Saturday, November 17, 2007

Am I A Bad Black Person?

EE  dream Am I A Bad Black Person?
Am I a bad black person? There was a March Against Injustice or Against Hate Crimes or Against Nooses or something today in Washington DC. And I could care less. Does that make me a bad black person?

Im in DC. The march and marchers were 10 minutes away but I had no interest in attending. And when I turned on the TV and saw Judge Greg Mathis at the podium, I became even more steadfast in my decision not to go. It’s like when I went to the Million Woman March and Jada Pinkett was speaking. WTF????? Again, am I bad??
My enthusiasm for marches ended with the Million Man March which I believe was the most amazing moment in black history that I have been alive to witness. (The OJ verdict not withstanding). I‘m just finding it very hard to muster the energy to participate in these marches and drives and “movements” that seem so out-of-touch with the real important issues challenging Black America. Now don’t get me wrong, of course I am against injustice and racism all the time everywhere. I think the Jena 6 protest was a legitimate protest for a legitimate cause and I am proud we were able to galvanize and make a difference in that case where there was so clearly an injustice. I guess my question is: why is it that we are so quick to oppose injustice done to us by white people, yet we run away screaming, arms flailing overhead when asked to be champions for ourselves?

We’re marching over nooses? These nooses are likely put up by copy cat obnoxious white kids that are just looking to get a rise out of the black community. And we so gladly give it to them. Yes, nooses are offensive. A thousand times yes. But so are black men getting gunned down in the streets. In fact, I must admit that I am a little more concerned with the latter. You can put everyone who has hung a noose on somebody’s doorknob or tree in jail for 100 years and we’ll still be killing each other on the corner. What then? Do we cry victory cause there are no more nooses?

Fuck a Ku Klux Klan. Fuck a neo-nazi. Fuck a hate crime. I don’t care how many nooses are hung, those nooses don’t have the power to affect change in our communities. These are infinitesimal elements of black life in America. They don’t have the power to influence a generation of black boys and girls. But our behavior does. Our families do. Our schools do. So why don’t we fight as hard for these aspects of our lives as we do against racist behavior by a few white idiots?

5 young men can get gunned down on the streets of DC and we do nothing. Silence. “Them niggas shootin again…” Let a preacher steal millions from people who could least afford it. “It aint the man, it’s the message.” Let a man not take care of his kids. “Its hard on a black man out here.” Black kids cant read. “those tests must be culturally-biased.”

But let some white person call us a nappy headed ho?????? Whew—you got a fuckin revolution. Its so sick. Does it make me a bad black person for saying that?

Will we ever get tired of begging somebody to do something? Its such a place of powerlessness. The Justice Department and Viacom and BET and Don Imus and nooses are just easy targets that we can point at and blame for this or that. Then we go to bed feeling better knowing that Sharpton and Jackson are on the scene saving us from racism. But who is saving us from ourselves?

It’s clearly a manifestation of our own inferiority complex. We don’t feel we’re valuable enough to save ourselves. We care more about how white people treat us or what they think, than we do each other. I dont think there is anyone (except maybe Sharpton or Jackson) who would say that racial discrimination and racism is the biggest problem faced by Blacks in America. So why are all of our movements seen through this paradigm? Is that all we know? Does that make me a bad black person for saying that?

Or maybe the problems have become too difficult. Too complex, too formidable. Its like when I look at my To Do list and its too long, I get anxious and go have a drink instead and nothing gets done.

Just think about it, the most powerful march since King marched on Washington was the Million Man March and you know why it was so powerful, because it was us talking to us. We called each other to task for the state of our communities. We wasnt begging and scraping asking Mr. Charlie to do anything. For once we all were forced to look at ourselves in the mirror and hold ourselves accountable for our condition. He had it right. We all were inspired, we wanted to do something, we loved each other, we thought we were great. Even if it just lasted that day. But it shows what power the teaching of self-reliance can have. Just imagine if we lived that philosophy?

And then we went back to this begging shit. And here we are. Judge Mathis and all. Great. I say, until we realize how precious our own lives are, we will continue to march in a circle chanting “No Justice, No Peace” about this or that. With fewer and fewer people actually listening, actually caring. Instead of growing stronger through our increased economic power and our increasing population of educated black folks, we’re becoming the little race that cried wolf. And just like that little boy, ultimately, if it aint happened already, people will stop listening. With all that going on the world, how can we seriously expect the country to care about us when we dont care about ourselves? hell, its some days when I dont even give a shit. Does that make me a bad black person?

So no, it may not get national coverage when we march for each other. You may not get on CNN. You may not get on the news if you and your community stage a sit-in at your local school to bring attention to bad teachers, poor conditions and poor performance. Your protest against out-of-wedlock children may not get on the front page. When we march for black lives and black families and black education, we may not get Tom Joyner to come or Judge Mathis or Jada Pinkett. But just think what we would get. For once, maybe some results. Let’s start talking to the people who can really make a difference in our communities, the people who really control our images and influence our young people. The only people that can help us now. OURSELVES.

Does that make me a bad black person? peace people.

“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are we not to be?
You are a child of God… We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Nelson Mandela. Inaugural Address, 1994. (attributed to Marianne Williamson)

Thanks for the quote Jimmy. You can liberate me any day. icon smile Am I A Bad Black Person?

33 Responses to “Am I A Bad Black Person?”

  1. Randall on 17 Nov 2007 at 5:05 am #

    pretty brave words and i like what you’re saying. keep up the good work.

  2. Robert Reece on 17 Nov 2007 at 6:19 am #

    True that some of the responsibility for what happens in the black communities actually fall on us but some of that blame, a great deal of that blame, has to fall on our government. I’m not making excuses but the US government has essentially but the black community in a bad day care system. It’s like they started the day care, brought in the kids, and left. What do you expect? Chaos. Then instead of fixing the problem, they just want to punish. If they’d fix the problems, provide jobs, provide education, there’d be a smaller need to punish. The government has set up a system in which the people can’t take care of themselves so when they refuse to step in and help, people do whatever is necessary.

  3. ListenToLeon on 17 Nov 2007 at 8:59 pm #

    That Mandela quote is the the shit. I know a movie used it fairly recently, but I can’t remember which one.

    I agree that we as a people have to take accountability for our collective situation and be more responsible about the things that truly matter. Nobody is going do it for us. Strong community leadership is the first step.

    Thanks for telling me about the blog. I definitely like what you’ve got going on here.

  4. Jibreel on 17 Nov 2007 at 10:24 pm #

    the US government owes black America nothing, once you get pass that then you can eradicate these black politicians that are selling you out for Illegal immigration.

  5. melissa on 18 Nov 2007 at 6:13 am #

    ok, i just have to say, i love reading all of your blogs. as a white mother of three children in a a mostly black school system, i question how to answer basic questions daily from my children. my 7 y/o daughter has a ‘friend’ who he refers to as his ‘n’ (you know the word). my son (he’s 12) knows his black friends can call each other the ‘n’, but that he cannot. how do i, as a responsible and loving mother who’s never seen color explain this to a young girl. could you shed some light as to an answer?

  6. Anonymous on 19 Nov 2007 at 3:54 am #

    No, you’re not a bad black person. I completely agree with everything you have said and yet I’m a black person. Thank you for speaking your mind. I can only hope more black people will read it and make a change.

  7. Anonymous on 19 Nov 2007 at 4:41 am #

    I never post anywhere about anything but I just had this exact conversation with my best friend..EXACT! We have about a million and one problems within our community that need immediate emergency action and attention. Now I fully acknowledge that some of those problems come from systematic racism that prevails in our system to this very day, that can’t be ignored in a fair overall assessment, but black folks are killing black folks with reckless abandon and zero remorse, gangs , drugs, the breakdown of the black family. A recent study showed that the children of the previous generation of Black middle class are doing worse than their parents. Credit is the new slavery for our people. At this point I’m afraid to have children. Our HIV/AIDS rate is an epidemic. Getting upset..must stop now…but um yeah no not worried about a bunch of 15 year old white boys hanging nooses

  8. Baby Please on 19 Nov 2007 at 4:46 am #

    I love your blog. I like what you’re doing here. You ain’t no bad person. You’re speaking the truth. You ain’t making up stories. Your words are beautifully stated. They are valuable. Very valuable.

  9. LaJane Galt on 19 Nov 2007 at 3:08 pm #

    I cut through the march on my way back from lunch.

    Yeah…cut THROUGH it…

    All those kids need to be in school instead of marching down Penn.

  10. Lifestyle Writer on 20 Nov 2007 at 5:05 am #

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    This entry was so on point. We need to turn the tables of consciousness over to some real self-empowerment. It makes you wonder why the hell hasn’t Sharpton or Messy Jessy have not even hinted at pointed our objectives to self-empowerment…? Maybe because they are in cahoots with the Government….because they are a real “hand under the table” joke.

    I know one thing. I ain’t marchin a cotdam place! I’ma do what it do….Do the Right thing that is! Not have babies out of wedlock, choose a good man, never pick up the crack pipe, get educated, learn my own history, and overall be a credit to my race….

    And to Robert Reece…give up placing blame on the government. Everybody already knows that America will never apologize for slavery because we don’t have any real power. This is the difference between our struggle and The Jews. Jews got respect cause they own shit. Period.

  11. Lifestyle Writer on 20 Nov 2007 at 5:12 am #

    Can you imagine how powerful we would be if Sharpton and Messy Jesse would advise our people to self-educate and respect ourselves, to understand what assets and liablities are, to own and operate our own talents, to learn the virtues of discipline, commitment, loyalty, dignity, and honor….
    We would be a thousands times better…and there would be more Oprahs, Bills, Dr. Ben Carter’s, Malcolms, Martins, Mandela’s, and other phenomenal black people…

  12. QTkYoung on 21 Nov 2007 at 7:45 pm #

    AWWEEEESOME post…like 4real. You’re not a bad black person, you’re a real black person concerned with things that need the MOST attention. Even tho i’m like SO pro-black and all about marching for the cause…there are SO many issues that need to be addressed within the community as well that aren’t even getting 1/3 of the attention that hate crimes and racial incidents get.
    GREAT post…your thoughts were received gratefully :)

  13. Attorneymom on 23 Nov 2007 at 4:30 am #

    I totally concur with everything you said. I was watching the March via cnn.com in between review contracts at work. When it ended, I said to myself, “Okay, now what?”

    When the #1 killers of black people are other black people, I cannot get too excited over a few noose hangings.

    Allow me to borrow from Kool Moe Dee, “I never ran from the Klu Klux Klan and I should not have to run from a black man.” Selah.

    http://www.charactercorner.blogspot.com
    “The Blog Where Hip Hop Meets Scripture!!”

  14. Attorneymom on 23 Nov 2007 at 4:57 am #

    http://charactercorner.blogspot.com/2007/11/black-bloggers-have-lot-to-be-thankful.html

    Check this out.

  15. Jefferson Sergeant on 24 Nov 2007 at 5:47 am #

    You are not a bad person.

    I think a part of the problem is that we are living in the post civil rights era and we have seen where many of the marches have left us.

    While there have been tremendous gains; there is also at present record numbers of miseducation, poverty and crime in our communities. Though the paradigm of racism in our society has shifted, we still find ourselves using the same decades old tactics to address it.

    Regretably, the current conversation has shifted from increased personal responsibility as a remedy; in lieu of scapegoating rap and Black pop-culture for our ills. By doing so it gives the appearance that the power for change lies outside of ourselves.

  16. Anonymous on 24 Nov 2007 at 2:06 pm #

    yo! brothers adore this site fantastic i m with you forever(i, m black i, m proud, yeahh!!! thank you …peace all. ((fuck the police))

  17. CresceNet on 25 Nov 2007 at 11:52 am #

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  18. Cathie on 27 Nov 2007 at 12:37 pm #

    No, you’re not a bad black person. You’re a person who has her priorities straight.

    Re: your hatin’ post, white people do the same thing. I was being critical of Britney Spears the other day for, you know, being a horrible example for teenage girls,and a co-worker told me not to be hatin’ on Britney because she’s “had a hard life”. Right, having fame, money and ability is much, much harder than being a paraplegic with no health insurance.

    But I was wrong too, because who really cares about these idiot celebrities? America is doomed because we focus on the lowest common denominator.

    I’m just resigning myself to the fact that best anybody can do is live their own life the right way and let the losers make their mistakes and wake up on their own.

  19. MO on 27 Nov 2007 at 4:05 pm #

    Wow!!! And I thought that I was the only one who felt that way. I totally agree with you. We are killing each other at an alarming rate and most of us are more upset with Imus or Dog the Bounty Hunter. (Really, who was shocked that Dog used the N-word). What happened in Jena, LA was wrong but what is happening all over this country by our brethern is even more wrong and very scary. I think the problem is that most of us have a sheepish mentality – we follow the flock. If the leaders and flock say it’s wrong then it’s wrong. If they don’t show outrage about an issue, then it’s not a problem. We need to stand up for ourselves and have our own opinions.

  20. carleton on 02 Dec 2007 at 5:31 am #

    I would love to elaborate on the post but I think everything I would’ve said has been covered. I’ve had these types of discussions with friends and family and they pretty much yield the same responses. No, you’re not a bad black person cause’ I’ve often felt the same way. black people need to be the heroes to our children and to each other. Sometimes it’s just hard to know where to start I guess. I want to make sure I’m my children’s role model so they know what a family should be. Plus, we’re a military family which is a whole different type of monster. But I loved the honesty of the post.

  21. Normalrog on 06 Dec 2007 at 12:50 am #

    I attended a political debate last year between our county’s 2 identical white middle aged Republican candidates for Sheriff. Nothing new in this county, but the debate was sponsored by – get this – the League of Women Voters, the Farm Bureau, and the NAACP. Each of the 3 sponsoring organizations had one representative each asking questions of the candidates. The reasonably large audience was mostly farmer types, with some liberal women scattered about, and almost no black citizens.

    So the LOWV rep asked some general question, then the FB guy asked some rural question, and it was the NAACP guy’s turn. I thought…”Don’t do it guy. Surprise ‘em all.” But no. He starts in on this “Why doesn’t the Sheriff’s Dept have more blacks yadda yadda yadda, and Presto, he had lost every whitey in the room (which was the whole room). The whole audience had gone deaf and was thinking about anything other than this question.

    The candidate answers were the predictable insincere condescending “we must do better in that area” which of course implies that blacks can’t hope to compete without help from Boss White. And as the questions rotated around, every time it was Mr. NAACP, it was a “black” question, and a tired obligatory response.

    And I thought… what a waste. Every white guy in that room had a preconception that NAACP and every other black organization is a one trick pony; a broken record. Yet every black citizen of my county shares the same general issues I have: safety, response time, budget, etc. What a shocker it would have been if Mr. NAACP instead had opened with, say, a pointed question on the issue of greatest concern to the Farm Bureau? It would have knocked my cracker brethren over. They would have had to acknowledge that Mr. Negro not only cares about the same thing I care about, he had the balls to take a swing at the candidates about it. And if he kept it up, and never asked a “black” question, instead championing issues of general concern in the county or LOWV or FB, Mr. Redneck Farmer might have been personally shamed into asking a “black” question himself, and that would have severely disrupted the Central Illinois space/time continuum. And from that might come progress.

    Anywho, here is the news flash from Mr. White Middle America (me): white folk are tired of hearing black folk talking about black folk. When you get the microphone or the podium or the TV show, talk about something else. Get some cred by making good points and articulate arguments about subjects that are broader the black. Because otherwise, you are shouting at a rock.

  22. Inspire1 on 07 Dec 2007 at 5:54 pm #

    Again your post was on point! I have often prayed and asked God what can I do to help our people. If you look at the big picture it does look overwhelming, but an old saying rings true… “each one, reach one!”
    I’ve been blessed enough to resign from my part-time job to go back to school. My desire is to go back to the “hood” that I grew up in, and start a school. I plan to target at risk boys.
    It is up to us to help us. I agree with so many of the blogs before mine.
    The government can’t fix faith, hope, self-love, pride, dignity, and a since of community. It’s up to those of us, who recognize that is a problem, to become part of the solution!

  23. CJ on 16 Dec 2007 at 4:35 am #

    I wouldn’t say you’re bad, but I’m not going to say you’re good. It angers me when a person (any person) can judge me and say “Black people are always looking for a handout or are always begging for something…” Do you know me? Can you speak me for me? I am Black and I have NEVER looked for a handout. I do what I can do the best way that I can.

    It also angers me when Black people are like “We get angered about situations like Don Imus but not about killings…” There are PLENTY of Black people who are angry. There are plenty of Black people who fight against this. No one likes murder. What have you done to protest the killings of our youth and men? What have you done in your community to discuss education or to help empower someone? Everyone cannot sit around and say this is what needs to be done and look for someone else to do it! It is the same old conversation day in and day out and I am totally disgusted.

  24. jamdonaldson on 16 Dec 2007 at 4:00 pm #

    dang CJ. I certainly dont want it misconstrued that somehow i think that noone cares or noone is angry about the major problems of the community. the point of the post was that very rarely are large, natinal, high-profile movements/protests arranged regarding these issues. There are organizations and parents and churches doing kick-ass grassroots work in every city. And I applaud that.

    I was just pointing out that our most influential “leaders” are conspicuously absent from those efforts and tend to focus on more sensational but less important issues.

    thats just my two cents, sorry you’re all disgusted and stuff. but to help ease your mind CJ, i’ll leave you with some words my stepdad used to tell me when i got all mad and disgusted: “when you’re mad, scratch your ass and be glad.”

    that always used to make me feel better. :-)

  25. John on 17 Dec 2007 at 7:41 pm #

    I commend you on speaking your mind regardless of the social implications. I am white and grew up around mostly black individuals. My black brothers and sisters that have been extremely successful often have conversations with me that resonates all of the points you are currently making. I myself feel that I can only say so much because I am white and I can not truly empathize with the black community. I do feel though that I can sympathize with it. You have definitely gained a reader.

  26. Anonymous on 19 Dec 2007 at 9:19 pm #

    WOW what you are saying is so great! We do have to do better. The worst part is that I see so much of our cultre being replaced with this hip hop “conversate” crap and I see it the most on college campuses!!!
    Al Sharpton is a media whore. The youth of our culture should look up to our real heros!

  27. HouTX-Writer on 24 Dec 2007 at 1:04 am #

    JIMMY/JAM/LISTENTOLEON: Nelson Mandela did not say the quote first (in 1994), Marianne Williamson did in her book (in 1992). Let’s give credit correctly.

    LIFESTYLE WRITER: You’re right…if not for the common quest for media whoredom, our “self-appointed leaders” might get something done. They never rear their “righteous” heads until a TV camera is around. And I swear, I am so frickin’ sick of them embracing the chronically criminal and their plight…I could scream. If TV stopped existing, our Black leaders would stop existing.

    Did anybody see the picture of two of the Jena 6 boys at the Hip Hip Awards or wherever it was that they went? They looked like they were getting ready to try to put out an album. How can we take them seriously? The more I looked at them and the facts of the case, I got the feeling they were just another set of media manipulating attention whores who got a whole gang of other attention whores to go out and march in a circle for nothing. I saw a bunch of people who should have been getting paid for a day of work and kids who should’ve been in school.

    You can’t change the mind of a racist with picketing. Now, not only are you a N*****, you’re a loud and whiny N*****. You can’t change their mind until they are ready to realize no one cares how they perceive us…that we’re going to overcome. We show them we don’t care what they think by getting more education, by not waiting on jobs to be created for us and CREATING JOBS and starting small businesses of integrity and with sound and valuable products/services. We become our own fiancial force, cease relying on credit and do cash business with each other…I could go on and on.

    ROBERT REECE: The problem with blaming the government is they don’t care. Waiting on the government to give a shiat about a class of people who won’t even help themselves and stop their own madness amongst themselves is futile. We need to provide our own jobs…provide our children with subsidiary education at HOME. Waiting on the “SYSTEM” or “THE MAN” to buy them some wonderful class books is like waiting for the year 2134. You’re going to die waiting to see it. We need to save up and buy books for our kids and our kid’s friends. Give them books that go deeper into our history and give positive reminders of just how great we are and how capable we can be WHILE NOT WAITING FOR A HANDOUT. Books like “Black Firsts” is key to give your children. I’ll be reading from this book when I go work a Read-In at a Black school in February 2008. Chaos is not the natural product of oppression, survival is. If Sojouner Truth had waited for the government to give her a railroad, think of all the slaves that wouldn’t have been freed by her efforts. Stop waiting for people to give a damn. They don’t…move on…and succeed IN SPITE of it. Going chaotic only keeps you stuck in the cycle. Automatically saying adversity brings about chaos is holding a very neanderthalic low-bar to our people. Adversity, as it has been proven by those generations before us, brings about success by creating what isn’t being created FOR us.

    NORMALROG: Loved the post. That goes with the point I made about how you can’t change someone’s minds or actions with picketing. Sometimes, it is a broken record. I have to admit, when Quanell X even gets shown as a clip of what’s to come on the news, I change the channel. I don’t even want to hear what he has to say. I can imagine that rings true of mostly everybody who isn’t sitting around figuring out how to be mad at “The Man” for their situation.

    Jam…it’s like you and I are cosmic twins. I have these conversations all the time with people. Keep up the excellent work!

  28. jamdonaldson on 26 Dec 2007 at 1:56 pm #

    Wassup cosmic twin –thank u for your thoughtful comments–i think you were right on point EXCEPT on one point.

    The blog DOES attribute that Mandela quote to Williamson. Dont sleep on my sourcing! :-)

  29. Jenkem on 27 Dec 2007 at 7:44 pm #

    Thank you.

  30. Anonymous on 12 Feb 2008 at 4:26 am #

    But so are black men getting gunned down in the streets. In fact, I must admit that I am a little more concerned with the latter. You can put everyone who has hung a noose on somebody’s doorknob or tree in jail for 100 years and we’ll still be killing each other on the corner. What then? Do we cry victory cause there are no more nooses?

    Funny thing that you say that, because I feel the same way. Actually, Will Smith lead a protest march out here in Philadelphia to help end the violence. The homicide level out here is absolutely appalling. The local DJ’s out here are very big on cleaning up the streets and trying to end the violence that is quickly killing us.

  31. quianal on 22 May 2008 at 6:30 pm #

    So right Jam. Start at home. Start with the “man in the mirror”.

    I’m copying the Mandela quote.

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