Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I See You.

Right, wrong or otherwise, Black Men are the most feared and endangered beings in today's society.

Numerous adjectives accompany our stereotype. I've heard them used by both men and women of all races; friends, family and co-workers alike. Truth be told, I might've even said some of them myself at some point.






There are many others, but continuing on that path does not serve the interest of this blog post.

Television, news and film play a large part in perpetuating this stereotype by the continuous deluge of racially biased, negative images put forth before us on a day to day basis. The news is far and away the worst of these culprits; a constant stream of scowling black male faces splashed on the front page of my local newspapers and seared into the public conscious by televised local and nationally recognized news outlets.

A keyword search of the taglines that usually accompany these images would most likely include words like "homicide," "drugs," "gang," "violence," "jail,"etc.

The media excretes this drivel, the public treats it like gospel and consumes it like mother's milk.

If someone from another country had never met a Black man from America and based their entire perception by what they saw in the media, they would most likely believe that every Black man out here was a vile and treacherous animal that needed to be kept in their place; preferably either dead or in the penal system under close supervision. (I've encountered this peculiar brand of predjudice from certain immigrants, personally.)

For the record, I've not written today to defend the actions of criminals and miscreants. They should be held publicly accountable, regardless of race.

What I AM saying is that positive images of Black Men aren't nearly as popular and are therefore,not presented nearly as often as the negative images.

Case in point: I remember a TV show that came out a number of years ago called "The Brothers," which was about four intellgient, upwardly-mobile, well-spoken and gainfully employed Black men and the issues they faced on a day-to-day basis.

You say you've never heard of it?

I'm not suprised.

It didn't last too long on the air.

You take a similar show formula with a White, mixed female and male cast and you have "Friends." You've heard of this show, I'm sure.

You take a similar show formula and cast it with four White women and you have "Sex and The City." Another wildly successful show.

Hell, if you take this show formula and cast it with four BLACK women you get the fairly successful show, "Girlfriends."


...a show about four Black men who are about something and dealing with life as an intelligent Black man in America?

You get cancelled.


Coincidence? With all due respect to Barack Obama and his recent success, I really don't think so.

That being said, I came across Myron Rolle's name a few days ago on ESPN and smiled. Wide and genuine.

Never heard of him?

Again, I'm not surprised.

Here's his photo.

Myron Rolle plays football for Florida State University. In fact, he's such a good player that he will most likely be collecting an NFL check sometime in 2010...

...after he comes back from completing his Rhodes Scholarship.

Myron Rolle is a pre-med student at FSU who holds a GPA of 3.75 and has completed his coursework while being a football standout, in TWO AND A HALF YEARS.

As one of 1000 students around the country seeking 32 scholorships, Rolle was selected as a Rhodes Scholar and will be continuing his Master's degree studies in Public Administration at Oxford University in England for one year.

This young man has it got it right. His list of academic, social and athletic acheivements is impressive to say the least. You can read more about him here.

His story, like "The Brothers," and stories about the majority of Black men who have it going on, hasn't been getting the attention it deserves.

Coincidence? Again, I really don't think so.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to say to all the unsung Black male heroes in the community and to Myron Rolle:

Keep doing your thing. I see you.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

How Many Of Us Have Them?

If you know the answer to this question, you're most likely over the age of 28.

And you recognize good music.


For the underprivliledged few who aren't in the know, I'm talking about friends.

Two of my best friends, Meek and Jay, rang my phone in sucession mid-afternoon on New Years Day. I'd just risen from a coma-like sleep induced by a 12 hour New Years Eve shift where my partner and I got our asses handed to us with non-stop calls from 9:00 pm to 6:30 am and at one point, ended up having to remove a small piece of some dude's intestine from the inside door of our ambulance.

Above: This image + 12 hours = effing ridiculous.

(Aside: Chester, Pa. I won't miss you AT ALL when I've responded to my last call as a paramedic. Real talk.)

But anyway....

The funny thing about both calls was that both of them wanted to talk about friendship.

Meek wanted to talk about how I would define the term "Best Friend" and Jay wanted to basically chop it up about the same thing. He's been feeling introspective lately since he became a husband and father.

All that talking to those two got me thinking about the people who I call my "Best Friends."

Hell, it got me thinking about who I called "friend," period.

You have to be EXTRA careful about who you let into your cipher in '09 because most people out there are on some extra-hateful, crabs-in-a-barrel, "et tu, Brute?" type shit these days.

To paraphrase Serius Jones, "you can't have too many squares in your circle."

Above: Caesar was NOT a good judge of character. At all.

The hallmark of true friendship in your humble author's opinion, entails loyalty. Fierce, resolute and undying loyalty to another person ESPECIALLY if you call this person your "Best Friend."

Another sign of true frienship is the fact that your friend is going to up you on the shit you NEED to hear as opposed to the bullshit you WANT to hear. People who know you only marginally or not at all will smile and nod when you're starting to drink your own kool-aid. Your true friends probably won't go in on you in public BUT, they WILL pull you to the side, tell you to shut the f-note up and call you on your bullshit as soon the opportunity presents itself.

Your best and closest friends know the most intimate details about you and the things that you've done and been through. (They were probably personally involved in 99.9999% of it anyway. Criminal shit and other embarrasing moments whether they involve you being drunk and/or high are indeed, included.)

Above: "Don't worry fam. Despite all this, we're still cool."

You've probably wronged or pissed off your closest friends at some point. In a major way. I'm not saying that this is always true, but if you've been down with each other for any long period of time, this has probably happened. But you forgive them and they forgive you because y'all are fam-and nothing comes between that.

You may or may not speak to your best friends for years at a time. Life happens and before you know it, a year might've gone by. But all it takes is one phone call. Just to catch up in general-or even more so when shit is thick. Anybody can be around when shit's lovely; that's easy. Your "Fam" is there when you're at your lowest; battered, bloody and feeling like you can't go on. And they're usually the ones picking you up and dusting you off while everyone else was counting you out.

The people who REALLY have your back will have YOUR back over almost all others. I care about my peoples various SO's in their own right, but don't ever get it twisted: my loyalty lies with my friends. First, last and always. I make no apologies for that at all.

Most of all, a true friend loves you for YOU, not what they WANT you to be. Watch those folks out there who are constantly trying to change you. They are probably not your friend. Hell, they probably don't even really LIKE you.

So this post goes out to my "Best" friends:


-My Father
-My Sister
-My Wife

This one's for y'all. I love you guys eternally and will seriously come out of character for and in defense of, all of you, if the need ever arose.


(Post Blog Note: Thanks to the NEW subscribers/posters to this blog, the beautiful and intellectually swagtastic PBG, PGH_Muse, Jae and Suga. And to the lovely BBmo and to my man Chris, thanks again for reading. I just want to wish all of you guys a happy and blessed 2009.)