Category Archives: Race

Black Republicans

By Slim Jackson

Sorry. This post is not about the Hova and Nas song.

By now, most of us have seen the video clip of the “that black guy” (Pronounced “that one”.) standing up at the McCain-Palin rally and urging Gramps to defeat Obama in the election. To quote the exact verbiage of one James T. Harris: “I am begging you, sir. I am begging you. Take it to him.”

Many Black folks, myself included, heard this same comment as “Massa please. Please massa. Go on and take it to ’em massa.” Now I know he was just supporting the candidate that he wants to win the election, but I was disgusted. This dude had the audacity to stand up in front of that white audience and urge McCain to defeat the Black presidential candidate on national television. I wanted to press block, up, up, high punch and do a Fatality. All I could see was another Black man shucking and jiving on a major stage with strings attached to his arm. What an effin sell out. I really hate Black Republicans.

Okay, so maybe I don’t hate them. I’m sure we have Black Republicans reading this blog. I used to go to school with a homosexual Black Republican that wrote for the most Conservative newspaper on campus. What a oxymoron. He used to act out in class in hopes of getting attention, only to end up hated. But that type of Black Republican is different…because it’s funny. James T. Harris…not funny. It’s interesting though. Had James been at a Barack Obama rally and said this, it would’ve been perfectly fine. It would’ve been just another negro supporting a negro. Neither Blacks nor Whites would’ve thought anything of it. There seems to be this misconception that Black Republican = Sell Out or Shucking and Jivin for the Man. Even with my open mind, I still fall victim to the assumption.

I don’t believe that one’s political affiliation really equates to how one feels about his or her people. I think the issue is all in perception. I am not could be a Black Republican. But even if I was, there are certain opinionated comments that I would never make. My issue is with the uppity ones who say ish like “Black people are lazy. They just need to get off their asses and get a job.” Or something along the lines of “I benefitted from Affirmative Action, but I really didn’t need it and I don’t think the rest of Black America needs it either. People need to stop selling drugs and get a real job and work hard.” Now within these ignorant comments, there are legitimate Republican views. It’s how the person chooses to express them that creates the issue.

How does everybody else feel about Black Republicans in general? Our friend who tried to hug it out with McCain is just one example. I still wanna stick a blade into his Hummer tires. That’s just my opinion though.

Voting for Obama Cuz He Looks Like Me,

Addendum: Check out this video from White Republicans in Ohio. This is what scares me the most about this Race for Race…

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Why Do Black People Flock to Each Other?

By Sowhatiff Jenkins

This is a question that I have been asked in more than one way by the majority population.  For undergrad, I attended a majority white university.  Big surprise.  For grad school, the same thing.  For those of you in the workforce, I’m sure you too have to deal with the same thing: being one of very few black people, or minorities in general, in any given situation, be it sitting in the classroom, or heading to the break room to warm up lunch.

Thoughts about this come up without outside prompting.  I know I have stopped myself a few times as I feel myself congregating with or gravitating to people simply because they are black.  Sometimes I find myself wanting to fight this urge, mostly in an effort to expand my social circle and learn to be comfortable with others.  Forgive me, as I grew up in an all black and Latino town, and went to an all black and Latino high school.  Anyway, I am always intrigued when asked by a classmate or colleague of mine, what it is that makes black folks “stick together” so to speak.

Sometimes this question it carries with it a connotation of “Damn, black people stay segregating themselves.”  This has got to be my favorite.  When I walk into my classroom of 100 students, and about 10 of the students are black, and scattered randomly throughout the room, I don’t ask myself “Damn why are all the white people sitting together?”  When you make up the majority, it is likely that you’ll end up sitting next to someone that looks like you.

So why is there beef when I want to save 6 seats for my friends?  Its probably because we stick out like sore thumbs:  All the chocolate and caramel folks lined up in a row.  People assume that we do this because we are trying to keep them out, but why can’t we just be trying to get in where we fit in?  What’s wrong with me trying to be comfortable?

I think the issue comes up because people in any given majority don’t have to think about being a part of that majority.  When people all around you are ::insert any group distinction here:: just like you, you don’t have to think about fitting in, because you just do.

People are too sensitive sometimes.  My wanting to sit with my black friends has less to do with me not wanting to sitting next you, and more to do with me wanting to sit with my friends.  I mean, can I live?

The Not So Excellent Adventures of Seattle and Slim

Just when we thought racial profiling was limited to Black guys in White neighborhoods at obscure hours of the night and names on job applications, we realized how wrong we were. Forget trying to buy a house. How about trying to find an apartment? You’d think that would be a simple process. Show proof you got a job, have good credit, a good personality, and good references. That should make it easier right? Nope. We’re still Doo-Rag All-Stars.

Y’know Slim, Mos Def’s song Mr. Nigga pretty much rings true right now. I’m going to turn that up while we write.

For more than a week, Seattle and myself have been looking for an apartment. It’s nice to walk around in boxers and a beater in the 1 bedrooom bachelor pad, but we both realized there was a lot of money to be saved (Note: We did not walk around in boxers in the same apartment. We each had our own place. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a pause.) It’s also easier to build our blogging empire if we live in the same place. Again, we do it for the people.

Pause again for the full effect. I said it once and I’ll say it again. I don’t like this guy. I live with him for financial reasons. Period. I don’t want to hear anything about, “Aww that’s cute.” Efff all that. Sacrifices needed to be made for my bank account. Yeah I liked standing in front of my AC with just boxers on sipping on a glass of the finest bougie juice that Whole Foods offers on a hot summer day, but hey, sometimes you can’t have everything. The sexcapades will now be relegated to my room, but… my bad Slim, I digress.

We looked at roughly 15 apartments. Some were too pricey. Some were terrifically priced, but too far away from public transit. Some were bombdiggity, but located above Thai or pizza spots. Can we say roaches, rats, other bugs, and cats? Definitely ain’t tryna call the Orkin Man.

A Russian pizza spot too. Y’all know how I feel about that ish. Plus, the whole spot reeked of chicken pad thai and mystery meat calzones. Hey, don’t forget about the spot that had the “patio”. Y’know the one that was pretty much just an extended step, attached to the backdoor (über pause) that was just two feet off the ground. In other words, easy access for would be hooligans to hop up in our crib and steal what little expensive items we have. Now that I think about it, that was the same spot that had broken glass all on the street. I’m no CSI agent, but where I’m from that means someone either had their iPod on the driver’s seat or a young lady was filled with seed, of any variety, and in turn felt scorned. All it needed were a few broken vials and a condom wrapper to complete the décor.

Anyways, we saw 3 apartments that we really liked. In Boston, it’s easier to work with an apartment broker than conduct an independent campaign for tenancy. First spot we saw with the broker was ideal. Good location, manageable price, and a triple jump away from the subway. We bumped into the landlord on the way out. We made a verbal offer on the unit through the agent. The landlord needed to think about it…for a week. We knew what the deal was. Though we were clean and fresh dressed, he probably figured my beard was too scruffy and I had just lost my job. He may have even thought we were too good for the spot…Riiight. He saw 2 black dudes with 40s, hoez, gold chains, reefer and delinquent payments.

If he were Caucasian, I probably wouldn’t have been surprised. I mean hey, it’s Boston. I know the deal. But dude was Indian. There was no minority alliance here. It didn’t matter that we hit him with our brilliant eloquence and Crest Whitestrip smiles. I could’ve had my Bachelors Degree hanging from my neck and he just would’ve thought I was Flavor Flav. Dude was caught up in the melanin factor. Well the fact that we had more than him. We might as well have been rocking tims, wife beaters and baggy jeans with knots in them.

Our friends tried to be nice and make us feel better, “Well, maybe he wanted to get a better offer?”

Of course we’re angry and assholes, so Slim said…

If you’re a landlord and your apartment doesn’t rent for 2 months and you have good people ready to write a check, what the f*ck are you delaying for?

Oh…

Yeah. Thought so.

Plus we have good credit! I know, I know. I was as surprised as you are.

We eventually found another spot with everything at an even better price. We submitted applications and a deposit. Unfortunately, we met the landlord and his wife while viewing the apartment. 24 hours went by and he “needed more time to review our application” according to the broker. Come to find out he had rejected our applications because we were “fresh out of school”. Fresh out of school? Mofo, I been working for over three years and I speak better English than you do. Seattle’s equally (ahem, if not more) articulate and has worked just as long as I have. Eff you. Eff your wife (twice). Eff your little pet cat that drinks out the toilet. I will sell that sh*t to the General himself.

Wow. Ok Slim. Well, the fresh out of school reason didn’t work for me.  Besides the fact that we’ve both been out of school for a little while now, didn’t the landlord’s wife hesitate to shake your hand?  Yeah…  Also, I probably should’ve told you earlier but I saw the landlord’s face as he was walking out of the apartment. He looked highly surprised and then immediately upset once he saw us. His eyes widened and then quickly tightened up like a, well; you see where I’m going with this. Nonetheless dude, it was for the better. Carrying that monstrosity that you call a couch up those stairs would’ve killed you and I. They would’ve ended up with chalk lines in their apartment without all the accompanying bullet holes. Oh, don’t forget to tell them how the real estate company attempted to steal your money. Yeah, check fraud is not just a Nigerian scam anymore.

Right, Yeah. I almost forgot. When we put the deposit down on the apartment and the people took more than 24 hours to respond, I called the broker and told them to cancel the deal. I left a voicemail and sent an email. I get to work the next day and dude’s boss is on the phone. The conversation went a little something like this:

Slim: Hi, this is Slim.

Boss Broker: Hey Slim. I got a message from my agent that you are bailing out on the deal.

Slim: Yeah, it’s been more than 24 hours and the landlord hasn’t responded to our applications, good credit, and deposit check. We no longer want to live there.

Boss Broker: That’s not how it works buddy. You can’t just break the deal. We ran background checks and everything. Who do you think you are!?!?

Slim: I’m Slim Jackson b*tch. Gimme my money.

Aight, so I didn’t say that. I figured it would be funny though.

Slim: I looked up the laws and spoke to a lawyer about this. The deal isn’t valid until the landlord signs, which he hasn’t.

Boss Broker: You don’t know what the &%% you’re talking about. You are not breaking out of this deal. We’re keeping your deposit as our fee. I’ll see you in small claims court a$$hole.

Slim: Why are you yelling?

Boss Broker: &%% You! *click*

Needless to say, the jr. broker called me apologizing when I threatened legal action via a facsimile. I told him I’d be in that afternoon to pick up my check and that the boss better not be there or he’ll get strangled with my tie.  But yeah, I got the money back and the boss wasn’t there when Angry Black Slim showed up during his lunch break.

After this whole story, some of you might still be thinking that we’ve blown this out of proportion. That we’re just crying racism. That the real reason these landlords were apprehensive to house us is that we’re just two young guys. Well, after all the bull—- that we went through with all those other spots, we found an apartment. In the burbs.  A place where trees grow freely, there aren’t trash cans on every corner and folks ride bikes with their children in tow. Where we say hello to our neighbors in the morning from the porch, while we sip on some bougie brand OJ. Funny thing was, it went amazingly smooth. Y’know why? We never met the landlord face to face. Everything was done over the phone. And with the names, jobs and business phone voices that we have, there was no reason for him to think anything out of the norm. But boy will he be surprised when he comes up to check on the place!

Happily Depreciating the Property Value With Every Breath We Take,

Seattle – I Probably Won’t Let Any Black Folk Move Into My Neighborhood Either – Washington

&

Slim “I’ll Slip Your Wife More Than Mail” Jackson

 

 

Oh yeah, please contact us for an address to send all those lovely housewarming gifts.  L’Chaim! 

So You Like to Put People in Boxes, Huh?

No matter what city you’re in, public transportation brings with it a set of interesting experiences. Playing the where should I sit game; keeping the mean mug on so people will think twice about bringing their crazy in your direction; positioning your electronic devices and monthly passes in ways that keep you from getting got (being robbed). Riding the rails also gives you plenty of time to observe others, and if you’re cool, observe yourself as you do it.

American society has taught us to put people in boxes. For example, have you ever seen a person who looked “racially ambiguous,”? Don’t act like its just me. You have seen this person on the subway or on the street. You look and try to fit him/her into a racial group. And if you sit across from him/her, chances are, you glance at them repeatedly in an effort to figure out “what he/she is”.

Or take the man dressed in slacks carrying a briefcase or man-bag of sorts. You assume you know about him, especially if he is headed downtown (pause). Yep, he probably works in an office to do office stuff. Then you try to figure out that ordinary looking black guy, or you assume you already know about him too.

I’m not saying that this is right or wrong. It kinda is what it is. We see people with certain physical characteristics or external features (skin tone, hair texture, assumed age, shirt with a certain label, a bar through the lip, tattered jeans, tatted up neck and forearms, pregnant belly, gym bag) and we size them up. This sizing up process happens so fast, and so often, we often don’t know its happening.

Sometimes this sizing up influences our posture towards people. Some are “safer” to sit next to than others. Its okay to share glances with some. Others, we shy away from. We hug our purses or man-bags a little tighter. We speed up our pace. Either way, we work to reconcile something within ourselves.

Why has this process became an issue for me now? Because I feel myself doing it. I find myself feeling unsafe around groups of teenagers. I get concerned by the goth-looking boy. I assume that the older man in tattered clothes is out to do me some harm, or sometimes, I feel sorry for him. I look at the young woman with an attitude because it looks like she’s giving me one. I try to figure out what’s going in the head of that solemn looking person staring out the window.

What’s amazing, is that this process takes no real time or concentration. My mind works crazy fast, yo.

And I know people try to box me too. Have you ever locked eyes with someone as he/she was giving you the once over? A bit of an awkward moment, I know. Depending on what the person looks like, and what kind of vibes his/her superficial appearance gives, you tailor your reaction accordingly. If the person is big and scary, I tend to squirm a little, and look away quickly. If he/she looks creepish, I may do the same, or if I’m feeling gangsta, I’ll give them that “don’t you be looking at me” look. If he is a handsome, well dressed black man, I may bat my lashes a little. Hehehe.

The next time you get on the train or bus, or even walking down the street, try paying attention to yourself as you pay attention those around you. Then come back and tell me about it, mmk?  Thanks.

Being Black and a Hard Place

(pause)

I know that sounds like a porn that you may have rented before (you know the one). And with the title of this blog you probably expected it eventually. Sorry to let you down, but this isn’t a post about our sexual endeavors. As blogworthy as they may be. This is about a topic that my successful Black friends and I have been talking a lot about lately. The fact that it isn’t easy to be an Educated Black Person in America. Not for the usual reasons like racism, glass ceilings and DWBs. No those are old, but still relevant, stories and I’m not going to bore you with all that. I’m talking about us. You and me homie. You may have noticed that things change once you came home with that degree. After all college changes everyone. Most of the time for the better. But what happens when everything else stays the same?

In case you haven’t noticed, I love New York City. Furthermore, I love my home. However, when I go back it seems like everything has stayed the same or depreciated. They may have redecorated the mall, but they still have metal detectors in the movie theater. Understand the allusion? Ok. Well, every time I go home I see the same cars parked along the street. The same older gentlemen posted up on their stoops, the same young boys riding bikes with basketballs under their arms and the same young girls walking around, looking awkward as they push baby strollers. I usually also see the same dudes I grew up with. And this time it was no different. After being waved down by an old friend, we talked for a few, catching up on what was going on with us. While talking, I noticed his eyes moving, gleaming actually. It didn’t take long before I realized, my “boy” was checking out my watch. And looking at my polo. And my kicks. Really fam, are you sizing me up?

That’s the way it rolls though. It’s not just the females that get jealous. While folks will congratulate you for getting that degree, the dude who comes home from the State Penn will get more love than the dude that comes home from Penn State. Messed up, but it’s the reality in some of our communities. I can’t run in the spots I used to go to. I just don’t fit in anymore. Truth be told, it doesn’t even feel right to have the baggy tee almost at my knees and some even baggier jeans on. At the same time, I can’t roll with the bougie Negro crowd. It ain’t me. At this point in my life, I’m not about vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard nor am I into eating cucumber sandwiches. Much rather have a chicken patty with cocoa bread and a pineapple soda while chillin in the park. Furthermore, I don’t walk around with my nose in the air and I still can’t stand being served by other Black folks. I’m not that far removed from members of my family who were the nannies for White families. Or worked as secretaries. Or in the service industry. Once you forget them, you forget yourself. I’m not about that. At all.

So where’s home? After someone attempted to roll up on my mom and I before he realizing who we were, I’m hesitant to say that my block is it. In the same respect I don’t feel comfortable with just packing it up and chillin with the talented tenth exclusively. While there are some of us that maintain the foresight and, more importantly, the hindsight to be confident and humble, there are others who have left their past behind. And will continue to do so as they progress further. I don’t feel comfortable doing that. Isn’t it all of your experiences that make you who you are? It’s not the four years in a bubble, and everything after that, which comprises your being? Right?

Let me know,

Seattle – Things Done Changed – Washington

No, That’s the Other Black Guy

by Seattle Washington

Pssst.  Hey.  Yeah you.  Come here, I have something to tell you.  Y’know when you get me confused for the other Black guy in the office?  It really pisses me off.  I know, I know.  We all look alike.  Trust me, I’ve heard many of Black folk say the same thing about you.  But really, c’mon now there’s a handful of Black guys in an office of hundreds of people.  Sh*t, I’m the only one in this department.  Matter of fact, you probably see more Black people walking past the security desk in the lobby than you do walking in the hallways.  So how can you not keep us straight?

My face may remain stoic when you say “Hey Portland?  How are things?” but in my mind it goes a little something like this.  Mutha fucka, I’m Seattle.  Portland is five inches shorter than me and works in a different department.  I’m Six Foot Sexy.  Do you not see me and my tall ass walking around the hallway?  Just off height alone, how can you get us confused?  Not to mention we have different personalities, different jobs and rock different gear.  We sit on different floors man.  Furthermore there’s only a handful of us at this job, you mean you can’t keep us straight?  That’s some sad sh*t homie.  That’s beyond ignorant; it’s disrespectful.  

You may have noticed a change in how I talk to you too.  I know, I know before I used to tactfully correct you and giddily watch your face become red with embarrassment.  Now, I’ve gotten to a point where I’ll happily correct you and add in a touch of signature Seattle cynicism.  So when you say, “Hey Portland.”  I just respond, “No, that’s the other Black guy.  I’m Seattle.”  And I’m off before your jaw can hit the floor.  Call it tough love.

Y’know I read that when you’re not exposed to different races, the unique facial features, hair texture, and overall appearance that other races have will all seem the same for you.  I understand that you might have grown up in an area where everyone looked like you.  I don’t hold that against you.  But damn, you work with me everyday.  You mean, you still can’t get my homeboy and I straight?  Look around, it doesn’t take a genius to realize this is a very homogenous industry, but I seem remember your names.  And we have hundreds co-workers.  Even if I don’t know your name, I know you’re not the same person as Steve around the corner.

So please, get your sh*t straight.  We’re different.  Yes, different.  Black people do not come off an assembly line.  If you can remember the names of all the Black players on your local football team, their stats, and schools they went to, I think you can remember me and a couple other Black guys in the office.  Think of it as a starting line up and the sixth man.  Or maybe I should just get Washington printed on the back of every shirt I wear.  Seems like that’s the only time you can remember a specific Black person.  Well, that and if I ended up on the 10 o’clock news.

That Black Guy in the Office,

Seattle  Six Foot Sexy  Washington

Stop Clutching Your Purse

A Little Something from Seattle

This edition of A Little Something from Seattle is brought to you by two friends of the site, Ainz from SHCollective and Lanny from… actually, she doesn’t have a website. She’s too cool for that sh*t.  Nonetheless, the video is hilarious.  It touches on the little bullshit trials and tribulations that Black dudes face everyday.  I have a job, I’m dressed respectably (by mainstream America standards) and I still can’t catch a break.  It’s a familiar story to any Black guy that happens to walk, try to catch a cab or ride an elevator.  So without further ado…

The Black Man’s PSA

 

That’s it peoples!  Have a great weekend.  I’ll drink one for you , or a couple.  Whichever.  Oh and be on the lookout for a post we have coming next week discussing yet another type of comical, yet infuriating, sh*t that Black dudes face constantly.  Stay tuned.

Seattle Washington aka “That Black Guy”