Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Black brotha, I love ya..."

People frequently criticize what they don't understand. I, admittedly, am not very good with criticism. Either I suck it inside and ponder over it for very long periods of time until I gain some understanding of where it comes from, or it turns my ears hot. This probably isn't very abnormal--most people don't like being criticized. It turns your peers into your superiors, and nobody likes being subordinate to someone else. (At least, I know I don't.)

In conversation with he-who-shall-not-be-named, I was once criticized because I haven't dated heavily outside of my race. (Before we even get into this discussion, let me first state that this criticism was fallacious, because I haven't dated heavily at all, and I feel this criticism is better rendered if the person in question has dated lots of people.) All of the guys that I have been involved with have been racially black. Despite their all falling into the same racial category, they ave had different ethnicities. (Jamaican, Haitian, Dominican, African-American, etc.)

First, I must say I'm really tired of all this post-racial bullshit that people are trying to get into now that Obama is the President. People who didn't give two shits about racial issues before are now trying to be all PC and concerned and shit. Anyhow, this particular criticism of me came from someone who seems to feel that dating all around the color wheel is the key to some upper-echelon intellectualism that clearly, I must not be a part of. (I know. He didn't know who he was talking to. It's cool.) That's all well and good, but the criticism was given to me as if I refuse to date people who are not Black. Since we're supposed to be in this post-race world, I don't even know why color matters so much, but besides that, the only reason I've been involved with people who are all racially Black is because no one who is racially different has caught and held my attention, nor I theirs. At least not at a time that was conducive to anything really happening. And considering how I've seriously dated all of two people, I'm sure I've got plenty of time to play around the color wheel. Pretty simple explanation to a pretty one-dimensional criticism.

If this seems like it's coming out of nowhere, it's not. I was in the car this morning, and I heard Angie Stone's "Brotha," which I haven't heard in a while.

He is my King, He is my one/
Yes he's my father, Yes he's my son/
I can talk to him, cuz he understands/
Everything I go through and everything I am/
He's my support system, I can't live without him/
The best thing since sliced bread,/
Is his kiss, his hugs, his lips, his touch/
And I just want the whole world to know, about my../

(Chorus)Black Brotha, I love ya,/
I will never - try to hurt ya/
I want ya, to know that,/
I'm here for you - forever true/
cuz you're my/
Black Brotha, strong brotha,/
there is no - one above ya/
I want ya, to know that,/
I'm here for you - forever true

And when I heard it, I smiled. And then I frowned, because I remembered this criticism. (From someone who is Black! I could see if you were white and complaining about me not dating outside my race but your ass is clearly a part of my race...)
Ummm... what's wrong with wanting to support the men of your own race? I don't understand when everything shifted... I'm not saying don't date outside of your race because it's bad--no, not at all. I do what I want to do, and regardless of what color you are, if I like you, honey, I like you. But what's so bad about the support system?

Black men have to put up with a lot of bullshit--Black women constantly talking about how there are no good Black men left (which isn't true), the Black men who are trying to do the right thing who are overshadowed by the ones who are trying to be fucking rappers and shit (not that there's anything wrong with that, but is that the only career some Black people think is available?), and even the Black men who are trying to make it but are a little misguided. What's wrong with trying to show them a little love?

Our Black support network has been shattered by issues of economics and class. I feel like we used to be in it for each other, but now we've segregated ourselves (or have we been segregated by socioeconomics?) and we're only worried about what's going on in our little circle.

I don't know. I haven't formed a very precise argument for this; this is all just coming from inside my heart. But I do have a question: why do we, as Black people, spend so much time now putting each other down, instead of lifting each other up? What has happened to us?

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