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