The Differences Between Northern Blacks And Southern Blacks

If you can guess where this pic was taken, I'll give you...nothing. Because it's an easy f*cking answer

If you can guess where this pic was taken, I’ll give you…nothing. Because it’s an easy f*cking answer

(A timely blast from the VSB past. Happy Friday.) 

Question of the day: Aside from accents and the always hilarious soda vs pop battle (it’s #teampop all the way, bitch), are there any other behaviors, characteristics, and mores separating Blacks from the north and Blacks from the south?

(Oh, and just to be clear, although the south technically starts once you pass the Mason-Dixon line, I’m going to throw the entire DMV — well, the entire DMV except for the backwoods of Virginia where they breed 400 pound rottweilers and things named “Marcus Vick“ — in with the north.)

This is (obviously) a rhetorical question. Why? Well, OF COURSE there are intraracial regional differences. The only thing left is what I plan to do today — determine exactly what these differences are.

Oh, and before I continue, there’s a couple things I want to add:

1. This “determination” will be completely anecdotal. I’ve done no studies, surveyed no people, and slept with no cousins to understand what it’s like to be from Mississippi. These are just observations I’ve made, that’s all.

2. I realize that limiting this to northern and southern Blacks leaves out midwestern Blacks, west coast Blacks, northwestern Blacks, and n*ggas from Youngstown. If you’re a member of one of those neglected populations, please feel free to add your own observations in the comments.

Anyway, let’s begin.

Southern Blacks are more likely to…

…attend HBCUs, be Greek, attend church, be Baptist, have stupid-ass names that are hybrid combinations of other names (i.e.: “DeLadariusray Jenkins”), get married at a younger age, get married at all, buy expensive American cars, buy cheap-ass American cars and put $35,000 worth of added expense in them, know their fathers, hate White people but date and/or marry interracially, be killed by White rednecks, coordinate outfits, have happier, more fulfilling lives, eat everything on a pig except its eyeballs and anus, buy Steve Harvey books, look like Steve Harvey, be colorstruck and not realize that being colorstruck is a bad thing, breed better women, rock braids/cornrows/locks (the men, at least), be provincial, be socially conservative, be unpretentious, have children, and be generally better people.

On the other hand, northern Blacks seem to be more likely to…

…attend PWIs, scoff at HBCUs while secretly wishing they had decided to attend one instead of paying 75 grand a year to attend some bullsh*t liberal arts college in Poughkeepsie, New York, be anything (Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, Laker Fan, etc) but Christian, be smart, have stupid-ass names that have absolutely no connection to anything remotely human name sounding (i.e. “Powerful Godbody Jenkins”), convince themselves that they’ve willingly chosen to stay single, buy European, be cool with white people even though they’d never actually date one, be militant, get killed by white rednecks with billy-clubs and badges, not be decedents of American slaves, rock ceasers, coordinate furniture, have better, more fulfilling lives…on paper, be more worried about how they’re perceivedread Hill Harper books, look like Hill Harper, look like someone who’d date someone who looked like Hill Harper, abstain from pork for no apparent reason, be staunchly liberal and close-minded at the exact same time, be somewhat lame, but migrate to the south and be the sh*t down there, be professional and promiscuous, live generally “better” lives.

Did I miss anything?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Should Men Have Any Reproductive Rights?

pregnant-black-woman

***I originally answered this question in my weekly Madame Noire column yesterday, but I thought the topic was so interesting that I decided to expand on the answer and post it here.***

Hey Damon,

The other day my friends and I were watching this show about adoption and in this particular episode, this couple, who’ve been dating for a year, accidentally get pregnant. The woman, who already has a child, wants to keep the baby, but also understands that her boyfriend has said explicitly over and over again, even before she got pregnant, that he never wanted children. And would inevitably resent a child if he were to ever have one. The woman ended up giving the child up for adoption, reluctantly at first and then in the follow up, she’d made peace with her decision.

The whole thing was upsetting to watch because it was clear that the woman wanted to keep the baby but only if the man wanted to keep the child as well. But it also made me consider the lack of rights most men have when it comes to parenthood. Are there so many absentee fathers because men who never wanted to be fathers just couldn’t and still can’t see themselves being responsible and present for their children? Conventionally, we’re told if a woman gets pregnant that it’s completely her choice whether she decides to have the child or not. Ultimately it is but, as a man, what role or say do you think men should have in all of this?

—Forced Fatherhood

Dear Forced Fatherhood,

Damn. This wasn’t exactly a soup question. I’m going to answer this the best I can. But, before I begin, I will also say that there are people much smarter than me who study, read, and write about this particular issue much more often than I do, and after reading this, I’d research their thoughts and opinions about this as well.

Questions like this bring to light how culturally unbalanced our concept of child-rearing tends to be. While men are socially expected to be active and loving fathers, we’re also socialized to believe that a tiny bit of sperm is our only meaningful contribution to this entire process. Think about it: If men and women are supposed to join forces to raise children together, why are little girls the only ones “allowed” to play with baby dolls? Why aren’t teen boys encouraged to consider babysitting as a source of practical experience (and extra income) the same way teen girls are? Why don’t we throw baby showers for men?

I know these questions seem silly, but they only seem silly because we’ve been taught it’s a silly idea for little boys to play with dolls and have any type of experience handling and taking care of babies…which is a silly thing to be taught.

Anyway, the question of pregnancy rights is one where the right, socially accepted answer—that women have complete say over whether a child will or will not be born—has some inherent “wrongness” to it. As mentioned earlier, both men and women have to collaborate to create a baby. So, logically—even considering the fact that women have to carry—a man should have equal say on whether to keep it.

But, in this case, that particular wrong of a man not having any say is better than any alternative solution.

Yes it’s “unfair” that men don’t have any legal say on the decision to keep a baby, especially since he will be legally obligated to provide for that child for the next 18 years. But this “unfairness” is for the greater good.

If you allow men to have legal say over whether a woman can keep a baby, you’re restricting her legal right to have complete dominion over her body.

And, if you don’t hold men responsible for children they helped create—basically, if you allow men to legally opt out before the child is born—it would ultimately hurt the baby. Also, think of how messy this could be legally. What’s to stop a man who “agreed” to care and provide for the baby when it was conceived to say “Um, nevermind.” three months into term? And, what’s to stop him from changing his mind again once the baby is born?

Basically, the “wrongness” of men having no say in that process is less wrong than what would happen if men did.

Also, I wouldn’t blame the prevalence of absentee fathers on this issue. Yes, people — men and women — need to make smarter sexual choices. There is no such thing as an “accidental” pregnancy, especially when their are multiple effective means of birth control—including the pull out method. (Yes. The pull out method works. It only doesn’t work when you…don’t pull out.)

But while I’m willingly to concede that some men do get “trapped,” most who selfishly skirt their responsibilities do it because…they’re selfish and irresponsible. The pregnancy rights laws and some “lying-ass woman” didn’t jam them up. Their own penises did.

The best solution to all of this is to be in a committed relationship where both parties are on the same page about children, and both parties respect and consider each other’s opinions. Even then, the woman still has the final say. Yes, its unfair, but there’s a small device that goes a very long way to prevent that unfairness from ever happening:

Condoms.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Yes, Loving “Scandal” Probably Does Make You A Hypocrite. (But, Who F*cking Cares?)

(Black) People finding out you’ve never watched more than a half hour (combined) of Scandal sort of reminds me of the reaction I’d receive when people found out I’d never watched The Color Purple and I’ve never done the Electric Slide. The incredulousness received was so extreme that it began to annoy me, turning my non-viewing and non-sliding into a point of pride. Instead of just not sitting down to watch The Color Purple and just not finding the opportunity to learn the Electric Slide, I’d intentionally avoid it. It became one of my “things” like “Oh, that’s Champ over there. He lives in Pittsburgh, used to hoop, and he sits down and smirks whenever the Electric Slide song comes on.”

I haven’t reached that point with Scandal, and I doubt I ever will. It seems like a nice enough show, and my reasons for not getting into it have more to do with my tastes—I tend to like my shows funny (30 Rock, Parks and Rec, etc), dark (The Wire, Luther, etc), or dark and funny (Louie, The Sopranos, etc)—than any type of (admittedly) bizarre preemptive metahate. But, despite the fact that I haven’t watched it, like The Color Purple, it’s become such a part of our cultural zeitgeist that you really don’t have to watch it to know about it. You could probably create a Wiki page for Olivia Pope just off of Facebook status messages every Thursday.

Anyway, in the past week, I’ve read three Scandal-related articles—“Real Talk: What’s Up With the ‘Scandal’ Backlash?” by Demetria Lucas, “Such A Big Ego: Why Some Black Men Have A Problem With “Scandal” by Kirsten West Savali, and “Scandal’ Fans: Guilty by Association?” by Kellee Terrell—and if you were to combine each together and distill them, you’d be left with three points.

1. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE Scandal

2. (Black) Men criticize (Black women) for loving Scandal despite some scandalous behavior from its lead character

3. We (Black women who love Scandal) are not hypocrites. If anyone is a hypocrite, it’s Black men

As I mentioned before, it’s near impossible to be on social media and not know the basic premise of the show. Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope is perhaps the most powerful woman in D.C. Her great grandfather was Dr. Manhattan. One click of her heel could make Colin Powell cowtow. If she even winked at you, your head would explode, and Keyser Sose would bankrupt your uncle’s construction business. She’s the shit and shit. She’s also seeing (and in love with) the President…who is married…and is White!

It’s also understandable why the show is so popular. It’s set in D.C., which is to bougie Black girls what Home Depot is to fat crackheads. It features a bougie Black girl in possession of all the things bougie Black girls think of when attempting to get aroused—power, lip gloss, a barely detectable lisp, the ability to affect policy over brunch meetings, shoes and shit, men who want to do more than just invite her over at 1am for Wendy’s and Burn Notice. Plus, no one does “I will make you root and shed tears for these flawed motherf*ckers” better than Shonda Rhimes. She is a maven, a magician, the bougie Black girl’s Geppetto.

Despite all of this, it’s somewhat disingenuous to suggest that her affair with the President isn’t the meat and potatoes of the show’s appeal. Yes, her occupation and the perception of power matters—this show doesn’t work if she’s a school lunch lady who secretly calls all the shots and knows all the secrets in the teacher’s lounge—but there’s no doubt in my mind it wouldn’t be as popular if she happened to be married. Or just single. Or a lesbian. Or having an affair with an equally powerful lawyer. Her impact as a Black woman makes the show irreverent. Her affair makes it sexy, and sexy beats irreverent’s ass every time.

So yes. If you are a bougie Black girl—a population who, despite my undying love and shit for them, is somewhat defined by their sanctimony-based snark about everything—and you activity root for Olivia Pope to “win” her love affair, you are a big steaming pile of hypocrite.

But, guess what? That’s ok!

No one—well, no one with a brain—cares. Yes, it does make you a f*cking hypocrite to rip apart the ratchet behavior of the Real Basketball Wives of Hip-Hop and turn around and root for a woman who’s basically doing the same thing, just as it makes me a f*cking hypocrite for marching against violence but listening to Rick Ross on the way to the rally, or the chick clowning King Catfish on Twitter this evening despite the fact that she’s been dating the same dude for four years and still doesn’t know where he lives, and exactly like the hypocrisy millions of Americans exhibit when pretending to care about concussions and player safety and still sucking on the NFL teet every weekend.

Hypocrisy is as American as assault rifles. This country was founded by a group of extremely brilliant, extremely educated, and extremely pious men who still believed that enslaving people wasn’t really that bad of a thing. Hypocrisy is our birthright, our history, and our legacy, and you look sillier denying it than if you just said “F*ck it” and embraced it.

We are all hypocrites in some way or another–especially when it comes to what we choose to consume—and the longer Scandal lovers who exhibit this behavior refuse to admit to and accept their own hypocrisy, the longer they’ll get called on it…like everyone else does. Being a bougie Black girl and using words like “nuance” and “slut-shaming” doesn’t absolve you from doing some things that don’t really jive with some other things you do, and “hypocrite” is just one appropriate word for that type of behavior.

You know another one? “Human.”

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Fighting The Power With Radio Ruckus

Jesse? Jesse, dat you at the frigidaire???

(If you have iTunes, click this link to the Jesse Lee Peterson Radio Show and our episode is labeled “Tragedy of Black Babies” LOL. We are the last hour and start at about the 1: 28 mark.)

I didn’t want to do this interview. Let me state that upfront. In fact, when we got the initial email showing interest in having Champ and myself on the Jesse Lee Peterson show, my first reaction was, who in the hell is Jesse Lee Peterson and what part of Arkansas is he broadcasting from.

But it turns out Mr. Peterson, Jesse Lee that is, is a quite well-known and accomplished (political leanings aside and dbaggery aside, but I’ll get to that) speaker and organizer. Then came the Wikipedia page that convinced me that I was right. Mind you I’d never heard of this dude before but his list of accomplishments amazed me. This ninja thinks Obama hates white people, thanks white people for slavery, started an actual Anti-Jesse Jackson day (jury’s out on whether or not this is a good or bad thing), is a Republican, right wing extremist and conservative. And he’s a reverend. Basically, this motherf*cker is Uncle Ruckus’ ordained cousin, Rev. Ruckus.

At this point, I decided I need to seek counsel from everybody except my father who I’m pretty sure would curse me out for even considering doing this ninjas show. I talked to family members who all told me not to do it, but at the end of the day, Champ and Liz convinced me that this might be a good idea. At the very least we could have fun and if there was ever an opportunity to do some crime-fighting, this would be it.  But I felt dirty. And for the most part, my gut was right.

With that said, here are ten things that I learned while actively participating in both the best and worst radio interview and convo we’ve been apart as VSB…

1. First rule about doing a radio interview with a ninja named Jesse Lee Peterson is don’t do a radio interview with Jesse Lee Peterson.

I don’t think the guy’s a bad guy, but wow, even before we got on the horn with him I thought he needed to have Siemen’s furniture. From the outset of the show, my suspicions were confirmed. Which brings up another point…

2. There’s no way you can truly prepare for somebody who’s entire opinion and reason to be is in direct contradiction to everything you believe in life.

I imagine this is what rappers feel like visiting shows like Bill O’Reilly or what a convo with Glenn Beck would feel like. Which is interesting, I always wondered how they always seemed to have a leg up on their guests, but when you control the convo and aren’t answering questions yourself, you have that power. We somehow ended up on the defensive for the majority of that convo. Which is fine, defense wins games. But I’ll concede that he definitely tripped me up a few times…like…

3. Apparently Jesse Lee hates Black women.

Grandiose statement? Perhaps. But I’ll be damned if his presumption that most Black women are angry didn’t lead me down that path. Then again, it’s all perspective. Was he talking about the angry Black women stereotype, or legitimate anger that women can’t seem to find good men (or at least that’s what the media is telling us.) Who cares, his whole premise, initially, was that all Black women are angry. To the point where the motherf*cker asked Champ how he deals with his girlfriend’s anger.

Point here is…

4. Just because you have a Black name doesn’t mean you give two f*cks about Blackness.

In his own way, Rev Ruckus thinks he’s doing a service to Black people by exposing our faults. And he would be if he wasn’t blowing white folks in the process. Oops, did Panama just say that? Yes he did.

5. Apparently I don’t even know my own mother.

The fact that I actually got into a spirited debate with somebody about my own mother is beyond me. Which brings me to something I realize more and more when we do these interviews. We get a lot of softball questions. The first time somebody came throwing boulders, I was so taken aback (not so much that he was going to, I expected that, but how quickly out of the gate he came with it) that I actually got suckered into a dumb a** argument about my mother, a woman I’ve known my whole life. Next time, kick rocks donkeynuts.

6. While I definitely got pissed at one point, I actually found the interview to be more comical than anything.

People who know me in real life know I get amped. Like all the way turnt up amped. I rarely back down and I go in all the way. Arsonist is not just a nickname, it’s a way of life. So it took all kinds of restraint for me to be easy. Though every time I called him “bruh” or “brutha” I’m pretty sure I was really calling saying “n*gga”.

7. I’ve never sent more “is this n*gga serious” text messages in my life.

I was both tweeting and texting during the interview. I actually had to mute my self a few times just to laugh because of the pure ridiculousness of this mofo. Not only did he twist some of our words up, he also created our own conclusions for us. But then again, I know I put dude in a position to do so by not being as direct as possible. Its like media-training-by-fire. I’m learning so much. Next time a motherf*cker asks me a question, forget what I think the answer should be, all direct all the time. “Hey Panama, should I jump off of this bridge?” “Yes, Jesse Lee, you should. No question.”

8. I found myself asking myself, who the f*ck was he listening to?

More than once he put words in our mouths…um….but the “are you a good man?” question where we both said yes, and he comes back from commercial break like “well one of you said no and the other said maybe” baffled me. I watched Crackheads Gone Wild on DVD yesterday morning and THAT exchange with Rev Ruckus was the most baffling thing that happened to me yesterday.

9. I’ve learned that research is important.

While on the call, I texted Liz to ask her to find out if he was married because I wanted to go there on this dude. But I couldn’t confirm one way or another and I didn’t want to hear, “this isn’t about me, this is about you and the BS answers you both are giving.” Which he basically said when he alluded to, “why are you guys doing this since neither of you knows how to give solid answers or provide anything worthy of note for anybody, much less lab rats, hoodrats, or big booty Judy’s named Bertha. Next time, I’m gonna have a freakin’ Match.com profile sheet pulled on anybody who wants to question our credibility.

10. I don’t actually disagree all that much with his stances on things.

Well at least I don’t disagree with his ability to have countering opinions to my own. I’m obviously more liberal than I thought, which is cool. Legalize weed. But that’s the problem with liberals…we generally just want people to live and let live. Conservatives not only think that’s bullsh*t, they want to talk about why it’s bullsh*t. No wonder why hippie music died out. Everybody became Republican and started hating on the younger generations. It’s the ciiiiiiiiiiircle of life. Oh, except his BS assertion that men have no business discussing or communicating their personal issues towards women. Cromagnon arse ninja.

I felt like this was worth sharing. A sort of director’s cut of behind the scenes imagery of what’s going on in the mind of folks while we’re doing these interviews and stuff. I’ve long felt like we could do a Behind The Blog on VSB and it would be the most entertaining sh*t ever.

Sharing is caring.

If you listened, any thoughts? Criticisms? Surprises? Talk to me.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

Why Ashley Judd Was 100% Right…And 100% Wrong

They're raping everyone out here

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or one of Big Baby Davis’s boobs, you’ve undoubtedly been made aware of the negative comments Ashley Judd made about hip-hop in her upcoming memoir, “All That Is Bitter And Sweet

“Along with other performers, YouthAIDS was supported by rap and hip-hop artists like Snoop Dogg and P. Diddy to spread the message…um, who? Those names were a red flag.

As far as I’m concerned, most rap and hip-hop music — with it’s rape culture and insanely abusive lyrics and depictions of girls and women as ‘ho’s’ — is the contemporary soundtrack of misogyny.”

Predictably, these remarks set off an internet firestorm. There were reluctantly pro Ashley articles, pro-Ashley articles, Ashley for president articles, reluctantly anti Ashley articles, anti-Ashley articles, all white b*tches must die articles, and all black n*ggers must be castrated articles. As of 11:05pm EST Wednesday night, googling “ashley judd hip-hop” returned 3,620,000 results.

It’s been a little over a week since these comments were made public. In the time since, after apparently receiving death threats from everyone from Diggy Simmons to Andrew Bynum, Ashley has “clarified,” stating (from her interview with Russell Simmons on Global Grind):

…My intention was to take a stand to say the elements that are misogynistic and treat girls and women in a hyper-sexualized way are inappropriate. The male dominance that is displayed, and the reinforcement of girls’ and women value and identify as primarily sexual, is not helpful in any artistic expression, in any cultural form, whether its country music or in television story lines.”

She even gives a shout-out to hip-hop’s richest and most notable nihilist.

“As for the artists themselves who I mention, I write about being friendly with and enjoying Curtis Jackson’s company, then being confused when on stage his .50 personae comes out.”

(I just have to say that I’m absolutely tickled that she referred to Fiddy as .50.)

As far as whether Judd’s initial comments — particularly the “rape-culture” remark — hold water, let me share something with you.

I originally was going to title this “25 Reasons Why Ashley Judd Was Right,” and, instead of creating my own reasons, I planned to just take “rape-sympathetic” lyrics from 25 different songs made by uber-popular artists in the last two or three years and list those instead. Each genre of rap — from the South and the mixtapes to the “conscious” and the club — would have been included.

Yes, rap is much, much more than running trains, putting p*ssies in sarcophaguses, and bruising esophaguses, but no with a working brain and even one working ear can deny that hip-hop is EXTREMELY misogynistic. You can argue and debate exactly why it’s so women-hating, but you just cannot ignore the fact that it is, it has been for (at least) 20 years, and it’s getting worse.

With that being said…

I haven’t read Faith Evans’ “Keep the Faith: A Memoir.” I also haven’t read Janet Jackson’s “True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself.” And, although the cover looks nice, I’ll probably never read Victoria Rowell’s “Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva.”

But, although I’ve never read any of those books, I’m 100% certain that none of them contain any disparaging remarks about country music, grunge, metal or any other genre of music where popular artists have been accused of being misogynistic. While every person obviously has a right to speak up about injustices, I’m not so certain that hip-hop needs a country music scion to police it.

Yes, these statements were published in her memoirs, and (good) memoirs are basically published diaries — completely naked accounts of your life and your thoughts –but that’s actually my point: Why did she even feel the need to go there? I mean, when I eventually write my memoirs — “The Passion of The Deez” coming in July of 2031 — you can be certain that I’m not going to devote an entire paragraph to my feelings about Billy Ray Cyrus or Johnny Cash or Boris Yeltzen or anyone or anything else I really have no business writing about.

This isn’t a race thing either. If a white person with a bit more of a relationship to hip-hop or even a pop culture critic like a Chuck Klosterman made these remarks, fine. But, an actress whose two most notable claims to fame are A) coming out of Naomi Judd’s vagina and B) rooting for a college basketball team?¹ Miss me with that.

Anyway, people of VSB.com, what you do think about Judd’s statements? Do you think she had a valid point? And, even if you think she might have a point, how do you feel about someone like her publicly expressing it?

The carpet is yours.

¹To her credit, Judd does have a very extensive and very laudable history of women’s rights advocacy. I was told about this after I posted the entry, and this knowledge has softened my stance quite a bit. Still, I prefer my hip-hop critics to have a bit more of a connection to hip-hop culture, though

—The Champ

If you haven’t purchased the paperback or the $9.99 Kindle version of “Your Degrees Wont Keep You Warm at Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime” yet, what the hell is stopping you?