Champ: You know, the Iron Bowl—and the SEC (Southeastern Conference) by extension—capturing the country’s attention is put in a different perspective when talking to my dad and uncles, their friends, etc. because none of them f*ck with SEC schools. At least not rooting wise. They all still remember that those schools were the last to have black players.
PJ: Real talk…even my father hates Alabama b/c of that reason; which is why he pulls for Auburn.
PJ: But that’s kind of a bad argument. Shoot, we all root for former racist sports teamsand you’re mad because one of those professoinal teams was the last to integrate?
Champ: For him, it’s weird to see black people rooting for teams like Alabama and the Red Sox.
PJ: If you’re going to hate something because of integration you kind of have to hate it all. Somebody has to be last.
Champ: Well,I think certain terms were specifically known for being racist, or lead by racists, rather.
PJ: That much is clear,but that also changed.
Champ: The Red Sox, Alabama football, Kentucky basketball, etc.
PJ: And those racists are no longer there. Sh*t, Indiana basketball may not be “known” for it as much, but they all had the same policy. All of them.
Champ: I can understand not letting it go, though.
PJ: Some were just more upfront about it.
Champ: Especially if you lived through it.
PJ: Southerners are just more honest about their racism. Yeah, I can understand that. I’m just saying that if you lived through that, then you lived thru a lot of racist sports. So if you root for anybody, you’re still rooting for a team that at some point practiced de facto racism. I suppose in some ways, i can understand why you’d root for the first teams to integrate. I’ll say this; if you root for all the first teams to integrate and hate all the last ones to integrate, it makes sense.
Champ: Yeah, but there’s a difference between someone who might have been racist and someone who happily defined themselves by it.
PJ: Because one person said it and another lived it? I don’t really think there’s much of a difference if you only changed because you couldn’t afford not to; which, lets be real, was the case with most sports franchises, college or pro. How does that make it any better? Saying “they weren’t defined by it…” doesn’t mean they were not racist. it just means they didnt go out of their way to state it. They still operated quite happily under those circumstances. I’m not even sure why I’m arguing this; I get it. I can’t blame anybody for hating the Kentucky’s, Alabama’s, or especially Boston sports. But I do stand by the fact that most schools were happily racist for quite some time.
Champ: That’s true.
PJ: Pro teams as well.
Champ: But some were specifically known for being that way. It doesn’t make them the “most” racist. But it does make them the ones black people are least likely to f*ck with.
PJ: Old black people. But yeah, I feel that. Like I said, thats why my father hates Alabama. It helps that he grew up very close to Auburn, but the hate is palpable. Interestingly enough, I think that’s why I tend to have to toss a lot of that hatred to the side…for certain institutions. Remember, many stores didnt want us shopping there, period. Now we happily patronize those stores. Race creates complicated relationships.
Champ: It does.
PJ: You know whats most telling…Kentucky football was the first one to integrate in the SEC and Alabama wasn’t even last. LSU integrated after Alabama did. I’m looking at this chart and Alabama and Auburn integrated a year apart.
Champ: Alabama matters more, though, because Alabama was Alabama; Bear Bryant and sh*t. (Paul “Bear” Bryant actually claimed he couldn’t recruit Black players because he wasn’t allowed to. When he finally was able to, he opened the flood gates.)
PJ: And sh*t…the Redskins were the last pro team to integrate, but every n-wrod in America rooted for them because of Doug Williams.
Champ: From Grambling State University (HBCU in northern Louisiana)
PJ: Right. My point is…the Redskins were a notoriously racist team that refused to sign black players. Defiantly so. This probably explains why we have so many Cowboys fans in DC.
-PJ and Champ
If you talk to enough BBP in your travels, you’ll soon find they tend to share a hyper-awareness about two things.
Told their entire lives that they’re a little smarter, a little funnier, and a little cooler than their peers—basically, that they’re uniquely special motherfuckers—much of a Bougie Black Person’s existence is predicated on the idea that merely existing isn’t enough. Being a cog in the system or a worker bee won’t cut it. They’re destined for bigger and better things. Not only do they have to matter, they’re supposed to.
There are no other types of Black people more in tune with, aware of, and (surprisingly) in love with the concept of Blackness than Bougie Black People. Not regular Blacks. Not militant Blacks. Not Black scholars. And not even Blacks from Memphis. They are conscious of what “Blackness” means, the arbitrary variables often used to craft that definition, and the fact that this definition needs constant assessing and recalibration. Although they’re often comfortable navigating non-Black worlds, they’re intentionally, almost painstakingly cognizant of how Black people are perceived by non-Blacks. If one ever needed to know the “level of Blackness” of any person, place, or citrus fruit, a BBP would be the best person to ask.
This consciousness largely stems from the fact that BBP’s inherent self-consciousness about being a BBP puts them in perpetual thought about their own Blackness. By extension, this leads to frequent thought about everyone’s and everything else’s Blackness. (Even certain White people’s level of Blackness is a popular topic of conversation among BBP¹)
When you combine this need to matter with an obsession with Blackness, you’re prone to find some very peculiar behavior. One such behavior occurs whenever Bougie Black People go out to eat at a restaurant.
At first glance, their behavior doesn’t seem any different than any other people eating crab-stuffed curry grape leaves at the city’s trendiest Greek/Jamaican fusion tapas hookah lounge. They sit, drink water with lemons, order and eat their food, and have conversations about Willow Smith, yoga mats, and gentrification.
All normalcy changes when the check comes, though. While most other demographics tend to tip between 10% and 20%, BBP trend a bit higher, regularly tipping somewhere between 25% and 40%. This increase also has nothing to do with the service. Short of squatting and shitting in a Bougie Black Person’s salad, there’s not much a server can do to fall below the 25% baseline.
Now, overtipping has obvious benefits—better service, better karma, better chance of impressing Bougie Black Girls enough to earn the elusive Bougie Black Girl head, etc—but the BBP’s primary motivation for partaking in this practice has nothing to do with any of that.
Black people are generally regarded as terrible tippers. Whether this perception is actually true is irrelevant.² Also irrelevant is the chicken/egg argument of which came first: Blacks receiving shittier service (and becoming shitty tippers as a result) or Blacks tipping shittily (and receiving shitty service as a result). What is relevant is that this perception follows Black people everywhere. Bougie Black People—already hypersensitive to all things Black—are very aware of this, so they overtip to send four separate but somewhat overlapping messages to the (usually White) server.
1. “Yeah, you thought you were getting $7, didn’t you, racist motherfucker? Well, here’s $11. How do you like them apples?”
2. “Don’t worry. I’m not like the rest of them. Here’s proof.”
3. “So what if the bill was $40 more than I expected it to be. I was recently promoted from Mid-Atlantic New Media Practices Diversity Initiator for Exxon Mobile to Mid-Atlantic New Media Practices Diversity Manager for Exxon Mobile. I can afford both it and the 35% tip. Bitch.”
The last message, though, is most important.
4. “I know how you probably feel about Blacks and tipping. This will reverse it.”
The Bougie Black Person’s belief in mattering is so steadfast that they believe a 30% tip left by one of them will be enough to neutralize every thought his server has ever had about Blacks being poor tippers. And, if this particular server has never possessed that thought, the overtipping serves as a preemptive measure to counteract any future thoughts.
Unfortunately, doing this could lead to another unfortunate thought: Black people can’t do math.
¹Unfortunately, this is limited to White men (who just have to be romantically linked to a Black woman to be considered more “Black.”). A White women, however, can be mayor of Detroit and sleep with the entire Wu-Tang Clan and still not earn any Black points.
²It is true, though. Irrelevant, but true.
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)
Unsurprisingly, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen has received quite a bit of heat this week for his remarks about interracial marriage and the gag reflex. Some of these responses were, well, great. Some were decidedly less great. But everyone—myself included—said some variant of the exact same thing. (Summarized take: “What the fuck are you talking about?“)
Actually, let me rephrase that. I have no way of knowing that every news site, magazine, and blog that talked about Cohen’s piece said the exact same thing. Just the ones I happen to visit daily. This includes places like Gawker, EBONY, Jezebel, The Atlantic, The Root, Salon, Slate, Clutch, The Grio, and The Daily Beast.
And this is a problem.
If you were to sit down and make a list of the staff bios at each of the places just named, you’d likely find a very diverse collective. Men, women, gay, straight, Black, White, Latino, whatever. A photo of all of us together would look like a reunion shoot for the last 20 years of Benetton ads. ¹
I’m very aware of this, and I like to pat myself on the back for reading opinion pieces and comments at so many different places from so many different types of people.
But this diversity isn’t necessarily meaningful. It’s more theoretical than actual. All of these voices and opinions and takes are coming from the same Northern/Urban/Progressive bubble. It’s an expansive bubble. But, a bubble nonetheless. If a giant flood struck tomorrow and swept Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C. off the map, 95% of the digital magazines I visit would no longer exist.
And, when you’re getting most of your voices and opinions and takes from the same bubble, you end up with a situation like yesterday, where, again, every single blog, magazine, and news site I visited had the same take on the Cohen story.
It probably seems odd that I’d complain about this since I had that same take, but that’s kinda my point. I don’t think it’s a good thing that the places I frequent the most are all agreeable to my feelings and sensibilities.²
And it’s a problem because my situation isn’t unique. There are dozens upon dozens of surveys and polls that’ll tell you we’re becoming more and more isolated with where we choose to get our information from. And while we like to think that we’re too smart to allow this to affect us the same way it affects others (and by “others” I mean both “conservatives” and “people we don’t deem to be as educated“), we are not that smart. No one is.
This lack of thought diversity—which comes as we do what we can to shield out any potentially offensive or upsetting thoughts and opinions—can leave your own thoughts and opinions unchallenged. And few things are more dangerous than barricading yourself in a sea of likemindedness and sycophant. Me having an internet bubble is no different—well, no better—than Joe The Plumber having his Fox News/Drudge Report/Tea Party Facebook meme bubble. We’re both stuck in separate mall food courts. The only difference is that mine has a sushi bar. (And a clean bathroom.)
¹Full disclosure: I’m sure many of you are aware of this, but for those who aren’t, I’m a contributing editor at EBONY.com, so I’m talking about myself here, and I would be in this hypothetical photo. And I would be wearing an I Love Bougie Black Girls t-shirt.
²Admittedly, the Cohen story may not be the best example of this problem. Not sure if a well thought out and thoughtful counter to the prevailing take is possible here. (Yes, I realize this is the most ironic footnote ever. Thanks for asking, though.)
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)
As is the case with most popular news items that have absolutely no impact on our actual lives, the reactions to the NFL bullying story have become more interesting than the story itself. We’re not even two weeks in, and it has already spawned numerous national sub-conversations about masculinity, sports culture, football, hazing, and half-niggers.
Oh, and faggotry. You can’t forget about gotdamn faggotry.
One of the more popular theories bandied around social media about this story is that Jonathan Martin is gay, and this incident was either the result of a lover’s quarrel gone bad (which would make Richie Incognito gay as well) or Martin’s Dolphins’ teammates having a problem with his sexual orientation.
This may very well be true. Thing is, there is absolutely nothing in this story that would suggest that. Nothing.
But, because Martin’s demeanor and background (introverted, from an upper-middle class background, Stanford-educated, etc) don’t fit our expectations of what a Black male professional athlete should be like—and because he chose to solve his problems in a way we don’t expect Black men to—he must be gay. At least according to some people.
Anyway, although I was taught in a 4th grade biology class that there was only one way to be a homosexual man—be attracted to and/or sleep with men—life has taught me there are hundreds of thousands of things a man can do to definitely let everyone know he really, really, really, really must want to have sex with men. Here’s a few.
Not want to fight
Always want to fight
Smile too much
Be too happy
Sing in church
Go to church
Join the church choir
Live in Atlanta
Move to Atlanta
Be single past a certain age
Don’t have children
Sleep with a lot of women
Don’t sleep with enough women
Go to the gym too much
Shower with other men in the locker room
Feel a certain way about showering with other men in the locker room
Love sports too much
Don’t love sports
Take pictures with a transgender model
Be a model
Be an actor
Be a dancer
Be HIV positive
Enjoy a woman’s touch or tongue on certain parts of your body
Befriend gay people
Hate gay people
Wear skinny jeans
Sag your jeans and sweats
Wear jeans and sweats that actually fit
Use body wash
Take a woman’s side during a disagreement or argument
Be friends with women
Have female friends
Have no female friends
Be Chris Bosh
Own a loofa
Eat a banana, or any other phallic-shaped food, in public
Be an adult virgin
Cry (especially if it’s about some gay shit)
Drive certain cars
Take a lot of pictures of yourself
Get molested as a kid (Or sexually assaulted as an adult)
Order certain types of drinks
Order colorful drinks
Order drinks in certain types of glasses
Hold your drink a certain way
Dance too well
Listen to Drake
Not agree that Drake is gay
Be Kanye West
Be post-808′s Kanye West, especially
Be Kanye West today, especially especially
Enjoy anal sex
Not be sexually attracted to a certain woman
Be sexually attracted to thin women
Make too much eye contact
Don’t make any eye contact
Compliment a man’s looks
Have a man compliment your looks
Be too good-looking
Write something titled “How To Be Gay As F*ck”
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)