Tuesday, November 14, 2006

There was an incident at George Mason University last week involving a white fraternity and their mockery of a dark(no pun intended) time in black history. A fraternity decided it would be funny if they dressed up in blackface, and called themselves runaway slaves. Now when I read stuff like this, the kneejerk reaction is to always get angry, cry racism, and to figure out a way to punish these kids. But now that I'm older, I think its worth digging a bit deeper to find out what the root of the problem could be. I think one of the problems is that black culture is now shifting into mainstream culture. The "N" word is flung around regardless of the surroundings, jokes about racism, slavery, etc are no longer viewed as taboo or just for "us", but they are now viewed as tried and true formulas to get laughs. I remember Dave Chappelle telling a story about a skit he was doing involved blackface. He hadn't even gotten to the punchline, and already some white members of his cast were laughing, and instantly he got angry. But after Dave's anger subsided, he realized that maybe he needed to stop the skit, and eventually the show. Not because of racist white folks, but because they were laughing at something he was bringing to the light, without knowing the historical pain and perspective behind the joke. Dave said he felt irresponsible, and he felt like a sellout.

There are times when I am dumb enough to stop watching sports, and my attention veers to videos, and it is sad. As much as I love ass, I really don't need to see it in every damn video. I also don't need to see musicians throwing in my face how much money they have(allegedly), how many cars they have, and all of their jewelry. But sadly, in music video land, these are 90% of the images I see on TV. So if some group of white kids decided to put out a video mocking a group of black kids who were "BALLIN" in a video, is that racist? Or is it just some kids trying to be funny? Now if they throw in some slurs, it is racist, and if they throw in some mean spirited things, then it is racist and mean. But as a black man, i'm sitting here thinking, why can't we put out some other type of images? Why does it always have to be about ballin' and blinging..let them make fun of some other aspect of us? I don't know if i"m explaining this properly, but that certainly isn't going to stop me from trying and typing.

So what the hell am I saying? I really think that black folks need to be extremely conscious of the images they put out, because someone is always watching. And just like kids who think its cool to do with their big brother is or isn't doing, sometimes other folks look at what you're doing, and then decided that they can take certain liberties. It isn't right, and in some cases it is incredibly stupid, but it happens. And when it does, I think some deep thought needs to accompany those cries of racism and bigotry. And no I'm not implying all racism is black people's fault, but we certainly don't get to be completely let off the hook. End of sermon.

As I stepped into my shower this morning, I noticed there was a cricket in my tub. I have no clue how it got there, and I certainly didn't hear it chirp-chirping all night. The animal rights person in me wanted to scoop up the critter, and dump it outside so that it could be among the other rodents. But considering I was buck ass naked and pressed for time, I decided against that. So, I turned the shower head on the cricket, and I proceeded to watch it struggle with the water for about 30 seconds. Finally, the cricket gave up the fight, and it went down the drain in a crumpled heap of cricketness. After I cleaned the shower, I stepped in the tub, and for the five minutes I was in there, I stared at that drain. For some reason, I kept thinking that the cricket would rise out of that drain, strike down on me with furious vengeance, and punish me for my actions. I could not believe that I was actually sitting there in the shower scared, but I was. I wonder of there is any symbolism behind me finding and then killing that cricket.

6 comments:

your conscience said...

crickets are signs of good luck and prosperity in damn near every country except america....and you killed it. you DROWNED IT! you could've at least given it a warrior death. you should be ashamed.

hadassah444 said...

I would like to read your thoughts on what its going to take for "us" to pull a chapelle....

Jo said...

You had me cracking up when you said: "After I cleaned the shower, I stepped in the tub, and for the five minutes I was in there, I stared at that drain. For some reason, I kept thinking that the cricket would rise out of that drain, strike down on me with furious vengeance, and punish me for my actions. I could not believe that I was actually sitting there in the shower scared, but I was." Imagine that critter being a big FAT cockroach! Ughhhh . . .it's happened to me . . .and like you, I slayed the dragon, but was quite afraid of his resurrection from the watery depths of none other than my drain! As for the blackface, Rashad, I am soooooo tired of those articles on the white boy in the blackface costume for Halloween. We read one of those stories every year at around the same time. Let's face it, racism isn't dead, and neither are racists. Back in Texas, we used to say, it's better to know your enemies than not to know them. I guess the concensus nowadays is ignorance is bliss. Just because some white boy is smart enough NOT to wear blackface doesn't mean he isn't racist . . .it just means he is PC. We need white boys running around in blackface every Halloween just to help us all REMEMBER that racism is alive and real and the yes, racists do exist. I have always hated spoof shows that make black folks look like idiots . . . ie. the Dave Chapelle show you mentioned - he is much better as a stand-up commedian. I feel like these shows just make the MINSTREL role whites have allocated specifically for black folks something that we black folks should laugh at, too. When we read about the black minstrel in history books we frown on it, yet we replicate that same thing when we laugh at modern day minstrels. Don't think black folks back then weren't laughing at the minstrel (and playing him), too. 'Cause they were . . .just me on my soap box . . .see this link if you want to recap just how disturbing the minstrel image is . . . maybe next time you will think before you laugh about a modern day minstrel comedy show - black man or white man, the minstrel is NOT funny. http://images.google.com/images?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=DGUS,DGUS:2006-13,DGUS:en&q=black%20minstrel&oe=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi or http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=DGUS,DGUS:2006-13,DGUS:en&q=black%20minstrel&oe=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=iw

jack smith said...

I hear you with that white people stuff. They really do watch and listen to what you say hoping to verify their prejudice. I always maintain that if Tiger woods ever went off on someone they would say, "I knew there was a nigger in there somewhere"! One day it would be nice to see a young comic who is black just be funny without injecting race. In fact, I think white folk imparticular like black comics making jokes about black people so they can have cover for their preconcieved notions. As for your shower take, thats borderline faggety. Ill be taking this up with the board at a later date.

One.

Raydiance said...

man, looking at the other comments i feel like i should write something long and profound. however, i came here just to say one thing: PUNK!

asabi said...

Cricket karma. Its real.