuits once thought to be taboo?
What if some began to succeed in what they were taught didn't come naturally to them?
Would some boycott a venue which decided to change the complexion of it's customers?
What if some even ventured into the cold Northwest to pursue gold?
Would some become offended that a Winter event had a bit of color?
What if one went beyond the accomplishments of Calvin Peete, Charlie Sifford or Lee Elder?
What if this same guy married someone from the untainted Nordic region?
What if he decided to taint many other women - many of whom his critics have no chance of doing the same?
(Okay - this may be an example of his buying into to myths propagated by the Wizard. But still, he does kick some butt ON the golf course.)
I don't know any of these individuals, nor their families.
What they do on their own is their business.
But what I do know is they have all decided to ignore the lies of the Wizard.
That they have all discovered that the Wizard's only strength was their weakness.
The weakness of a belief in a false idol who possessed no real power.
When these individuals awoke, they discovered that they always had the power to make their own changes.
That this power was inherent.
That the only thing holding them back was their limited beliefs in themselves and their excessive beliefs in others.
What these men represent is opposition to the Myth of the All-Knowing/All-Powerful Wizard.
The myth that excellence resides solely within one religion, one race, or one set of ideals.
If Blacks (Thought by many to be the lowest man on the societal totem pole.) can accomplish things under social and institution limitations - what would other groups be able to accomplish as well?
What would happen to many who follow the Wizard and his teachings?
Would they then be forced to up their games to a level that may be beyond their grasps?
Would many find themselves at the bottom of the heap and call for a revolution "By REAL Americans - for real Americans?
What is really being experienced by many of those associated with the Tea Party movement is fear.
Fear of the unknown.
Fear of having to go toe-to-toe with the best that each group has to offer.
If these lowly Blacks start to exert their inner-selves and begin to rule their own destinies - of what will other groups imagine themselves to be capable?
Some might ask;
"If we cannot continue to rule by right - who would then be in charge?"
"And will they treat us with the same cruelty as we treated most of them?"
Am I afraid of the Tea Baggers?
Who's afraid of an aged pasty guy who feels the need to hide behind a curtain?
Friday, February 19, 2010
Sure, Floyd may be the best boxer (pound for pound).
And Kobe may be the best basketball player currently in the league.
Some would argue that Weezy is the King of today's popular music.
But my heroes were different.
Maybe it's just me - but I grew up under a different set of expectations.
Like James Brown said, "Papa don't take no mess, papa beat the hell out of us.".
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Dude, it was supposed to be a joke.
No man is meant to wear these costumes in real life.
But women love to watch the elegance of the effete "athletes" in women's attire.
I could even watch Curling before I watch a man dancing around the rink in something my grandmother wouldn't even wear.
The Winter Olympics usually suck.
Sure, I can watch any form of competition - but I like thick juicy legs.
I don't really notice their faces - but female speed skaters have some thick tight quads.
Maybe it's the slightly bent over positioning of their bodies during completion.
Even skiers have developed their quads to the point of me showing a passing interest in the results of their competition.
As local police are quick to point out that "this is not a terrorist act" - what else could it be?
Is it not a "terrorist act" because the perpetrator is white,
Can't smart white Americans also be terrorists?
What traits does Jimmy Buffet wanna-be Joseph Stack share with others recently involved in domestic terrorism?
(sorry, my links aren't working but the article cites a Smoking Gun story which lists this guy's manifesto.)
Was Amy Bishop thought to be dumb?
What about the guy who went on a shooting spree at Fort Hood?
Wasn't the Unabomber highly educated?
Maybe this is part of a larger problem with the disaffected intelligentsia.