by Professor Chris Green
So what has happened to our black or African-American culture since 1615? What progress has been made?
- We are no longer in physical chains. Note the word the physical
- I don’t walk around seeing whites only signs or blacks only signs, although it puzzles me when I walk on campus towards my office and see social situations where one side of a building is all black and the other side of the building is all white. Equally puzzling to see in the café one section is all black and the other section is all white as I am eating breakfast with a co-worker from India.
- It feels good to go out to dinner at my favorite sports bar with my lady friend, however, it becomes a little disturbing when my white lady friend comes back from the ladies room telling me the rude comments a group of black ladies from the table across from us said about her.
- I enjoyed growing up going to elementary school being one of few minorities, and not knowing what the word “black” meant or “minority” meant. Why, easy, we were kids, we didn’t care. But I did become very confused when I started middle school when I noticed that those same classmates, including new ones started telling me that I speak too white, dress too white, and act too white.
- I enjoyed watching the Fab Five turn the sports world upset down when I was a teenager. But I did get headaches when I researched the Fab five and discovered that they received racist comments from both whites and from their own older culture for not being afraid to be themselves. 90 percent of the disgraceful letters came from Wolverine graduates, people with college degrees, and Michigan happens to be up north.
- It feels good being able to be a role model to over 67 college students whom are still in high school every semester as a professor. But I stay up at night sometimes wondering why out of those 67, I only have 3 African-Americans in there.
- I am delighted to know that historically black colleges are still in existence. Although it’s a little hard to digest the reality that they receive less than 50 percent of an overall college rating from the board of universities and have a graduation rate less than 50 percent.
- I do enjoy listening to hip hop when I have the time. The beats and the sound represent the greatness of creativity and poetry. But I do have a hard time trying to figure out why we went from “it’s about the message and the music behind the message” TO
- “It’s all about money, ego, sex, and power”
- I do have respect for all that Tyler Perry has done for black culture. However, I do get tired of being able to pull out his stereotypical-business minded direction behind his talents within 10 minutes into watching his movies.
- My uncle used to point out the cultural messages behind Spike Lee movies and why it’s important to understand our history. But I tend to always want to splash water in the faces of some of the black college students who say to me “Who is Spike Lee?” and say instead,
- “Madea is my role model”.
- I enjoy talking and going on dates with my beautiful black sistas and the beautiful interracial sistas. But such attraction becomes difficult to uphold when they confuse my devoted GOD-driven beliefs with responses like “Are you even black?” and the classic “Are you gay?”
- It’s nice listening to a beautiful woman sitting across from me at the dinner table trying to explain to me what she’s looking for in a relationship. Honesty, realness, pretty, close to family, devoted to GOD…yea yea all great. But I get puzzled when those desires are replaced on the number one list by good sex, and I have to have sex or the stability of the relationship is doomed.
- I wonder how our culture would be if MLK or JFK were still alive. I believe it would be truly wonderful, taking away the fact that they would be in their high 90s in age. But it is a little disconcerting reading and listening to people of my own culture disrespect our first president of color by saying he’s not really black; just because he’s interracial. It’s equally disconcerting watching Rev. Jackson and Rev. Sharpton stick their heads out for attention and media focus only when racial situations occur.
- My mother has always marveled over Oprah and same with my 80 year old grandmother. But I end up going to wally world for headache meds sometimes when I read all of the shameful comments made on Oprah from my African-American sistas just because she is viewed as not really black to them.
- Queen Latifah has always gotten all respect from me. From listening to her spread messages of racial consciousness and strength of womanhood in her profanity-free hip hop in the 80s to watching her mature and grow into a great entertaining actress. But the hater smoke screens she gets from people from my own culture about her blackness always chokes up my lungs.
- I always knew what my grandmother meant when she told me how important it was to be good in math and science. My mother used to freely run me through math drills and index cards of scientific terms so I could do well in those classes. It’s equally pleasing knowing from research in Afrocentric philosophy and psychology that our African ancestry, our blood, required excellence in math and science before a boy was allowed to the rite of passage to manhood. But it is hard sometimes trying to ease the frustration on young black boys and black girls whenever they come to me telling me that people in their own culture call them racial slurs and lack of blackness jokes just because they are excelling in math and science.
- I am an NFL fanatic. I love seeing those guys fight for a win every Sunday from Sept to Feb. It’s cool knowing that the majority of players in the NFL are black. But what I do not love is whenever I see young brothas who are now millionaires from years of devoted hard work get into the media from being arrested for beating on a woman, drug offenses, club fights, and drug dealing.
- I thought Chris Henry was a great player, even though he had emotional battles, but who doesn’t? It was sad that his home team was willing to throw him out onto the streets instead of being by his side when he needed support and then only get the respect he deserved as a struggling hard working brotha AFTER he was killed. Wasn’t surprising to learn that the team was the Bengals; which resides in Ohio. A state known for both racial diversity and racial contradictories.
- I love reading in the media about a young brotha who have parents working 2 jobs to pay his way through a private school up north so he can get the best education and go to the best college with a scholarship. What I don’t love is reading the rest of the article talking about his father sobbing over the fact that jealous brothas from his neighborhood came to visit and shot and killed the young man right on his parent’s doorstep.
- It’s cool to see a lot of brothas and sistas in a campus computer lab. But it’s ice cold cruel to see a lot of them act like children and think they can do whatever they want without realizing they are not only hurting themselves, but hurting their own culture in front of everyone else
- It’s good to go to another computer lab on campus and see brothas relaxing to their hip hop music and getting their college homework done in the pursuit of a college degree. It’s pretty bad when I see an interracial chick become angry at one of them and automatically view him as the reason our culture is a damn shame when he clearly didn’t do anything wrong.
- It’s great that our culture has destroyed a lot of the stereotypes given to us by other races today. But I am confused as to why a lot of people in my culture enjoy living and thinking on the glorification of sexual promiscuity and sometimes over crazed dependency for sexual behaviors like a drug addiction. It confuses me sometimes because those brothas and sistas are actually turning a stereotype used as propaganda against us in the 16, 17, and 1800s, debasing us as nothing but over sexualized beasts absolutely true.
You get the point. I can go on and on. I am leaving it up to you to decide what progress we have made as a culture since 1615. If you feel I am rolling on the negative, you did not read this blog- read it again. I will leave you with this; social perceptions of reality determine what is real and true for us. Keep that in mind as you re-read this blog. Decide for yourself.