In my view, the race issue is like the weather; everyone talks about it, but no one really wants to address the real, bottom line issues involved. It’s kind of like the social worker who chides the police officer for arresting a wayward juvenile…until that juvenile breaks into the social worker’s home. Only then, does the crime issue become ‘real’.
Aren’t feeling me yet? Well, let’s move on. What do Rodney Dangerfield and Men of Color have in common? BOTH get little in the way of respect. Furthermore, as Dangerfield’s ‘lack of respect’ was based upon comedic wit, great timing and keen observation, the ‘lack of respect’ still swirling around Men of Color in this country is, in my humble opinion, rooted in planned, deliberate, and calculated ignorance.
Even by some of those of our OWN hue.
”I want to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.”
I hope that my opening illustration will shock more than a few people who have read my work in the past. As we used to say back in the day: “I want to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.” Sadly there are too many, both outside and inside of our communities who are STILL practicing this sin of favoring one person over another because of color. It is getting more and more obvious in the mainstream that the greatest fear is: “Guess Who Your Daughter May Be Marrying!”
Brothers, to be counted as a man means that there comes a time when we need to ‘clear the air’ about a few things in our modern society, in order to have the next generation of young Black men grow up to be wise, able to compete and free to see things as they actually ARE--and honestly evaluate their options. I ask a clear hearing on my subject this month, as I am not a racist…but a realist. I’m not stoking the fire, but I am going to be throwing strikes, cause Home Plate never moves. We KNOW that there IS deception in the land of the free and the home of the brave on the issue of race. The cold reality is, we have stopped teaching our young men how to spot--and confront--intentional and harmful actions, rise above them, and expose them with all of the class and grace the Lord will bestow upon us.
Yes, racism DOES exist in this land. The following two-part commentary is but a mere ‘cliff’ session, designed to remind US that there IS a standard of performance based upon racism. Black folk in general, and Black men in particular STILL have to do twice as much to be counted ‘average’ or even competitive by the mainstream.
Let me hasten to add that ‘going off’ on racists does not destroy the demon.
Sometimes, the best way to deal with those who ‘hate’ is to ‘withdraw’ yourself from them and let ‘em choke on the consequences of their own bad behavior.
THE “WHITE GUILT” LIE:
True freedom often involves an occasional throwing off of lies. Truth--Men of Color have ALWAYS come through when America has landed upon hard times, especially in those instances America did NOT want us to participate, nor expect us to help. Since 1619, WE have been MORE loyal to this country than it deserves, Amen?
I happened across several items to kick my switch for the month. They range from Ishmael Reed’s “Another Day At The Front”, to the Time Magazine 2006 Cover Story about the ‘plague’ of white youth dropping out of school, to several recent articles discussing Black progress and White Guilt written by a rainbow of writers, columnists, and scribes, and, least I forget, some wrong treatment of a friend of mine by people she was trying to help.
Here’s a real shock: Unless you have been living under a rock since the age of ten, MOST of us who are Black and male know that there is NO such animal as ‘White Guilt’.
It’s all part of “The Game”.
Brothers, members of the Caucasian race who live in the USA do not feel a bit guilty over the progress they have made in society. I am a fan of Shelby Steel’s, but I must firmly disagree with him on the matter of White Guilt. If one wanted to be accurate about how white America views us, it is a look of bizarre amazement. We STILL survive IN SPITE OF the playing field being shifted, day-by-day…and sometimes hour-by-hour.
“To be ‘pro-Black’ does not mean ‘anti-white’”
It gets hotter and better this month, brothers as to be ‘pro-Black’ does not mean ‘anti-white’. The Black man who dares to better himself, stay loyal to his wife, and conduct his family as God has intended will be seen as a suspect--even by some of those of the Caucasian ranks who may have talk shows, appear regularly on Christian or Non-Christian television, write books, be male or female, or may be wearing clerical collars, carrying Bibles, and addressing themselves as either ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’.
Let‘s turn up the heat a little more. The Man of Color who can conduct himself on any field of endeavor will likely find himself the target of snipers, slander, gossip and accusation at each level. If you are opinionated, certain folk are waiting for you to ‘go off’. If you don’t use ‘slang’, you are branded a ‘nerd’; if you do use it, you are tagged as being ‘rough and thuggish’. If you work hard and get ahead, you ‘made it’ due to someone’s ‘gift’ to you. If you work hard and are overlooked for promotion or advancement, you don’t ‘understand’ how the game is played.
Ah, but we DO understand how it is played. Unfortunately, too many of our young brothers are content to chew on their piece of basketball, Hip Hop, and Hollywood ‘glory’, yet if they had to go out and work a regular job like the rest of the brotherhood, many of them would wind up behind bars, in a psych ward…or both.
”The Game’ is even played in the Church house….”
“The Game” will always be right in your face, my brother. Daring you; dogging you, and chiding you into doing something drastic, dangerous, and dumb. “The Game” is even played in the Church house, and in the Christian community. If you ‘confront’ some of the so-called ‘light brothers’ in Christ, you are either ignored, made fun of, or accused of being one of ‘those’ types. This is especially comical as the biblical account has unshakeable evidence that the Hebrews, from Moses to Jesus to Paul, had more ‘soul’ to their color than folk want to admit.
I think I just lost some conservative and liberal Christian ministries, Amen?
How can one win, let alone compete, in this type of daily, hostile environment?
Simple. Realize that “The Game” is, what it is…a means of testing your mental metal. Train yourself to not just win, but to THRIVE! Take a tip from the late Earl Woods. Discipline yourself AND get back to training your children as to how to mentally stand against any attack; act instead of react. Realize that EACH day you head into the workforce IS a day of preparation and a day of battle.
Take your ‘ten’ at work, but let your natural down in your OWN home.
Sun Tzu has NOTHING on a determined Black man.
What “White Guilt?” It’s just a part of “The Game”.
What is “The Game”? Those who are in the thick of daily competition getting US to focus on what the right hand is doing, while the left hand has all of the secrets. In short, by design it has us wasting energy, time and resources being reactive, when we should be proactive. When Christ walked the earth, there was a very interesting business venture in the funeral industry called the ‘paid mourner’. These people were slipped a few coins and could cry on cue for the ‘dearly departed’. Mention racism to some Black folk, and you get the same reaction. It is high time we stop ‘crying’ about what is being done ‘to’ us, and take the battle to the next level.
And…do it with a smile!
MIKE RAMEY is the author of THE MANHOOD LINE. A syndicated, monthly
column written for men from a biblical, business, and common sense perspective.
It appears on fine websites around the world. Emails, Bmails and Pmails are welcomed
to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Ten years (1996 to 2006) of bringing the issues, the heat, and the solutions to the brotherhood around the world!
©2006 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications International.
Used by permission, BlackandChristian.com, 2006.