Thursday, February 3, 2011

No N-Bombs Please and Thank You-What needs to be said.

As I’ve gotten older and more informed I very seldom use the word “nigger” almost to the point I don’t use it at all. I’m only typing it now because it’s relevant to this blog. It’s a word that I used a lot growing up, but that was me being ignorant thanks to hearing it in music and even at times in my own home growing up. The more I learned and the more I matured I learned that using such a word to describe “my” people was unnecessary. In most black neighborhoods you can hear it. If you turn on Jay-Z, or any other rapper you will hear that word in maybe more than you care to. If you watch a comedian like Katt Williams or Chris Rock you can guarantee that you will hear that word multiple times during their routine. Oprah said we shouldn’t use it anymore, but I don’t use it anymore because of what she said, but because of a choice I made 7 or 8 years ago.

Don’t get me wrong people because I love Hip-Hop music and I love to hear a lot of black comedians but Lord knows I wish that the N-Bomb wasn’t used at all.. It’s not all their fault though because it all starts at home. For some people they grew up with that word as a term of endearment as I also did. It can describe someone that was close to you. It can describe someone that means the world to you. It can describe someone that was like a brother or a sister that isn’t your blood relative, but as far as you were concerned if you said, “That’s my nigga!” well people around you knew exactly what you meant by that even though there are so many other words that could be used in the English language to get that very same point across.
It’s gotten to the point where some African Americans use it so much that everyone else does too and that to me is unacceptable. I stopped saying it because of the how it was used against African Americans during slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. The word itself came from Spanish and Portuguese known as negro and it is also derived from the Latin adjective Niger both meaning the color black to describe African Americans because of our skin tone. The British once felt that the word was acceptable to describe black people, but they don’t anymore. It’s seen as a negative word in Dutch, French, Hungarian, Russian and Yiddish also.

It makes me wonder why some of us use the N-Word. Dr. Cornell West said ““There’s a certain rhythmic seduction to the word. If you speak in a sentence, and you have to say cat, companion, or friend, as opposed to nigger, then the rhythmic presentation is off. That rhythmic language is a form of historical memory for black people.” I was amazed to find out that after Richard Pryor visited Africa that he decided to stop using the word even though he would find himself allowing the word to slip in his routines sometime, but his visit to Africa changed his perception of the word. U.S. Magazines won’t print the word verbatim. They replace it censored or use the N-Word in the place of it. Social activist Dick Gregory felt that not using the word in print was intellectually dishonest, because using the euphemism “the N-word” instead of “nigger” robs younger generations of Americans of the full history of Black people in America.

I agree with Dr. West because I admit there is a certain rhythmic seduction to the word, but that doesn’t mean we should continue to use it. Also I agree that the word doesn’t have to be used in print either. I think with all the technology and resources we have today that anyone of us with a computer and purpose can research the full history of Black people in America if they care to find out.

I don’t think nothing positive came out of using the word. It has been used as a derogatory term more than a positive term. In today’s society a lot of people try to turn what is seen as a negative word into a positive word. For example most women didn’t like being called a “bitch”, but in today’s society some women have made it a point to empower that word, which is something I don’t agree with also because a lot of people have used that word for years as a negative way to describe women. Today thanks to popular culture the word “bitch” is heard more and more, but at the end of the day it’s still a negative word no matter how you dress it up and the same goes for the word “nigger.” I didn’t stop using the N- Word because I reached a certain point in my life financially or career wise or because I think I’m better than anyone, but I did stop using it because of how degrading it was to all African Americans no matter if it was before me or after me.

The English language is beautiful and eclectic at the same time which means there are so many other words that can be used to describe African Americans in an endearing fashion. It may not have the “rhythmic seduction” that dropping the N-Bomb does, but using words in place of that is something that I happily accept. It doesn’t matter if Jay-Z, Michael Richards from Seinfeld, or Mark Fuhrman from the O.J. trial uses it because it’s still a negative word. I’d rather be your brother, your homey, your boy, your man, your buddy, or how about just your friend. African Americans are beautiful people from all walks of life and I refuse to tarnish that beauty with such an ugly word anymore…..

God Bless,

“13 Ways” (The Movement)

This blog is copyrighted under The Movement Media Inc. 2011

A Brotha’s Testimony-What Needs to be Said

I was born an African American male or Afro American male or you can simply say I’m a black male for short. From the time my mother birthed me 32 years ago until this present day that’s what I’ll always be and I’m proud of that! I’ll be the first to say that whatever our race is shouldn’t define us, but our character, our interactions with people, and our actions should define us. I always felt that our nationality or a race shouldn’t be a factor, but even in today’s society that has grown to be more accepting of all people it still is.

Does anyone remember when you realized what your nationality was? Do you remember when you understood what race you were? To be honest I don’t really remember. I attended a predominantly black elementary school so there really weren’t many differences between the kids I went to school with and myself. I was friends with one of the white kids at my school. His name was Eric and he was my kindergarten teacher’s nephew which is why he ended up going to Maywood Elementary School in East Hammond in the first place. We were cool and the fact that we were different didn’t matter. As we are children I think we just all want to play and get along with each other. One thing about being a little kid is that no one really judged one another, we just had fun! There are times I wonder what happened to Eric, but most of all I wonder what happened to that na├»ve, but easy going attitude we all had when we were children when it came to people being different.

I don’t say that to say things in 2011 are bad or terrible because they aren’t. As I move about my fan page I have people that support me of all colors, races, and religions on it. The place where I work is probably the most diverse place I will ever work at, and I graduated from a high school that was very diverse, but all of those places are in some sort of way are what I wish things were like all over the country, but I also understand that in some cases they are the exception to what some of us may have grew up around.

Fall 1997, I was a freshman in college at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. I admit when I started college that I kind of expected more diversity, but as I went through my classes I found it wasn’t uncommon for me to be the only African American in my classes. Even if there was an African American female in there with me I was the only black male in most of my classes. I think that’s when I realized how small the African American population was. Statistics say that there are more black men in prison then in college. Given the fact that African Americans only represent 12 percent of the U.S population I find that startling.

Statistics say that 75 percent of African American children grow up without a father in the home, which means that’s a lot of black women that end up being strong not only because they probably are, but because they have to be due to their circumstances. These women end up playing mother and father. My mother did it and some of my friends mothers as well. I didn’t meet my father until I was 20 years old. I’m not informing you of this statistic to say put “us” down, but to say that Lord knows I wish that would change.

If someone was to ask me what it’s like to be an African American male in today’s society I would say it’s difficult, but I know a lot of good men before me had it worst than I ever will! If I was to single out the hardest thing I would say the stereotypes that are put not only on African American males, but African Americans period. “We” are all not the same. Let’s be clear because all races and cultures have stereotypes, but whatever they are aren’t always true. It’s safe to say that races and cultures do differ, but that’s not a bad thing, it’s what makes them interesting.

If I was to ask anything of anyone that has ever met me I would say judge me on me, not what race I am even though my brown skin is obvious. I’m proud of my culture and the history behind it! Lord knows what a lot of brave people did before us to get to this point. Now that we’re here let’s make the most it. Our journey is really just beginning not only as African Americans, but a country as a whole. We can’t leave our pride in the past because I feel nowadays that it’s lacking and to be quite honest with you we all need it more than ever. We are still in a state of progression because it certainly didn’t stop in the 60’s and 70’s! In 2011 there still growth to be made not only for African Americans, but everybody else too….

God Bless,
“13 Ways” (The Movement)

This blog is copyrighted under The Movement Media Inc. 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Black History is American History-What Needs to be Said

One of the first things people say when the subject of Black History Month comes is “Why did we get the shortest month of the year?” I always laugh when I hear someone say that because it essence it seems that way, but that’s not why Black History Month is in February at all. It is in February because of two men who greatly influenced African Americans have birthdays in February, that being Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

Carter G. Woodson, an African American Historian actually started what we know as Black History Month as Negro History Week in 1926 during the second week in February because Douglass and Lincoln’s birthday’s coincide that week. Woodson felt that African Americans contributions were overlooked and ignored in history so he pushed for African Americans to have a week to reflect on our contributions to American History. Since 1976 Black History Month is celebrated the entire month of February in the United States and Canada while the United Kingdom celebrates it in October.
The question I pose to myself sometimes is “Have we come to the point where Black History should just be considered American History?” I pose this question as some other people do because Black History in essence is American History. A lot of African Americans had a strong hand in helping build this country. They came in the form of inventors, educators, members of the armed forces, and many other areas that all are a part of American History.

Even though we pay special attention to African Americans during the month of February I think that us studying that history shouldn’t just be celebrated for just one month, but the other 11 months as well just as the rest of American History is recognized in the classrooms and beyond. I think everyone knows about the Civil Rights Movement and what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. contributed, but it was so many more African Americans that contributed to this country after him and I say that with the upmost respect to Dr. King.

When I was in high school I didn’t hear about Mark Dean and Dennis Moeller who developed high performance software for IBM and compatible PC’s that allowed computer components to communicate with each other more efficiently. There system was patents were marketed in the IBM and PC/AT computers in 1984.
I didn’t hear about Lonnie Johnson who invented what we know as the “Super Soaker” in 1988. It was originally named the “Power Drencher” and was patented as the Super Soaker in 1991. If you think back how many of us actually had a “Super Soaker it makes you think a little!” I know I had a few.

Let me go deeper though. Dr. Patricia Bath invented the Cataract Laserphaco Probe which is the machine that removes cataracts by laser. She was able to restore people who had been legally blind for 30 years with eyesight. The machine was patented in 1988 and she also holds that same patent in Japan, Canada, and Europe.

I mentioned these 4 people because I feel like we all can relate to these inventions today and there are so many others before them that I don’t even have time to name! People may read this and say that I feel that Black History Month isn’t necessary, but that’s not what I mean at all. I just simply wish that the discoveries of African Americans are recognized just like everyone else’s in America!

People may not like this saying, but it essence it’s true. “We came so far, yet we have so far to go.” I’m proud of the accomplishments of African Americans big and small! The biggest by far is that we have an African American President in my opinion. I remember Tupac and a lyric in his song “Changes.” “And Although it seems heaven sent, we ain’t ready to see a black president.” Well once what people never thought may happen or wouldn’t happen this soon happened two years ago.

I wouldn’t say I have a dream, but I have a hope. I have a hope that one day it won’t matter what race made what contribution. Hopefully the only thing that will matter is the contribution itself because this eclectic place called the United States of America is made up of so many wonderful people and cultures. Everybody deserves some love and appreciation, but at the end of the day we all play for the same team……

God Bless,
“13 Ways” ( The Movement)

This blog is copyrighted under The Movement Media Inc. 2011