Have you ever been to a party and noticed that one of the attendees is sloppy drunk? He’s yelling, trying to start a fight and bumping into furniture every few moments as everyone stares with that “who brought this guy” face. Meanwhile, you’ve receded into the shadows, hoping no one figures out that he’s with you and you pray he doesn’t announce it.
What? That’s not you? Well, then you must be the inebriated friend.
Well, no matter what your position is in that story, I hope you know where I’m going with this.
Don’t claim to be a descendant of kings and queens, acting like the village idiot.
I’m sure it took all of a nanosecond for you to realize that this is primarily targeting several members of the African American community. But if you think about it, it’s applicable to most anyone. Shhh, I’m aiming at some black folk here, not all. Not self-hating, just trying to help you bring out your best and be sure to read this through before you pass judgment.
If you’ve been following my posts this (Black History) month, you know that I’ve worked hard to bring awareness to the brutality of slavery and the Reconstruction era and how I respect those that lived (and died) through it. Despite all I’ve learned over the years and recent months I can’t begin to understand what it was like for them. The very thought of the pain and humiliation they were subjected to is mortifying. From the various forms of torture to the separation of your flesh and blood, sold to another plantation. My question has and will continue to be: How can a man, in good conscience, do this to another man?
Slavery in America is an uncleanable stain in the fabric of our nation’s history. Of course, that stain has residual spots, splattered along the threading in the form of Reconstruction, Jim Crow, inequality, segregation, etc.
But I’m not going to revisit what I’ve shared over the course of this month. If you haven’t read them, you can select any one of these links to my previous posts and read the series:
What I’m asking is that you remember that we would not be here if our forefathers (and mothers) hadn’t survived the Middle Passage and every era since. We wouldn’t have the rights we currently enjoy if our ancestors hadn’t waited patiently to be served in stores and restaurants, even though they were there before others. If they hadn’t sat patiently at diners while the evil of racism poured milkshakes on their heads, hot coffee in their faces and threw salt and pepper at them. If they hadn’t marched peacefully down the street in silent protest as others threw rocks and stones, yelling and spitting on them. Held church worship outdoors because the building had been burned down as a result of hate crimes. If people hadn’t taken a seat at the front of buses and then stood tall in the face of adversity.
Then along comes YOU. And how do you show your gratitude? Do you love your spouse or do you insult and/or beat them? Do you raise your children or have you left the situation, not even knowing who they are? Are you dressed appropriately for work and leisure or are your pants sagging so low that if the police chased you you wouldn’t make two steps without tripping? Are you asking someone for the opportunity to get to know them, or asking them if they will “let you hit it”? Are you reasonably addressing a misunderstanding or are you yelling and screaming to attract the attention of everyone within earshot?
Although I have many listed choices to share, I’ll stop on that last question because that’s what prompted this blog. I’ll spare you the story, but I’ll give you tail end of it. A young black woman yelled at a white manager in a restaurant, screaming, “You gon’ GIVE me the respect you give the other white people in here! I come from African QUEENS!”
Blacks and whites alike looked at her and then each other with a “WTF” face, already aware that this woman was screaming because she didn’t like the size of her steak.
And then I see it in music. We claim our regal ancestry and royal blood, then talk about spilling blood in the music video. We call women our Nubian Queens, then brag about smashing those “bitches” and “hoes”.
No. HELL no! STOP it, people! What have you become?
How did we fall so far? Where is the dignity? The class? The self-respect? Who is your role model? What are you teaching today’s children? What footprints are you leaving in the sands of contribution? What will they say about you when you’re gone?
Now I know that some of you will feel I’m addressing my brothers and sisters as a whole, but if you pause and think, you’ll see that I’m not. I’m addressing those that are part of the problem, rather than the solution. But if you still think I’m talking about you… …like the saying goes, if I throw a brick at a pack of dogs, the one that hollers is the one I hit.
I can’t tell you or anyone how to live your life, nor will I try. Do with it what you will. You’re free to do and be whomever you please…
But don’t point me out with your drunken finger at a party and say, “I’m with HIM.” (Get it now?)
The people we claim to be descendants of did not live their lives and teach their children to behave and believe in some of the practices many have adopted over time.
People lived for you. People died for you.
Don’t dishonor them with your antics and attitude. Be a part of the legacy they created.
And remember this: Not everyone in the kingdom wears the crown. And not everyone is their offspring.
But somewhere in the village, lives the court jester. The village idiot.
Just don’t YOU be from the Clan of the Clown.