Shit Bougie Black People Love: 15. ’90′s Nostalgia

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Aside from Bill Clinton’s penis and Michael Douglas’ penis in movies starring Michael Douglas, nothing had anything good happen to them in the 90s. It was a truly awful decade. The clothes were shitty, everyone started drinking coffee, and everyone cool got shot or got AIDS.

Perhaps you remember this. Bougie Black People, however, do not. Bougie Black People love the 90s more than anyone loves any other decade, easily surpassing White people’s love for both the 1980s and the 1830s.

This love for all things 90s is only matched by their passion for bringing the 90s back. Hence the reason why, if you happen to ask a Bougie Black Person what they’re doing right now, you’re likely to get at least one of the following answers:

1. Taking a quiz to see which Living Single character they are.

2. Taking a quiz to see which Fresh Prince of Bel-Air character they are.

3. Taking a quiz to see which Martin character they are.

4. Planning a 90s nostalgia party.

5. Planning an outfit for a 90s nostalgia party.

6. Thinking about Lark Voorhees.

7. Listening to Mase.

(Read more at Ish Bougie Black People Love)

If No More Race Cards, Then No More Racism. Right.

Even Michelle Obama pulls the Black card with a smile.

Even Michelle Obama pulls the Black card with a smile.

Do you know what I legitimately hate? I hate it when people (namely white people, not all obviously considering my, ahem, pedigree) imply that if Black people stopped making race an issue, then race would cease to be an issue. As if every Black person refrained from assuming that racism existed and stopped making any associations between the color of our skin and the conditions that exist in America (and/or globally) then things would magically be…okay. Not even better, but okay.

Are there times when some Black folks run the race card unnecessarily? (And for this post I will basically be using race card and Black card interchangeably since 95 percent of al race card mentions are really just Black cards. And yes, Virginia, I made up that stat.) Yes. Just yesterday I accused the unexplainable weather patterns of being racist in nature. I’m pretty sure that race has nothing to do with it, but there’s still about a 2 percent chance that it’s personal. Because I’m Black.

Real talk though, I honestly don’t get it – hence why I hate it since I’m afraid of things I don’t understand. Actually, let me not tell that lie. I do get it. I get it because if I wanted somebody to get over something I’d probably tell them the same thing. Hey, I ran you over with my car but I’m over it you should get over it too. And since so many white people do indeed think that racism is a thing of the past, especially considering Obama’s coloredness, then it stands to reason that the only reason that racism would NOW exist is because Black folks won’t let it go. Nevermind that a solid HALF of the country did not vote for him.

Which is interesting if you think about. A conservative white person will likely opine that racism cannot still be an issue because our country managed to put a Black man into the highest office in the land. This falls apart for so many reasons if you would take the time to look at the people who voted him into office. Yet and still, a person who did not vote for him would still make the argument that his ascendance is proof positive of a new day. Which it is, symbolically. It’s a win for the history books. It’s a win for what it represented. It didn’t represent the end of racism; it represented the possibility that racism could end. One day. Eventually. Long after anybody reading this site is dead and gone.

The other reason I get is because I’m not sure the vast majority of white people actually believe in institutional racism. Like Richard Pryor stated in his infamous, “those people are resisting arrest” routine, the view is that all actions occur in a vacuum. There’s no correlation to many white people. Even many poor white people might struggle with the idea that redlining took place. Or the most poignant test of all time in my opinion where you submit resumes with ethnic names vs “normalized” names and see who gets called back. I remember having a conversation with some white friends of mine in grad school about that and despite accepting it as fact – they couldn’t deny the numbers placed before them – they still struggled with it being true. I mean, come on, not in America where everybody wins!

Which probably explains why so many think that if you stop saying “Black this, Black that…” the issues go away because from the outside looking in there are no issues. Stop and frisk is a preventative measure, not profiling. And catching one person justifies the 99 that were profiled unnecessarily.

Or you get people who say stupid sh*t like this:

It is striking that during what many had hoped would be a post-racial America, racial division has been amplified, owing not least to sustained media attention. Then again, maybe we’re experiencing the final death rattle of our racist past. Perhaps all those suppressed thoughts and feelings of anger, hurt and frustration had to rise to the surface before they finally could be eradicated.

I tend to be one of those people who does believe that its darkest before the dawn. I truly do. Despite my less than stellar church record, much of that is rooted in my belief in God. It’s no wonder so many Black folks are religious, you need SOMETHING to keep you holding on. But I also can be realistic and to to listen to some non-sensical woman basically chide Black folks for playing the race card against other Black folks is irony that I’m not even equipped to handle. Then to even surmise that all of the alleged race-baiting happening nowadays is perhaps going to bring us out of our racist heritage (and it is a heritage)? If I could tell this woman “N*GGA please” I would. You can’t kill racism by hoping Black folks just let it go UNLESS white people acknowledge that racism is still a problem and in effect attempt to change it. It’s the same argument with rape culture…victims can’t fix the problem, it has to come from the folks who are rapin’ everybody out here.

Basically, the ones who perpetuate the problem by being the problem in the first place are the ones who have to do the heavy lifting.

But I’m sleep.

So for now, I’m like the combination of Capitol One and American Express. What’s in my wallet? My race card. I don’t leave home without it.

Not for nothing and I hate to be pessimistic AND end this on such a loaded statement, but I don’t actually think America will ever truly make it to post-racial.

Until the aliens show up.

Love 40.

-VSB P aka MR. 39 OUNCES OF LOVE aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

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”)

Why “Black Middle Class” Is The Ultimate Oxymoron

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***Maya Francis offers her take on Jamelle Bouie’s recent piece about the difficulties we (Blacks) have with being truly upwardly mobile***

Someone managed to find a photostock picture of Black folk in fair isle as the accompanying photo for this article about what happens when Black people make a little money and come up in the world. It’s a weird photo, mostly because the kid in the center of it looks like the kid from Everybody Hates Chris, the dad looks like Ronald Clifford, and the caption, which mentions “substantial pockets of poverty” is used to frame this photo of smiling-ass Black folks. Photostock of Black folks is hard to come by, so I’ll allow it, especially since this rant has nothing to do with anything I have to say. I just wanted these thoughts acknowledged.

DeSean Jackson was cut from my hometown’s football team essentially because he’s a headache. And, apparently, part of this headacheness is due to the people he knows from back home. Whether its true that Jackson’s people pose a problem in his life is irrelevant. The point is, Jackson was expected to get a new set of friends because he became successful, a practice also known as “selling out.”

The reality is that many successful Black folks are just a stone throw away from poverty, either because they’re newly arrived in their own success, or because the bounty of success hasn’t spread over their entire family tree. And so while buppies have taken on the sacred ritual of mimosa toasting downtown during Sunday brunch, they also drive to their grandmom annem’s house on the south side during holidays when it’s time for the whole family to get together.

And when they leave grandmom annem’s, they go back home…which is also on the south side.

A “nicer” part of the south side, perhaps. But, for many of us, the “nice” part of our neighborhood and the “hood” part of the neighborhood are separated by half a football field. Sometimes just a backyard.

Jamelle Bouie writes:

“The key fact is this: Even after you adjust for income and education, Black Americans are more likely than any other group to live in neighborhoods with substantial pockets of poverty…It’s tempting to attribute this to the income disparity between Blacks and Whites. Since Blacks are more likely to be poor, it stands to reason that they’re more likely to live in poor neighborhoods. But the fact of large-scale neighborhood poverty holds true for higher-income Black Americans as well. Middle-class Blacks are far more likely than middle-class Whites to live in areas with significant amounts of poverty.”

Consider this: When looking for a place to live (rent or own) do you consider the racial demographic of the area?

Not sure about y’all, but being the fly in the ointment is something I can accept in school and the workplace, but I don’t want to deal with it at home. Fact is, Black neighborhoods tend to be mixed in their income level, where culture is the bonding factor. But, for outsiders, this also conflates poverty with Blackness, rendering them one in the same.

Culture is a bonding factor for White folks, too. Consider also White flight in cases where upwardly mobile Blacks move to non-black neighborhoods. Again, because the face of poverty is Black, there is only so much mobility that happens. Starbucks aren’t being built in well-to-do corners of Negronia [(c) the homie Jamilah Lemeiux]; money, access, amenities, follow along racial lines, putting an economic chokehold on people of color.

So back to Jackson. It’s unfair to assume that wealth would create any level of distance for Jackson socially, as it very rarely does for Blacks in other aspects of their lives. Richard Sherman wrote a great piece outlining how absurd it would be to think that he would. As any Black folk with a modicum of success could tell you, you can never go home again, but you can also never leave home.

You can follow Maya @MF_Greatest. And, if you don’t do that, she will follow you. Like, in real life. She will literally follow you to your house. 

Shabazz Napier Probably Isn’t Starving. But, He Definitely Is Right

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The next several paragraphs will be a collection of some of my thoughts about the concept of student-athletes, the NCAA, and the recent claim by Final Four MVP Shabazz Napier that, despite the fact that he’s a prominent member of a multi-billion dollar industry (!!!), he often goes to bed starving because he can’t afford to buy food.

But first, can we recognize how awesome of a name Shabazz Napier is? Seriously, I don’t mean to be a namist here, but some people have shitty names. Its not their fault, obviously. But, some were unfortunate enough to be born with a first and/or last name that immediately typecasts them as an “accountant for an accounting’s firm accountants” or “that guy in charge of putting the frosting on Cinnabuns.” Shabazz f*cking Napier though? That name would work for a president, a kick-ass principal, an astronaut, an African warlord, a p*rn star, a franchise of haberdasheries, a Wu-Tang member’s alias, a Wu-Tang member’s real name, and (obviously) a point guard of an NCAA championship team. I officially have Shabazz Napier name envy.

Anyway, the idea that Shabazz Napier — the star of the national championship (I keep repeating this because it needs to be repeated) — is going to bed hungry every night makes for a very compelling piece of evidence in the ongoing fight against the NCAA and the current definition of “student-athlete.” Here’s a kid who just helped to earn his school tens of millions of dollars, but he can’t even afford to buy a sandwich or a Snicker because of the flagrantly — and possibly illegally — hypocritical rules of the NCAA.

But…that idea is full of shit.

Now, Shabazz Napier is a star point guard who’ll probably be selected in the second round of this summer’s NBA draft. I was an oft-injured career backup whose basketball career ended when my senior year did. But, we both were full scholarship Division 1 athletes who likely received many of the same benefits. And because we share that trait — and because of how similar the meal plan situations are for most scholarship basketball players — I can call bullshit here with confidence.

It is likely that Napier and his teammates missed dinner several times because the campus cafeterias were closed by the time they got out of practice. But, taking that at face value neglects to mention some things, namely…

1. Along with meal plans, most scholarship athletes get at least a couple hundred dollars every semester for flex-type funds that can be used in the cafeteria and in several campus-area eateries. Often, these places stay open until 10 or 11, which gives athletes with late practices more than enough time to get food.

But, if Napier and his teammates are anything like my teammates and I were — and I’m assuming they are — most of them probably went through those funds in the first month of the semester. Making late night runs for cheese fries, letting a girlfriend or two “borrow” their cards, using flex funds as collateral in Spades games, etc. Granted, this failure to budget is understandable. These are 18, 19, and 20 year old men we’re talking about. But, when that happens, you do put yourself in a position where you can run out of that extra meal money with a month left in the semester.

2. Scholarship athletes are also eligible to receive Pell grants. How much you receive is largely determined by your parents’ income. Some kids don’t get anything. And some kids from low-income families can get the full amount. When I was in school, that was $1,800 a semester.

But, if Napier and his teammates are anything like my teammates and I were — and I’m assuming they are — a lot of that money goes towards sneakers and tattoos and parties and more sneakers and more tattoos. One of my teammates bought a car with his money. And the next semester he bought stereo equipment for his car.

Admittedly, it is very possible that Napier may have some extenuating circumstance causing him to be especially broke. Maybe he gets the Pell grant, but maybe his family is so poor that he sends all that money home. Maybe Kevin Ollie (the UConn coach) is a dick who schedules practices without any concern of the cafeteria times. (This isn’t likely. But it is possible.) And maybe Napier happens to be on one of the few campuses where everything shuts down at 7. (Again, this isn’t likely. But it is possible)

But, I just find it hard to believe that a person of Napier’s stature has to deal with hunger pains every night.

Still, even if this actual claim doesn’t pass the sniff test, the fact that a person who played a tremendous role in making millions of dollars for his school, his coaches, his administrators, and even the other athletic departments at his school, has to rely on flex funds and grants to help him get by is f*cked up. It’s f*cked up that he can see his jersey for sale in the campus bookstore, but can’t afford to buy it. It’s f*cked up that everyone around him is allowed to profit off of his name today except for him.

Seriously, think about this: I can start a Teespring campaign tomorrow selling “Shabazz Napier for President” t-shirts, and I could make hundreds, even thousand of dollars from it. If Shabazz Napier did that and only sold one shirt, he could lose his scholarship and his eligibility. And he’d have to deal with dozens of national columnists and pundits questioning his character.

The NCAA is a clusterf*ck. I do not see how any rationally thinking person can continue to deny this. It’s clear as day that things need to change, and this clarity makes me wonder why some people are so vehemently against even entertaining the idea of change. (Read some of the comments in the Napier article I linked to for an example of this anger. Don’t read if easily angered.)

Actually, I don’t wonder why at all. But, it’s a bit too late to unpack my thoughts about the dynamics of the relationship between the (mostly) Black athletes and the (mostly) White consumers and fans, so I’ll save them for another day.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)