Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Today, we mourn the loss of Coretta Scott King, the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Mrs. King was 78 years old. She never fully recovered or regained her strength following a stroke and heart attack last year. God bless the dead.

Earlier this month, New York mourned the loss of Nixmary Brown, a 7-year-old brutally beaten to death by her stepfather, who said the child deserved it. Today, the legendary Boys Choir of Harlem will lose their full-time school home, also known as the Choir Academy, as punishment for leader Walter Turnbull's mismanagement, including questionable handling of funds and keeping an alleged child molester on staff.

Following the airing of what I think was one of the best and most honest, or "realest" in urbanspeak, episodes of Cartoon Network's "The Boondocks," the network apologized to people who might have been offended by the episode, called "The Return of The King," a quasi-spoof that featured a shot Dr. King not murdered as reported, but awakening from a nearly 30-year coma only to express outrage at what has become a mockery of a holiday with contentious beginnings, that of his birthday.

How do these seemingly unconnected events actually connect? Walk with me. What offended some (and only some) viewers of The Boondocks was that the King holiday has become just another three-day weekend, complete with excuses to party on Sunday since there's no work on Monday. Drop it like it's hot for Dr. King. The understandably angry civil rights leader lights into predominantly-Black and Latino party goers for triflin' (urbanspeak for thoughtless, lazy, and irresponsible) behavior; careless sex, living beyond our financial means with luxury vehicles parked on filthy streets in front of crime-ridden projects, making sure our children have the latest electronics and expensive sneakers instead of making sure they perform well in school. The Boys Choir of Harlem is poised on the brink of leaving behind a legacy of Black power gone wrong with thievery and broken trust, instead of a history of taking young Black men out of lousy situations, training them to deliver music to soothe the soul and expanding their horizons through travel and performance opportunities in front of world leaders. Children born to ill-prepared and ill-equiped parents, and mostly Black and Latino parents, are mistreated; nay, tortured to death, with neighbors doing little to help, or if they do report a problem, receiving little support for intervention. It's as though the dream died before it had a chance to become reality.

Sorry for the triteness of that last statement, but perhaps sentiment is better than what I really feel, which is flat-out pissed off. What have we done? Where are we going? For the gains people of color have made, Black people have made, too few of us have done much with it. Blacks wanted Mexican president Vicente Fox's head on a platter when he said Mexicans were willing to take crappy jobs American Blacks didn't want to take, but he was right. We were mad that he said it -- family can talk about family, but outsiders can't. A reborn MLK berated triflin' Black people for having their priorities wrong. Bill Cosby started a class war when he criticized Black parents for giving their children pseudo-African names they can't spell, much less barely say, and for putting hundred-dollar sneakers on their feet while they live in the ghetto. I say too damn bad. You shouldn't be offended by what was said, but that it's true. What happened to wanting something better?

I'm not saying I don't enjoy a good party because I do. Nor am I saying I haven't bought an expensive thing or gone out to eat or traveled when I should have saved the money. I'm saying that my bills are paid, I don't plan to have kids I can't manage, and if God forbid, I was suddenly unemployed and the only job I could get was cleaning a toilet, I'd cry and clean.

I'm taking a big risk by publicly saying what I am. I'll be labeled a sellout, an Uncle Tom, a house nigger, an elitist, classist, maybe even racist. I've been told I don't deserve to wear my hair in locks because I called the cops on a Black man breaking the law in front of my house (Blacks don't tell, or snitch, on other Blacks). I'm just tired, damn it. I'm tired of the buffoonery. I'm tired of defending my people to real racists who think buffoonery is typical Black behavior. I'm sick of kids who know every rap lyric, complete with sexual references, but can't tell you who the current President is, never mind who the 16th President was. I'm tired of fat Black women in ill-fitting clothes. I'm sick of Black women wearing skimpy or skintight clothes, turning themselves into instant sex objects, and I'm sick of Black men who create the need for those women to do so. I'm sick of Black men who refuse to wear a condom during sex, make a baby, and then turn around and act like they don't have responsibility. I'm sick of loud-talking, baggy pants and messy braids. I'm sick of criminal lifestyles as an ideal, and I'm equally sick of lazy wannabe Christians hanging on every word spewed by a Black preacher that has no redeeming quality whatsoever, but is held as truth because it was entertaining. I'm nauseated by Scripture spitters, believing that their long skirts, grace over a piece of gum, and service or Bible study five times a week makes them supposedly superior while they ignore the homeless and hungry who live among them. I'm disgusted by huge architectural works, filled with poor, oppressed Black people who are too stupid to recognize that something is wrong when you're still scraping two cents together to make sure the pastor's Escalade is sittin' on 20's, but he hasn't given you tool-the-first to help you change your sorry life.

I'm sad. I'm angry. And I'm gonna borrow from the last words uttered by Dap, in the movie "School Daze." WAKE UP!!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

totally agree, keep talking, keep writing, then maybe more blk people will listen.


1:22 PM  

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