Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ask An AverageBro: The Mailbag

[Editor's Note: Awhile back I introduced a new feature here called Ask An AverageBro. It was posed' to be my version of a "mailbag" feature that would run frequently. I got quite a few questions initially, then totally forgot about the whole thing until recently. So, some of today's AverageNation™ questions may seem slightly outdated. I'll get the hang of this sooner or later, but feel free to drop your question or comment for next time if so moved. Reader questions are in bold. My answers are not.]

I love your blog and feel honored, as a "whitey," to be part of your discussion. Many of the topics have inspired me to participate, but I always wonder how you feel about your white audience giving their two cents. I am one of those white guys who has a profound love of Hip Hop and also it's important to me to stay informed about Black culture (because I love its wealth) and also so as not to perpetuate a racial stereotype I might have. I have a theory that no one is 100% non-racist-- by nature of our lack of knowledge of others-- but I'd like to be as close as I can to 100% as a civic duty.

Anyway, I think part of the problem with whites in America is that they don't just express their naivete and ask honest questions. So, I'm asking, what are topics that when whites chime in on, you roll your eyes, if any?Are you rolling your eyes right now?? For me, when I comment, there's a fine line between wanting to sound like a somewhat enlightened white guy whose spent a lot of time thinking about my place in a racist society, and just sounding like yet another ignorant white guy. I'd appreciate your thoughts- or better yet, a post. What I think I'm doing is inviting you to speak about race (because whites and the MSM are speaking so freely about it) but with whites as the minority for a change.

Northampton, MA

Speaking strictly for myself, and myself only, I just like people (and this has nothing to do with being black or white) who are open-minded enough to want to learn another person's perspective. If that sounds overly simplistic, I apologize, but it's really that easy. Just be willing to listen and attempt to put yourself in the other person's shoes. There's not really any more to it than that.

Just saw your post of the Black Snob's piece on Juan Williams, does she have Juan Williams, right on!!! But she treats him too kindly. Juan never seems to do anything that questions O'Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, or even Bush/Cheney. He acts as if he is scared of O'Riley. Williams pay checks drive him to be more like Armstrong Williams.

This knee-grow, may have edited Eyes on the Prize, but his stuff is raggedy for the most part, and he seems to be getting sicker as he ages. However, he is not a fault for never understanding how the Average Bro., who grew up in the U.S. might feel. Juan doesn't really know much of this. His youth experience was based in Panama.


I'm pretty much with you and Snobette on that one. I really used to like Juan Williams on America's Black Forum. He was the consummate professional, and didn't seem to impose his views on the guests, thus derailing the show. On Fox News, he seems like a totally different guy. The pressure of being "the only black guy" seems to have gotten to him. I guess eating lunch with Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity a few times might have that effect. I was unaware of his Panamanian upbringing. On an unrelated note, John McCain was also born in Panama. Hmmmmm.

Hi AverageBro,

I am joining Americorps in October. It's a national community service program (alot of people have never heard of it). I will be staying in Denver and traveling to different states from there. Im not sure which states I will be in. My biggest fear is racism. I have talked to black people in the program and no one has mentioned any really racist things happening to them. Still I can't shake the feeling that things may get ugly. Denver is not the most diverse place in the world and neither is the Americorps program for that matter, not to mention the states I may be traveling to. Im a very conscious black woman so I know that racism exist and I have some very strong views about it, but I have never experienced direct racism. No one has ever called me a nigger to my face or asked any stupid questions about my hair. My question is how do I handle racism if/when I encounter it. I found that cursing people out almost never helps the situation or changes their opinion (not that I'd feel the need to change someone's racist opinions). I could go the WWJD route and call them ignorant and walk away, but I don't know if I would be able to in my anger. I may be too shocked and mad to do or say anything. Anyway, how should I handle that situation should it come up? Thanks for listening.

Hollat at cha llama.

I've spent some time in Denver, and overall, it seemed to be relatively progressive. This advice is loaded with disclaimers, but I'd say 9.9 times out of 10, you're not going to run into any overt "nigga this, nigga that" racism unless you're off the beaten path. My general rule of thumb is simple: if it could cost me my job, I usually just suck it up. Dignity doesn't feed children, and it doesn't pay mortgages. Some stuff you just have to let ride. CYIN doesn't always pay, and it ain't usually necessary.

There was this one time at band camp while on a business trip, I was riding around Utah with a couple of colleagues looking for somewhere to eat lunch quickly. So, we're driving past fast food spot after fast food spot, when suddenly my co-worker says "Hey, AB, what about Kentucky Fried? You like KFC, I know you do!" with lots of sarcasm. He and the other co-worker suddenly bust out laughing like it's some inside joke. It's one of those moments where I'm so dumbfounded I had no idea what to say.

A few years later, by some miracle of modern science, this very same d-bag became one of my direct reports when I was promoted to manager. I showed his a$$ who liked KFC alright. Promotion, my drumstick.

Anyways, if you're thoroughly confused by that answer, join the crowd. I guess what I'm saying is overall, just exercise caution and common sense if something jumps off.

Discovered your blog in the last two weeks and I’m hooked! While I’m a little older than you (45), I find it uncanny how many of our points of view are aligned. I envy your talent at putting your thoughts on paper. Which brings me to my query. C.Y.I.N.? What’s the acronym? Google didn’t help (linked back to you). Look forward to hearing from you and reading your future insights.


CYIN stands for Channelling Your Inner Nigga. There's only so much a Corporate Negro can take before he just says "eff' it" and goes for broke. There's a million examples here on the website, including the landmark post where I introduced the term itself, as well as plenty of Case Studies of real life situations where notable Black folks CYIN's publicly, and the sometimes disastrous results.

What is talking "greasy", please give me an example.


This one isn't technically my term, so I had to go look it up for you. Because I'm dedicated to accuracy like that.

The Urban Dictionary defines "talkin' greasy" as...

To speak disparagingly about another person. To say ill words behind someones back.

There's a photo of Jesse Jackson right beside the definition, oddly enough. No, really.

There's a million examples of that here on this site as well. Just peep the tag Negro Please for plenty of real life depictions.

Can you do a review for Gs to Gents on MTV (if you find the time to watch with AverageToddler and all-I know the feeling too)?


Although I don't watch MTV or BET, but I'm quite aware of the sorta stuff that goes on over there. MTV lost me after Making The Band, during whatever season that was with Babs and Chopper n'em. That show was so niggerishly over-the-top, I couldn't stop watching it. The only bad part about the show was Mr. Bentley himself.

Seriously, what self-respecting black man carries umbrellas for another grown man? Weedcarrying? Fine in my book. Umbrellacarrying? Not so much. So sorry, but Derek Watkins Turns Fake-G's To Fake Gents is just not must-see TV in my book. I hope you'll forgive me.

On a somewhat related note: Is it just me or does anyone else see an odd resemblance between Mr. Bentley and Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas?

Ok, so maybe it's just me.

I heard somewhere that you're actually white. Is this correct?




Got a question for AB? Wanna know what it's like being a white guy named AverageBro? Drop me a line for the next edition of Ask An AverageBro.

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