Mutual Friends

stephen colbert black friend

Image courtesy of The Daily Banter

Having relationships with people–family, friends, romantic partners–means spending time with their friends. This can be a double-edged sword: being friendly with a guy or girl that shares the same interests and has a tolerable personality might net you a new pal to hang with; getting lumped together with a dud dude or dudette, and you’ll dread any and every digression you deal with. (Ds!)

I’ve been lucky to have made good friends out of mutual acquaintances. When I moved to Phoenix nine years ago, I knew two people–both from college. Through one of my work friends (now one of my best friends), I met several of his colleagues through his church. I’ve been able to depend upon their friendship (and vice-versa, I’d like to think) as we’ve bonded, and we’ve shared many life events in the process. They are dear to me and more patient with me than I often am with myself, and for that, I am grateful.

Then there are those mutual acquaintances that have made less-than-appealing impressions, those that make you wonder if that saying “birds of a feather flock together” makes you wonder about those qualities in your friend that you cherish. These are situations and people that I don’t want to encounter.

A recent get-together with friends introduced a sibling to the dynamic, a cordial and opinionated guy that was comfortable making his thoughts known. I was chatty with him, thinking it would make him feel more at ease around strangers, but I think he got TOO comfortable; during a heated game of video game Bocce (it happens!), a mistake on my part led to him shouting “You idiot!” This statement stung; a rough few emotional weeks filled with self-doubt and general depression about my basic contributions to life seemed to audibly confirm how others perceived me. I sat on those feelings for the rest of the night, not wanting to make an awkward mountain into a maladroit of a molehill. (I texted my friend the next day to inform him that I found his brother’s statement to be rude.)

Another set of gaffes came from the best friend of a mutual friend. Over the course of several years, said best friend of mutual friend (a jittery guy that was not shy about being his crass, jittery self) made displeasing comments about acquaintances and colleagues, expressed out homophobic remarks about a mutual coworker, and professed his lust for a then 16-year-old actress. My opinion of him was low.

The fact that the mutual friend of said schlub considered the asshole one of his best friends made me reevaluate our joint bond, and I recognized ugly aspects of his personality with a new clarity. Offhand remarks that were sexist and racist in nature came back into focus, as did off-color jokes about a good mutual friend. The dickbagginess of the mutual acquaintance reflected the unbecoming side of that mutual friend.

It also made me wonder if I was as horrible as those examples that I was surrounded by. Humans are bound to occasionally say awful things and engage in arguable behavior, and no one is perfect. (I wish I could do-over many of the conversations I’ve had in my life–especially between the ages of 7 and 12.) But what if the encounters between mutual colleagues were annoying? Though I would like to think that I’m a good judge of character, what did it say that their colleagues could be friends with frustrating people?

***

I recently took a week-long break from my personal Facebook account due to boredom and discontent. My friends list had expanded to the point where a majority of the accounts were people I had never met or hadn’t seen in more than 5 years, and my news feed was filled with posts that may as well have been from strangers. I found myself increasingly bothered by the indulgence in the worst social media habits that I witnessed, and after months of unfollowing dozens in my feed, I went on an unfriending purge. And I felt terrible about it.

Like those acquaintances that I dealt with in real life, those that I collected on my Facebook profile shared a similarity: they were good people that periodically dabbled in irritating acts. But those behaviors were the only side I saw to them–online sphere or otherwise. I realized that those pesky proprieties (including an abundance of selfies, baby and pet pics, and musings about geek culture) had little meaning to me but might not have been the case to those that had a primary role in their lives. I know that I can’t get enough of the baby pics that my cousin’s family and my good friends post, and I look forward to pop culture musings from certain friends. It’s that “the vital connection is made.” (BOW, bow-bow bow)

***

I’ve probably been that terrible mutual friend on more than one occasion. I’m not the easiest person to converse with because of my shyness, and I might come across as aloof or stuck up as a result. My sense of humor can be goofy, so an occasional riff (like about pop culture or douchebags) might be annoying. I’m lucky that my friends can tolerate me at my best and worst, and I’m learning to apply those principles to others that I come across in my travels. That said, if they admit their longing for an underage person or post nothing but selfies, all bets are off.

Guest Post: A BRO Talks Supreme Court Shit

hobby lobby religious freedom

In the fairness of giving equal blog time to the less intelligent and less cultured, I am ceding the following blog post to a bro. The bro in question was given the task of deciphering the recent Supreme Court verdict about contraception and religious rights. These are his thoughts.

Bros! BROS. Bros?

So I’m checkin’ out my Facebook feed, right, catching up on the pics my boys posted from this weekend’s rager (I hope my girlfriend doesn’t see them; shit went loco, if you know what I mean!). And ALL these people–mostly family and friends from high school that are all cultural and shit–are flippin’ out about the Supreme Court and something called Hobby Lobby. What the hell is THAT shit? I yelled into my headset. (I was at work.) Usually when my Facebook blows up, it’s either something political or it’s almost UFC Fight Night. And since the fights were Saturday, it’s probably something political. And that shit goes nuclear real quick.

I usually avoid reading up on politics because it’s frankly boring ass shit: some old dude is seeking re-election; the IRS is getting all the money; orange dude John Boner (Speaker John Boehner–Ed.) is all mad at the president again. But the Supreme Court? Those old people in the robes are still around? Why they let old people decide on American shit is crazy; my grandpa is always complain’ about Chinese people, and he didn’t even fight in Korea. But I guess the old people in the robes decided that the guy that owns Hobby Lobby won’t pay for women’s birth control now. I don’t know why they get to decide it, but that’s politics.

My boy Socks (Steve Wysocki) wouldn’t pay for his girlfriend’s abortion, and she was PISSED. They broke up for like a month, but Socks got half a sleeve on his arm proclaiming his love for her, so she took him back. We ragged on him for it, calling him her bitch, but I gotta admit, that’s love, man. So I imagine that Hobby Lobby dude not paying for his lady employee’s birth control pills and whatever they stick up there is like having a million girlfriends pissed because you wouldn’t pay for THEIR abortions. And you don’t wanna be on the receiving end of a woman that can’t get her abortion. Socks isn’t gonna deny his girl another one–believe THAT.

Also, why did this Hobby Lobby guy name his store Hobby Lobby? That’s some nerd shit, rhyming things to be cute. Pause. And he doesn’t sell anything cool! I passed by a Hobby Lobby on the way to the vape shop my boy Swank (Mike Swanson) owns, Legitimate Vape (I don’t get it), and I saw nothin’ but wood furniture and knick-knacks. My aunt would probably love that place, especially if they have the clay statues of smiling black people. Only nerds and aunts love making shit. Though I guess if you can build stuff, you can get glue or spray paint–good for a cheap high when there’s no dank around.

But the Hobby Lobby dude didn’t want to pay for birth control for his lady workers because it was against his religion? I didn’t know you could do that! I remember my teachers talking about separation of church and statues, which is weird because churches usually have statues of sad women, but then that means that he could not do other shit because he doesn’t believe in it religionally. I don’t know much about God, but if he was as mean as that movie Noah, flooding the world and shit, he was a straight-up dick.

It’s ballsy as hell to ride or die with a dude that would do some Kill Bill shit, and now the Supreme Court is siding with Hobby Lobby dude? That’s gangsta as hell. And now something called closely hung companies can do whatever they want as long as they believe in God. That’s like the best get out of jail free card! Anytime I didn’t want to pay for my employees for something, I could say that God told me to do it! Shit, that’s CRAZY!

But that might not be good, you know what I mean? What if those lady workers don’t want any babies? What if their husbands or boyfriends don’t want no kids runnin’ around? They gotta pay for it because that Hobby Lobby dude won’t. And that shit’s expensive. Have you ever paid for Plan B? I have, and that ruined my fucking weekend; no Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for THIS guy.

So I guess there are political things that are important after all–especially when they deal with God and vaginas. But old dudes should keep their noses out of the vaginas, you know? That’s MY job–UP TOP! Swank owns his own store, so he can call off birth control for his lady employees, but he might want to keep it. He’s hookin’ up with at least two of them, and it’s probably cheaper than abortions. Gotta learn from Socks.

 

The Confidence Conundrum

 

It’s like this captcha can stare into my soul.

I was recently in line at a store, about to check out, when a beautiful woman walked by me, her eyes locked onto mine. As if we were suddenly yanked into a teen sex comedy, time slowed down as she entered my line of vision: her red lips had the slightest, knowing upturn of a smile; her orange curls framing her caramel skin bouncing and swaying; her walk as confident as the decision to wear painted-on jeans.

The exchange was probably five seconds at the most, but it felt like an eternity. Somewhere between year 2 of her tractor beam gaze, I had to internally yell at myself, “SMILE, DAMMIT!” And I THINK I did. But it felt forced, not natural. It generated anxiety, not ease. And the whole time, I wondered when it would all be revealed to be a joke at my expense.

These are my experiences when it comes to interactions with attractive women. More than that, it signifies how I encounter my life.

***

The last time I was home, my mom asked me an interesting question. “What could I have done to help you with your confidence?” she inquired, kind eyes searching mine for an answer to a problem plaguing me for more than 20 years. I had to collect my thoughts, as I like and need to take time to formulate and articulate things for maximum efficiency. (I’m not much of a talker.) Simply saying “yes” or “no” would have been too simple; an explanation was necessary. But which one of dozens could have sufficed?

  • Freshman year of high school, when two seniors befriended me in a year-long prank–including one of them stabbing my hand with an X-Acto knife in art class?
  • My dad and a family friend mocking me for outing my early internet porn browsing?
  • A former high school friend, after my obsessive efforts to rekindle our friendship, sending his goons to my door to emotionally frighten me? (Mission accomplished!)
  • Freshman year of college, being driven off my dorm floor by my former roommate and his friends after I had the audacity to get another room due to his loud late nights?

So I said “no,” letting her know that she alone couldn’t have been responsible for or carrying the burden of my fragile self-esteem. I then recounted an example that I thought at the time would give insight into the genesis of the issue. Upon further glance, it revealed more than I originally intended.

***

It was the summer of 1993. I was enjoying time off after a terrible seventh grade year, my full indoctrination into the Lord of the Flies-like world of teenage society. I was a chubby 13 year old with a Kid ‘N Play haircut, so I was naturally a target for bullying and other derision. My fashion sense for sweatpants and hiking boots didn’t help matters. Having pencil shavings dumped in my hair and a sign put on my back was the worst of the abuse, and being verbally mocked was a common occurrence.

I got word from my friends that the homeroom postings for the pending school year were posted at the junior high. As I couldn’t legally drive at the time (and my parents both drove manual-transmission cars, further ruining any joyriding fantasies), I waited for my dad to get home so I could get my school marching papers. My relationship with my father at the time was degrading; aside from the general teen embarrassment of being seen with their parents, I found myself on the receiving end of his frustration with life via occasional comments and put-downs (with some yelling),  making me feel even worse about myself. (My younger brother wasn’t too shabby at teasing me like it was his full-time job.)

So we pulled up to the school, and I noticed several girls that were instrumental in the collegial torment. I didn’t want to exit the somewhat safer confines of the car, but I knew that my dad would get upset (another typical transaction for thinking independently back then), so I grudgingly slinked out. And as I approached the front doors of the school, the girls locked onto me, launching into verbal attacks not different from what transpired months before. (They were at least consistent.) I soldiered on, got my information posted on the doors, turned around and walked back to the car as their strikes hit my back.

When I got back in the car, I immediately launched a ramp-up to Sobtown. My dad, ever the compassionate person, yelled at me to not cry, to show them that they didn’t hurt me. Now fighting shame on two ends, I choked back my tears until I got home, where my mom consoled me in the bathroom.

***

In hindsight, that event marked the end of several things in my life: my blind trust in my father as an emotional base; my ability to fully expression my emotions; and any hope of escaping social situations unscathed. My relationship with my dad would deteriorate further–including him lying to my face about his affair–and still troubles me to this day for the fact that I can never fully connect with the selfish man that I once looked up to.

My mom listened to my story (which was shorter than what I wrote above), and she remarked that my dad’s rally cry to be a man and not be upset was something he learned from my grandfather (his father, natch). She wondered aloud if she should have left my father earlier, which probably wouldn’t have helped things. The seeds had been sewn years before those events, and future encounters preyed upon my weaknesses.

As my conversation with my mother took place on Father’s Day weekend, one where I met with my dad for about an hour in a comically strange get-together that will be fodder for my next therapist, I thought about my desire to be a father. My mom remarked earlier in my visit that my brother, my cousin and I wanted to be dads despite the emotional and physical absenteeism we faced with our biological fathers, and that our devotion and compassion would make for better examples for current and future children. I hope I can overcome my own issues to make this happen.

***

The woman that I encountered the other day reminded me of two similar happenings back in college, both involving attractive women saying hi to me, and both ending with a dumbstruck me not being able to respond. I was a sexual late bloomer, not even having a kiss with a girl at that point. Though I summoned up the courage to eventually have a few dates by the time I graduated, my kiss-less streak continued. I was too shy and naive to follow up on clear flirtations from several women, I chased after the wrong girls (as in emotionally unavailable and not attracted to me in the same way), and I had no clue about what I was doing or seeking.

I recognized back in college that I needed help for my trust issues and emotional insecurities, and I sought counseling from on- and off-campus resources. Unlike my commitment to my video games and getting out of college with a degree, my committal to my mental health wasn’t strong, abandoning the sessions after a few tries. (Also, specialists are costly for a college student–even with help from a parent.) I would pick up and put down my efforts to better emotional well-being throughout my adult life with some gains, and I’m currently contemplating a return for a much-needed tune-up. I wouldn’t be surprised if my inability to fully invest in a counselor for an extended period of time is connected to trust issues. (IRONY!)

Those same trust issues have plagued my relationships during my grown-ass man stage. Not being emotionally secure has manifested in doubt in the sincerity of bonds with most of my friends, wondering why they would want to be connected to me. It has popped up in insecurity with the one romantic relationship I’ve had, a long-distance accord that ended (after increasingly bizarre comments and misgivings from her) with her calling it off and connecting immediately with the man she would marry. And I’m still conflicted when it comes to my close relationships–be it with family and best friends. In summary, my shyness, disbelief and mistrust are consistently duking it out.

***

I’m not sure why I wrote this blog entry. I initially wanted to recount a personal story about myself, but it morphed into a more painful deep-dive (a marketing term I hate) into my emotional bedrock. I clearly want to share a bit of myself–not unlike your annoying Facebook friend that posts a daily selfie in a visual cry for help. But maybe, JUST MAYBE, someone will get something out of this–whether it’s understanding why I write what I do, or that it’s okay to seek help for self-esteem. Maybe I want to give my mom a better answer to her question of how she could have helped me emotionally. Or maybe, JUST MAYBE, I want to believe that I can look back at this piece of writing as something along my road to recovery. I guess that would mean that I have a bit of confidence in something that is desperately needed: confidence in myself.

 

#YesAllWomen and Porn Mentality (NSFW)

(Warning: Shit might get gross up in here.)

As a purveyor of social media, I occasionally (okay, USUALLY) come across material that makes me question humanity. One late-night tryst sounded my awful alarm: a dickbag with the Twitter handle @CauseWereGuys (username “Because I’m a Guy,” because you have to double-down on the bro stupidity) posted “When people ask me why I don’t want to have a daughter” with a graphic image of a woman with male ejaculate on her face. Cut to facepalm.

Naturally, this chauvinist thought it was fine to state this (and the visual) for their 1.62 million followers. But the mindset and attitude behind this–and the people that buy into it–are more problematic. I’m assuming that the woman with male DNA on her mug was a participant of sex (willing or otherwise), and her partner knew that she was someone’s daughter or mother. But you can’t focus on that, bro! Gotta get that nut off!

So, OF COURSE my mind went into overdrive with questions. Why is it okay to have sex with a woman, but to not see said woman as someone’s offspring? Why is the image of a woman as a sexual being such a double-sided depiction? And how does this fuel the insane notion of “daddy’s girl” being protected by the shotgun-toting father figure? Lots of questions, lots of supposed answers!

stupid-t-shirt

“CHRIST…”

When the #YesAllWomen hashtag caught on after the troubling mass shooting rampage carried out by 22-year old Elliot Rodger against the “beautiful girls” that never gave him the time of day, many female social media users felt empowered to share their horrific experiences with men–from protecting themselves against potential date rape, to the aftermath of violence. Rodger, a self-professed men’s rights activist, saw women as possessions; the sexually attractive female was his by birthright. He wasn’t alone in that notion, as critics of these female bullies, anti-social justice warriors, and contradictory dicks stuck up for the deceased gunman and/or mocked the hashtag and the women speaking up about their thoughts and beliefs.

Women LITERALLY couldn’t have a day to talk about serious issues facing their gender, what with male assholes having to challenge that. The realization that women faced hostility and violence because of the lopsided viewpoint of gender equality made these He-Men uncomfortable with the fact that: sex has unfortunate consequences; that women are still treated miserably in an ever-prospering world; that men were the majority of the antagonists in the #YesAllWomen posts; and that the fantasies of the chaste woman and sexual harlot were muddied by the harsh realities of terrible actions. And because of that, these keyboard misogynists lashed out, shaming the posters (women and men) that used the hashtag in efforts to silence them and return to the status quo of sexist jokes and “DEM BOOBS DOE.”

Why jerkoffs felt it was not only fine but their right to belittle the true stories of women speaks to the puritan culture that seeps through society as a whole. The idea of a woman being chaste is nothing new; it’s as old as one of the oldest professions, the prostitute. I’m guessing that the old-timey Madonna-Whore complex, the categorization of women as either sexually attractive or merely admirable, is a catalyst of such beliefs that permeate many aspects of our society. The desire to protect a woman’s virtue from sexual acts and consequences can be seen in political legislation (DAMN THOSE WOMEN THAT HAD SEX!), slut-shaming, and fearful men that have to deal with their daughter’s boyfriends.

That latter point in particular is interesting, as the frightful prospect of their little girl being intimate with a younger version of father, the same father that once (or still) has those physical urges to mate with the sexually attractive female, makes them realize two things: “OH SHIT, HE WANTS 2 TAP DAT”; and “I NEED TO CONTROL MY DAUGHTER’S VAGINA.” Never mind that people are going to have sex despite the wishes of their parents, and never mind that those same naysayers once had sex with girls within their age bracket.

How telling is it that the father would most likely NOT freak out if the situation was reversed and girl showed up at his door wanting to take his son out? Here’s the basic, unspoken pep talk between father (Dr. Dre) and son (Snoop Doggy Dogg) as dictated by our culture:

“Wear that pussy out, son.”

Meanwhile, the father in question would probably not be as liberal if his daughter was to be squired about town by a similarly-aged lad:

“That’s MY pussy, junior.”

Sexuality is a tricky subject, and it is an unhealthy organism if popular culture can be believed. We

  • Tease young adults that wait to have sex shame young women if they’ve had sex
  • Culturally high-five guys for how MANY women they bed
  • Peer pressure young women into dressing as sexual objects to fend off horny guys
  • Degrade a women for the physical aspects of her body
  • Shame the women of a negative sexual encounter, let alone ANY sexual encounter (walk of shame, anyone?)
  • MAYBE prosecute male rapists
  • Shrug when men have multiple children with numerous partners and
  • Shame a women with a child out of wedlock (though it’s supposedly not nearly the cultural calamity it once was) and destroy her if she has more than one child with more than one partner.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. But aren’t these the same things that would be a turn-off of those that equate the virtues espoused in porn to be reality? Don’t guys want to see legal (and sometimes younger) young ladies doing all sorts of sexual shit? Aren’t there millions of bros young and old that look up to male pornstars? Idiots that mock a woman for not “having curves” that are either surgically enhanced or uncharacteristic of most women? Look down upon the same women they lust after? And let us not forget the lady that is Octomom.

The scales are tipped against women, and the last thing anyone should do is to deride their experiences. And we as a society need to make things safer and easier for everyone to not only share their accounts, but to limit the negative encounters. Maybe instead of joking about protecting your daughter with a shotgun, you can educate your daughter AND son to be responsible when it comes to sexual encounters as well as to respect their partner’s wishes. Maybe instead of hootin’ and hollerin’ when dude-bros brag about their latest conquests, shame that frat-douche for treating women like sex dolls. And maybe, JUST maybe, we can not give women guilt trips about their roles in sexual relationships.

More dialogues about the realities can lead to enlightened people (though some people just can’t learn a damn thing), despite the glacial pace it would take to undo centuries of patriarchal thinking. I’d like to believe we can get to a point where having a daughter is not met with fear but with the same sense of pride that culture reserves for its sons. Whenever I have kids, I know I’ll share that honor–even if others tell him or her otherwise.

5 Traveling Tips for D-Bags

us-tourist

Image courtesy of blogs.telegraph.co.uk

Summer is approaching, which means it’s almost time for the nightmare known as the “song of the summer.” (“Blurred Lines” again?) It’s also almost time for travel season!

Whether you’re shuttling your family across the country, whisking a romantic partner around the world, or bro-ing down by visiting all the sites Vince and the Entourage gang got into d-baggy shenanigans (new business idea!), you’ll come across new, unfamiliar surroundings. And with said newness comes the realization that you have to abide by a new set of customs and display tolerance for people different from you.

But CAN YOU, AMERICAN TOURIST? (I’m assuming you’re an American, because xenophobia.) To help you to assimilate to your new destination and get out of there alive, here are 5 handy tips for not making a bigger ass of yourself than you probably do daily on Facebook. Enjoy!

1. Money Over Everything

The most important thing when traveling is to have money. You can use paper currency or ring up those credit cards to the point of bankruptcy, but DAMN IT, you’ll need that green (or whatever colored money foreigners use). Plan out where you’ll be going during your trip (I’m assuming you know the general place you’ll be visiting) and have a general sense for how much you’ll need.

If you’ll be in a foreign country, MR./MS. MONEYBAGS, find someplace to convert your currency to that of your destination. Most countries won’t be impressed when you shove your cocaine-and-germ-covered dollars in a shopkeeper’s face. Plan ahead and exchange that lapdance money into something a foreign stripper will actually want.

2. Venture off the Beaten Path (But Not Too Far!)

I get the fact that most places other than home are scary and probably filled with colored people. I get that. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a great time!

Sure, you most likely have a few sights in mind to visit (Disney World, the Eiffel Tower, strip clubs for that exotic lapdance), but do a little digging and learn a bit more about your home away from home. Consult websites like Fodor’s and Time Out for places to frequent that line up with your interests (shopping, eating, objectifying) and take a chance! You never know what you’ll find.

The world is your oyster; you’ve gotta shuck it! (That is not code for fucking a stripper, you pervs.)

3. Talk to the Locals

If you’re in a region where you can converse in the native language–be it English or whatever floats your boat–and don’t mind being social, you may pick up tips on great places to visit, things to try, and classy haunts for a great lapdance. They may have suggestions on sights and eats that aren’t on your itinerary, opening you up to new experiences. Be one with the world and converse with it!

4. Learn Some of Their Language

If you’re jetting off to another country, CONGRATULATIONS MR./MS. ROCKEFELLER. Also, be prepared to be immersed by locals speaking a different dialect.

While their scary talk may frighten and confuse you, it doesn’t mean that you can’t accomplish your goals of spreading your germs in a new part of the world. Think about the words you use on a daily basis (like “hi” and “how much for the lapdance”) and use an internet translation page (Google Translate is easy and free) to not only see your words in funny text but also hear the fancy expressions! Technology: wave of the future!

5. Yelling in English Won’t Work

Let’s say that you ignored the previous tip and thought “I’m an American, and everyone should know English!” That probably means that you forgot that more than 4 billion people don’t speak English. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t raise the volume of the voice to jar that presumptive English-recognition circuit into sync, right?

See the confusion (and possible anger) on their face(s)? If you have any empathy (the ability to understand what someone might feel), you’ll realize that yelling in someone’s face is the behavior of a maniac–and a great way to get screen time on a reality show. Now feeling more humbled, it’s best to try a new tactic: point at the item of conversation, be it a souvenir, menu item, or a sex worker to administer a lapdance.

***

By trying out these handy guides, you might have a great vacation and not embarrass yourself or your country in the process. Now don’t create an international incident!

Celebrate the Kentucky Derby at Pizza Hut!

pizza-hut-thoroughbread-sticks

Made from delicious thoroughBREAD horses.

Pizza Hut: Making It Great (to recycle horses into food)

Jack Spade Laying on the Guilt

mothers day jack spade

I know, Jack Spade. I’ll call her.

jack-spade-mother

 

Okay, DAMN! I’ll call her already! Are you two in cahoots? Make a brotha feel GUILTY and shit.

5 Things black people just don’t do anymore (that they should!)

There was a time where people’s opinions were kept to themselves and their nearest church bulletins. And then the internet happened. And shit went crazy.

Because of such craziness, we are now in an age where slightly dim folks can wax nostalgic for wholesome (segregated/sexist/hate-riddled) days gone by for all to see. And they can do so in so-called articles that can be mistaken for fact. But hey, First Amendment, man!

So let’s wax nostalgic! What other misguided notions can we pine for? I know! GET ME ON EXAMINER.COM!

examiner.com logo

Image courtesy of gowaybetter.com

 

5 Things black people just don’t do anymore (that they should!)

 diary of a genial black manGenial Black Man

 Sociology Examiner

There was a time when a black person’s greatest job and accomplishment was serving the white person. The blacks of the 1977 miniseries Roots were a great example of what blacks were essentially expected to do. They worked the cotton fields, but they didn’t plan to farm (or even be seen as people in some cases). The plan was to serve their master as soon as possible, entertain them, and put those backs to use to hoist America via free labor! But today’s unshackled black person is certainly a different one! Many historical events have led to the evolution of the black role, and Kunta Kinte is now Mr./Mrs. Free Person! But just because certain “old-timey” ways of second-class citizenship have been phased out, it doesn’t mean that they should be retired. You can still be an emancipated black person and have your independent thoughts and whatnot, but maybe there are some things that blacks just don’t do anymore that they should!

Shuck and jive oneofus.net

Shuck and Jive

Some black folks these days don’t shuck and jive! Back in the day, black people had to throw white folks off their trails through lying and deception. It was mandatory. It pretty much taught you how to become an American citizen. You learned how to use codes, laugh to keep from crying, smile through the pain, take shit on the chin, and help your white master get extra money in their pocket! Nowadays, blacks only know how to shuck and jive if someone took them time to teach them how to shuck and jive. But if you’re a millennial (or older) and still don’t know how to shuck and jive, you better get started on some YouTube videos! Start with the most ignorant stuff and work your way up. You at least need to know how to make two or three white people feel a false sense of superiority.

Negro spirituals subversiveinfluence.com

Negro spirituals

Some people are singers and some are tone deaf and some are somewhere in between. But a lot of black people don’t really know how to sing Negro spirituals. A lot of black folks nowadays didn’t even sing Negro spirituals growing up. But even the ones who did sing Negro spirituals growing up feel like they’re more “independent” now and don’t have to do that anymore. Well you do! And while your white superiors should be able to be entertained by themselves, as the black person in their company or group of friends, you should be able to belt out a good rendition of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.”

Picking cotton

Picking cotton georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu

Blacks across the country in supermarkets and clothing stores can now be heard saying “They can pick their own cotton… ain’t nothing wrong with their hands…” (with some side eye). That is not right, black people! You should honor white people by picking their cotton. You don’t necessarily have to do it every time they want a t-shirt (because seriously, there is nothing wrong with their hands), but at least do it when you are in public as a sign of servitude. And no, it’s not demeaning. Have a servant’s heart. Respect and honor them, and they should return the favor!

Segregate via laws

segregated water fountains

Segregate via laws blog.ericharmatz.com

Blacks these days are integrated into society way too much! It used to be illegal to consort with other races in public (it technically still may be in some places). And a black person didn’t consort with other races in public. Nowadays, we’re all just hanging out with each other, calling each other co-workers and “some of my best friends” like it’s no big deal–like it’s a compliment! And some black people consort like independent white people. That is just not attractive. Try to refrain from consorting with other races, especially in certain situations–like maybe work, school, in front of Mexican-Americans, etc. Have some class!

Avoid white women

black men white women

Avoid white women africapublic.com

Black men used to really focus on “not being seen with white women” and always “drinking the sweet juice of black berries.” Always. At all times. There was no walking out in public with a white woman in friendship or a sign of respect. And there definitely was no being seen in public with a white woman in a romantic bond (or the 1950s equivalent). Nowadays, blacks are so comfortable and lax that they’ll just go out with any kind of white woman and don’t really invest effort in maintaining the separation of race and gender. Take care of your own women. You are a reflection of a white man’s world viewpoint. Make them not scared!     *** So what do you do? What is something black people just don’t do anymore that they should?

Basic Bitch, Bros, and Bias

basic bitch

Image courtesy of (sigh) makeameme.org

On Friday, feminist (and fashion-catty) blog Jezebel posted a takedown piece on the “basic bitch” trend, equating it to yet another fad white people are ruining. They used examples and video to cite their thesis that your annoying coworker that genuinely gushes about Keeping Up With the Kardashians and red velvet cupcakes in a vocal fry with abbreviated terms is a basic bitch. (And sure, it’s proven that white people co-opt things when other cultures have used them up.) While they’re about 5 years late to the party (an Urban Dictionary poster, happy to hear the latest Lil’ Duval and Spoken Reasons hip-hops, got people up on the term in a grammatically incorrect way), they’re acknowledging that hey, it’s something to talk about!

For those of you that don’t know, a “basic bitch” can mean a variety of things: a woman that likes popular, bland things (pumpkin spice anything, Orange is the New Black, Jason Mraz); a girl with a lack of personality (i.e. not edgy, unique, dynamic); a lady that does wrong by their man (from cheating to wearing unattractive clothes); a female that can’t be themselves around said man; a dame that thinks she is better than her contemporaries; and so on. Notice a trend here? The term “basic bitch” encompasses traits that an extroverted, diverse, masculine-focused society shames women for having.

The basic denominator (see what I did there?) is that you can be called a basic bitch simply for being a woman. NO WOMAN IS IMMUNE. And yeah, some trends (pumpkin spice and red velvet things) are annoying and rampant, but it’s no excuse to apply a generic term that has sexist overtones. The fact that the phrase came from the hip-hop scene does its chauvinistic image no favors–though really, all music has an inequality towards women.

But what about men? What is the male version of a basic bitch? A “bro?” I think so. So-called cultural mavericks Vice did an exhaustive article (and I mean “exhaustive;” it’s a tedious read) on the American bro, which nails the mindset and behaviors of the generic male dickbag. (Their argument loses a little bit of respect when they come to the bro’s defense a week later.) But the takeaways and comments in both articles are valid: the Miller Lite-swilling, boisterous, ego-fragile, homophobic and sexist go-getter is the bland trope of masculinity; the braggadocios nature of the bro, egged on by and marketed to a male-dominated society, is the standard of American manliness; and MAN UP AND DON’T BE A BITCH!

So the basic bitch is reviled in its femininity but the bro is the standard bearer of manhood. Right. Never mind that the same arguments raised railing against the former (liking popular, bland things; not having a true personality; doing wrong by their partner; not able to be themselves; feeling superior to their peers) are championed in the latter. I may be an armchair sociologist (that’s DR. Genial Black Man to you), but that seems biased to me.

But is there anything we can do about this troubling trend, this reminder that the battle of the sexes wages on in favor of men? Well, sure! First, we can stop denigrating ourselves with and by negative words. We can dig down deep into their meaning  on a personal and cultural level. Another thing is to stop taking social advice from morons (Lil’ Duval, the Kardashians,  etc.) and think for ourselves. But more than that, maybe we can stop defending behavior that is detrimental to ourselves and others–through articles, music, and whatever else is around the corner–and think about what we’re expelling from our cultural consumption. But that’s wishful thinking from a non-basic bitch bro.

 

The Ballad of James Franco (NSFW)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,921 other followers

%d bloggers like this: