A Better Village

The truth will set you free.

Category: Black Folks

#Lizzo backlash proves hypocrisy #TeamLizzo

You’re damned if you do – you’re damned if you don’t in the so-called “Black” community. If you’re not sexual enough you’re queer, and if you’re too sexual you’re a hoe. There doesn’t seem to be an in-between. Pop and rap? star #Lizzo has come under fire for a Tik Tok video she made in which she seemingly appears to initiate and/or simulate performing oral sex. (Look it up on social media: I haven’t posted a link because all of the links to the video I have found are accompanied by unfair criticism to which I refuse to give credit – and the video itself appears to have been removed.) Critics report being upset that Lizzo is embarrassing the Black race and have even gone so far as to accuse the popular artist of sexual abuse (because the Tik Tok application to which she posted the video is supposedly geared towards children).

I want to talk about the supposedly “embarrassing” part: Black people need to get over themselves: Whenever negroes get embarrassed, they engage in scapegoating – projecting their inferiority complex onto a more convenient target. This time it’s #Lizzo: Instead of admitting that Queen Lizzo’s weight makes some coons insecure because we think precious “White people” will judge all Black females by Lizzo’s weight image, some folks are acting like Lizzo’s image is so outrageous that she needs to be quarantined. Coons did the same thing to #TiffanyHaddish when she handed out chicken at the 2019 Met Gala. Many “Blacks” attributed their personal shame and inferiority complexes to Ms. Haddish and tried to make her responsible for their lack of self-esteem. News Flash: #Lizzo, #TiffanyHaddish and anybody else that does something possibly unnerving does not control your sense of worth or reputation unless you allow them to. Further: The White People you are trying to impress already know that Blacks come in all different shapes and sizes, and they already know that we can be intelligent, well-mannered and positive in every way. And if we’re worried that our collective reputation is being ruined by what’s presented through media, we should . . . wait for it . . . RESOLVE THE POVERTY IN OUR COMMUNITIES THAT DRIVE OUR MEMBERS TO ENGAGE IN ANY TYPE OF BEHAVIOR THAT MAY GARNER A PAYCHECK. Instead, we leave issues unresolved and get “mad” at anyone who exposes our proverbial “dirty laundry” – our unwillingness to take responsibility for our image and collective future.

The biggest issue I have with the backlash is that it is not constructive; it is simply the result of pious Blacks being upset that we’re not putting on a good show for “Massa” – White folks. Another Newsflash: #Lizzo, #TiffanyHaddish  and any other entertainer that publishes foolishness is not the first time White folks or anyone else in this world has seen us acting a fool. And until we debrief from the psychological impact of the enslavement process and take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY – yes, I said it – PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY – for our actions, communities and outcomes, it will not be the last. Negroes spend so much time trying to impress the world, all the while refusing to address the reasons the world looks down upon us. We never recovered from the psychological impact of the Enslavement Process and this refusal continues. This is why we are hypersexualized and ignorant. Lizzo’s behavior is the result of the fact that we STILL raise Black girls to think that their worth is predicated upon how sexually desirable they are – a habit we learned during Slavery. We still teach girls and boys that if they’re not fu*king by a certain age they’re queer. If you don’t publicize your personal life, your discretion is rewarded by questions about your sexuality. This is all while we pretend to follow religious tenets that preach against premarital sex. Anyone who ruins the pious front – that nobody buys anyway – is reprimanded with public ridicule.

We are not fooling anybody with our piety. Look at the statistics: Our birth rates, incarceration rates and number of single-parent households are out of control. Most of the movies we produce show “Black” couples having sex on the first date or soon after meeting. Listen to our so-called rhythm and blues music. We make the most beautiful music . . . about sex. And there’s nothing wrong with sex – if it is done responsibly. But we’re not doing it responsibly. We just want to pretend like we are. We’re like a three inch doily trying to cover a ten foot long table.

Since the beginning, Lizzo has been criticized for her weight. Why? The FACT is that many Black females ARE fat. We’re not exactly known for choosing salads. I recall being told I was “eating like a White girl” by Black female co-workers some years ago when I was seen eating a salad for lunch.

One commentator, when speaking about her ire concerning Queen Lizzo’s Tik Tok video, said we “just want to control our narrative “- code for: “We want to put on a good show for Massa.”

#Lizzo, #TiffanyHaddish and anybody else that does something possibly unnerving does not control your sense of worth or reputation unless you allow them to.

I’m surprised folks didn’t start pressuring Beyoncé to speak out against #Lizzo, since the word on the Street is that #Lizzo was wearing an #IvyPark shirt during the video in question. 

Look: #Lizzo ain’t hurtin’ nothing. As the “old” folks would say: “Lee dat ‘chile alone.”

Is the Black church useless?

There used to be a time when the Black church was a hub of the Black community. The Black church could be counted on for news, information and as a gathering spot for those seeking political and social awareness. At one time, most notably during the Civil Rights Movement (about 1954 – 1968), the so-called “Black Church” was respected by even Blacks and others who were not directly affiliated with Black Church membership. Even Blacks who did not support the Civil Rights Movement respected the role of the Black Church. Even Blacks who thought “church” was too “churchy” respected the Black Church. Some Black Churches allowed civil rights activities to occur at their churches despite their reluctance to support the Civil Rights movement or some aspects of it. Nowadays, this mutual respect is gone. The Black Church is now seen as a bunch of hypocrites who don’t practice what they preach. Evidence of this hypocrisy is blatant and everywhere, from gospel singers having issues with pornography , folks preaching faith and deliverance than having experiences that dictate otherwise, to murder allegations.

Why Black Christians get no respect

There is an obvious disconnect between what we say we believe and what our  lives show.

Our neighborhoods. It is not uncommon to pass by many churches situated on one block or quite a few churches situated within a three or four block radius, in many “Black” communities. The typical neighborhood that features this is one associated with crime, poverty and low-performing schools–all things of which a God with “a house made of many mansions” would be disproving. How are there churches made up of families that have lived generations in “the projects?” Where is the improvement? Many Black Christians brag about their “father in Heaven” being a “king.” Do kings’ children live in squalor?

Sex.   Sex is viewed as a rite of passage amongst most “Blacks”–even amongst so-called “Christians.” I want to clarify that the term “Black” references the entire “Black” diaspora, which includes West Indians/Caribbeans and continental Africans. It’s interesting: There used to be a time when Blacks, especially Black Christian females, were considered to be more pious and chaste than other American women. Some evidence that this is no longer the case exists in one of comedian Marlon Wayans’ stand-up comedy routines where he  talks about how “fast” Black women are.  I was particularly surprised (and disappointed) because Mr. Wayans is “older,” in his forties. I wasn’t expecting this commentary from someone in that age group. I’m also finding that many of the positive attributes that used to be associated with “African-Americans” are now being attributed to other groups of Blacks. But this is another blogpost, for a different day.

If you can’t prove that you are having sex by about age 25, you risk other Blacks–even Christians–questioning your sexuality.  Here’s where the confusion lies for a lot of folks: On one hand you’re told to “wait” until marriage, then when you do, you’re ridiculed. When it comes to sex and “Blacks”: You’re damned if you; you’re damned if you don’t. If you  take too long to get married, your ability to attract a mate is questioned. And if you rush and marry the wrong person, the same questions abound. And, of course, females get the brunt of this imposed upon them–by other females.

Then there’s the lack of guidance about sex. I once attended a program entitled “Sex and the City” at a popular Black church in Brooklyn, known for boasting a membership of mostly  educated middle and upper class Blacks. The program was supposed to be a “real” discussion about how Christians should conduct their sex life. The pastors who facilitated the session seemed to be afraid of even saying the word “sex,” and there was no clear guidance provided, just vague allusions to what pleases God. I think this is because most pastors don’t buy into the no pre-marital sex rule themselves.

A pastor told me that the “no sex before marriage rule” is not bought into by a lot of pastors and is taught to divinity students as a rule that is necessary for keeping order. In other words, divinity students are taught to preach as if they believe that pre-marital sex is a sin because otherwise people will not be able to control themselves. It’s kind of like a rule that is made to be broken. This same pastor also told me that when another elder pastor found out that he revealed this to another person, the elder pastor became upset with him.  Apparently, the rule is there is no rule and the other rule is to pretend you believe and just be pious about it.  In fact, Christians are the first people to gossip about whose having sex and who is not, and what this means about who and what a person is.

I think sex became a rite of passage in the Black community during the Enslavement Process: We were more valuable as slaves when we were breeding. We were paired up according to chronological and physiological maturity. On some plantations, when slaves’ authentic attraction to other slaves were honored, the expectation was that breeding—more slaves–would be the outcome. Blacks continue to perpetuate a lot of thought processes and behaviors we learned during the Enslavement Process. We will not progress about sex, church or any other topic until we engage a complete de-briefing of the impact of Slavery.

Obesity. Name four prominent Black gospel singers that are not overweight. Isn’t gluttony one of the seven deadly sins? Aren’t our bodies supposed to be our temples? Aren’t Christians supposed to represent God’s kingdom? The obesity rate amongst Black Christians is yet another example of the disconnect between what we say we believe and what we practice.

Christians don’t have trademark behavior.  What are muslims known for? Not eating pork. What are Buddhists known for? What are Jews known for? What are Black Christians’ known for? Manipulative preachers who drive big, expensive cars the less fortunate congregants have paid for as they sin and ask for forgiveness.

The so-called “Black Church” is useless because . . . 

It continues to be used to keep the unenlightened mentally incarcerated.  The Nat Turner movie , about a slave whose preaching ability was used to help placate other slaves, shows the role that Judeo-Christianity played in perpetuating the Enslavement Process. I’m not one of those “throw the baby out with the bath water” type of people: I don’t think that one adverse feature of an idea or practice means that anything associated with it should be discarded as well. I do however, think, that our use of Judeo-Christianity has to be re-evaluated so that we can ensure the most optimal use of it. There are definitely some practices within the Black church that are detrimental and useless to the advancement of Blacks. This re-evaluation should be the focus of the next big conference of preachers.

Punk pastors don’t address real issues for fear of offending people and losing tithes and offerings. The criticism #JasperWilliams received after being HONEST about the state of the Black race is proof positive of this. If we had more Rev. Jasper Williamses, who have the courage to offer a critical analysis of the ills that permeate the Black community, “our” churches and communities would be in a lot better condition. The truth is like kryptonite to ignorant/entitled people. For most Blacks, especially Christians it seems, anytime something isn’t being blamed on “White people,” racism or “the devil,” we pathologize the messenger. Blacks now look to the Black Church for their get out of jail free cards.

There’s no clear guidance. Is pre-marital sex okay or not? Do we wait 90 days like Iyanla Vanzant says or not? If you’re “Black” and over the age of 25, and you have no proof that you’ve been fu–k–g–either through marriage, single parenthood, or serial dating or constantly talking about your personal life–even Black Christians will question your sexuality. The most you can get out of church is some good music and a couple of inspirational quotes. Encouragement goes only so far, though. Telling someone that they are the child of a king and that their situation is going to be alright is not practical. Religion is supposed to offer clear guidance about how to conduct one’s life. There is no application of principle because there are no principles! There used to be preachers that had the courage to tell the truth about his or her observations despite the heathens that would get up and walk out of the sanctuary. He or she knew that the folks who stayed were the real saints. Nowadays, punk pastors are more concerned with their rims and their tims, as the the Lauryn Hill song says, than “saving” people.

By most accounts, Black church membership is down. Preachers are scratching their heads and facing building losses because their churches are losing funding due to decreased attendance. Attendance is down because people aren’t getting anything out of going to church. Church offers no relief. You are likely to encounter the same level of pettiness and jealousy you encounter from so-called “worldly” people, while attending church. A single Black woman who walks into a Black church expecting to be “saved” from worldly assumptions is treated like she’s there to sleep with all of the married men. And can’t nobody gossip better than Black “Christians.” The Black Church is not the safe haven it once was. When my baby boomer mother, who grew up in church and raised me in church declared, “The Black Church is f–ked,” I knew I was onto something with this blogpost.

Empty, basic sermons that are an insult to people’s intelligence has replaced the structure and earnest fervor that once characterized the Black church.

Empty, basic sermons that are an insult to people’s intelligence has replaced the structure and earnest fervor that once characterized the Black church. I sat through a minister make an analogy between a watermelon and God’s grace, once. And this was at a large, celebrated Black church known for welcoming educated middle and upper-classed Blacks.

At its best, the Black Church could be a bastion for mass healing. The Black Church is probably still the only way to get Blacks of all shapes, sizes, beliefs and cultures together at one time. Once per week, Black preachers have an opportunity to effect real change–where it really counts–the mind–yet most use it to placate folks’ egos so as not to lose any offerings and tithes.




Movie Review: Burning Sands (Netflix)

#BurningSands #LessSteppingMoreStudying

Burning Sands exposes the hypocrisy inherent in Black Greek letter organizations. It reveals a lot about what is wrong with some intake processes, but more importantly what’s wrong with the Black community–and the talented tenth charged with leading it. By most accounts, Black Greek letter organizations began in the early 20th century in response to Blacks not being allowed to join White Greek letter organizations, as a way of fostering scholarship and a sense of community among Black collegians, and as vehicles for Black collegians to provide community service. Yet, as Burning Sands reveals, instead of paying it forward many, Black collegians are engaging in counterproductive behavior that negates the purpose of Black Greek letter life.

One of Burning Sands’ explorations concerns some people’s motivation for pledging:  Sometimes a person is interested because they are “legacy”–they have a parent or parents who pledged, or they are  pressured by family members that dominate a particular affiliation. Some people join for social status or help climbing a career ladder. Some people join seeking a sense of family. Of course, reasons for pledging abound and are not exhausted here.

It is the exposé of contradictions that makes Burning Sands most useful. One of the most blaring contradictions explored surrounds the movement towards bonding that is supposed to be typical of pledge processes. For instance, throughout the film, the audience is exposed to line brothers treating each other in unbrotherly ways. Additionally, most–if not all–Black Greek Letter organizations are based on Christian principles, yet many Black Greek Letter members fornicate, gossip and bare false witness against each other and others–and engage in other ungodly acts. In one scene, the pledges visit their dean in his dorm room where a naked female can be seen lying in his bed. The insinuation is not that she was posing for a portrait. Further: Most, if not all, Black Greek Letter organizations are based upon the principle of scholarship, yet some organizations take pride in forcing activities upon pledges that cut into studying time. It is not uncommon for a pledge’s grade point average to plummet while pledging.

Sands also highlights the fact–possibly unintentionally–that Blacks lack leadership. Black Greek Letter organizations are supposed to consist of what W.E.B. DuBois, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, called the Talented Tenth–the small group of Blacks who were fortunate enough to pursue scholarship and who were expected to subsequently lead and pull others behind them. Yet in Sands, an elder member of the fraternity that is the subject of the movie supports the dysfunctional practices portrayed.

Yet, there are some misunderstandings:  Most people’s perception of underground pledging does not account for the fact that some organizations have study hours built into their processes that include big brothers and sisters checking the library to make sure pledges are there and getting their school work done. This is a little known fact that some organizations may downplay as pledging is often exaggerated to make it appear as if it is “so hard” to gain membership. Keep in mind that Blacks tend to have a fascination with scandal. One example of this from the movie is when the line brothers chide one of their own for not drinking and being sexually active. We seem to have adopted the notion that life and lessons are supposed to be lived and learned the hard way.  Maybe Slavery taught us that life is supposed to consist of struggle and sacrifice? We applaud poverty and deprivation and pathologize anyone who doesn’t seem to have had such experiences. Some take pride in their perceived ability to revoke “Black cards” from those who haven’t suffered enough. Black Greek Letter members are often no different. For this reason, graduate chapter membership is sometimes looked down upon–even amongst organization members–because it is perceived to be easier to attain. Some Black Greek Letter organization members literally pretend to have pledged hard just to get respect.

Some members scramble to specify that they pledged undergrad so they get more respect. Yet, the same members who mock people for pledging graduate chapters and being “paper” members are the same ones who brag about famous honorary members who didn’t “pledge.” Would a member who pledged “so hard” undergrad call her 50 year-old pastor who just joined a graduate chapter “paper?” And as discretion is supposed to be one of the hallmarks of “pledging,” what is a member doing discussing someone else’s process anyway?

One criticism of Sands will likely be that Black Greek Letter organization rituals are being unfairly criticized by people who do not understand the original purpose of “pledging.” This may be true. One of the problems with large organizations, especially national and international groups, is that it is difficult to manage individual membership and rituals. Leadership passes these processes down to members they hope they can trust and to whom they trust has the requisite understanding of the organization’s mission and purpose. But the best intentions . . . Feelings get involved: Sometimes credible prospective members are passed over due to petty jealousies; sometimes people become intent on inflicting the same pain that was inflicted on them without regard to the organization’s mission and the lesson that is supposed to be learned; sometimes neophytes want to shed their newness by pledging a line–any line–and allow unworthy individuals to join by haphazardly pledging them without regard to their ability to uphold the ideals of the organization; and sometimes processes are changed out of fear–to appease those who may repeat something about the process they do not understand and cause a misunderstanding that leads to suspension.

Blacks have long had a legacy problem: We tend to start out good, but have a hard time maintaining our success over generations. The state of Black Greek Letter organizations is an example of that.

By some accounts, the Black Greek Letter pledge process was initially designed to parallel a rite of passage. Yet, many leave their processes unchanged and useless to the communities they pledged to assist.

The controversy about Sands stems from Blacks not liking inconvenient truths, and wanting to maintain a facade about Black elite organizations. Folks like to do their dirt in private and put on a facade of unity.  Anyone who betrays this faux unity–who dares to tell the truth, like Gerard McMurray does with Sands, is branded a traitor. (Yet, it’s okay for Blacks to expose the misdeeds of others, which is why movements like Black Lives Matter is not taken seriously. But I digress.)

Hopefully, Burning Sands will spark critical analysis and conversations about Black elitism, the need for leadership amongst Blacks, dysfunctional habits that need to be abandoned, and our inability to maintain generational success.

Protecting Children During the Holidays

The holiday season–hopefully–brings cheer, music, fun, parties, and goodwill.  But we’re actually more vulnerable during this time because we tend to let our guards down and presume that others have to. And with all of the running around and mingling we do, it is easy to toss young ones into the care of whomever is available without full investigation.

The parties, the drinking, the food, the music, the lights, and the contact with loved ones we haven’t heard from all year can be intoxicating. Yet, it is precisely this spirit evil-doers take advantage of.

As the Season is upon us, now is a good time to review some safety tips.

Trust no one.  Keep your eyes and ears open. Be leery of individuals that seem eager to please, or who seem particularly interested in caring for your children or others. Whether or not a person has children of their own, or are caretakers is not necessarily an indication of their evil intent. People who have, or care for, children should not automatically be trusted just because of their status as parents or caregivers. Some perpetrators intentionally choose to harm others’ children.

Plan in advance.  Haste makes waste. Securing child care at the last minute limits your options and may force you to hire someone you have not fully considered.

When you attend an event that involves multiple children, simultaneous activities,  and other adults, think before-hand about which adults will be responsible for childcare and protection.

Talk to your children—of all ages, and gender—about safety.  It should now be common knowledge that little boys need protection, too. You should already be unashamed about accompanying your little mister into a boys’ or girls’ bathroom. You should also be constantly reminding your female and male children about stranger-danger, trusting their intuition, strategies for alerting others that they are in danger, and situations to avoid.

Also, specifically discuss holiday-related scenarios that could involve perpetrators. For instance, discuss scenarios that involve a perpetrator claiming to be shopping for a loved one, or a perpetrator claiming to need help choosing a gift or help carrying shopping bags. Have your children think of scenarios, too.

Teach your loved ones to be leery of people who are very talkative. The longer a conversation persists, the more comfortable we tend to feel, and the potential for our guard being let down increases. Perpetrators con with their mouths and can be very charming.

Remind your children that they need not be afraid if a perpetrator instructs that a loved one will be harmed if what occurred is repeated, and that perpetrators say this because they are really afraid of getting in trouble for doing something they know is wrong.

Teach your kids the buddy system.  Teach your children to always know where loved ones, such as their siblings, are. If there is a room designated for children at a relative’s house or other holiday event, teach older siblings to check in periodically on younger siblings, and to let younger siblings know where to find their older siblings.

Only-children may use this plan with peer cousins.
Holidays, with all of the loud laughter, noise, and festivities, are a perfect time to take advantage of people, as screams are difficult to hear over all of the excitement. Always having an idea of where your little ones are and what they’re doing is important prevention.

Evaluate your children’s interactions with others.  Perpetrators are very manipulative. They can appear to be very fond of the children they commit evil against. You might even think that based upon how much they appear to care for your child, they could or would never hurt the child. Don’t be fooled. Perpetrators often show special affection to their victims. They may be very playful with them, or appear to extend the time they play with their victim.

Teach your children that when they make anyone—their peers and adults—aware that they are done playing with them, or have tired of a particular interaction—they are entitled to the interaction ending. In other words: “Stop” means stop!

Do not let your children think that it is rude to not interact with others, or to limit their interactions with others. Sometimes children sense things about people and situations that they cannot or do not explain. Teach your children to trust their intuition, and that they do not owe anyone any level of interaction.

Give your children language for ending interactions, such as “I’m done playing now,” or “I said ‘stop’!” Role playing that includes your child saying what may need to be said exactly the way they might say it, should make them more comfortable saying the words in real-time.

Talk to your children about their experience at events, after the event.  Parents often complain that their children do not talk to them. But could that be because you don’t talk to your children? Initiate conversation with your children about what happened at events they have attended. Ask if anything happened that made them uncomfortable. Ask if anyone or anything seemed strange. Abuse of any kind is difficult to discuss, and is especially difficult to initiate conversation about. Children, especially young children, tend not to have vocabulary for certain experiences. They may want to tell you that something happened, but lack the words or courage.

Finally, observe your children’s mood and behavior after events.

Abuse or intimidation is typically unsettling, and may manifest as a change in behavior or functioning.

Should North American Blacks be more elitist?

One of the experiences that often makes being “Black” so lonely is the fact that dissention seems to be everywhere. We are at risk of being discriminated against by “White” people and by other Blacks. I call this the “Blackened Blues.” My experience with this phenomenon began in junior high school, in the 8o’s—when all of a sudden, it became en vogue to be anything other than a “Black American.” Suddenly, people starting “coming out” as being “Jamaican.” In the 80’s, all Black immigrants were thought to be from Jamaica. A few years later, people started realizing that all “Black immigrants” (more on this term later) weren’t from Jamaica.

People that I had been friends with for years suddenly revealed they were not “American.” It was crazy. Then, the trend of referring to North American Blacks—Blacks whose parentage and direct ancestry is not related to the Caribbean and Continental Africa—as “Black Americans” began. The idea behind referring to North American Blacks as “Black Americans” was West Indians’ first attempt at disassociating themselves from “other” Blacks. This lasted for a few years, before West Indians discovered that they looked and sounded silly calling “other” Black people “Black Americans,” when they too were Black and in America.  Prior to this, “Black” people in North America were referred to as “Black,” “Afro-American,” or “African-American.” In fact, I recall that in the 80’s, Jesse Jackson led a campaign to refer to “Blacks” as “African-Americans.” If my memory is serving me correctly, a movement began at this time to make “American” the suffix of nationalities for people who reside in America.  So we started calling people “Caucasian-American,” “Asian-American,” “Italian-American,” and so forth.

Now, I find that some Blacks—West Indians and Continental Africans—have commenced a campaign to convince White people that the term “African-American” only refers to North American Blacks—Blacks born, and, or, raised, in one of the 50 states.  This campaign is ridiculous for a number of reasons.  First, all Blacks whether they want to be or not, are descendants of Africa. Many Blacks are ashamed of their African heritage, and go to great lengths to convince others that they are “Black—but not that kind of Black.” Before any “African-American” was American, they were African—and are only African-American by way of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, which most believe occurred between 1525 and 1857.  Similarly, West Indians/Caribbeans are West Indian by way of the Slave Trade. To be clear: Enslaved Africans were taken from Africa and dispersed and brainwashed among North, South and Central America (which makes them “American” too, doesn’t it?) The only true West Indians—if that’s what they even called themselves—are the indigenous people of the Caribbean, such as the Arowaks and Tainos—just like the only true Americans are the people who inhabited America before it was colonized and named America. How silly people look calling themselves “Jamaican,” “Trinidadian,” and using other such ethnic labels to identify themselves, when those labels came about as the result of historical circumstance. I just chuckle:  Colonization has not been kind to the Black mind.

And while we’re on the topic of silly, what should continental Africans—Blacks born and raised in Africa, and who can trace their immediate ancestry back to Africa simply because the Slave Trade slowed down and, or, ended before their ancestors were forced to live in North America—call themselves after they are naturalized as American citizens? Wouldn’t the correct name for them be “African-American?” Should it be “African-African-American?” Should it be “Continental African-American?” Or should we take the time to learn our history and about why we want so badly to dissociate ourselves from one another?

A while ago, I was watching an “African” comedienne do a stand-up routine. She introduced herself as being “African—and not African-American either. I’m African African,” is what she said. I turned the channel after that. What is “African African?” Had it not been for her going through such lengths to make sure the audience knew that she was not a North American Black, her ethnicity would not have been known. She had no accent or other identifying features. She looked like she could have been from anywhere—the Carolinas, Compton, Chicago—anywhere.

But, I guess I should clarify the shame. The shame is being an “American” Black—even though many of the Blacks who want to dissociate themselves are more “American” than both American Whites and Blacks! So, nowadays, you’ll have a Black person whose parents were born in the Caribbean, who identify completely with “African-American” culture from their modes of dress and speech to their taste in food and music—who will claim not to be “Black” or “African-American” simply because they want to leave a certain impression with a particular audience. Similarly, people who “look Black” are coded as being “Black,” “African-American,” or “Black/African-American,” so the statistics about “African-American” literacy, birth, social service involvement, and incarceration rates, and socio-economic status—just to name a few—include data about “other Blacks” as well. It is therefore unfair and insulting for a group of people to be allowed to add to the statistics of another group, and then dissociate from that group when it becomes convenient to do so.

For example, the doctor that is accused of “killing” Michael Jackson, Conrad Murray, is West Indian. Yet, when statistics are recorded about doctors in California that have lost their license, he is likely to be recorded as “Black/African-American.”

I wouldn’t have a problem with some Blacks wanting to dissociate themselves from other Blacks if a distinction really deserved to be made. But, the fact of the matter is that Blacks as a whole have not recovered from the psychological damage we experienced during the Enslavement Process, and the subsequent ills play out in all Black communities—not just those that include North American Blacks. When the mug shot of a “Black” person is broadcast on television, you do not know if that person is a North American Black, West Indian, or Latino. All West Indians do not have accents. Some Latinos are dark-skinned, with tightly-curled hair. It is not uncommon, for instance, for the mugshot of a “Black” person with locs (dred locks) and dark skin to be broadcast, and for the suspect’s last name to be something like “Mendez,” or “Rodriguez,” which most people associate with being Latino. There is no way to distinguish between North American and South and Central American Blacks by way of their last names, since the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade resulted in North, Central, and South American Blacks having last names that reflected those of our European captors, and Blacks transported from various regions having the same last names. Our first names aren’t telling, either. I’ve met just as many West Indians with names that rhyme with “eesha” and “eeka,” as I have met North American Blacks with such names.

The term “African-American” is now the same as saying “Bad Black Person.”  There used to be a time when certain attributes were associated with “Blacks” in general—attributes like chastity, discipline—now I’m hearing people attribute these qualities to so-called “immigrant Blacks” only—and suggesting that North American Blacks are the reason for everything that is wrong in Black communities and North America. Having all Blacks’ shortcomings coded as “Black/African-American” statistics is not fair and frustrating. When Caribbeans, continental Africans, dark-skinned Latinos and other people that “look” Black show up to meetings late, perform below standard on standardized exams, get involved in the criminal justice system, use public assistance, and engage in dysfunctional behaviors, they are coded as “Black/African-American.”

Blacks are the only ones with this problem:  I never hear Whites going through such pains to distinguish themselves from one another. I have never heard an Italian, British or Irish person, for example, insist on being called their ethnicity over being called “White.” Some Blacks think that being something other than “African-American” makes them more special, or that they are viewed differently or more favorably by Whites. Yet, when Abner Luimer, a Haitian—dare I say—immigrant—was sexually assaulted with a plunger by White police officers, clearly his status as a Haitian was not significant. When a comment was made about dropping a bomb in the middle of the Labor Day Parade in New York City—also known as the West Indian day parade—due to the large concentration of “Blacks” known to attend, there was no courtesy or consideration given to the ethnicities of parade participants or organizers.

Now let’s discuss their “immigrant” status. When White Americans refer to immigrants, they are generally referring to White-skinned people who had to learn English upon arriving in North America. Generally, the reference is to Eastern Europeans, Asians, and white-skinned Latinos. People with “Black” skin who arrive from another country are referred to as “Black/African-American,” especially those that simply have an accent. Continental Africans who have to learn English upon arrival have a better chance of being classified as “immigrants.”

So the question posed is:  Should North American Blacks be more elitist? Should we turn our noses up at immigrants the same way they do, at us? Is it fair that after all the strides we’ve made that benefit us and them that we should allow them to disrespect our legacy by pre-judging us, calling us “lazy,” selectively forgetting that our ancestors literally bled and died for civil rights that they take for granted? We allow them to join our Black greek letter organizations and secret societies, to take advantage of our legal defense funds, to apply for scholarships and opportunities for “African-Americans,” while they set up organizations and scholarships from which we are excluded. Can “African-Americans” be eligible for the scholarship superstar Rihanna set up for Caribbeans? Are African-Americans eligible for a Golden Krust Bakery scholarship?

Why do we North American Blacks allow everybody to infiltrate our success, while no one allows us to infiltrate theirs? Our award shows, magazines, newspapers, and other publications that were designed to feature our success now includes them. Meanwhile, other groups establish organizations specifically designed to exclude them from us, and do not include us the same way we naively include them. Is this the same mistake the Native Americans made—giving too much and then being taken advantage of?

Now is the perfect time for us to re-examine our relationships with other groups. I can imagine that they may need our help given the hoopla about immigration status. They will probably start preaching that we all need to stick together, while crossing their fingers behind their backs until they feel secure enough to start outwardly sticking up their noses at us again.

I better not catch any North American Blacks helping with this immigration sh**, because if North American Blacks were the ones who needed saving, no groups would come to our aid. They’d be talking about how we deserve our fate because we’re lazy and didn’t take advantage of opportunities. Who would remind this country about our contributions? North American Blacks are therefore encouraged NOT to support the DREAM or DACA Acts. You wanted to be separate from us, now you’ve got a good chance at being separated from us!

Spent all that time disassociating from so-called “African-Americans,” and thinking that their immigrant status made them more valued, now they see . . . Clayton Bigsby Syndrome

has gotten them nowhere.

This is a great time for North American Blacks to mobilize and preserve our legacy.

Chickenhead clucks de-coded (Things chickenheads say)

One of the easiest ways to spot a chickenhead–a useless female due to the havoc it (purposefully using the pronoun “it” to elaborate upon the fact that chickenheads are sub-human) creates–is by her speech. Chickenheads have language they often use, and to which you have undoubtedly already been exposed on many occasions.

Two of the most common statements (or “complaints”) chickenheads make are enumerated upon below. 

“She don’t speak,” or “She don’t speak to nobody,” or “Did she say anything to you?”  Recall that chickenheads come about as the result of unresolved feelings of neglect and abandonment from their childhoods. Their unresolved post-traumatic stress leads to a sense of entitlement that causes chickenheads to take it very personally when others do not acknowledge their existence by greeting them. 

Chickenheads perceive someone not greeting them as an insult, the same way they felt insulted when their caregivers did not show them the love and affection they needed and wanted during their infant and toddler years. 

Not “speaking” to a chickenhead is also an affront because chickenheads are very social. They have to be in order to get into people’s business and ruin others’ lives. The crux of the chickenhead’s work is thwarted without a word from you! 

Not acknowledging a chickenhead delays their chances of ruining your happiness. They are upset by your ignorance of them, because you make them work harder to get into your personal business when you do not initiate contact with them. They also feel less responsible for ruining your life with personal information they find out about you when you initiate contact with them. 

Yet, too, chickenheads–like most fallen angels (think Lucifer)–just want to be loved, and don’t know how. Chickenheads, like most people who experience neglect and abandonment during their formative years, lack language, which explains their requirement that others speak to them first. Chickenheads do not know how to establish healthy relationships because they do not have experience with this. They do not know how to calmly and politely walk up to someone and introduce themselves, so they sit back and wait for the subject of their desire or jealousy to initiate introduction, and when that does not happen they get offended. 

“She thinks she’s cute.” This is a classic example of the chickenhead’s low self-esteem and usual attempt to project its inferiority complex onto someone else–usually someone that is the subject of their jealousy. Chickenheads don’t have the guts to admit when they are jealous of someone, so they blame their ill feelings on others to make it appear as though the other person is doing something to make them feel bad. Of course, the truth is that chickenheads wake up and go to bed feeling bad. Their ill feelings are just provoked or exacerbated by the thought or appearance of another possibly having a happier existence then their own. 

Chickenhead Clucks Cheat Sheet

When chickenheads say this: 

“She don’t speak,” or “She don’t speak to nobody,” or “Did she say anything to you?”

This is what they’re really saying:

  • “I’m upset because [the person about which the chickenhead is complaining] did not acknowledge my presence.”
  • “[She, the person being complained about] didn’t speak first.”
  • “How am I going to get into her business if she doesn’t speak to me?”
  • “How am I going to make sure [the person I’m complaining about] is miserable like me if she doesn’t speak to me?”
  • “She won’t be my friend.”
  • “I want to be her friend, but I don’t know how to initiate conversation. I’m afraid she won’t like me.” 
  • “I’m afraid that I’m not good enough to be her friend because she seems too confident in herself to want to be friends with someone like me.” 
  • “I’m afraid of being alone.”

When chickenheads say this:

“She thinks she’s cute.”

This is what they’re really saying:

  • “I’m jealous of her.”
  • “I’m too weak to take responsibility for my own inferiority complex.”
  • I don’t have the strength or courage to get rid of my flaws and do what it takes to be as good as [the person I’m complaining about because I’m jealous].” 
  • “I’m unhappy.”
  • “[The person I’m complaining about] seems to have a better life than me.”
  • “She’s prettier than me.” 
  • “I feel inferior.”
  • “I’m afraid of being alone.”
  • “You’re gonna like her more than you like me, then I won’t have anybody to love me and I’ll be alone forever.”

You get the picture. Remember:  Chickenheads are liars; they speak in opposites. The truth of their own inferiority is too hard for them to bare, so they project their inferiority  onto others in the hopes of sharing their pain with others. Chickenheads think that the way to lessen the burden of their inferiority is to make others feel the pain and misery they do. This is why they gossip, spread rumors and engage in conduct that is hurtful. They don’t know how to ask for help.  

Connection to Slavery

Chickenheads were created during the Enslavement Process. The Enslavement Process was effective because enslaved Blacks (taken from the continent of Africa, “seasoned” and enslaved in the Caribbean/South America and North America) were not allowed to have relationships with one another. Parents were not allowed to coddle their children. Coddling helps develop relationships and love, and love leads to the protection of loved ones. The protection of loved ones leads to revolt, and revolt would have led to the end of the profitable Enslavement Process. There are even stories of enslaved mothers and fathers shoeing their kids away from them in the presence of slave masters because they didn’t want the slave masters to see them showing affection, because showing affection could lead to a child or loved one being sold away. Oh, the power of love. 

So:  We ended up with generations of families that learned to neglect and abandon their children. Now today, many parents and families still do not know how to love their children or relate to each other. We continue to “hate” each other when we don’t have to, because we’re perpetuating a mode of survival that is no longer necessary. We don’t have to compete with each other anymore for a slave master’s attention! We can initiate contact with each other and show authentic affection to each other without being worried about being sold away! And just because someone does not show you the affection you want or need does not mean that they hate you! 

 Examine your reasons for being upset by someone’s behavior. Then figure out if the response you want is that which you are entitled to or that which you want for another reason. #KnowingIsHalfTheBattle