I went to the poetry reading last night. There were some really good artists there so now yall get momentairly blessed with an excerpt from one of my poems before I get into the Blog
“…I’ll walk over, and pretend like I hadn’t planned it.
And even though my heart is pounding, and my legs are giving
I’ll pretend I can stand it.
I won’t ask her attention, I’ll demand it.
Django will fill my ears,
my demeanor is cool, even if my heart don’t know it
rejection and vulnerability will be my fears
and my body will fill with glee, just to be near
even if my face don’t show it.
Before I can even get my plan into gear
with her smile she’ll warn me “Don’t blow it.”…”
Go check out Shana’s poem. It’s tight. Check the blogroll. Anyway it reminded me of something I was thinking about the other day while watching Kings of Comedy. My boy Cedric (and when I say boy I mean my friend cause we like some play cousins) was talking about white people living by the hope creed, whereas black people live by the wish creed. And it made me think of something. Now I’m not making judgements here because I’m also guilty of the following, but it’s a habit I’m trying to break. But most black people identify their blackness or blackness in general in contrast to how they view white people, or how they think white people view them. Additionally We rarely make comparisons between us and other (American)minority races. If you turn on Comicview every comic that steps on the stage will make at least one joke (asuming his whole set isn’t) about what black people do in comparison to white people. But if you turn on comedy central you might find like one in 4 comics who makes a joke about how white people are lame compared to black people. I don’t believe it’s them trying to be politically correct. I think white people just don’t really care too much about black people’s view of them, but we are constantly concerned about white people’s view of us, and/or our view of us in comparison. I do believe that when white people think of themselves they think of themselves as an individual, not as whatever they are in opposition to/of whatever their black counterpart would be. I guess if we trace the roots to find the cause of the problem it’s because black people in America have evolved as an underprivledged race. Black people can’t truly idnetify with their African roots because we are not African. We are American like it or not, and we have more black American heritage than African. The black people who were brought here were taught to think of themselves as inferior. Even though we know today that this isn’t true, we still have to second guess it all the time. We’re constantly staring over our shoulders making sure that we aren’t inferior. With any human being if you make an attack on their self-esteem at a pivotal point in their growth you can change their perspective on life. Our growth began the day we set foot off a slave ship. One generation down the line after having been virtually stripped of our culture and homeland we ceased to be what we were and became something altogether different. Something that was and still is controlled by white men. White men still have all the money and all the power. Black men still can’t be president even though this is our country as much as anyone’s. I can remember very specifically the day I really started to identify with “being Black” For most of my life I only identified myself as Gian. I went to racially diverse schools (with a slight to radical swing in favor of white people) from first grade all the way through college. For most of those years I was very aware of the general differences in the races, and I like most people do gravitated more towards the black people at each stop but still maintained my self image without using black as one of the descriptors. If I were asked how someone else would describe me I probably would have given a bunch of adjectives that I would assume people feel about me, black being one of the last I’d come to merely for factual purposes. Well now things are different. Now black is one of the first things that comes to mind whether it’s self image or projected image. There was this girl I was seeing who I have written about before. I thought, and still think, very admirably of her. If you’ve ever met someone you just considered truly wonderful, and you wanted to be more like them because of it then you know what I’m talking about. One of the more important things to her was her race, and she embraced and reveled in her blackness. I guess it was as a result of this relationship that it became important for me to do so too. And now I don’t think I could ever be the way I was before. Fortunately I like most things about me so I’m comfortable sticking with this. Example: my first girlfriend (not counting when I was 5) was a white girl. At the present time I’m sure I could entertain grown up activities with a white woman, although it would be an extremely rare situation since I find most white women unattractive, but I’m sure I could never marry one. I don’t think a white woman could identify with me the way a black woman could. Anyway, all of this is tangent. I said all that to say that one of the main differences in my attitude adjustment was that in viewing myself as a black person I also started viewing myself in opposition to/of white people. I don’t wish to suggest that I’m militant or anti-white. In my formative years I made friends with, and still continue to make friends with (due to the fact I play basketball at Tulane’s gym) white people. But now, unlike when I was younger, White has more frequently become the standard of comparison instead of my ideal, perfect-self. And furthermore I have become increasingly aware of my own presence amongst white people and vice versa, and aware of their being aware of my presence and vice versa. As with most of the problems I present I don’t really have a practical solution. But I don’t really believe that this is the most problematic thing in black culture so it can be put on the backburner. All it really does is feed the super-white ego and simultaneously diminsh our own chance at defining self using only self. I guess that does sound kinda bad huh?