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I don’t know what’s scarier: the black extremist advocating for genocide or the black reverend who makes white people out to be victims of unequal media coverage. No doubt, neither of them should represent black folks but the reverend is what most of our successes will grow to be. Black parents that want to guide their children down the path of dignity explain to their kids, at an early age, that they must wear the mask. For generations we’ve been told the same lie about dealing with the anti-black world. That lie is that we can beat it by conforming to the demands of white culture— which has tragically become to be the standard for respect of all races. What our loving parents are not realizing is that most of us won’t return to seeing truth, that the anti-black world is set up for us fail, no matter how extraordinary we are. We end up getting away from becoming successful as a black person or rather ourselves. That reverend has lost his mind from over-conformity. Is this really where we our heads to be?
We can’t possibly achieve any type of happiness or progress when we are too nervous to make the right decision. The worst consequence from this idea of having to dress and speak “professional” or “presentably,” is the focus on petty things. Black on black crime is the most vicious at the level of “tough love,” of attempting to teach another black person to not be too black. And this is understandable, given the fact that being black already puts an individual on the loosing team, but the behavior still isn’t right. I would never forget the day that the Kappas told me I wasn’t good enough for them. A young, black, prospective philosopher, walked into a scholarship interview dressed in the best shirt, the straightest pants and shiniest of dress shoes. To my surprise, I was underdressed to be considered a true scholar, a real man going somewhere; all because I didn’t wear a tie. The interview ended up being bare criticism toward my lack of interaction with the norms of the business world (really the white dominated world) and not about my academic goals or the value of my education. I was a brother equal to the brother heading to prison, someone they should abuse verbally and abandon. If I weren’t above the values of this particular Kappa society, I could’ve quit as response to the fear of being clowned by my own people.
Whether not I was dressed appropriately is dumb conversation, rather we should discuss what clothing says about my status. Though a nigger mastering the white norms, business casual attire, proper English, listening to classical music, is preferred over the typical nigger, he’s still a nigger in the eyes of the outside world. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t perfect our English or be aware of these norms, but I am saying that we can’t rely on that knowledge alone. The older folks are set in their ways and time will deal with those anti-blacks not conformity, because they will die soon. A better understanding of progress is that we have to be ourselves and tell the multicultural youth what we have to say. White kids, Asian kids, kids from all over the world are growing up together in America. That’s where we gain true respect. The new kids are seeing race in a way that forces them to criticize the perspective their parents provided. We shouldn’t have to get the point that we strived so much to be successful in white people terms, that we get confused as to who is misrepresented on television, as the reverend is.