Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

No Church In The Wild

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My mornings usually begin the same way. I’ll wake up at 7:30, immediately pick up my laptop, and spend a half hour reading emails, checking VSB, and doing EBONY-related work. I’ll also pray. By this time, my fiancee is usually awake too, so I’ll lay back down with her for a couple minutes. By 8:15-8:20, I’ll get out of bed again and make my way the bedroom upstairs, my de facto office. Sometimes I’ll stop in the kitchen and grab some orange juice or a granola bar before heading up. From then until approximately 9:15, I’ll work exclusively on EBONY stuff.

While upstairs, I’ll hear my fiancee get up. This usually happens around 8:45. Within five minutes, the shower will begin to run. 15 to 20 minutes later, I’ll hear her:

“Morning babe. I need to be at work at 9:30. I’ll be ready in 15.”  

Sometimes it’ll be this instead:

“Morning babe. I need to be at work at 10. What do you want for breakfast?”

(These are my favorite mornings)

If it’s one of those “9:30″ mornings, I’ll stop working, put on whatever sweats and sneakers are near, and come down stairs. The dog — who usually sleeps upstairs — will follow me. I’ll put food and water in his bowl. He’ll ignore it — for now — and I’ll take him to the backyard to pee and shit. If it’s cold, I’ll throw on my parka.

If you looked out our front window then, you’d see a collection of well-manicured brownstones. You’d also see (mostly Black) families and various young professionals doing their morning routines (Taking the kids to school, going to work, walking dogs, jogging, etc).

The back of our house is a different story. Behind our backyard is an alley. Behind that alley is a group of three dilapidated row houses. And behind those houses is where the “hood” part of our neighborhood begins.

One of these houses is boarded up. One houses an interracial couple (Black man, White woman) who used to argue so loudly that it would wake us up. (They haven’t argued in months. Maybe they went on Marriage Boot Camp or something.) And one houses a drug dealer who sees light traffic throughout the day.

The drug dealer guy and I are usually cordial. If our eyes happen to meet, we’ll nod at each other. Sometimes you might even get a “Hey. What’s good?” out of both of us. His friends and customers, on the other hand, aren’t as friendly. They’re usually not out there. But when they are…let’s just say I pay very close attention to my surroundings then.

I’ll go back inside. If it’s a “10:00″ morning, we’ll sit down and eat breakfast together. Usually some combination of eggs, bacon, and fruit. If it’s a “9:30″ morning, she’ll be in the kitchen making and packing her lunch, getting ready to go.

We’ll leave five minutes later. She only works five minutes away, but in that short time we’ll use our shorthand to share a half hour’s worth of information with each other. I’ll drop her off, we’ll kiss, and I’ll head back home.

My route back home takes me through the hood part of the neighborhood. Sometimes there will be cops circling around. I do not consider the police to be an antagonistic entity. But I do not feel safe around them. I don’t necessarily feel unsafe either. I guess the best word to describe how I feel is aware.

They’re just doing their jobs, I’ll say to myself. Don’t pay them any mind, and get back home so you can finish your work.

But there are also times when I notice them paying me more attention than I’m comfortable with. I might even get followed for a block. And then, at that point, I realize nothing matters. I’m a popular published author and professional writer with a fiancee. A fiancee with multiple degrees. We’re renting a brownstone with hardwood floors throughout and 12 foot ceilings. We’re getting married in July. We go to gallery crawls and board meetings. I own t-shirts proclaiming my love for Bougie Black People. We have four corkscrews, collected over time from the parties we throw and attend. I have a morning routine. And a dog.

But, in that moment, I’m a Black man in a sketchy neighborhood wearing a parka, sweats, and sneakers, and driving a Charger. To them, I am a potential suspect. Or, even worse, a potential threat. One awkward move or one overzealous officer could end everything for me.

I’ll eventually make it home and I’ll finish working. Maybe I’ll moderate comments on VSB. Or, maybe I’ll make some edits to something I’m writing for Complex. I’ll forget about the morning. And I’ll forget that, between the people across the alley and the cops on my way home, I’ve had to be on guard every moment I was out the house. Because I’m Black in America. And when you’re Black in America, there really are no safe spaces, no recluse from potential danger, no time when you can be certain that what you do and who you are will not cease to matter because someone considers you to be a threat. Nowhere I can relax without reservation. Nowhere where I can be me and not worry.

But I will forget about all of this. Because it’s everyday. And when something happens everyday, it becomes forgettable. Mundane, even. I’ll relax in my chair, play with our dog, and moderate comments on my blog. It’s just another day.

  —Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

    My homegirl and her husband have an all black Charger with black rims and tinted windows. He’s currently on some ship in the middle of some large body of water so she drives it until he returns home next month. That’s one chexy vehicle, I tell you what. I’m not sure if she’s experienced being tailed by swine while riding around in it but I can definitely assume she has. Well known club promoters and dealers around my way all push chargers and it’s inadvertently become the de facto “hood ninja” vehicle of choice.

    I wonder if my body will ever be able to naturally get me up around 7:30. That’s actually a good time to get up and get ish done. I need to do better :-/ I need to go to bed.

    • kidvideo

      I work an overnite shift, when i get off around 8 is good time to go running/exercise/afternoon delight…the rest afterwards is great but i kinda feel like a vampire cause of the whole sleepin in the daylight thing.

      • Obsidian Files

        @KV:
        Speakping of vampires, did you ever peep “Blade: The Series”?

        O.

        • kidvideo

          Yeah, it was a decent show…wasn’t around long enough to be great.
          I’m surprised Sticky Fingaz dont get more work.

          • Obsidian Files

            @KV:
            Agreed; actually, I was rather impressed with what Spike TV did with the character. It was kinda like watching an “Ultimate Blade” if you’re familiar with the “Ultimate” line of Marvel comics. I greatly enjoyed Sticky’s take on Blade, too – made him a bit more “realworld” for me. I loved Snipes’ work with Blade, but in some respects, his fighting styles seemed just a bit too “perfect” for realworld, streetfighting scenarios. Toedowns don’t go down like that, even when vampires are involved, LOL. Things are a bit more desperate, gritty, lots more grappling, Jason Bourne-esque-type stuff.

            I also liked the “Wiseguy” take on the plot, with the gal being turned a vampire and working from the inside. Spike TV claimed that bad ratings was what did the show in, but word on the wires was that they simply couldn’t keep up the budget it took to make the series. Which was a shame, because it was shaping up to be a pretty good show.

            When it first came out I saw the pilot and that was about it; I’m just now catching all of the episodes after that, and again, 8 years on, I’m impressed with what they’ve done with it – much moreso, I have to say, than I am with “Agents of SHIELD” or “Arrow”.

            Hopefully Marvel will have plans to bring Blade back; I’d like another series, due to the intracacies of the Vampire Nation and lore, as well as Blade’s inner workings insofar as his ongoing war against them is concerned, etc, and in my view you really can’t do that justice in a standard (re-booted) trilogy of films.

            O.

            • kidvideo

              Lord knows Marvel got the capital to reboot the Blade films/TV show…if Guardians of the Galaxy/Cap ‘Merica does well they should look into doing it, or a Black Panther film/tv series…but i don’t know if a mainstream audience is ready for that.

              I really want to like Agents of SHIELD, but it hasn’t pulled me in all the way yet…I’ve only caught 2-3 episodes.

              • Tentpole

                It’s on the border for me. It’s like watching super friends

              • Obsidian Files

                @KV:
                Capt. America 2 will be a huge hit, due to the success of its previous film and The Avengers. Guardians of the Galaxy is a longshot…it’s really insider baseball in terms of a fanbase, especially since the film will be based on the second iteration of the team, rather than the first, which was my personal fave. In any event, Marvel’s got enough money to pretty much do whatever they want right now, so that isn’t an issue…and to be frank, given Blade’s success at the box office and the role it’s played in making comic-book based superhero flicks viable, I don’t think that’s a problem either. I think the main problem is finding someone who could pull a credible Blade off, and that’s more a problem owing to Snipes than anything else…it’s like trying to find someone to replace Robert Downey, Jr. with Iron Man. He so much owns that role, that it’s really tough to find someone who could replace him credibiy.

                Agents of SHIELD will fail, not because of lack of funding or anything like that, but because it’s attempting to appeal to PC sensibilities, ie, have “Tank Grrls” kicking butt and whatnot. That simply doesn’t work in the comic book genre, which is about male fantasy. What Marvel should have done with Agents of SHIELD was make it “Phil Coulson: Agent of SHIELD” and focus the entire show around him – he is a lone operator out in the field who relies on his wits and extensive training as a high level espionage agent in a world of super-powered human beings, many of whom can pose real threats to nation and international security. The show should then pose the question: how does a normal, regular guy like Coulson, deal with such things? It should have incorporated elements of “24” (high suspense and “pressure cooker” feel), Jason Bourne (particularly the fight scenes – lots of FMA/Kali/KFM, etc.), and touches of Mission: Impossible of old – I’m talking about going way back to the original TV show; and of course, lots of pistol work and the high tech gadgetry that SHIELD is world reknown for from the comics. Have Samuel L. Jackson reprise his role as Nick Fury to make occasional appearances where called for, and Coulson talks to other agents every so often at field offices and the like; but for the most part it should a One Man Show, where all the action and focus is on Coulson, working it out for the most part, alone. Making it into a superhero version of CSI or something, just doesn’t work. And besides, Coulson isn’t a superbuff/tall guy – that’s his appeal, because lots of guys watching the show can relate to that. Plus his understated manner juxtaposed his skills and the nature of his work is cool, too.

                Do it like that and they’ve got a hit on their hands. Do it like they are right now, and they’ve got a cancellation coming in the next season or so.

                O.

              • Lea Thrace

                I keep hearing more and more chatter that indicates a Black Panther film IS going to happen. Lord how I want it to be true.

                • Jay

                  Yeah, I heard a few months ago that BP was pretty much a surety. Have you seen the cartoon series? It’s pretty dope. It was on Netflix a while back.

                  • Lea Thrace

                    What!! I didn’t know it was released to Netflix. I’ve seen it but I would like to watch it again (internet bootlegged it the first time). Djimon Hounsou was perfectly cast as T’Challa. I was pleasantly surprised to see that something produced by the EBT channel was not a total load of cr ap.

                    • Jay

                      I don’t think BET produced it. I could be wrong, but I thought that it was a foreign series first. I saw that BET was airing it but I had watched it years before when the whole series was on YouTube.

                    • Lea Thrace

                      They coproduced. It aired in either the UK or Australia first then the US market.

                  • ratchet d-Ibaka

                    You know what, I’ve actually come to like your locklessness!! It’s been a long journey, but I’m finally here!!! #teamdefinedjaws#meow.

      • Michelle

        I work in the pushing paper section of a NYC hospital, which also means that I literally work from 9AM to 5PM. And I am not a “morning person” so when I bump into people going home at 7:30 in the morning as they head on home, I am genuinely jealous.

    • Obsidian Files

      @Ms. AfroPetite:
      Ah! It’s nice to see the “other end” of you. Not bad – though I have to say, that you don’t seem to have the “horsey mouth” that so often accompanies those with the Archer Rising…

      ;)

      O.

      • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

        Horse mouth?!

        • Obsidian Files

          @Ms. AfroPetite:
          LOL, relax, it isn’t as bad as it sounds. Usually, one of the “tells” of a native with strong Sagittarian accents in their charts, is the “horsey grin” – a really big, wide mouth with lots of teeth – yup, you guessed it, like the proverbial horsey. I’ve seen it many times and interestingly enough, isn’t at all mentioned in the astrological textbooks much either. Just goes to show that in the end, experience out in the field trumps all.

          Checkout Ann Coulter on YouTube – she has it. Born Dec 8, 1961 in NYC. If memory serves, she has more than half of all her planets in Sagittarius.

          At any rate, getting back to you: now that I can see your face clearly, you do exhibit that “aqua marine life” look that is so indicative of Pisceans…while your other end is most definitely like that of a frisky filly…

          O.

          • Sahel

            So cancer people have crabs or is it act crabby

            • Obsidian Files

              @Sahel:
              LOL – they can most definitely be a crabby sort in an emotional sense. Much depends on exactly where the Moon, the “planet”, that rules the Sign of Cancer on the native’s birthdate though. A Cancer who has the Moon in Aries, is going to be much more of a “firecracker” than a Cancer that has the Moon in “steady as she goes” Taurus.

              But aside from that, and in general, Cancerians tend to have that “pieface” look about them, and the males in particular…well, either things insofar as Women go are really good, or really, really, bad. Mars, the planet most associated with males, finds itself in “h*ll” in Cancer…not a good look.

              O.

              • http://trulytafakari.com/ dtafakari

                I am highly surprised. And amused. l

                • Epsilonicus

                  I feel like I need a reading based on my Libra-ness.

                  • 321mena123

                    You and me both. Somebody read me and Eps.

              • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

                men with Mars in Cancer = less than ideal

                • Obsidian Files

                  @Ms. Esa:
                  Indeed – Men with such placements in their charts, *if not deliberately channeled*, can be quite a mess indeed.

                  Having said that, I’ve found that the majority of world-class martial artists, tend to have “hurt” Mars. Dan Inosanto and Jeff Imada, for example, have Mars in Cancer, while the late Remy Prasas had Mars in Libra. Jeff Speakman has Mars retrograde, in Taurus. Alexander The Great also had Mars in Cancer, and he is regarded to this day one of the greatest military minds the world has ever known. That’s just off the top of my head.

                  However, a Woman’s own Martian placements come into play as well. I recall having a discussion with a lady about her horoscope and that of a gent she was seeing; she had Mars in Cancer, in its deepest fall, and I cautioned her about how if she wasn’t careful, this could impact her relationship, which was very s*xually intense in ways she had never experienced. Looking ahead to this year, I could see that things would get especially challenging in the first quarter of this year. I received an email from her stating that her Man had aburptly broken things off with her last month.

                  O.

                  • SuperStrings

                    “he is regarded to this day one of the greatest military minds the world has ever known. ”
                    Also the perpetrator of one of the greatest lies the world has ever known. The library of “Alexandria” was already there when he arrived.

                    • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

                      ~ The library of “Alexandria” was already there when he arrived.

                      cheers !

            • IcePrincess

              And tauruses, they be bullsh*ttin

          • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

            what is the “aqua marine life” look? what are you talking about??

            • Obsidian Files

              @Ms. AfroPetite:
              Well, it’s like I’ve said previously: Pisceans often have the look of varying forms of aquatic animals. Some resemble angelfish, while others barracudas, LOL. “Big” or otherwise “fisheyes”…large “fish lips”, that sort of thing. Some Pisceans literally look “dreamy” or “otherworldly” (the oceans on Earth can be very much considered “another world” – checkout flicks like “The Abyss” for more on this point). Fortunately your garden variety “Sun Sign” books do tend to discuss this when it comes to Pisces, so it shouldn’t be hard to find.

              In your case, despite your having the Archer on the Ascendant, you still very much resemble a Piscean, facially. I put it down to the fact that you were born on a Full Moon, which “polarizes” the Signs represented on either end – the Sun, in your case, in the Sign of Pisces, and the Moon, which in your case would be Virgo. And you don’t exhibit any facial “tells” of the Virgin, but Pisces? Definitely…

              O.

              • Sahel

                Man,if O knows all this just by looking at a pic of A.P. He must get perfect weeks on the regular

            • Tentpole

              You’re falling for it. You know that right!!!!

              • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                Falling for what? I feel like I’ve expressed my interest in astrology. Obsidian is reaching out.

                • Obsidian Files

                  @Ms. AfroPetite:
                  Actually, your interest in astrology is indicated per your horoscope. If you work at it – IF – you have the potential to make quite a nice bit of coin for yourself doing it…

                  O.

        • Obsidian Files

          @Ms. AfroPetite:
          Another example of the “Joker/Horsey Grin” that is indicative of strong Sagittarius accents in a horoscope is the late great Nelson Mandela, who was born with Sagittarius Rising, like you. He’s got it in spades…

          O.

          • IcePrincess

            Hold your horses! I’m sag & I ain’t got no dang horse mouth fool

            • Obsidian Files

              @Ms. IcePrincess:
              LOL at “hold your horses” – how fitting.

              Of course you don’t have a “horse mouth” – and chances are you aren’t as tall as Ms. Coulter, who stands at 6′ in stocking feet either – great size/height being another classic “tell” of the Sagittarian “stamp”. In truth, one has to take into account ALL of the factors in one’s horoscope, of which the most important insofar as physical appearance being, the Sun, Moon and Ascendant. So, chances are that your Moon and/or Ascendant is markedly different from your AScendant, and hence you’re not having a “horse’s mouth”.

              This is what I was saying to Ms. AfroPetite, who has Sagittarius on the Asc – to be sure, she DOES exhibit that Sign’s physical traits…just not on her face, ahem.

              Other notable Sagittarians who don’t possess “horse mouths”:

              Bruce Lee
              Winston Churchill
              Richard Pryor
              Joseph Stalin

              But one Archer who definitely exhibits it all day, errday, is current US Vice President Joe Biden – got a Joker grin for real…

              O.

        • Obsidian Files

          @Ms. AfroPetite:
          Another example of the “Joker/Horsey Grin” that is indicative of strong Sagittarius accents in a horoscope is the late great Nelson Mandela, who was born with Sagittarius Rising, like you. He’s got it in spades…

          O.

        • Obsidian Files

          @Ms. AfroPetite:
          And yet another example that just came to mind is Jill Scott, who has the Moon in Sagittarius – classic “horsey grin”…

          O.

        • kidvideo

          Why the long face…lol
          But seriously…The Charger is the whip for the d-boyz who can afford more than a Crown Vic.
          And 300’s are for dudes/dames that dream of pushing a Phantom.

          • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

            I actually don’t like the Chrysler aesthetic :-/ Idk why. A guy back at school had one out of necessity. He was a good 6’4 and at least 300lbs. He couldn’t fit into anything else. Smooth ride but it’s an built ugly to me with no extra umph about it.

            • Jay

              I hate 300s. The whole thing with it looking like a Phantom… lame AF. Katt Willams summed it up perfectly http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdN40tOtEKs They bit the Audi headlights with the 2012 models, which I admit was dope, never been a fan though.

  • Jay

    Well written.

    • nillalatte

      Who dat? *waves

      • Jay

        What’s good Nilla.

        • nillalatte

          It’s all about you, mane. :D

  • minxbrie

    7:30 AM is an ungodly hour. I struggle to get up at 9:30 even on a full 8 hours of sleep.

    The police are no friends of mine. I get that with my privilege and the way my voice sounds, I’m less of a target (ask the TSA how they feel about me though) but nope. They’ve done enough to my family and last I checked, in one of the two fights I’ve been in, I was the only WOC there and I was the only one getting in trouble until I started screaming self-defense (she did touch me first) and they decided to drop it.

    Nope. As long as they don’t come around me, I don’t go around them.

    • Sahel

      I wake at 4 on the dot even when am not in theater. It’s all about conditioning

      • Obsidian Files

        @Sahel:
        Boom – that was how I was raised. Pop was a Marine, so was grand pop. Up at 0400, always. Don’t need an alarm clock. The ladies have never gotten used to that…

        O.

        • Sahel

          Man,it’s the weirdest thing. Even if i don’t sleep for days i will always be up 4 the day my head hits a pillow.

          • http://trulytafakari.com/ dtafakari

            I’m glad I never had that problem. If I’m tired, I sleep.

      • Val

        *noted*

    • Epsilonicus

      I find it easy to wake up at 730 on weekends (when I dont have work) than I do during the week when I do have work.

  • Sahel

    I took a charger round the Autobahn once,that car sucks on corners

    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

      I have no idea how my friend parks that mammoth. I’m a suspect driver in my lil Mazda. I’d be running over everything in a Charger.

      • Sahel

        It’s a straight american muscle car. All power but very suspect handling on tight corners. You drive a mazda,is it the RX 7

        • Obsidian Files

          @Sahel:
          Yup-per – and they weren’t built with the Audobahn in mind… ;) Tom Cruise fishtailed like a you know what in “Jack Reacher”, with that, I think it was, a ’72 Chevy Chevelle?

          O.

          • Sahel

            I have not watched that particular movie. Let me pull it up

          • Sandpaper

            That ’72 Chevelle is one of my favorite cars. I may get one before it’s all said and done.

          • Lea Thrace

            It was a ’70 Chevelle

        • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

          Nah 626

          • Sahel

            Duly noted

        • afronica

          This why I don’t like Chargers. All (show of) power, no finesse.

      • Obsidian Files

        @Ms. AfroPetite:
        LOL, imagine parking a Duece & a Quarter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buick_Electra#1971.E2.80.931976

        O.

        • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

          That’s the kind of car I’d just sit passenger side in. I’m not whipping any car that’s bigger than a Nissan Altima

          • Obsidian Files

            @Ms. AfroPetite:
            LOL, quite a few ladies have said the same. One of thee best wheels I’ve ever had, too. Drove and handled like a dream – it was made for cruising, nice long drives on the open highway – and had “power” everything. I’ve driven quite a few smaller cars as well, but when it comes time to do the Gansta Lean and just cruise? Yea, them types of rides are my shot…

            O.

  • eyecande

    Makes me think of W.E.B. Du Bois asking, “How does it feel to be a problem?” in The Souls of Black Folk.
    Seems like The Champ’s answer is “mundane.” I understand and identify with that from a survival perspective but it also is a little heart breaking. It can be so easy for us to accept being “a problem” sometimes.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      Its true, in a sense we’re all desensitized to it. We just stay low and keep firing #muhfuggasneverlovedus

    • http://trulytafakari.com/ dtafakari

      lovely avi :)

      • eyecande

        Thank you!

  • Val

    There’s a very specific kind of stress to being Black in America. It’s like a tax we all pay to one degree or another. I wonder what it’s like to live in a country where we are the majority? Maybe the world makes those Black people pay a tax though. Welp, maybe we will colonize space at some point. Hmmm, sounds like a decent plot for an all-Black cast sci-fi flick.

    • Obsidian Files

      @Ms. Val:
      Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a market for such fare…

      O.

    • Sahel

      I can get you Tyler Perry’s number,pitch the idea to him…..

      • Obsidian Files

        @Sahel:
        Speaking of Mr. Perry, I’m discussing his most recent revelation he has shared with the world publically in my upcoming column over at Just Four Guys next week. I think it’s something the VSB audience will find most interesting! Stay tuned…

        O.

    • Obsidian Files

      @Ms. Val:
      Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a market for such fare…

      O.

    • basilblues

      This actually has kind of been done. A while back I read an article about this Sci-fi book called “Revealing Eden: Save the Pearls” It’s set in a future where solar radiation means the “Coals” (with dark skin) can survive better than the fair-skinned “Pearls” and so they’ve become the majority. It was written by a white woman though and caused a lot of controversy for still adhering to old racist of ideas, esp that one of dark skin/bad, light skin/good. i didn’t read the book though, so i can’t comment too much beyond that.

      • Val

        Well, I was thinking of something different. More like Black folks going into space to escape racism on earth.

        • basilblues

          ahh…completely read over the “maybe we’ll colonize space” part. that is an interesting idea! i’ve heard of octavia butler but haven’t read any of her books yet.

          right now though for some reason, i’m reminded of District 9. In the back of my mind i still hope that we’ll get a sequel one day so we can know if Christopher comes back and frees the rest of his kind from the south african camps and being scientific experiments.

          • afronica

            Please do yourself a favor and move Butler up on your reading list. She’s the tops.

            • dmcmillian72

              Just added the 2 books @superstrings:disqus suggested to @mackaroto:disqus to my list. Thank ya, kindly! =D

    • Tentpole

      We pay a tax because we don’t want to be responsible for our own destiny. Example: we are complaining HBO doesn’t have enough Black shows. SNL doesn’t have enough Black females. Yet we will not take BET to the woodshed for the trash and stereotype development they provide.

      • Val

        Really, Tent? Seems like a whole lot of Black folks have been complaining and turning off BET for a very long time. And regarding HBO/ SNL; if you are a Black subscriber to HBO then why not complain about a lack of diversity? As for SNL; I’m not sure if there was an outcry amongst Black folks for diversity. I think the media pushed that story. I mean who even watches SNL anymore.

        • SuperStrings

          “Seems like a whole lot of Black folks have been complaining and turning off BET for a very long time.”
          Obviously not more than their target demographic.

          • Val

            I’m not sure if that’s true, SS, they have been seemingly trying to make significant changes to their programming in the last few years. So, maybe those who turned BET off had the intended impact?

            • SuperStrings

              We’ll see. Well, I won’t see since I don’t have cable, but you know what I mean. lol

              • Val

                I don’t have cable either. And BET is a large part of why I don’t. :-)

              • basilblues

                you’re good. the revolution will not be televised : )

                • SuperStrings

                  Well if the revolution is on Netflix, then I’m good. lol

                  • basilblues

                    lol..i enjoy you

                    • SuperStrings

                      Awwww don’t pump me up like that. I’m trying to stay modest.

                    • basilblues

                      ohh I don’t mind giving the occasional, deserved ego stroke

                    • SuperStrings

                      well you don’t have to twist my arm to make me accept a compliment. lol let me email you a thank you.

                    • basilblues

                      this…is so embarrassing…ahem..i haven’t updated my personal handle since middle school. no judgments please lol gellibeangurl@yahoo.com

                    • SuperStrings

                      You’ve got mail.

                    • dmcmillian72

                      LOL! This comment made my DAY!!! Thank you, @basilblues:disqus!

        • Tentpole

          Because I want us to build our own first. We like to show up after someone else has done the work and then act like we been there all along. It would be different if we all had to share the same resources, but we don’t. I should have my own from my own people without having to ask someone else for a hook up.

          • Val

            ” We like to show up after someone else has done the work and then act like we been there all along.”

            Lol. Come on, Tent. That’s not a fair assessment. We showed up late because we were being held back. We still are in many ways.

            And we are beginning to develop our own media. Maybe not as quickly as many would like but we are. Give us a little credit.

          • Sahel

            Tent,there is a court case coming up in the US supreme court that i have been tracking on my spare time. Do you think it’s time affirmative action was scrapped for blacks

        • Sahel

          So is it about inclusion or is it about diversity ??

          • afronica

            I’m not sure I understand. Are inclusion and diversity necessarily mutually exclusive?

            • Sahel

              Arent they. You can be the token black guy and just sit there to top up the numbers. Or you can be be one of the decision makers

              • Val

                I think you are mixing a lot of different terms and situations in this, Sahel. Inclusion and diversity are concepts and the reality of those things may be different depending on the people involved.

              • afronica

                I agree with you that being a decision maker is the preferable position. But I also think there’s a difference between tokenism and inclusion. We just don’t see real inclusion all that much.

                Tokenism to me is the Magic Johnson backed Aspire network mentioned in @h.h.h.’s link. It’s a golden black oldies reruns network formed because Comcast needed to look like they were giving something to “the minorities” on their way to a cable hardware/programming monopoly.

                Inclusion would be about six more Shonda Rhimeses with each one having a distinct voice. And by distinct voice, I mean some testosterone in there somewhere and some people whose oeuvre doesn’t hinge on infidelity.

                Parity or making decisions means at least three more Oprah’s/OWN’s, and again with distinct voices.

                I think making it a duality (either tokenism or decision making) is too simplistic and leaves us in the wild even longer.

                • http://theblackbondblog.wordpress.com/ BlkBond

                  Dope comment.

                  • afronica

                    Thank you Bond, BlkBond.

      • Jay

        Your answer peeled back a layer and went a little deeper than Val’s issue, but to go another level deeper… Who is us?? “WE” are too segmented and varied. “WE” want different things. There are large segments of this “WE” that think that BET is just fine and is something to be celebrated. In order for BET to be handled the way you suggested there would have to be a contingent of us powerful enough to override the misguided. Then we’re stepping into the realm of potential tyranny. Just saying… it’s pretty complicated.

        • SuperStrings

          Agreed. So maybe the answer is to have more options than just BET.

          • h.h.h.

            Agreed. So maybe the answer is to have more options than just BET.

            they’re in the works; time will tell whether they’re up to whatever black folks (bougie or otherwise) want.

            *does the Chris Paul Assist*

            http://www.npr.org/2013/11/12/244558834/comcast-deal-puts-new-minority-run-channels-in-play

            • SuperStrings

              Nothing like a little competition to make you step your game up. We’ll see if BET is up to the task.

              • h.h.h.

                well i mean BET’s focus for the next couple of years, will be coming up with new programming. just took a look at their current programming schedule, and they don’t have much original programming, and majority of their programming is..well…re-runs. it’s kinda sparse, and whatever evil brush folks use to paint BET with, probably could be put away now.

          • Jay

            I don’t know if that’s the answer or if there is an easy answer. More options would be the solution in a perfect world but in reality the pie is only so big, even with mainstream(white) networks. The funding and viewership required to attract advertisers would be a problem. That being said, I believe that white kids being so attracted to black “culture” is what keeps BET on the air. Part of the problem is that they LOVE the facets of the culture that we bemoan.

            • dmcmillian72

              It’s like you perfectly put into words what I’m thinking… Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could pick the little Angels that sit on our shoulders? #WishfulThinking Lol!

        • http://theblackbondblog.wordpress.com/ BlkBond

          Exactly. Good insight, this is where ‘we’ need to start before any other questions get asked.

          Bond.

        • pls

          so ya’ll think bet is worse than vh1?

          it’s nothing like the old bet, which a lot of people complain about because bet uncut is gone *side eye* (yes, i’m aware some miss video soul, rap city, teen summit, and bet news), but vh1 is the one that is exploiting black viewers. On that one channel is basketball wives, love and hip hop, hollywood exes, regular slots for popular “hood” movies, countdowns devoted to “educating” the masses about our culture….

          106 and park is really the only show carrying bet as far as i know.

          not to mention we have centric, tv1, OWN, spike tv does a good job imo of catering to multiple demographics (albeit male)…why are people so hard on bet?

    • SuperStrings

      Colonizing space was the main objective of Lauren Olamina in Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. I’m an Octavia Butler fan.

      • http://trulytafakari.com/ dtafakari

        maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, I was just talking about her books yesterday. The Xenogenesis series was amazing.

        • afronica

          I think you said you thought you might be ooloi. I high-fived you from a thousand miles away. :-D

      • Jay

        Sounds interesting. I’m all about anything involving afro-futurism… what book should I start with? Point me in the right direction.

        • SuperStrings

          Shoot, you can pick any of Octavia Butler’s books at random. Start with Parable of the Sower, and then Parable of the Talents. They’ll be quick reads, mostly because you won’t be able to put them down.

  • nillalatte

    9:30, 10:00 jobs? Damn. I’m in the wrong field. :P Funny, you have the same feelings, thoughts, emotions I do when I see the cops, but from a totally different perspective. I am very aware of their presence and make an effort to avoid when possible.

    Some DUMB things that people to do to draw their attention and often end up taking trips in the back of vans that can be avoided are:

    Keep your car registered
    Tail lights in working order and RED tape if you have a broken tail light until you can replace it
    Bumpers actually mounted ON the car
    Drive the speed limit. Cruise control is my friend.
    Not paying attention <<< HUGE. People running stop signs with a cop sitting right behind them or next to them. Just ignant.

    Yes, I am Nilla and I am paranoid. I avoid contact with cops like the plague.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      I’m saying, I’m on the train omw to work now, and I’m late. Must be niiiiiice *Lyfe voice *

    • Sahel

      Where else do people mount bumpers ??

      • nillalatte

        LOL… some I’ve seen just barely hanging on for life, tied up with rope or a chain. I’m just like, “Really? Are you serious? You just want attention, huh?” Not abiding by the rules will get you pulled over in a NY minute beyond, well, you know, BBWD.

  • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

    Interesting post Champ. The thing is that not only have I lived that life (and so does every Black person in America), but I’ve also lived the flip side among White America, and it’s a scary thought as well. Many conservatives have implied that all Black people have to do is assimilate into “mainstream” (read: White) culture, and all will be well with Black folk and racism. The thing is that they don’t really comprehend what that means.

    That year and change in White Suburbia felt like I was taking a veeeery long vacation. On one hand, I knew the White kids on the corner likely wasn’t packing heat. On the other hand, it was like living in a bizarro world. In a way, the immediate danger of bullets was replaced with the constant tension of not fitting in at all and risking punishment. Little things like, say, finding a barber to cut my hair. (Flashing back to yesterday, it was a reason I was so reluctant to switch barbers as this one held me down from a distance.) It’s hearing that cool thing on the radio or seeing something on the net and knowing that NO ONE would be able to talk to you about it. It’s going to the park on a nice day and seeing the park empty except for the skate section. It’s going to Wegman’s and being confused that while they sell collard greens, they don’t sell smoked pork, let alone smoked turkey. It’s having to swallow you identity every moment except when you’re in your car or in your house, save for when you go home among your people and despite the corner boys sit back and drink it in.

    Now if we can just be in our hoods without the risk of getting shot. It seems to work for the Italians, Jews, Russians and the whole lot of ethnic groups in the New York Tri-State. Hmmm…

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      Its disheartening how much I enjoy living in my town so much I cringe when I have to visit friends and family who still live in the same neighborhoods. I’m a pretty default looking black dude, I can easily be mistaken for a suspect or beef.

    • SuperStrings

      ” It seems to work for the Italians, Jews, Russians and the whole lot of ethnic groups”
      This is because, historically, there hasn’t been a proactive effort to undermine the cultural cohesiveness of these groups when they’ve done positive things. Black people who have tried to form safe, economically empowered, culturally viable communities have been actively undermined or often blatantly destroyed. The reason for this is fear. They do not fear the black masses as they are now because the acts of aggression are disorganized and largely internalized. The fear is that, once you eliminate the internalized violence, then educated, culturally cohesive, economically empowered communities could leverage such assets to change the power dynamic.

      • 321mena123

        Policies were put into place to help those groups assimilate. The same was not done for us.

        • SuperStrings

          The contrary was done for us. Policies were put in place to prevent assimilation. Vigilante and government sanctioned violence were also used.

          • 321mena123

            *head nod* Exactly. Housing is the biggest one. The detriment from that one alone with have lasting affects for the next 100-200 years.

            • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

              Agreed. The jacked up part is a lot of Black leaders actively helped grease the screw for a number of reasons: naivete, corruption, realpolitik notions about keeping their elected office and flat out greed.

        • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

          Yes and no. Jewish people in particular figured out the deal and took control of a LOT of land before the FHA on the low. They were going to be alright no matter what came down simply because once you own large amounts of real estate, you can control what happens to it. But you’re right about the other groups.

      • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

        You nailed it, and I think that’s a biggie that people don’t understand about Black America. While there have been all sorts of White groups that have suffered discrimination historically, when they went back to their part of town, they were left to their own devices. From there, they were able to build communities from which people could remain or leave as they chose. On the flip side, there’s a history of actively trying to mess with Black communities in America, and to the extent they’ve been left alone, they’ve been allowed to thrive.

    • afronica

      This made me realize that the last time I lived among white folk exclusively was in college. Otherwise, it’s been hood black, working to middle-class black or jewish/black/latino/white mixed. It would be weird to walk around and see mostly white people.

      • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

        I remember when I lived around White people that whenever I would come home to the old neighborhood I would just stand for 5-10 minutes and look at all the Black people. When you’re never around your kind, seeing them is a nice feeling.

        • afronica

          Like stepping into the sun…

  • kidvideo

    This post makes me think Champ has a leather bound first edition copy of Ellison’s Invisible Man on a mantle above the fireplace.

    • The Champ

      by “leather bound first edition” do you mean “dogeared copy with at least a chapter missing”? if so, then yes, i do

  • IcePrincess

    “and I’ll take to the backyard to pee & sh*t.” That’s nasty champ. Why not just use the bathroom in the house? ;)

    • kidvideo

      He was talking bout his dog.

      • IcePrincess

        Looool mane I nominate that for best typo of the year!

    • The Champ

      it’s how i bond with the dog and sh*t