Friday, July 25, 2008

Sista, Where Art Thou? : The Missing Link In Critical Self-Thought About Black America.

[Editor's Note: This one's a doozy! You're probably not going to agree with me, and you're certainly entitled so your opinion. But read with an open mind if nothing else. Then flame me.]

Every month or so, there seems to be some sorta televised "Townhall Discussion on The State Of Black America". BET always is airing something or another about hip-hop's effect on black kids. T(r)avis Smiley's got his annual State Of The Black Union. And now, not to be outdone, CNN is diving headfirst into the sewer of Negro Dysfunction with it's own series, entitled Black In America.

The prelude to this series aired last weekend. It was your typical townhall discussion about how screwed up black folks (particularly men) are, and took place in New Orleans, the new Ground Zero for Negro Intellectualism. On the panel were the usual suspects: an academic (Cornell West in that same damn black suit), a preacher (TD Jakes), an entertainer (Tom Joyner), a journalist (Ed Gordon), and the token woman (the always brilliant Julianne Malveaux, spoken over repeatedly) to round out the bunch. And as expected, the show was little more than a feelgood hour of SoundByte Olympics™. Lots of $5 words were bandied about. Black men were singled out as the Root Of All Negro Evil. White folks and "the system" were blamed. And at the end of the 90 minute discussion, I walked away with no greater insight into exactly what the solutions are.

Like every other panel discussion, this one delved headfirst into everything that's wrong with black men. They don't want to get married. They make babies and don't support them. They get locked up and bring home AIDS. They don't take responsibility for what they create. Blah, blah, blah.

These are all very valid points, and I'd be the last one to catch feelings, given the fact that I more or less advocate the very same thing here daily. There is little doubt that we as black men need to get our collective sh*t together. This is an indisputable fact. No denying it. You won't hear any sorts of denials of that on this site. No siree Bob.

But what about the other side of the equation?

I know I'll probably lose some female readers here, but it needs to be brought (BRING IT!!) so I can't hold my tongue any longer. How about somebody on one of these shows challenges Black Women to make smarter, less emotion-driven decisions about whom they give the nookie to?

Yes, there are, have always been, and shall always be triflin' men (Negroes or otherwise). But blaming them for every societal ill misses the fact that it takes two to tango. Two to lay down and make a baby. Two to get married. Two to maintain a healthy marriage. Two to run a household. Two to make a family, at least as defined by the standard everyone seems to advocate.

By just continually calling out black men, yet treating women as perpetual victims, you're missing a huge chunk of that whole "shared responsibility" thing. Women are on average vastly smarter than men, but they sometimes choose to see what they want to see. Women have a far greater gift of discernment when it comes to relationships. They remember things better. So why let them off the hook if they're so much better equipped when it comes to sniffing out B.S.?

Let's keep it 100, ladies. You know you can tell if the Negro is sorry from the moment you meet him. You know that if he's already got three babies by five women, chances are you're just gonna become another harrowing statistic. You know that if he's got a crime record longer than Manute Bol, he is prolly not gonna be able to hold down a 9-to-5. You know that is he looks like a playa, walks like a playa, and talks like a playa, chances are he's a sorry, triflin' assed Negro. This is all common sense, yet so many women overlook this glaring evidence when it comes to choosing mates.

Yes, I know some men lie. Some of us are exceptionally good at doing so. But women are always smarter. They always know what's up. They just choose to see what they want to see.

Men in general do about 75% of what we do to attract the opposite sex. Wack Niggas do about 110% of what they do to attract the opposite sex. Wack Niggas will not evolve as long as they're rewarded (with cookies) for being Wack Niggas. This isn't too complex an equation, ladies.

In short, stop giving your cookies to Wack Niggas!!![1]

Think about it, Barack Obama got both applauded (by me) and reamed (by others) for challenging Black Men to step up during his recent Father's Day speech. This was completely necessary, and any dude who caught feelings about this needs to seriously check himself. But cunning as Barry is, there's no way in Holy Hades that Beige Negro would even remotely consider pulling such a stunt on Mother's Day. You know this and I know this. Because you just don't talk about nobody's Mama, and most Black women will be somebody's Mama during the course of their lifetimes. But that's a part of the problem that these shows, and black culture in general, seem to ignore for some odd reason.

Here's some real solutions for Black America.

  • Black men need stop being grown 16 year olds to stick around and raise the babies they make. Getting married ain't Kryptonite, so we might wanna try that out too.

  • Black women need get out their feelings and not prevent these men from being fathers, just because the relationship didn't work out.

  • The Black Church needs to quit worrying about building sanctuaries and focus on building families. This means more classes on healthy relationships, marriage, and parenting.

  • Black families need to raise their sons to understand that being a "playa" isn't what being a real man is about. Being a real man means being committed.

  • Black families need to raise their daughters to stop chasing flashy guys and focus on character.

  • Black families need to raise their sons to have character.

  • Black folks in general need to stop "hittin' that raw". Condoms are cheap and easy to find. Use em'.

  • Black men who've "made it" need to give back.

  • Black people without kids need to help someone who has some.

  • Black people with common sense need to help those without.

  • If there's one thing black folks are good for, it's talking. Fixing? Uhhh, not so much. And shows like this, which seem to be little more than Intellectual Masturbation™ really trouble me, because for all the brains and fame these panels usually include, there's seldom, if ever any definitive takeaways for the audiences to implement. There's just lots of good "talkin", lots of applause, and plenty more questions than answers. And as a result, we stay losing.

    Nope, no solutions. Just plenty of pontificators "gettin' off", thus the photo above, in case you were looking for context.

    So, I prolly won't be doing any recaps of CNN's Black In America, because I've frankly got better things to do, like being a husband and father and generally making sure I'm more of the solution than the problem. And who the hell wants to sit around watching more and more bad news about Black folks? Shouldn't any black person with a brain already know most of this stuff by now? Aren't Black people more or less born knowing this stuff? So since we're putting our worst foot forward, I wonder exactly whom this show is for? It's clearly not to educate, inform, or challenge Black America to grow. So it must be for White America to watch, and gawk at, and further ingrain the same negative stereotypes about Negro life in America.

    Sorry, but I can't bother watching any more of this crap until we can be totally honest about the issues that plague Black America, not just pandering to see who can get the loudest applause.

    I hope that Emmy was worth it, Mrs. O'Brien.[2]

    Question: Did I just lose half of female AverageNation™? Were my points about the victimization of Black women anywhere in the ballpark, or is just a piece of sexist propaganda? Did you watch Black In America? Did it "need to be brought?"

    CNN Presents: Black In America []

    [1] I hate using that word, but sometimes it's the only one that's appropriate. Forgive me if you're as squeamish about this sorta thing as I am.

    [2] BTW, I didn't even watch this crap, but I told ya'll about Soledad "color-me-mine" O'Brien months ago. But you ain't wanna hear me though. Now ya'll mad. Hmmmm.

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