Category Archives: Being “Black” in America

And how are you so different… (A blog inspired by Lamar Odom)


The impetus of this Blog all started off from a question proposed by my current life partner.  I informed her that I started reading a Lamar Odom interview and I saw a lot of myself in who he was.

She then proposed a question to me that resonated: How are you so different?

It sparked some thought within my mind. I live by the philosophy that there is an existence beyond our five senses: ideals, concepts, and things seemingly imperceivable and not so much verifiable by conventional scientific means. I believe the majority of individuals have an intuition of the same inclination but struggle to reconcile this belief with their everyday existence. Most, I presume, live there life by certainty. Bills are cut and dry and are certainly due. Food is tangible and you certainly need to eat. Sexual desire is certainly real and we seek outlets for the expression. But there are so many nebulous concepts and motivations out there that inspire people, and I believe these intangible desires begin many of the psychological rifts within a person. For instance, love: how can you define love? Can it simply be reduced to chemical reactions and a genetic desire to promulgate a phenotype or is there something more to it, something other worldly about it. The soul: do we all have one, or maybe it’s a subsection of the mind or a construct of such?

And so the question remains…

What makes me any different than Mr. Lamar Odom? Initially I was a bit affronted by the question, because she subsequently stated I often think you have issues. As I began to reflect more upon the question I realized he and I were not so different. No matter how much I attempted to rationalize the truth, there is a part of Lamar that links him to me and that part is the yearning for truth.  The yearning for an understanding of who we are and what we are, and the reconciliation of both ideals.

Lamar stated in an interview: “Wherever my heart is and I can have peace of mind (is home). Life can seem nomadic because I don’t know if I’m embracing it or running from it. I can go anywhere, but I don’t know where I want to be.”

This is a very telling statement. I see a lot within this statement. I see a man attempting to reconcile the thoughts in his head with the life that’s been presented to him. I see a man struggling to quiet the voice that’s telling him that there is more truth to life than the common eye can discern. A man who has suffered much but has no true solace for his suffering only the thoughts within his head.  Those thoughts provide his only console and so he self-medicates. Perhaps as an attempt to drown out the reality of it all, because maybe the reality that he can doesn’t feel so real after all.  And the reality he can sense isn’t evident enough.

Of course I could be projecting all this on to Lamar. I’ve only seen the man once in passing at an AAU tournament I played in when I was younger an Loyola Marymount University..

Lamar: “I’m searching,” he says. “I’m searching, but I don’t know for what. I can’t see what I’m looking for. I just, like, reach out and hope I grab something. But I don’t know what it will be because I don’t know what I’m searching for.”

I see a man who derives no fulfillment from fame and money. He enjoys its fruits but it does nothing for his soul. A man beginning to understand the fact that who is isn’t necessarily all that is to him and his existence.  The money fame is never enough and was never enough, it only created a buffer between him and others.  It only further entrapped him into a prison of his own thoughts and his own means of self-actualization.  Which can make a man feel alone, it’s hard to make your self vulnerable when you live most of your waking life being the image you portray yourself as.

Lamar: “I think about a lot. I think all the time–about everything… There’s so much going on. So many thoughts. I think about this life. About me. Who I could be. Who I was. Who I am. Who am I?”

These seem to be self reflective questions that any person would ask themselves. The “issues “arise when the answers you receive become irreconcilable with your truth.  Some people find these answers through religion, others through societies standards and still others seek to derive their own answers. Although our circumstances are vastly different and the manner in which I choose to go about seeking those answers differ. Maybe there are less differences between us as I would have liked to presume– Lamar and I.

So then the question truly becomes…

How are YOU so different?


“I’m a dying breed…There are no more Lamar Odoms. I’m the last one”

Here is a link to the Chris Palmer, Bleacher Report interview from which the quotes were pulled: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2580319-finding-lamar-odom-tracking-down-the-elusive-and-recently-embattled-former-star

Advertisements

Black History Month? Why not… Celebration Bitches!..! (a blog by Jack)

Black history month… Myth put to the test… 


As the month of February draws to a close, the spirit of the month is examined.  February is indeed called “Black History” month. The seemingly vague description implies so much.  It provides some answers but creates more answers than it has the ability to answer.

For starters, what is Black History? Who are we defining as Black? How far back are we honoring those people’s history? If every aboriginal man on every piece of of Native land across this earth was of darker flesh, than who’s history are we really celebration?

I have a brief anecdote that may shed some light to some of these questions.

A good friend of mine, who I will call Richard Feltington, for the sake of the story, works for a government agency.  At the beginning of February he noticed that he, as well as other people of brown hue, was added to an email list inviting him to various “Black History” celebrations. And rightfully so, he felt uncomfortable. For whatever reason he didn’t feel the need to be singled out on a list and had no idea what they were celebrating. He decided to pass on the majority of the events, until it was pointed out by a coworker that he had not attended a single event. So he decided to attend the next function which happened to be a pot luck. Apparently everyone in the office was looking forward to attending the celebration because he over heard everyone clambering about what they were going to bring to the pot luck. He overheard a middle aged white lady saying ” I’m gonna google a good southern fried chicken recipe to bring to the pot luck”, apparently this is appropriate food for the function– understandable. Any whoo, the day of the function Mr. Feltington walks in and immediately sees an Asian man with his eyes closed, bopping his head back and forth, vibing to a “Negro Spiritual”. Although he wa slightly put off, Mr. Feltington proceeded to the food and took notice of all the deep fried foods, greens, cornbread  etc. Mr. Feltington did not just eat one plate but went back up for seconds and thirds.



This story gives insight as to the typical American’s mindset towards “Black History” month and why it goes unrecognized by so many. As history tells us, America was built on the slayings and enslavement of the native copper-man indigenous to to this land. As so many would choose to not to acknowledge this fact remains as a gross family secret no one speaks about, and when spoken about is quickly dismissed as something to “get over” not unlike 911 or “The Holocaust”. Each of which lasted significantly shorter time periods and cost significantly less lives in totality. Yet, I find it ironic that when “Black History” rolls around the only history that is celebrated is that of an enslaved people.

As though America is not so much providing a reminder of the atrocities it has done but celebrating its conquest of the people native to this land and the people brought over from a distant land. Perhaps the month should be entitled to a more accurate description “Enslavement Appreciation” month. Although it lacks PC, it more than makes up for it in accuracy.

Despite the lack of credit, black history reaches far back. Even if you restrict black history to the natives of this land it reaches far back. It definitely does not begin with American slavery. From a descendant of the enslaved I see that as nothing to celebrate, in any fashion or sense. As a conquered people who has assimilated to his conquerers culture, I still see it as nothing to celebrate. 

And as a man living among the conquerers, I do see why the month goes seemingly unrecognized. Who in there right mind wants a constant reminder of their ills. Consciously, like I, they have no idea what they are celebrating and on a subconsciously level they have even less desire to celebrate the month– their guilt would not allow it.

I suppose it’s up to the individual to do what they want with the month. My life is a constant reflection upon the creators of the earth and original man. For one month to imply and sum up my history is nothing less than a slap in the mouth. But as a conquered people, beggers can not be choosers. We should be grateful for the titles we are given, and the acknowledgment that we are bestowed. Until next February rolls around….


Happy Black History Month!



Life’s a Jungle… I’m but a fallen king.. (a poem by Jack)

IMG_4484In another life time I carried a big stick.. Symbolized my power..

Performed wonders!

In yet another time… My gorgeous mane flowed… Blondness reciprocating the sun’s glory…And my surrounding Pride guaranteed my dominance… expounding upon my excellence with every purr of their breath….

Each purr eloquently defining hegemony…

Across the golden terrain… A vast kingdom to rule… A great balance to be had…

Moving together as one… I as their symbol of excellence… They as the brains of the machine… I knew I could be replaced… But as long my righteousness reverberated I knew I wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon…

Down wind… Exposes potential prey…

Savagery and brutality were the only means to maintain the status quo…

But that was a time before…

This concrete jungle is of little difference…

The unity isn’t there.. But the savagery is all the same… I’ve seen great pride tear through the souls of men..

Dragon’s breath no longer sparkles…

Lions den’s are all but vacant…

Sins grow exponentially…

And the lions are reduced to common alley cat thugs…

Feral .. Moody beings… Stragglers with little hope… And no destination… Bouncing from back alley to back alley… Living to survive…

No pride… Which creates an absence of pride.. Every man for himself… No pride… Every woman is fair game..

No families… Just babies… And mothers of babies… Adding to the stray cat population…

Get your cats spade and dogs nudered… While the Price is Right…

While their lives have worth… Young kittens shed innocence as well as self worth at an early age..

The reconstructed jungle unfolds.. And the game explains itself..

No longer seeking excellence but settling for the constraints of an abrasive social constraint…

Confined within a box..we have no room to grow… No vision to blossom.. We have no lions to see and have no vision of what to be… We’ve never heard the bellow of righteousness trumpet from the lungs of a Jungles King…

We’re left with shameful lullabies….

All the cries… Moans… And meows of repression are far too familiar.. A familiar melody that we all sing along to…

A lion’ weep is worth the wrath of billion strays…

And too much Pride has kept the lion bottled up inside…

Without a tear… To shed…

IMG_4486

Bros over Hoes? Perhaps they’re on to something…(a blog about affection)

Is affection a one way street? Or can platonic affection be exchanged between the sexes…

The following question was recently raised to me: “Did your father hug you or tell you he loved you while growing up?”

My initial response was no, (If so, few and far between) but I never believed for these acts to be necessary. I know my father loves me without a shadow of a doubt and his actions more than corroborate that. He has always loved me. He understands me to a degree that is beyond any other being—this is without question, for I am his seed.

But this strand of thought led me down another particular path… The topic of affection… Is it a one way street?

Is Brotherly love the saving Grace of man’s ability to have a sustainable existence?

The question got me to thinking. Has any woman openly displayed affection for me? That answer is few and far between. During the above discussion it was alluded to, because black fathers don’t hug and tell their kids “I love you” that in turn the children do not know how to display affection growing up. I would beg to differ. I would argue that man are among the most affectionate of creature roaming this earth.  In fact they have so much affection—they tend to create creative means for displaying and enacting this affection. You see, men are the only creatures who have never been afraid to display affection towards me (not so much in the romantic sense, but in the platonic-fraternizing sense).

IMG_4332I’ve rarely had a woman excited to see. This includes close relatives as well girlfriends and so forth (Although, I’ve had one girlfriend consistently express her joy in seeing me). Yet, I’ve had plenty of men “dap me up”, give me a hand shake, give me a head nod, give me a bro hug and a smile or all out laughter upon seeing me.

Is that not affection?

I’ve rarely had a woman sit down with me and enjoy meaningless banter without some undercurrent of sexual tension being evident; but plenty of men have been quick to “shoot the shit” with me–Men that I do not know and have no apparent vested interest in—from homeless men to guys at the gym to the random guy standing in line at a grocery store.

Is that not affection?

I’ve had many men open up and vent just so they can have some semblance of connection with someone. I’ve yet to meet a woman who would even bother to hear me out. Or fully attempt to understand my prospective on much of anything (I mean it occasionally happens but it is quite the anomaly).

Is that not affection?

I’ve had random men pick me up when I was at my lowest… Lend a helping hand and a kind word without expectation in return…I’ve reciprocated the notion to others as well…

Is this not affection?

IMG_4333I compete against men daily. I enter the gym, and engage in man on man competition. A sadomasochistic outlet towards the lack of affection received from women. In some twisted way the brutality stands in substitute for the soft caress. The soft caress may come once a month or so but the brutality is dependable– I can always count on it. And so as warriors, we as men willingly enter this make-shift arena and grapple—my arena of choice is basketball. We physically beat each other up, but have this deep rooted understanding that we need this in order to survive—in order to thrive and keep going.. We may be at each other’s throats on the court, yet as soon as the game is over it’s back to smiles and meaningless convos. It’s just an unspoken axiom, and all who participate in it: “get it”.

–If this isn’t affection… What is?

Men are scarred, and by function of cause and affect direct their actions accordingly. I can’t speak for all men but those I know are in similar boats. There is very little trust of women, very little understanding of women, and plenty of dysfunctional relationships with women.

Who is to blame?

I do not know.

Yet, to say men aren’t affectionate is to not understand the nature of a man.

I would beg to differ. Men are men’s only saving grace. Without the life vest that we toss each other daily we may be made to drown in our own emotion. Often, men are treated as a “function” as opposed to people. His worth is often derived from what he can provide. His worth is placed in his sexual prowess… His worth is placed in his athletic ability… These are all functions… The “person” gets buried underneath all the “functions” and it slowly chokes him. And maybe it does take another man to understand the depths of this box we’ve been placed in …Whether we are consciously or subconsciously aware of the box: we all tend to act out in a reactionary way—in our own unique way.  Men tend to gravitate towards men—and I believe the lack of affection plays a large part in this—whether it be through gangs, clubs, teams or whatever.

But I would never say men don’t know how to show affection… They display affection towards each other every day in every way… Fulfilling the void that society left in the best way they know how.

Now I don’t believe the mantra “bros before hoes”…or “Bitches and shit”… or “Money over bitches”…I believe that is simply the lashing out of the inner boy, who has yet to mature beyond a particular stage of emotional development—he is stuck,in a sense, in a phase of neglect and has not been able to psychological develop beyond this stagnation, and these phrases are evidence of the neurotic residue. But on some twisted level, I understand and I can relate…

Now, insert the bitches and hoes and sluts… Because,after all, women are reduced to their function:  A function that is reactionary to the story men have been told and have been showed. Our interactions have not been conditioned to be that of man and woman: but the function of what man can do for woman and vice versa. Hence, the accurate yet inaccurate titles of bitches and hoes– a self-fulfilling prophecy if you will.

I suppose we can blame the victim for not exuding affection in a manner deemed fit by society. But the truth of the matter is that the affection is there, it’s just waiting to be received and exchanged in a healthy manner.

Or perhaps I have it all wrong… Perhaps we are being shown affection by our women, and we’re simply misinterpreting it. And our gross misinterpretation of this affection is the catalyst for all the dysfunction.  Perhaps the cold stares and avoidance of eye contact and curt language is a woman’s manner of displaying affection towards a man, and I’m too blind to see it.

Or perhaps this social divide is all in my head…

Hmmm…Thanks for reading!

Reactions and opinions are welcomed.

IMG_4331

Does the sport make the star or does the star make the sport? Black Stars Burn Brightest…

It is without doubt that Professional Sports plays a major role in the lifeblood of America.  It does everything from pushing the economy forward,to providing heroes for the youth to aspire towards, to galvanizing entire regions across cultural lines.

Yes, America loves its Sports.  Some may even go as far as to say that the ritual of Sunday football has replaced the ritual of attending Church. The energy once used to worship “God” has been averted to the anticipation, elation and praising of football teams and their stars.

Indeed America loves its sports and the stars that they produce.

2015/01/img_4161.pngAmerica loves its athletes.  We are no different than any other civilization, just like the Romans of yesteryear, we hold our Gladiators in High Esteem.  In fact we hold our stars in high esteem no matter what arena they participate in.  As long as they are an entertainer, there will be somebody that can relate to them and there to give praise.

The argument arises, does the sport make the star or does the star make the sport.  Conventional thinking would lead one to believe that no one person is bigger than the sport.  Like David Ruffin and the Temptations no one part can thrive without the sum.  But I would beg to differ.  Perhaps no one single person can persuade the game one way or another, but a subset can have a tremendous impact on the popularity of said sport.  And I have food for thought, that may offer strong persuasion.

Let’s look at the most popular sports in America, currently Football reigns supreme; followed by basketball and at a distant third baseball.  There was a time when Baseball claimed the thrown, and then it struggled to keep it but eventually capitulated and gave way to the current king–Football.

But Why?

Is it a direct result of a shift in the demographics of America.  Is it due to the fast pace society that we live in and the American continuum wants a fast pace sport to parallel its pacing.  Or is it something subconsciously deeper than that.

Follow me, America has an affinity for its stars and in particular its Black stars.

2015/01/img_4162.pngLet’s look at a low hanging fruit—Golf.  I don’t have the numbers but I can definitively correlate the spike and decline of golf with the oscillation of Tiger Wood’s Greatness.  He single handedly brought the sport from the rungs and gutters of popularity to the forefront of American Consciousness.  As his “Scandle” ensued and his decline in play sprang forth as did the popularity of Golf.  Just look at the ratings.

America loves its Black Stars.

2015/01/img_4163-0.pngLet’s take a look at the sport of female tennis.  Can we say it received a jolt of enthusiasm with the influx of a certain two sisters?  I’m not even sure how much relevance the female tennis world captured without that shining Eastern Star Serena and her sister Star Venus.

America loves its Black Stars.

2015/01/img_4164.pngBasketball  was a sport on the fringes of being popular.  A sport with an identity crisis, it didn’t know if it wanted to be great or not.  Back in the 80’s the NBA was on the verge of something special with star power of Bird and Magic.  These stars shined indeed but they weren’t enough to bring the NBA to the Billion dollar business that it is today, sitting comfortable in the royal court of the King–Football.  No—it was arguable the brightest black star of all time—the marketing creation of one Michael Jordan.  This bright star single handedly carried the NBA on his back–the Tiger Woods before Tiger Woods.  Before him, 100 million dollar contracts were unheard of.  He parted the Red Sea and allowed for the NBA to ascend to the peak of its popularity.

America loves its Black Stars.

2015/01/img_4165.pngFootball—the king in this sports jungle.  Now football is a bit of an anomaly I would admit.  It is a sport flooded by Black stars but you can honestly say there is no polarizing figure.  In fact, it is a sport that hails its white stars.  Yet footballs popularity didn’t increase until it received an infusion of Black athletes if not stars.  The 80’s is when football first spotted it’s opening for the crown, but it wasn’t until Baseball, former King, exposed its chink in its armor.  A sport that thought it was too Big for its Black Stars, which eventually led to its downfall.  Yet as we see today, football sits atop its thrown gazing over its kingdom as it embraces its litany of Black Stars.  And baseball looks at what was, and like a scorned lover: looks back on what could have been.

America loves its Black Stars.

This brings us to Baseball, “America’s Past Time”.

2015/01/img_4166.pngWhat happened to Baseball?

Suicide happened. –Self-inflicted misery by way of Pride. I will tell you what happened, Baseball and the powers to be got fed up.  It got fed up with its Black stars.  It became fed-up with the arrogance of seeing these young Black Stars shining so brilliantly.  It grew tired of these young flashy, wealthy, insolent stars.  It felt, man, talent is multi-cultural; I can replace these egregious, haughty black stars with colored stars from another land.  Yah, that’s it…I’ll go down and get these Latin American stars that look the same and play the same and we’ll teach them.  But its plan backfired.

2015/01/img_4167.png

Because  America loves its Black Stars.

Key word being “its”.  Not someone else’s Black stars, America loves its Black Stars.  I would argue that the decline in Baseball popularity is a direct result of its systematically ushering out of its Black Stars.  The same arrogance and haughty nature it despised is the same arrogance and haughty nature America seeks to embrace.  We love our Dennis Rodman’s.  We love our Dion Sander’s.  We love our Mike Tyson’s.  We love to hate our Lebron James’s.  We love our Charles Barkley’s.  No matter what form or fashion they come in—we Love our Black Stars.

There is a deeper issue here as to why this axiom is true, but that is for another blog at another time.

Baseball should take it as a lesson learned.  Although, without the sport there would be no superstar one could clearly see that without the superstar the sport doesn’t quite shine.

30 for 30 Rand University (A response)

IMG_3739.PNG
A reflection upon a revealing documentary… Although, I felt the documentary was insightful, It appears to be a story within a story. A story unfulfilled because to be quite frank the story is uncomplete– a skeleton without muscle or organs. The documentary is centered around polarizing professional athlete Randy Moss (one of my favorites). Like so many other melaninated athletes the documentary depicts his plight from tremendous odds to athletic immortality. The documentary explores his troubles with the law as a youth. His psychological response to racism (a people who want you only for your athletic prowess and nothing more). Also, his perpetual fight with the myopia that the small town life fostered. And his overcoming perseverance that led to his seemingly apparent success…This documentary addresses it all.

A private figure… Randy actually opened up and shed a light upon a portion of who he is. This allowed insight into the psyche of so many young melaninated males in similar dichotomies.

I describe this as a story half told because of an aspect of the documentary that struct a nerve with me. The documentary is entitled Rand University. This is attributed to the fact that there are so many exceptional athletes produced in that region but never make it “out”. In fact most of em “end up drinking 40 ounces outside of 7-11” This is what the locals deem Rand University. All the prodigious athletes graduate high ftschool and attend an existence of nothingness and forsaken hope.

IMG_3740.PNG
This is an exponential tragedy because Rand University have campuses in every state in every city in every town across the United States of America. So many young men are living under a delusion.. A very strong delusion… The implanted truth that the only road to success in America is through being praised by America. The avenues to being praised or beloved or embraced by America is through physical prowess(athletics) or showmanship (musician or entertainer). This is a grave tragedy. An unspoken axiom that goes unchecked and unchallenged. And I myself am not exempt from this delusion.. Growing up, even I thought that that was the only means of “success”. I do not know where this mentality came from exactly. I do not know where it took root. It wasn’t as though I was not exposed to professionals of melanin. It just always seemed as though nothing else was attainable. It seemed “possible” and I knew I had the “ability” but it never felt real or achievable…

What general consensus has swept young melaninated people’s to put all their hope in their ability to be embraced by the masses. Without that “love” they feel worthless. Without that hope they are cursed to live a destitute life of nothingness.. As I said I am of no exception.. I was always told to go to college… But I never felt or saw an end game. This has stunted my “progress” in life. I saw college as an ends… Not a means to an end and this has left me some what stuck… Trying to figure it all out. I’m at least lucky enough to have the wherewithal to try to figure it out.. As this documentary highlights, there are so many of my brothers who simply lose hope after the initial dream is shattered.. After one run in with the law… After one ill placed tragedy… They are left with nothing…. No direction… No ambition.. And without hope!

IMG_3741.PNG
There is one part in the documentary that embodies this spirit. It’s when one of Randy Moss’ childhood friends who didn’t “make it out” is recounting his mishap.. Retelling how he lost his opportunity.. He simply broke down and cried. As though his world no longer had meaning because of a dream unfulfilled. Yet, in reality he is a young man… Under the age of 40… He has all the world to gain… No matter the circumstance it all can turn around… It starts with one idea and a whole lot of drive and determination.

But, so many of our brethren don’t have that idea… That thought never enters their mind. The seed just lands on harsh soil and never takes root.

Why?

How do you break this psychosis if it alone defines your reality? And you know nothing beyond your reality…

Is it the responsibility of a society to look after its individuals? Is it the responsibility of the individual to save himself by any means necessary? Is this mentality of individualism productive to the collective? How does an individual with nothing to lose react when they feel it’s them against the world? Who seeks to gain from the decisions that this individual will potentially make. Prison industrial complex? Illicit drug industry? Etc?

So we are left with an untold story. The story of one shining star. One individual who defied the odds. A survival of the fittest narrative played out to perfection. Yet, the nature of humanity isn’t so much a survival of the fittest, but a survival of the collective. The true issue is why so many individuals are innately not part of the collective unless they “earn” their way in. Why are some born on the outside looking in? Why is that generally accepted?

Why must one earn their way into a society that they have no way of escaping?

IMG_3728.PNG

Lost Boys… (Americaville…) (A poem by Jack)

Our only sin…

Thinking we can be anything we wanted to be…
Lofty dreams… Pompous ideals… Shot down by the arrows of depression and expectation unfulfilled..

See, this journey… We began without map.. Compass… Or sense of direction…

They call us lost boys… Animals.. Criminals… Nihilist… Without a purpose we roam… Without pride we scourge…

In cages we’re thrown… In the streets we’re gunned down… By others… By each other… By whoever…

It’s ok… Because they were lost…

Blame it on me… Blame it on the system.. Blame it on whoever… Cause it doesn’t matter… Least not to you…

So where do our lost boys go… Where is their land of milk and honey… Where do they grow to become men…

Ensnared in a vicious cycle of kidulthood… Left to roam for eternity…
40 days and 40 nights of searching and searching…
Days of ridicule… Nights of spite… Days of reprieve… Nights of intoxication…
Drowning out the voices… Drowning out the echoes..
What’s a boy to do when becoming a man is no option…
No beard… No hunting… No gathering… No family… No worth…

Devalued… Left to rot… Guilded… And the cycle continues… Another boy is born and picks up where the other left off…

They stripped us…

They raped us…

The molested us…

They robbed us of our inheritance…

Left us abandoned… Wallowing in our own filth… And told us to find our way home…

A boy can’t traverse a path designed for a man… A boy can’t go home if he has the slightest idea who he is…

All what’s left to do… But look up at the stars.. And ask.. Am I meant to be here?

Curse the stars! They snatched us from our cradle… They forced us to be their cup bearers… Passed around among em.. In a state of catharsis… Zombified… So embellished with the torture that we grow numb to it’s impact…

We simply act and do without thinking… And when they are done… We’re left to rot and birth another…

Another to be just like us… In form… In function…

Another born with original sin…another Christ forced to self-sacrifice…crucified… With no hope of resurrection…

Rebuilding the Black Woman… Guardians of our Souls..

Kara Walker’s piece ” A Subtlety” is the launch point of this blog. An image that has provided the impetus for an exploration of our subconscious mind’s primary motif– an artistic requiem of glory lost.

Front depiction of the sculpture...
Front depiction of the sculpture…
A rear view of the sculpture...
A rear view of the sculpture…

This blog will begin to scratch the surface regarding the significance of the image of the Black Woman. It is a reflection upon the restoration of the Black-woman archetype and her/its importance to humanity.

One look upon Kara Walker’s work opens up the vastness of a million portals–portals leading to truths of both past and present. In this larger-than-life sculpture, Kara depicts a modern rendition of a Sphinx like figure. We have the likeness of a woman crafted out of all white sugar. The woman has a “mammy” resemblance to her that is accentuated by the adornment of her crown with a scarf–something you may be used to seeing atop the head of Harriet Tubman. Her bust is large and exposed as if she were offering her bosom for suckling to any onlooker. In place of an animal body the figure maintains its womanly-curvaceous physique. All capped off by a vagina exposed from the rear view of the sculpture. Depending on the frame of reference of the viewer, we have a hyper-sexualized image of a woman. All the while the woman has a smirk on her face. Almost like she is taunting the observer to explore the depths that she has to offer. As if to say you can scratch the surface but you have the slightest idea how deep it can get.

Sphinx

Sphinx

We can juxtapose this image to that of the actual Sphinx. The image of a regal guardian spirit that stands poised in protecting her city– from a spiritual stand point and an authoritative stand point– a guardian queen if you will.

The two images side by side depict how far the Black Woman has been exiled from her thrown. And also the moral degradation that has gone hand in hand with this vanquishing of her archetype…

power
power

The archetype of the Black Woman has a universally visceral response to all that experience it. Her presence is never subtle. It is encompassing and this is evident on both a conscious and subconscious level. The vibrations that her spirit gives off is undeniable and often commands respect in one fashion or another.

She has fallen from the Creator-of-Man era…

To the Queen– the Ruler-of-Man era..

To the Mammy the Caretaker-of-Man era….

Too the hyper-sexualized– the Whore-of-Man era…

And along with her fall from grace has come the destruction of societal morality and spirituality. Yet her fall has not been of a natural order. It has been carried out in a systematic manner by the would be ruler of the present era. Her ruling archetype type has been assaulted and bombarded by her rival and polar opposite that of the White Male. A patriarchal dominated society who’s morality encompasses all but not limited to: greed, avarice, licentiousness, wanton, gluttony, selfishness, and anything else that appeals to one’s flesh induced desires.
This patriarchal archetype whether it be consciously or subconsciously is perpetually attempting to strip the Black female archetype of all power and authority. Yet as the “Subtlety” has proven… You can change her image but she will never leave her post…

As per popular culture the image of the Black woman is both imitated and mocked. There is a relentless assault upon the motif of the Black Woman. She is often both ridiculed and mimicked–creating a paradox of a unique kind. On the one level she is mocked but on a deeper level she can’t help but to be imitated as she is the purveyor of all civilization.

There is attempt to bring about a new way among the people of this planet. The key to providing the perfect segue into this way of being is the removal of our humanity. And the cornerstone of our humanity is the Black woman. There is an attempt to usher in a new era. One in which man is devoid of spirituality… Devoid of uniqueness.. Devoid of his bond with the universe… Supplanting himself as above or without integration into nature.. Almost as though we were transfiguring ourselves into machines…

Our humanity is what is at stake. There is a war going on that no man is safe from. And if we don’t protect our guardians on the most basic of levels. How do we expect them to protect us on the most critical of level–that which can not be seen and is ever changing? How long can they stand guard if they lack sense of Self? And we lack sense of perspective?

Are you Black Enough?

crop1

Are you Black Enough?

I begin this Blog with a quote from the great Dr. Frances Cress Welsing.  Many people have no idea of what racism is and throw around the term “racist” without discretion.  They use the term in great folly and error without giving much meaning as to what the term actually embodies.  Dr. Welsing provides the most encompassing working definition of what racism is, and when understood it sets a precedent upon the observer and alters their outlook of the world in which they operate within.

Her definition of racism:

“A local, national, global system— behavioral system of thoughts, speech, action and emotional response consciously and or subconsciously determined practiced by people who classify themselves as white in all areas of people activity: economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war for the ultimate purpose of maintaining white genetic survival and preventing white genetic annihilation on planet earth.  A planet upon which the overwhelming majority of people are classified as non-white by the minority of people who classify themselves as white.  Those who are classified as non-white are genetically dominant in terms of skin coloration compared to the genetically recessive white skin-people.”– Dr. Frances Cress Welsing

I would also add to this comprehensive definition the hording and allocation of the earth’s natural resources.  This inclusive definition implicates so much and one could literally derive several essays from this one definition.  And this shall provide the spring board for our discussion.

I was recently asked a question: How do you determine how Black someone is?  Are you black enough?  If so what does that entail?  Now of course one can not quantify black, but I can provide a definitive exploration of what it means to be Black.  And you can see what side of the spectrum you fall upon.

Truthfully, we all have a li’l black in us… It’s a conscious choice rather to identify with it or repel from it…

At the very core one must understand that they are a conquered people…And I am speaking from a Black-man-living-in-America’s perspective. One must understand that they are indeed identifying with their capturers when choosing to perpetuate their system that is in place: whether this be consciously or unconsciously…

So if one uses the term “you’re not black” or “you’re not black enough”, what is that person truly saying?  When one says oh you’re trying to “talk white” what are they truly stating? If you are called a “sale out” what does that mean?

On a conscious level these statements sound very ignorant. It implicates because you have success, because you have brains enough to fulfill the white man’s idea of success you’re being white.–Because after all only a white man can be smart, have nice things, and speak the Queen’s English. On a surface level it is indeed very ignorant… But one must not stop there, because it is usually the subconscious that drives us. It is the subconscious that is subversive and responsible for most of man’s actions… It is our “ancient brain” telling us that there was a way of life prior to this modern world we live in.  There was a way of interaction and purpose that we as a populace exacted before we became a conquered people. This is not oue natural dialect.  This is not our innate ideal of “success”—the pursuit of money and other superficial gain. Perhaps there was much more to who we are than what we’ve become and have been presented ourselves to be.

So, there is a cognitive dissonance held there of some sort.  On the one hand we are a very talented people. We are pioneers of the earth, so when presented with a challenge it is innate for us to overcome.  So, we excel in this system put in place and tend to blame others for their lack of acumen in which they can’t succeed. It’s their fault… They had the same opportunities as me… Blaming the victim complex because after all it helps us create a disconnect from who we really are.  After all they aren’t like me.  We’re different. I can’t possibly be like them… I’m better…This is a great untruth. A truth rooted in falsehood. Although, I do believe that we all are unique, and the fact that one has climbed a social and cultural latter better than someone else is no grounds for identifying “greatness”.

Thus on some level I can honestly say we all have “black” in us.  We all have the ability to be great, lend hand to brother, establish communities in which man is brothers’ keeper, use talents for the betterment of most not just self, have the courage to be who you are minus the social constructs.  Yet some of us choose to identify with the false truth of reality that has been placed in front of us by our captives.  Our “Ancient Brains” know it is not enough.  Thus we seek outlets—we seek drug abuse, we yearn to get high, we yearn for something “else” something “real”.  Some of us identify with our conquerors so much that we hate the very hair that’s on our head. This is quite ironic, because our conquerors have integrated their captives’ culture into all aspects of their society.–Using it as a means of economic gain by any exploit they see fit.

The feeling of complacency… The feeling that you’ve made it is that which is to be loathed…. The feeling that you’ve accomplished in this world and you choose not to shake up the system that has conquered you… That’s when a lil blackness begins to bleed out… Drip by drip… At that point you are consciously or subconsciously surrendering your bloodline (legacy) and capitulating to a system that has your brothers and sisters in servitude…

This creates a large schism between those with the wherewithal to pursue excellence by all means and the, what I like to call, natural nihilist.  Both are equally destructive to what it means to be Black yet one is looked on a favorable light by our conquerors.  You have those who pursue excellence by any means which have had great success—like our entertainers, athletes, upper middle-class folk.  All are looked upon favorably as something to strive for—an ideal that reinforces the established system.  Then you have the nihilist—those who reject society by any means.–The derelicts who choose to abuse the system—who are looked as being criminals, lazy, jobless, ignorant, violent, compulsive if you will.–Those individuals who have a natural propensity for rebellion but know no viable rather healthy means to manifest this rebellious nature.  So you have this vicious cycle of each hating the other.–Each recognizing the lack of blackness in the other.  The blame game occurs.  When in actuality both are right to an extent and both are completely misguided in their approach to rectifying and creating a better situation.

Thus I can conclude this disposition by answering what I believe it means to be Black.

It means to constantly be in pursuit of the truth.  It is a realization that you may not have all the answers, but you are going to be who you are regardless of the situation.  It is greatness and excellence despite circumstance.  It is the courage to stay resolute and shake up the norm because the norm is forever evolving.  Black is discipline.  Black is not all about I.  Black is love.  Black is rebellion.  Black is self-sacrifice.

Are you black enough?