DeityNyota

For Those Who Go Beyond Boundaries

Posts Tagged ‘Yes (band)

How To Be Black: I have to agree with Mia McKenzie

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One of my Facebook contacts thought it would be funny to post an article titled  “How To Be Black In America: A (Relatively) Short List” written by author and activist Mia McKenzie. Mia studied writing at the University of Pittsburgh ; and is described as being a smart, scrappy Philadelphian (now living in the bay area) with a deep love of vegan pomegranate ice cream and fake fur collars. She see’s herself as being a black feminist and a “freaking queer” (her words not mine); who’s thoughts and ideas are often reflected in her writings, which have won her such awards and grants as:

  • Astraea Foundation Writers Fund Award, 2009
  • Leeway Foundation Transformation Award, 2011

She comprised a ‘short list’ of things that black people should do in order to become accepted or seen as normal by the rest of society.  Now,  knowing my friend I’m assuming this list was brought forward in attempts to poke fun of CNN anchor and social contributor Don Lemon. Who recently shared with the world the lessons his families elders taught him about to conduct himself. But in my personal opinion, her ‘list’ actually back fired.

Now, I’m no one of importance, I haven’t won any literary awards nor had any of my works published, but (based upon what I’m seeing) I feel that If  she was attempting to engage in a game of snarky sarcasm, it honestly didn’t work. Because I and many others happen to agree with the list she provided. But I’ll explain the hot sticking points for me, in more detail; because I think some ignorant, close-minded, and petty black folks are missing the over all big picture.

Here’s some of the list

1. Don’t sag your pants. Pull them up. Slowly. Don’t make any sudden movements: I don’t know about not making any subtle moves, but yes, please pull  up your pants. And while you’re at it, wear a belt. I do not want to see your boxers, much less think this prison style of dress is appealing or cool. This goes for the young ladies as well. Advertising your goods in low-rise jeans or cut off shorts that stop two inches short of your burning bush is not the example of a respectable young woman. Nor is this look cute either. And you’re wondering why you’re having men make derogatory comments via sexually explicit and suggestive ‘complements’.

2. Stop talking about racism. That’s over. (see: black President): No, don’t stop talking about racism, but do understand that we too are just as guilty of being racist. Not only towards other ethnicities, but we do it to one another (inter-cultural racism based upon complexion). We too become enraged with black men/women whom chose to date/marry someone who’s not black, and we too say and carry out racist actions towards others.

So if we’re going to point out the wrongs of others, we MUST acknowledged what we’re no better. If we’re going to talk about slavery, let touch on how ‘we’ (some of our African ancestors) sold us into slavery as well.

Let’s focus on how the Black Egyptians enslaved the Black Israelites/Hebrews.

Let’s talk about how we’re still slaves in mentality as a result of the physical enslavement we’ve endured (and how we continue to perpetuate this mind-set with our actions towards one another).  If we’re to have an honest talk about racism, let’s be honest with ourselves and acknowledge the part that we play.

3. Stop asking the black President to do anything to help you. That’s reverse-racism. Or something: This one still baffles me too this day. Because I keep asking black people this, what do “WE” want him to do for us that we can’t and shouldn’t already be doing for ourselves?

We keep harping on what he’s done for other communities, but we don’t mention the fact that these other communities do what we refuse to do; work together! They fight together; stand together for what they believe in and they hold the government (not just the President) accountable as such.

They learn the process of authoring bills and legislation in their favor, and they fight to push these bills and acts through the house and senate. They’re active in local/state/federal government and they don’t take no for an answer.

They VOTE during the primary and mid-term elections; because they understand that who ever is voted into the house/senate and local government affects the issues they hold dear. This is something many of ‘us’ fail to do. How can we hold the President accountable for what’s wrong in our communities when WE won’t even hold one another and ourselves accountable is my question? If we don’t fight to keep our communities free of drugs and gang violence, how in the heck do we expect the President to rid our communities of crime? He can’t do that for us, we have to do that!  If we don’t fight to ensure our children receive adequate health care and eduction, why do we expect him to do it for us?

4. Get an education somehow. Speak properly, for Christ’s sake. But don’t be uppity: I love this one! YES, WE DON’T STRESS education enough in our homes and in our communities! So yes, I’m all for education and I feel we need to fight diligently to ensure that our children understand the importance of being academically competitive.

AND YES, we need to teach our children how to speak proper English. Slang and street talk won’t help you get a job and it won’t assist them with effectively articulating themselves. The perception of individuals who ‘talk like that’ is one of negative stereotypes  (uneducated, dumb and ‘hood’). And may we agree with it or not, it assist people with passing judgment upon first meeting you. If WE seek to be seen for our intelligence and not appearance, DO NOT give society more ammunition to label you.

5. Be nicer. You know people are intimidated by you, right? Why are you making it harder on yourself?: There are some sisters and brothers with some nasty, unsavory attitudes. Even though this is not specific one ethnicity, we can all admit that we’ve shaken our heads at them while standing in line at the supermarket.

We’ve witnessed them speaking harshly to customer service representatives, and cursing out cashiers.

We’ve seen them hold up lines at events cursing out the volunteers because they paid “too much money” to get in for this.

WE see it all the time and it’s not a good look for us. THEY (the one’s whom demonstrate this behavior) make us all look bad, because there’s no need to be that way. You don’t have to curse people out or tell them like it ‘T.I. is’ (rolling my neck and snapping my fingers) to get your point across. But we see this every day. The manner in which many of ‘us’ carry ourselves is very unbecoming and ugly.

6. Be successful somehow. But do it without any kind of help. I mean, that’s how white people did it, right? No help whatsoever: Check out the chart below, and ask yourselves’ why don’t ‘we’ American born Africans get it?

Black Africans and people of African Origins come to this country and fare better in entrepreneurship, education, and finances than that of American Born Africans; whom have the same opportunities available too them, yet we’re lagging in these areas. They come here with absolutely nothing but a few mere belongings and they open businesses that are thriving (some within our community), they’re graduating with higher GPA’s from prestigious institutes of higher education and they pass down self-made wealth to their children.

That speaks volumes for how ungrateful ‘we’ (those of us born here) are. They’re more successful that most of us; and they do it with very little to no assistance.

We teach our children to become great workers (depending upon someone else to create job opportunities for us) while they teach their children to become the employers.

They understand the importance of commerce and how it’s linked to successful business ownership.

They do what we fail to do, stress education!

So, if they can find a way to be successful with nothing, what’s stopping ‘us’? They work together! They fund businesses with one another and they understand how there’s power in numbers. And its less of them; but they’re faring better than ‘us’; making do with next to nothing and still making it.

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7. Read a lot of books. Get recommendations from awesome people: YES! Black people need to encourage reading not only for our children but for ourselves. The problem I see with many of us is that we don’t read enough. And its one of the reasons why the chart listed above shows how we’re falling behind in education, and median house hold income.

Many African Americans refuse to broaden their scope and perception of life while gaining a plethora of knowledge on various topics by taking the time to read.

We’ll read Zane’s Sex Chronicles and 50 Shades of Stupidity; but we won’t read about African History, or how to become economically successful. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging reading! Pick up a book and turn off them damn soap operas and loosely based realty T.V. shows.

8. If you’re black and GLBT, choose which of those communities to align yourself with. I think the choice is obvious. (see: Recent Supreme Court Rulings): WE do this to our GLBT sisters and brothers! African-Americans reject them based upon sexual orientation due to religious beliefs and what we assume to be social norms.

WE see them as being an abomination, because many of us mistakenly believe that they made the choice to be gay (going against God’s design); thus such broad support within the African-American community for Prop 8.

WE don’t believe that their fight for equality is civil like ours, so WE reject their claims and tell them that their concerns are not ours!  We’re the one’s who reject them. Now, I have to admit that throughout the years our ideas and stances have changed, but African American’s still stand stanch in their fight against these civil unions (or making their marriage legal)

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9. Try really hard to get on a jury: YES! We complain about African-Americans not being judge by a jury of their peers, but we’re not getting actively involved in the litigation process. We will refuse to sit on jury duty (see it as an inconvenience) yet get mad when a brother or sister is convicted of a crime by people who don’t look like them. Take a look at these statistics and just image if we’re more active in the legal system, ensure that everyone is judged equally.

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10. Love: Yes, this is another problem with ‘us’! We don’t love one another enough. Black men and women don’t show one another enough love; and our mothers and fathers don’t show their children they love them enough.

We don’t have enough love for our communities, public schools and homes to ensure that they’re crime and drug free, up to code and a healthy environment for our children to flourish.

We don’t love our streets enough to keep them clean (NO we don’t) and we don’t love ourselves enough to ensure the images being projected of ‘us’ are not the negative and stereotypical images we see daily.

We don’t love ourselves enough to eat more healthier, nourishing foods that will combat hyper tension, diabetes and cancer. Many of us don’t even drink water because we don’t like the taste of it.

So yes, the Black Community is in dire need of love, love for one another, our children, our environment, our health/overall well-being and ourselves.

11. Look hard at your own individual selves and fix it so you can be better at love: One of the worst things in the world is witnessing a man or woman who refuses to take responsibility for their contributions to the dysfunctional relationships they engage in. These people will always blame everyone else for what went wrong in their relationship/marriage (it’s always the other person fault), while completely (conveniently) absolving their actions and themselves of being a contributing factor to why they’re either unhappily married, or can’t stay in a healthy relationship with anyone.

Some of ‘us’ fail to understand that for every action there’s a reaction and that sometimes the things we do and say to those we keep company with can be the reason why they’re “crazy”. Crazy doesn’t happen over night, there’s a gradual process of perpetual behavior (in most cases) that causes an individual to react a in a specific manner. Although this is not specific to one ethnicity, I always stress to both women and men how important it is to take the time they need to work on one’s self first! Prior to hopping into a new relationship after leaving another. I see so many people seek love from others, because they lack the spiritual tools needed to find love for one’s self. So I’m in complete agreement with this one.

12. Make crazy good, life-altering art: This one I can agree with 100%. And Its one of the reasons I started my small, minority, veteran, woman owned entertainment company. I was tired of seeing the images that society (and black people) believes to be an accurate representation of who we are. I seek to provide thought-provoking, socially controversial art that makes people think about how we as a people are being viewed and how “we” as a people view ourselves. We’ve seen so much of the negatives in the media that not only do other ethnicities believe this is who we are; we’ve come to terms with these images by embracing, internalizing and emulating them in the media geared towards black social-psycho consciousness.  The ‘art’ that we see today is no longer imitating life. And I’ve arrived at the conclusion that the lives of young black men (and women) is now imitating what we have been brainwashed into believing is art. Which is composed of nothing more than mediocre rap verses, over a hot looped track, heavy base line with half-naked (or fully nude) women in videos and on album covers; has replaced  what many within the African-American Community consider to be creative. There must come a time when ‘we’ become sickened with the perversion of our art by the entertainment industry; that’s telling us what it means to be black.

Please read “The 2nd Amendment vs. The Thug Image of Color”

https://dietynyota.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/the-2nd-amendment-vs-the-thug-image-of-color/

I’m not sure if Ms. McKenzie was seeking to be funny, or poke fun of African-American pendants via social satire; but may she realize it or not, she made some really good points.

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