Thursday, October 15, 2009

The RoundTable.

[Editor's Note - is an equal opportunity soapbox, thus the inclusion of frequent Guest Posts to keep things well-rounded, avoiding the echo-chamber effect. The Roundtable tosses out a handful of questions to our AverageContributors™ and runs the best replies. On deck today are Thembi, Danielle Bean, Mason Jamal, and my main man Sean Walton from The FreshExpress. Show their blogs a lil' love then you get a moment.]

Question One - Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Travershamockery or Hard Earned Reward?!?
Mason - I voted for the guy and I'm with him on 90% of his agenda but the Nobel Peace Prize? Hell, why not best hip hop album? Denzel couldn't get an Oscar for Malcolm X but Obama gets the NPP? I bet that makes for good sex talk though with the wife though- 'I said who's your Nobel Peace Prize Winner'? I guess if Milli Vanilli could win a Grammy while lip/synching their entire album than Obama can win for teleprompting the entire stretch of his presidency so far. I wish him luck.

Sean - I think that President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize is an honor that should be celebrated. People act as if they know the credentials of all past Nobel Peace Prize winners. Its very possible that other winners have received the prize "prematurely". The bottom line is that President Obama is the most powerful man in the world, the first black man to hold such title, and he is leaving a legacy of peace and understanding throughout the world. How can you knock that?

Danielle - Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Bunch, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Barack Obama: Which one doesn't belong?

Thembi - The Nobel Peace Prize is so cliche'd that peoples reactions are mostly built upon their idea of who 'deserves' one. The Prize doesn't work that way and is awarded to someone working towards peace in a remarkable manner. Obama is doing that! Of course it seems a bit premature, but remember that Ghandi never got one. Al Gore did. Its clearly not a meritocracy.
Question Two - GOP Tells Nancy Pelosi to stay "in her place". Was this a sexist remark?
Thembi - Phrases like that usually more insensitive than sexist and I believe that's the case here. Does the GOP respect her 'place' which is actually Speaker of The House in case they haven't noticed? Nope. Is their lack of respect for her SOLELY because she's a woman? Nope. Is the GOP filled with racist, sexist, douchebags? Of course. Do they need to demonstrate it by not giving a flying fart about the language they use in addressing Pelosi, since everyone already knows theyre racist, sexist douchebags? Nope. Same old same old.

Mason - It was definitely sexist. The GOP is just mad because voter put them in 'their place' - powerless and pissed off. Besides, I’ve always seen the House Republicans as the bad cops in contrast to the Republicans in the Senate, who certainly make mistakes but are more like the good cops. A lot of the House Republicans are backwater bubbas coming from small provincial districts and have no clue how to communicate with or about people who come from cosmopolitan places.

Sean - Sexist. No question. Not surprised either, it happens all the time. There have been many veiled attacks on our African-Amercian president through coded language such as this. Certain people are threatened by other "types" of people holding positions of power. They want to put all of us in our place, not just Pelosi.
Question Three - Morehouse College institutes a stringent men's dress code, and NCA&T vetos students choice of Gucci Mane as homecoming performer. Are colleges being too damn overbearing and preventing kids from just having fun and "finding themselves"?
Danielle - Parents are not paying $130,000 (tuition and room and board) for a Morehouse Diploma so little Johnny can 'find' himself. They want the legacy, structure, rigor, discipline, standards, and life-long networks that Morehouse provides. Little Johnny can find himself, after school, before school, off campus, by himself, with his friends, in the club, with Gucci Mane, whereever!!!! He's got plenty of time to be free and have fun, just not on Morehouse's time or his parents dime!

Sean - I'd say the freedom to do what you want is an underrated liberty. Its when people fall into a common line of thinking that things become stagnant in our world. With that said, dress codes = overbearing; banning Gucci Mane = smart.

Mason - Maybe it’s because I’m in my late 30’s now but I agree with the Morehouse policy. If you want to attend an elite bougie black university, then respect the decorum and the dress. Otherwise, take your ass across the street to Clark. But not to worry because when they graduate Morehouse, I’m sure that six figure salaried corporate job their working towards will allow them to ‘express their individuality’ – baggy jeans, platinum fronts and all.
Question Four - Rapper Slimm Thug appears on The Daily Show in skit mocking rappers in the recession. Is ballin' officially out of style, or is that just a lame broke Negro excuse?
Mason - I saw that episode and that bit. It was almost funny. The only thing I can say is if you are a so called rapper living the life, you should be relatively recession-proof. If you really have to cut back on the budget for the video vixens and your weekly weed supply, then you probably don’t have as much money as you claimed in the first place.

Sean - I've never been one to "stunt" or be "flashy". I think that as we become more accustomed to having wealth, it becomes less cool to show it off. I think balling is out of style, but not due to the recession. They're still eating (although thats relative; we all know they be "frontin"). As we get rappers such as Jay-Z approaching half a billion in net worth, "balling" is taking on a new meaning.

Danielle - 'The Snuggie' and Winkers have proven that making money is never going out of've just got to be a little creative. Hip Hop might try an infomercial of their own. Could you see it? $19.95 for their latest book, 'Win a grammy with five words or less'

Thembi - Ballin should be out of style. I don't know how it every got INTO style for a people who have never really had to nickels to rub together en masse. Meanwhile though, Slimm Thug, and the music industry in general, has been on shaky ground for years. Its just us regular folks not bothering to aspire to bling that knocks baller status off of our list of priorities.
Question Five - Ashy Or Classy?!? Serena Williams got a lot of flack for goin' bucket nekkid on the cover of ESPN Magazine. Did she look great, or did she play herself?
Thembi - Serena Williams looks GREAT and I'm so tired of the constant critique of her body. The only reason this question can even be asked is because she is a black woman and not some white 10% body fat heifer shaped like a Pocky stick. Underneath all of the commentary is the idea that she is "out of shape" because she has a backside, but she is one of the best athletes alive, doesnt that count for any definition of 'in shape' even if it doesnt fit some Eurocentric standard of health and beauty? Furthermore, society is way too hung up on the human body being a bad thing. Naked is natural!

Danielle - I see nothing wrong. I was happy to see a chocolate doll in the mix. What would we have done without any chocolate?

Mason - I thought Serena looked great. We still live in a culture that glorifies a different type of beauty – thin, slim and recessive. Serena makes a statement by looking so comfortable and at east her skin color and body type. Sometimes actions do speak louder than words. Besides, it’s not like she was going Lil’ Kim with it and haphazardly slapping pasties on her body.

Sean - Serena looked great. Black is beautiful. However, ESPN is mainstream, and the masses aren't going to be in a hurry to embrace a thick, strong featured, black woman as a symbol of beauty. Sad reality.
Question: What do you think? Is Morehouse being a bit too paternal? Is ballin' in a recession played out? Wanna join the next edition of The RoundTable?

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