Category Archives: Equal Rights

Baby, Cuz I’m a Thug: Consequences of the “Thug” Image

Pit bulls have a bad rap. It’s a stereotype, really, and stereotyping is wrong, right?

Well, maybe not. If you are walking down the street in your neighborhood and you see two Yorkies strolling towards you on the sidewalk, you probably won’t think twice about continuing on your way past them, unless you are afraid of a couple of nips at your ankles. However, if you saw a pair of pit bulls unattended strutting their muscles in your direction, you would probably try to get away as quickly as possible without attracting their attention.
Think about the correlation between that and the Michael Brown situation: your image matters. If you have spent your whole young life trying to present yourself as a “thug” or “hard”, then how could you possibly expect the people of authority not to expect that you will cause trouble when confronted? How can you realistically say that you are being wrongfully stereotyped? The entire appeal of the “thug” image is to represent a “hardened” criminal who has no respect for authority, no regard for the law, and whose is willing to do anything, including criminally to increase their “street cred”.
“Baby, cuz I’m a thug”. Listen, if you want to wear “thug life” on your forehead as a badge of honor, then you are also going to need to accept that you are going to be stereotyped as a “thug” as well. Authorities will assume you are up to no good. Shopkeepers will assume you are a potential thief or robber. People in general will assume that you are a criminal. It is, after all the look you are going for and the attitude you intentionally carry on your shoulders.

Listen, I like the “thug” rap. One of my favorite songs in this world is “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta”, 2Pac was one of the most talented and irreplaceable rappers of all time and I still harken back to the days I was kickin’ NWA on my walkman. But that’s where it ends for me… I don’t idolize these rappers for anything other than their talent with words, rhythms and beats. They are artists. Entertainers. They entertain me. They pump me up when I am working out at the gym. They hype me up on a Friday night on the town. They make me move when I’m in the club. But that is where it ends.

There is nothing glorious about having an life expectancy of just 20 years and five months. I didn’t even know what it meant to be a man until twenty-five, and most of these “thugs” are dying before they are legally the drinking age? Let me ask you thugs something: why is it that all of these “OG’s” when they have reached around the age of 40 or so (you know, the whole dozen or so people who make it that far in a decade) and actually given their brains a chance to mature and their testosterone a chance to level out, why is it that nearly every one of them tells the stories of how “hard” they were and the stuff they did, and then follows it up with “I was a stupid kid…That’s all I knew and it’s all I wanted…If I could go back now…blah blah blah” looking spiffy in their orange jump suits. Why? Because that kind of stuff is for idiots only. They were swept up in the thug life because they bought into the rap songs and the street cred crap. They had not given themselves a chance at any other life (and don’t even start with that “they weren’t GIVEN a chance… the whole thug mentality is if you want something, take it. Imagine if they applied that mentality to academic achievements, or cleaning up their neighborhood, or starting a business).

The problem is that black people are holding back black people. We are encouraging one another when it comes to being “gangsta” and we are chastising the ones (the few) who manage to get out of the hood and make something of themselves as being “Uncle Toms” and “Cosbys”. You know what, Cosby is right. The shame of it all is that the black community jumps all over another member of the black community like Bill Cosby or Juan Williams when they point out the FACT that we as black people will never be able to rise up in society unless we expect more from ourselves. At what point do you have to stop blaming “the man” for holding you back when you have given up even trying anymore?

As a black man, I am ashamed of the disgusting way people have reacted in Ferguson. I am not saying that the cop did nothing wrong, not by a long shot. I don’t have all of the facts in the case and I refuse to make an opinion on that. What I will tell you my opinion on is the fact that my fellow black men and women take to the streets of Ferguson acting like just plain criminals and the trash of society looting, and throwing rocks at cops. Al takes to the mic and condemns the cops and incites riots and uprisings without even knowing the whole story? Spike Lee says he “hopes” that there is an uprising if the cop is acquitted or not charged without even seeing a photo of the cop’s reportedly beaten face or reading the police report? What pure ignorance.

Let me say this: Ferguson, Travon Martin, etc., these are all examples of “Black Terrorism”. We as a people have regressed into a hate-filled, unorganized yet ready to organize at the slightest excuse, un-unified racially motivated undomesticated domestic terror organization. Without knowing all of the facts we jump to protest. Without knowing any details we assume a side and we protest. When the details come out and prove maybe there wasn’t quite as innocent a victim as we were led to believe, we going even further into denial. Then we threaten looting and riots? We destroy our own towns? We ship in other hate filled people of all colors to help us burn the very stores we patronize? We have we become? When does it end? When are we going to wake up and admit that we kill more of our own people in a weekend than any corrupt cops or mentally challenged neighborhood watchmen could kill in a decade?

We are our own plague. The “thugs” we strive to be are the rats which carry the fleas and we are simply disposing of our dead in our own reservoirs to perpetuate our own failings and inevitably to keep us down. We made so many strides over the mid 1900’s till today, and look at us now? Dr. King would be ashamed of us all watching the chaos in Ferguson. Rev. Al and Director Spike are bathing in it and turning on the tap to keep it flowing.
Call me a Cosby. Uncle this, Uncle that, whatever hateful slurs you want to throw at me because I don’t buy into your automatic hatred and excuses for acting like a criminal and rioting when you are treated like one. Black people, we have to evolve. When are we going to realize that WE are our own worst enemy? The “man” holding us down stopped being the white man years ago, it’s us. Grow up.

 

Image credited to: http://www.stltoday.com/gallery/news/multimedia/scenes-from-looting-in-ferguson/collection_be35e468-a67c-5b30-84ba-50a7384dfd62.html#4

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Keeping racism alive: the unintended consequences of the “Redskins” name change

How do you feel when someone says “Go Redskins Go!”? Does it make you feel red with hatred? Does it induce feelings of devaluation of a human being?

If you answered “Yes!” to the questions above with an excited enthusiasm, then my friend, perhaps you haven’t thought it through from a post racial standpoint.

First, understand that I am not an insensitive person. In fact, much to the contrary, I am a very passionate promoter of equality in our society. I also believe that the historic treatment of the indigenous people of America, often referred to as “Native Americans” and “American Indians” is a horrific example of the darkest of sides of humanity which ranks equally on the level with the introduction and perpetuation of slavery in this nation’s history. The historical record of the manipulation, trickery, abuse and murder of the indigenous people is clear as day. What happened to them is a travesty and is unforgivable.

That being said, we as a nation have come light years beyond that sort of de-humanization of another race of people. We have built our society around the constantly evolving principles that “all men are created equal” and have transitioned generation after generation into a much more diverse melting pot of a collective community. There is no longer a great fear of being ostracized and mistreated because of the color of your skin or the nature of your culture in this great nation of ours.

Yes, let me stop you now before that vein in your forehead bursts. I understand and will not debate with you the existence in the shadows of our society of those ignorant few whom still believe in a “better race” and who still believe in “inferior” human beings. I hereby acknowledge their unwelcome and inevitable existence within our society and will not make the unrealistic statement that they will ever truly dissolve into extinction. I will, however, point to the fact that their numbers and social presence has dwindled and shrunk generation after generation and they are now little more than a small pea-sized stain on the king-sized bed sheet that is our complete society. In other words, they make up a small enough portion of our society that they can no longer make an impact on our lives or the lives of our community unless we allow them to do so. We can now effectively ignore them and dismiss them as ignorant and ineffective.

So, how was it you felt about the NFL team name the “Redskins” again? Oh yea, uncomfortable and offended. Well let’s look at it from a more updated and logical perspective and see if this makes a little sense to you:

If you ask your children, sitting there on the couch this Sunday watching the game next to daddy and munching on popcorn and nachos and enjoying their favorite bottle of root beer, “kids, who are the ‘Redskins’?” What do you think there answer would be? Do you think their answer will be “they is ingins who is red skinned and savages who we’s should shoot and takes their land”? If that is their answer, you have not only failed as a parent, you have somehow traveled through time hundreds of years to a much different culture of our society.

The point is, racism and thoughts of inequality are taught, and not a part of natural thought. Your children in their natural and uncorrupted state are going to answer simply “a footsball team”. Why is that? Because that is what they are! That is what the “Redskins” now means unless “we” make the word mean something else.

My friends, don’t you understand that sometimes by creating controversy like the recent Redskins name controversy we are actually perpetuating racism and inequality? Logically, doesn’t it make sense that if we no longer remind people of the perhaps ignorant and bigoted connotations that were associated with a word or nickname hundreds of years ago then the word, like ourselves, is given the opportunity to evolve?

Think about this: if anyone had come up to you on the street before this new controversy was water cooler talk and asked you “hey, did you see those redskins last weekend?” there is absolutely zero chance you would have automatically thought they were using a racial nickname to describe a group of people from the past weekend. You would have immediately responded with whether or not you watched the NFL broadcast of the team from D.C. (Or you know nothing of football but still would have made an assumption that they were referencing a sports team of some sort).

Here is the bottom line: sometimes pointing out the historic negativity associated with something only keeps that negativity from ever going away. Sometimes, my friends, by getting so focused on looking for resolution to something that isn’t truly in need of one, you’ve come part of the problem.

If you don’t believe me, then maybe you’d rather hear it from the Southpark boys:

http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s04e08-chef-goes-nanners

It’s funny how the fourth graders sometimes have a way of seeing things more logically than the average adult.

I’d love to hear from you! Please take a second to show how this post made you feel with a few clicks below and by all means feel free to leave a comment, even if you disagree, but especially if you think this post helped you see things from a different perspective. Thanks for coming by and I look forward to providing many more posts.

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