Friday, December 7, 2007

Am I a Hypocrite?

me+and+dad Am I a Hypocrite?

I recently had a conversation with someone I am very close to and during that talk I divulged some very personal and admittedly unflattering information. And I mean REALLY unflattering. I will say now that I was a wild teen and like most wild teens I made some extremely bad decisions. But while I look back at my youthful indiscretions as trivial footnotes in the story of my life, this person saw me as a hypocrite. How could I run a site that tells people to do better and write a blog that reminds folks that conversate is not a word, when I have a past that would shock the conscious of most? Do I have the right to tell anybody anything?
It is only by the grace of God that I have come this far. It is true that I have been in situations that could have easily de-railed my life. It is true that I have been irresponsible, selfish and reckless. Does that make me less able to challenge others to do better than I did? I feel like I get it from both directions. People accuse me of being a privileged bourgeois negro who looks down my nose at those less fortunate. Now Ive been accused of being such a ne’er-do-well in my past that maybe I don’t have the right to tell others what to do.
Im not sure. But I will say this, my slogan is WE got to do better. Not y’all. I am included in this. I look at my life and as incorrigible as I was at one time, the only thing that helped me thru was the belief my parents instilled in me that I could be whatever I wanted to be. My household stressed education. And although what I did afterschool would end up on hotghettomess.com, I never lost sight of my goals. I had a strange disconnect between my real life and my play life. As bad as I was, I was good when it counted. And that’s only because of my upbringing. Its because my parents (who were not together) did not accept C’s. C’s were average and I wasn’t average. And they told me that everyday.
And that’s all I’m really saying here. There are some basic fundamental values that we can instill in the next generation that can carry them through tumultuous times and bad decision making they will inevitably encounter. I was a bad kid and did some bad things. Am I wrong to judge now? Does being a bad kid forever prohibit you from challenging others to be their best? Should it stop you from challenging the community around you to excel and to raise expectations of ourselves and our children? From recognizing bad behavior and calling it out?
Can a criminal go back into a community and speak to kids about the dangers of a certain lifestyle? I think so. Who would know better than him about the truth and consequences of crime? I don’t know. I feel conflicted. I have made bad choices. At what point are you disqualified from challenging others to do better? Are you ever? I’ve learned from my mistakes. As my man once asked me, is redemption possible? Throughout this journey, I have made it a point never to put myself on a pedestal because believe me, that’s the last place I belong. I’ve never held myself up as a prototype or role model. I’m just a regular fucked up fatherless girl who happened to do OK for herself in this world. And I want us all to do OK for ourselves in this world and I want kids to have a world that encourages them to be their best.
Yes, I was bad. But Im doing better now. And I want US to be better. I want us to do better than I did.
Yeah, yeah, I’ll be back soon enough talking about more pop culture bullshit but i just really needed to know:
Am I a hypocrite?
I dont know anymore.

39 Responses to “Am I a Hypocrite?”

  1. Jefferson Sergeant on 07 Dec 2007 at 4:53 am #

    I really need some video and/or photo footage of your youthful debauchery before I can make a decision.

    I have to gauge where you fall on the heathen meter.

    My intentions are pure of course.

  2. Robert Reece on 07 Dec 2007 at 8:25 am #

    I don’t think you’re a hypocrite. Everyone makes bad decisions, especially when you’re young. I think you’re right, who’s more qualified to tell someone not to make a bad decision than a person who has experienced the consequences.

  3. Thembi on 07 Dec 2007 at 10:37 am #

    You REALLY need to post more often!

  4. Anonymous on 07 Dec 2007 at 3:23 pm #

    you’re too talented to not be a role model…but if not a role model…then what is your role in this whole debate?

    Not sure convicts are the best example…the question is about redemption. If you continue to repeat the “bad choices”, are you really the best one to advise on avoiding the pitfall?

    And if you’re advising on avoiding the pitfall…aren’t you by definition a role model?

  5. jamdonaldson on 07 Dec 2007 at 4:00 pm #

    well i think your point goes to the core of my question. what is a role model and what qualifies you as such? I do believe that i can be a role model, but a role model to people who want to write or explore internet activism, or go to law school or work in television. Thats where I can contribute.

    Is my personal life role-model worthy? Nope. But whose is? Thats where we get into trouble. Putting people on a pedastal for their “accomplishments” and then getting bent out of shape when they come up with a DUI or get caught with drugs or are adulterers.

    Is MLK not a role model because he cheated on his wife? Of course he is. Maybe he’s not a role model for family values but he’s a role model in what he was good at, fighting for civil rights.

    (please dont send me any angry comments about comparing myself to King, im just making a point)

    Im certainly no King and in some areas of my life im certainly not a role model BUT I am a role model in what I do (whatever the hell that is). Why isnt that enough? Why do i have to be Jesus as well?

    I’ve done better, though i still have a long way to go–why cant I ask others to think about their lives and do the same? Whats wrong with that?

  6. girl on 08 Dec 2007 at 12:07 am #

    Your friend is being a hater!!! Hee hee. Just kidding.
    On the real. If you were good all the time you would be boring. It seems to me that if you see the true and don’t say anything THEN you are hypocrite.

  7. Jefferson Sergeant on 08 Dec 2007 at 3:33 am #

    Not to be too forward but I have to ask this. Are you planning to raise your profile in the current debate about Black pop-culture and its effect on our community?

    On the forum you spoke about going on a very successful college speaking tour and how it reaffirmed your confidence in young people’s ability to think critically. More of this is needed but on a larger scale, probably in the form of a televised event.

    Whatever incidents may have taken place in your past; your present life is a testimony to the commitment you have to live the lifestyle that you advocate for others.

    Despite the media’s seemingly endless appetite to tear everyone down with past indiscretions; sainthood isn’t required to promote your ideas.

  8. jamdonaldson on 08 Dec 2007 at 3:42 am #

    Jefferson, will u marry me? :-)

  9. Attorneymom on 08 Dec 2007 at 5:12 am #

    Be better than yesterday, but never as great as tomorrow, if you are fortunate enough to see tomorrow.

    You are not a hypocrite. You are maturing and getting better by the minute.

    We all have done things that we are not too proud of. It is only by the grace of God that our *ish did not destroy us.

    Keep doing what you do!!!

    Where is the link to my blog, Missy???? LOL.

    http://www.charactercorner.blogspot.com

  10. Jefferson Sergeant on 08 Dec 2007 at 6:34 am #

    Sure I will!

    If it requires a credit check first, the engagement may have to be an extended one. :)

  11. zillz on 08 Dec 2007 at 5:53 pm #

    we’re all human. when we learn from our past, and if we adjust accordingly for the future, then it’s always good.

    now if you’ve fell into the same path 5 or 6 years down the road, then…damn.

    however, no matter where we are in life, we should always challenge others to do better than theirselves, ourselves, and the extremes. Complacency is a dangerous thing.

    oh, i don’t think you’re a hypocrite.

  12. Melinda on 10 Dec 2007 at 2:32 am #

    No..you’re not a hypocrite….

    Don’t let naysayers get into your subconsciousness mind. The point is that you are a do-gooder who speaks from the heart. I mean…who are you hurtin? Black people’s fragile egos…? Puhleease…

    Let them deal with it.

    Speak your truth. That’s all that matters.
    I read this statement and it’s so true:

    “The amount of success that one experiences depends upon how much criticism a person can take.”

    Now put that in your pipe and smoke it…cause people will always criticize….

  13. ListentoLeon.net on 10 Dec 2007 at 3:06 pm #

    I don’t want to sound like I’m co-signing, but a lot of folks already said similar things to what I was about to. Just continue to grow and keep on doing your thing

  14. JOB on 10 Dec 2007 at 6:32 pm #

    According to the dictionary on my comp. hypocrisy is “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.”

    To me, that means that hypocrisy is that you say one thing, but do another, not DID another years ago.

  15. IVENTBYBLOGGING on 12 Dec 2007 at 5:44 am #

    @Jefferson ROFLMBO

    Jam…ease up…a hypocrite would never acknowledge their wrong doings and if they did..they’d justify their actions! You didn’t do that. You admitted your indiscretions and by the grace of God,YOU CHANGED!

    Hypocrites will tell everyone else to change, while they REMAIN in the Muck/Mire.

    Painful change offers us insight and experience that we MUST share with the clueless. That’s OUR BURDEN. Honey, we won’t talk about bad…my family is STILL wondering how is it that i’m alive. And I mean…I was bad, debased, debauched all that nasty stuff. But I couldn’t continue that self-destructive course, just as you didn’t. As bad as my butt was, u know what my ONLY regret was???
    That I didn’t go to college immed after HS.

    Tell your friend to kick rocks and let’s see her judgmental behind grace the page of a mag, or go on a tv court show cuz u put somebody on blast!! (u handled that show with class, I might add).

    The fact that you questioned if you were a hypocrite shows YOU’RE NOT A HYPOCRITE. You Better Recognize…you’ve learned, you’ve changed, you’ve grown, and now you’re reaching to your community. How is that hypocritical?
    you’re in the public’s eye…prepare for backlash darling.

    and yes..like Thembi said-u need to post more often.

    Don’t sweat that crap!
    Ivent(bria)
    You Better Recogize

  16. Wary on 15 Dec 2007 at 12:21 am #

    Hotghettomess is nothing more than a degenerate hustle with child porn, questionable consent and all, masquerading as a platform where we can come gather and work on ourselves ala “I’m messy TOO! ‘We’ gots to do betta, while I line my pockets promoting senselessness.”

    I can appreciate good natured foolishness, but why camouflage the effort?

    Puh-leeze.

  17. jamdonaldson on 15 Dec 2007 at 12:38 am #

    is that you gina mccauley? hustle these.

  18. jamdonaldson on 15 Dec 2007 at 12:52 am #

    is that you gina mccauley? hustle these.

  19. Wary on 15 Dec 2007 at 10:29 pm #

    I am NOT her.

    That peculiar strain of nastiness, “Just Sad” or some such, that you continue pushing is beyond bizarre…it’s vile. So explain to the masses how those babies consented to being depicted in that manner and to having those images subsequently published for the world to see. For real.

    I have observed Hotghettomess periodically from the sidelines for over many months now, and the images of those babies floors many…not just ME! Again, I can appreciate good natured foolishness. In fact, I disagree with the premise that many of the pictures featuring adults are messy at all; just folk kicking it and expressing themselves, but when it comes to the BABIES…you have crossed all kinds of lines. Seriously.

    Today’s Washington Post front-page article, titled “Crackdown on Child Pornography – Federal Action, Focused on Internet, Sets Off a Debate” by Jerry Markon, eloquently makes my point. The article ends with a salient quote from the newly appointed U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, “Simply put, our children need our protection.”

    Yep.

    - Sir, I would like to add that Black babies need protection TOO! I realize that you are busy and all, but perhaps you can have Drew Oosterbaan, chief of the Justice’s department child exploitation and obscenity section, take a good long look at what’s supposedly passing for entertainment and satire over at http://www.hotghettomess.com…and has been for quite a long time at that.

    Yes folks, there are actually people in the federal government whose very existence is to be concerned with such matters.

    - National Center for Missing and Exploited Children — where are you???

    Now, you have told us about your experience and savvy in the world of entertainment, including the Internet. So my question to you is why not extend the brand to the larger population? Surely if it is good enough for us, it’s good enough for them. We know they like our culture, our art forms, our ways of expressing ourselves, and history bears this out ==> spirituals, gospel, jazz, blues, R&B, soul, hip-hop, tap dance, comedy, modern dance…so why not duplicate your success with others. Is it because that no other folk would TOLERATE images of their babies being purposefully and systematically published in this manner.

    I’m for real. Extend this mess..if you can!

  20. Wary on 15 Dec 2007 at 10:39 pm #

    And if there is any doubt that our children suffer abuse and often times death at the hands of those who exploit (or desire to exploit) them sexually, then the recent horrific stories of Ebony Dorsey and Daniyah Jackson should quash that noise.

    Clean up that degenerate mess!

    You ARE duly empowered to do it.

    If our folk can be told time and again to stop snitchin’, then certainly it should be no problem telling you to STOP encouraging and spreading such filth.

  21. jamdonaldson on 15 Dec 2007 at 11:32 pm #

    (yawn + eyeroll) ok, you’re about 2 years late with all this. Its like a message board where someone starts a new thread about something that has been thoroughly hashed out elsewhere on the board. but i’ll indulge you simply so you wont spread this bullshit to newer viewers.

    let me explain the purpose of just sad. that gallery is meant to raise the awareness in our comunities about how our children are being treated. because the photos are submitted anonymously, i encourage those who recognize the adults and/or children in the pics to report the behavior to the appropriate authorities. would you rather i just delete these pics? sunlight is the best disinfectant. perhaps we need to see just how bad things have gotten so we can be shamed into doing something about it. Yes, the pics are disturbing. they’re supposed to be.

    i am often contacted by law enforcement and i cooperate fully in any way i can to determine the source of pics.

    And if there was truly child porn on the site, do you really think, with the scrutiny this site has come under in the last year, that the law enforcement wouldnt have shut me down and i would be in jail or fined? gime a break with your inflammatory “child porn” accusations.

    And for the allegation that i dont feature other races, then its clear you havent been to “just sad” recently. there are plenty of white and every other race of kid on there.

    but more importantly, if your assessment that most of the people on the site arent messes and are just “kicking it” then the conversation can really end here. we’re clearly on different planets, mine being Earth.

    Hey Wary, I have some great news for you—there are lots of other websites on the internet and theres this cool thing called a keyboard and you type in letters and click a mouse and you can magically be transported to them.

    peace and love. oh, and im a female.

  22. Wary on 16 Dec 2007 at 10:02 pm #

    I realize that YOU are not a man.

    When it comes to the babies, I simply AM NOT buying the crap that the “Just Sad” forum is intended as a way to encourage those who recognize those children to report their identification to the authorities. Nope. Does not America’s Funniest Home Videos encourage folk to take and submit those videos? You have already conceded such when you admonish folk not to submit doctored photographs… particularly bad ones at that. You know good and well that you are encouraging this behavior.

    Spare me!

    With regard to other groups, I am asking you why haven’t you and your corporate affiliates extended a variation of this brand and theme to them — in total, not in part, but the whole kit and kaboodle? Clearly you’ve identified a winning brand and theme and refined your business model and processes. In the world of entertainment NOTHING indicates SUCCESS stronger than the creation of duplicates (e.g. American Idol and Survivor are based on British programs and have been extended to other nations…and quite successfully).

    Oh yeah, lemme guess that other folk simply ain’t gon have it! Won’t even fake like they’re willing to roll like that. You know it.

    With regard to the grown folk:
    - having an LV themed wedding is not messy, perhaps tacky given one’s taste

    - having a mouth full of metal ain’t messy, again it maybe considered tacky, but then again many of those grills are removable, whatever

    - sharing an intimate photo of one’s self with a lover is not messy, but having that someone betray that trust and ship it to you so that you can publish it on the Internet without consent — well hell yes…that’s MESSY!

  23. jamdonaldson on 16 Dec 2007 at 10:34 pm #

    my corporate affiliates??? successful business model?? thats hilarious! do you see one corporate sponsor on ths site? Yeah, I have Rupert Murdoch on hold right now. Wary, I’m a chic at a computer with a beer trying to figure out how to pay my student loans.

    Perhaps you missed it the first time:

    Hey Wary, I have some great news for you—there are lots of other websites on the internet and there’s this cool thing called a keyboard and you type in letters and click a mouse and you can magically be transported to them.

  24. jamdonaldson on 16 Dec 2007 at 11:11 pm #

    Just a heads up for blog readers, im generally not going to engage in this sort of back and forth with someone, particlulary concerning issues that are off-topic and regarding hotghettomess.com. its just that being called a child pornographer annoyed me. but for future reference, the HGM website has a messageboard and email address where you can feel free to rip me a new one about anything you want concerning hotghettomess.com (or my corporate affiliates–LOL).

    I just dont want people who come here to get their read on, to be subjected to a bunch of tomfoolery (see previous posts). Thanks!

    peace people. wait, i just realized i do have a corporate affiliate–my dog Albert!!!

    Happy Holidays to one and all!!!

  25. Gabby's World on 03 Jan 2008 at 3:12 am #

    I only want the imperfect advising and challenging me to do better. They’re the only ones that can make me understand the consequences of bad decisions.

  26. Jorge on 04 Jan 2008 at 2:04 am #

    EVERYONE makes mistakes, and the best thing we can do with them is learn from them. You are NOT a hypocrite. Youre taking your own misfortunes and making them a chance for someone else to do better.

    A hypocrite? Ha, to me you seem more like an altruist.

  27. David D on 05 Feb 2008 at 9:39 pm #

    Jam:

    Who doesn’t have skeletons in the closet? If you don’t, you haven’t lived, you’ve just existed.

    Whatever your past deeds, the key is learing from mistakes and encouraging others not to suffer the same pitfalls as you. There’s few better services you can offer than good advice.

    So keep on commenting and advising. You may be a lot of things, but hypocrite isn’t one of them.

  28. Valentine on 16 Feb 2008 at 10:21 pm #

    A hypocrite condemns others for the very same acts that they engage in and pretend that they are not, or expouse that they would never do. Is that what you are doing? Why let the spiritless steal your joy?

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