Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Deep Subject, OMG! 2 A "Black History Minute"

I figure what the hell, I'll make this a series.

Anyway, you know what I noticed? Its February. And February is apparently supposed to be Black History Month. The month where older black people remind older white people what douchebags their parents/grandparents/ancestors were, where younger black people bitch and moan about having to learn history, and where younger white people....bitch and moan about having to learn history. A fun time is had by all.

I almost let this slip by without making any sort of comment, but I'm coming to realize that a lot of the rants that I let the walls hear (because I usually feel I can't tell them to anyone else) actually make pretty decent columns here at JiH. This one in particular I find myself reciting over and over whenever I see something stupid that's race-related on the internet/news.

Let's cut right to the chase. Which is simply this: I don't care about race.* I evolved beyond caring when I turned 9. I'm intelligent enough to realize some of those around me still do, but I'm ignorant as to why that should affect my opinion. If anything, I should be educating my less-evolved "brothers" as to why they shouldn't care either. And that's what this is for.

Now, as most of my black brothers and sisters can attest, you can mostly break black people down into two groups: Those that act black, and those that try to pretend that they *aren't* black. To be fair, in the two groups there's a lot of diversity (sorta)--the former group ranges from those who think you're not black if you aren't listening to the latest "trap rap", carrying a gun, have spinning rims on your car to the militant black muslim who will have NO respect for you unless you reject your "slave name" and take on a name from Africa, regardless of the fact that you've never been to the country and know fuck-all about the culture. The latter group tends to range from the "intelligent" black kid that is, for whatever reason, ashamed of their race to the suburban black person who's been around white people so long they honestly don't believe they are black, they just have a really good tan.

The thing is...most other races can't be accused of this idiocy. Most other races don't try to "rate" you on how much you follow the stereotypes. You don't see white people telling other white people they're not "white" enough. Granted, no other culture has our story. Our ancestors didn't come here for freedom, they were dragged here in chains. And even though slavery ended nearly two centuries ago, humans tend to carry shit across generations. And the fact is (and this is a big part of it), a lot of us haven't evolved from the mindset of "field nigger, house nigger".

For my non-black readers, I realize a little bit of explanation is probably in order. During slavery (I wonder how many people sighed angrily 'cause I brought that up? Hopefully none.), the "master" would force the darker-colored blacks to do all the backbreaking work in the field, while those of a lighter tone would be relegated to the "easier" work in the house like cooking and cleaning. The thought pattern was that the light-skinned blacks looked more like whites (and did intend to be partially white, given that "massa" would occasionally shack up with any slave he took a fancy to) and thus should be given "better" work. The end result of this was a schism between the black community that never really healed. Many's the time I've been told tales about how my grandparents...hell even my own mother and her sisters/brothers were treated differently based on skin tone. (Everyone reading should pause to think about how ridiculous this sounds. Yes, based on skin tone. Not even skin color anymore.) My mother and some of her other siblings, being darker of skin tone than some of the others, would be treated worse by their aunts and uncles.

The fact is, in that post-slavery, pre-civil rights world that she grew up in, there was an odd sort of "class" system and the closer you were to white, the higher up you were. And even post-civil rights movement, it hasn't died. Ever seen a black comedian, or watched a "black" comedy movie from about the late 80's? There's always this joke right here: "You light-skinned niggas ain't NEVER coming back in style!" Somehow or another, the playing field has changed, and now its cooler to be darker in skin tone now. You're more accepted by your fellow black male peers, black females find you more attractive, etc. etc... In part, I can't help but think people are carrying that "generational" idea that if you're light-skinned, you're less black because you're a "house nigger".

....Its all BULLSHIT. Those three prior paragraphs just showed you how an entire culture has carried a ridiculous concept over its head for nearly 400 years. It was stupid then, and its even more idiotic now, and its holding people back. Now, I'm going to say something here that's revolutionary in concept: No matter what, you're still black. That "tan" doesn't wipe off.

Did you get that? I could word it several ways if you like, but what it comes down to is that your skin color isn't *ever* going to change. This is a statement that cuts both ways. You don't have to do or like certain things to be black. Don't worry, I've liked rock for years and there's never been a day where I woke up and was suddenly white. Same goes to the "Oreos" (for those who don't know, its an insulting term aimed at those who don't seem black enough...if you don't get it, just think about the tagline. "Black on the outside..." Yeah. See how stupid this shit gets?). No matter what you do, you're going to be black all your life. Accept it and move on.

Now what am I saying here? That racism is gone? NO. There's racism from all sides of the playing field, but that isn't going to change soon, and you shouldn't let it change you. That we should forget the struggle? NO. Too many people fought and died for the rights we enjoy today. Be it in the Underground Railroad, or the Civil Rights Movement. You should never forget,

Look. Back in that turbulent era that Martin Luther King fought so hard to change, he did the whole I have a Dream speech. And there's one part in particular I feel that I have caught, but too many others have missed:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

See that part? We as black people spend so much time trying to judge the content of one another's character by using the color of someone's skin. And its getting us nowhere. And I have evolved beyond it. And I'm asking you to do the same.

Yes, I'm black. Big deal. And I like fried chicken (but not watermelon, dammit!) and hip-hop music, but not so I can appear "black" to my relatives and peers. I like it because *I* like it. I don't do shit for appearances. If I did I wouldn't watch anime. I wouldn't listen to Japanese music. And I damn sure wouldn't date so many white women.

Ah! There's something. As a point of fact, I've never dated a black girl. Not because I don't find them attractive (Gabrielle Union is one of the hottest women in existence. Truth.) , but because I tend to not have shit in common with them. (Not saying its impossible...just saying that I haven't yet.) And you look at that and think its no big thing, but it is. There are still people who haven't evolved mentally enough to date outside their race. I *swear* there was a girl, Senior year, in my Human Anatomy class who told me that I was cute, but she couldn't date black guys. On the flipside, I've had family members tell me they don't think they could date white women. Like its going to make their "blackness" rating drop or something.

C'mon. This is fucking 2008. You gotta stop letting shit that was decided at fucking BIRTH dictate who you are. Black or white, male or female, gay/straight/bi, American, Japanese, motherfucking Zambeezi (yes I made up a country, what of it?), I'm ME. Sage fucking Shinigami. I refuse to let some shit I had no say on affect my life anymore than it has to, and I'm inviting everyone else to do the same, which would be something that would make some new black history.

*I suppose you could've stopped right there, but what fun would that have been? ^^

Random Quote: "But my most coveted thing is a high self-esteem and a low tolerance for them telling me how to lean. See, the most important parts are the ones that aren't seen--those wings don't make you fly, and that crown don't make you king. Now if God don't like ugly, he ain't too happy bout pretty, I am ignorance's enemy so stay out of the vicinity..." - Lupe Fiasco, "Gold Watch"