“There’s like a civil war goin on with black people and there two sides – there’s black people, and there’s niggas.”
– Chris Rock “Bring the Pain
“Everybody wanna be a nigga, don’t nobody wanna be a nigga.”
– Paul Mooney “Chappelle’s Show”
“All the while, I thought I liked chicken because it was delicious. It turns out, I am genetically predisposed to liking chicken.”
– Dave Chappelle “Killin Them Softly”
“Dear black people who go out of their way to not like watermelon, chicken and Kool aid: Shut up.”
– Me Twitter
I love being black. I like my buckshots, and having a donk (plush posterior for those not in the know) and bodacious soup coolers. If by some flip of the coin, I were born a black woman with silken locs, a flat booty and thin lips, I would still love my blackness. For me, being black is simply another part of who I am, whether I fit into the perceived norms or not. One of the things that I love about being black in this day and age, is the realization that there is no NORM of blackness. My father preferred Yes and Little Feat over 70s R&B. My mother passed away, despite growing up in the deep south, without ever having sampled chitlins.* My sisters and I were raised to embrace diversity, and had friends of all races. Despite having to grasp for black and/or female role models in the media, I grew up being a black child that was happy to be black. Being black was natural, normal and not something requiring explanation.
So Friday, while reading The Champ’s latest post at Very Smart Brothas, I found a very funny, tongue in cheek piece about certain bits of black Americana that The Champ just didn’t get. It’s hard for me to not enjoy a blog post, because at the end of the day, it’s one person’s opinion on things in life that are totally matters of opinion. I can’t chide anyone for not liking “Love Jones.” You speak a language that I don’t understand I’m sure, but if you don’t get it, that’s you. I still haven’t seen Menace II Society in it’s entirety. Everybody’s got something.
What started out as a funny, tongue in cheek commentary on unappreciated rites of passage, became a bunch of folks trying to out-pegro** one another. Of course some of the comments were funny, some of them were interesting, and then some of them were laundry lists of how un-black they were that was just plain sad. Some of these comments made me wonder, “Who was your mama?” One commenter listed, as proof of her un-blackness, that she was neither overweight nor angry.
Word? Who yo people is?
I officially lost it when someone stated that they not only hated Kool Aid, but they preferred Tang. TANG? First of all, the name of it is “Tang!” Second, it tastes like giraffe piss after an Orange Kool Aid Bender. Third, the first ingredient is sugar, so it’s not for health reasons. Finally, do you know people use that crap to clean out their dishwashers? So I got real angry, and I went on a Twitter rant. Because:
1) I am hard pressed to believe that you can be a living soul and not like chicken, watermelon, AND Kool Aid. You might not roll with all three, but you at LEAST fist pump for one of them, even if you don’t actively consume them. (I haven’t purchased Kool-Aid in at least six months, but if it’s in your fridge and I’m there, your stash is getting effed in the A.)
2) Who gives a damn?
Part of this, of course, stems from the compulsive desire to combat stereotypes. We have to prove to the man that he ain’t massa no mo. It’s not enough to just live our lives and say to hell with ignorant preconceived notions. No, we have to validate and qualify. Several people went on a tirade over their disdain for chitlins. I find chitlins the biggest non-issue in the country. I have never been at a family gathering (and I’ve been at plenty) where there was a pot of chitlins. No small Tupperware bowls, no wayward cousin in the corner eating his chitlins in shame. Rebuking chitlins as a benchmark for blackness is about as relevant as declaring your refusal to pick cotton for free. It’s a non-issue. After listening to my rant, My brother in blog said it best:
“[They] think avoiding that…will give them some extra favor. Barack is Ivy League, articulate, smart, fit, a great husband and father, worships God. He’s still a terrorist socialist, out to steal their grandparents and exterminate them. If a white person is judging you fairly it don’t matter if you drink kool aid or not; for racist bastards it don’t matter either way.”
I will go on record and say that if you are a meat eating human, (and by meat, I mean turkey, beef, lamb, frog legs etc.), you’re a knucklehead. Because you’re not doing it out of preference. You’re doing it out of some borderline self hating desire to be the premiere anti-black Black. Your stance is stupid as a person who says black people don’t swim and we all have bad credit. You’re still feeding into the stereotype. It’s ugly, and it looks bad; not to white people. It looks bad to me – your sister – who sees this as the behavior of the lost.
I’m frustrated with the nonstop potshots we take at others to prove we’re “not those kind of black people.” So what if we are. This civil war has become quite uncivilized, because in the end, who gets to decide who has the “nigga” mantle? Who gets to decide who the “niggas” are? The “Talented Tenth?” Bill Cosby? What happens when certain individuals who consider themselves black intellectuals, come up lacking? Is there are revolt when they are left out? It sounds ridiculous, because it is ridiculous. There are certain social issues that plague the black community that must be addressed: Lack of opportunity; substandard education; personal safety. I have yet to hear of a half eaten bowl of chitlins being found at a crime scene; bullets though? Tons of those. Let’s get on that. Let’s talk about how easy it is to get a gun in the hood. Or even how easy it is for a neighborhood to go from thriving hub for black folks, to abject ghetto that we are run out of for fear of our lives, to gentrified paradise that we can’t afford. Let’s go in on THAT SHIT.
Let’s all get along and put these verbal weapons of civil war away. Let’s all band together, pegro and hood rat, locs and lace fronts, country bumpkins and concrete jungleites, and just accept each other as black folk. The statement “We’ve got to do better” isn’t just for ghetto people. No one is exempt from being part of the problem, once their attitudes have become sour and excessively judgmental.
My black is beautiful. So is yours.
*I can’t bring myself to spell “chitterlings.” It just looks dumb to me, and I feel spelling the word properly is giving it an undeserved dignity.
** “Pegro” = pretentious negro