Thank God! You know, we spend a good deal of time walking around on eggshells. “Don’t scare the white people; they’re very skittish.” But with the title of this piece I’m doing a little double meaning thing there, in case you didn’t know. But yes, physically these guys are a little less black . But more importantly their public persona is a little less “black.” And it’s good; in this piece I wrote about how the unexpected benefit of the Sept. 11 attacks was America FINALLY giving black people a break as the BOOGEY MAN. And we HAPPILY handed that title over to virtually any Middle Easterner-no matter which religion or which country they were from. Because we’ve unwillingly played the role longer than we’ve wanted. The media has treated us like a ragdoll or a sock puppet. You can almost feel newscasters reach under their desk and put the doll on and then start in on us like a creepy uncle telling some kid a bedtime horror story. But these 3 black guys represent a new paradigm shift that white people (and thus everybody else) seem ready and willing to gobble up! FINALLY. They’re not “black” but “American.”
That fourth guy by the way is ME . I couldn’t pass up this chance to stand in a…what would I call this? A Reverse Line-up? Since they’re always lining black men up to point a negative finger at us; what would be the opposite of that? I guess it’s Reverse Line-up, since white people love these black guys.
Part of American thinking is the rejection of intense thinking. Were a “broad stroke” kind of nation, we don’t get into minutia or “detail” and “facts.” Ask Bush. In fact, people ELECTED Bush into office in 2004. Despite the details of his past, and his overt theft of the 2000 election . But for most of MY LIFE “Black” has been this large, ominous, threatening, cloud that white people (and hence everybody else) have feared and loathed (forgive me Hunter S Thompson!). People have cherry picked our redeeming qualities (like enjoying us in various sports, various comedies, and ALL music) while generally wishing we would go away, or just not BE in their immediate vicinity. But NOW Black is in Baby! In fact, now that black looks more white it’s ok! Hoorraayyyy! But wait. Let me show you something..
Holy MotherFucker! Look at this guy. Jesus. THIS is what comes to white minds if they’re just thinking about “black guys” and not some specific individual. This…this…Jesus, what do you call it? A Joseph Campbell anti-hero archetype? But look at that body, that jewelry, the pants coming off in preparation to rape all your white women. And that smile-listen I’m not going to say what intellect either is or is not conveyed in that loose grin: you make the call. Don’t get me wrong! White people love this TOO . But they don’t want it up close and personal. They want it on TV. They don’t want to shake hands with it. But they REALLY want to shake The Rock’s hand, Or Tiger’s. And man do they want to get close to Obama!
See, the OLD black was really becoming a burden. When I lived in Japan I learned more about the black male image than I care to go into detail, but suffice it say; they all expected me to either rob them or break into a rap song at any given moment. And the reason they HAVE that image is because our culture PROVIDES that image to the entire world. They had a Sunday morning show that translated to the “Black People Doing Crime in American Fun Time Happy Hour.” Imagine me watching such a show EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY. Just footage after footage of black people caught on tape doing crime. The producers had just taken Cops type shows and extracted all the white people and voila “Black People Doing Crime in American Fun Time Happy Hour. Jesus! But rap and crime are ALSO what white people (and hence everybody else) USED to expect from us.
Lastly we DO need to touch on the physical racial attributes. Now the fact that those 3 guys and myself are physically less “black” is incidental . In fact if you saw Henry Lewis Gates PBS series that aired on PBS in February (of COURSE during black history month), then you know that this is a part of who we-as black people- are. Professor Gates is a perfect example. Most black people have HUGE quantities of non-black blood. He himself is genetically 50 percent non-black despite neither parent actually being a white person. Just like the Rock, or Tiger Woods. Barack is the only “classic” 50-percenter in the whole group. But most of us are not. LOOK AT MY NAME. And LOOK at my picture, you SEE what’s going on. Something. Right? You can tell SOMETHING is going-and yet neither of my parents is “white.” And that’s how most Black people in America are these days. But it’s just incidental It has no meaning in terms of our identity or behavior. It’s like height or weight or birthmarks. And up until Barack had a minor problem with his pastor, he was trying to get that point across to the general public. But because of the minister Obama had to get into the race issue and explain what I’ve had to explain to my white friends for YEARS. Just accept ME for who I am. Just a guy. Yeah, I like a little rap. But do I have a jewel encrusted fucking Goblet to drink my Crystal Champagne from? No. What would even make you think that!? Goddamned MTV! That’s who’s really doing this. Because it’s an image that sells. And things ONLY SELL BECAUSE PEOPLE WANT TO BUY it.