Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


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Thursday, February 28, 2008

I hate yesterday... Sometimes it feels like today

I remember the first time I was aware of who I was...

It was November 1992 and I had just gotten out of the Army. I was in San Francisco because I had exited the military while stationed in Korea so Uncle Sam sent me to the Presidio to be debriefed and for out processing. That took a little time and I also knew that there was not much that could have been debriefed (my opinion) so I took a lump sum for taking the early out option and enjoyed my stay out on the left coast.

I liked Oakland better, it was like being back in Chicago in the 80's.

During my last week in Korea I was retrieving the mail for the batallion staff. My position as personnel security chief hadn't been filled. I had an office right down the hall from the full bird colonel that ran our four company batallion and for the most part I was seen and not heard processing security clearances and issuing COMSEC (COMmunications SECurity devices that recorded radio transmissions made out of carbon. They could be destroyed with water if the enemy approached. We recorded everything and kept the transmissions in a safe, and I was in charge of that as well as newly drawn maps of the Northern part of the Korean peninsula via spy satellites... Sigh, the life.) to the goofies that had no clue to what we were doing on the 26th parallel.

I found a piece of mail meant for someone that had went back to the states from DeVry so I opened it and thought hard about what I would and could do now that I was getting out. I imagined going to this three year institution and getting my degree and getting a wholesome and good job. I saw myself as a homeowner, a husband and a father having little discomfort. I linked all good thoughts to getting into this technical institute and doing well. I never gave thought to struggling when I got home.

Until I walked away from and off of Presidio's hallowed halls and base and entered San Fran and Oakland to go and play.

I had a few thousand in my pocket and Uncle Sam had given me more for unused vacation and for taking the early out. Funny how as soon as I got to the base and gave them my exit paperwork to process I got a check first before anything else. Back then, out processing the military took weeks and was a long arduous task. One had to take classes and be counseled in order to reacclimate to normal society. If someone like myself had access to anything to a secretive nature, they were debriefed. I don't want to go into explaining that process.

I like how my mother told my wife last year about the 'gaps' in my service. Yeah, even my mom knows (and Terry does too) about service gaps for certain military personnel.

The first thing I experienced as a member of the free world I helped to protect and defend was a fight from a bunch of cats that had no respect for military people. I later drank with them after they saw me wild out. This was my initial counseling and reacclimation to the world. All I wanted was a drink. So what that I had the haircut and the body type of one of those army dudes? We had just finished up a war and to a few folk at this one particular spot, I was the cause of most of the bullshit George HW Bush and Dick Cheney (who was Army chief of staff at that time) pushed to the American people. And for that I was not accepted.

I had never been rejected in public like that before but remember, we ended up having that drink.

Alcohol had never tasted like that to me before. It seemed to fill some emotional void. It spoke to me when everyone else looked at me with disdain and contempt. It became my security blanket. I had already developed a drinking problem overseas, drinking damn near a half gallon of hard liquor and maybe seven to ten beers a night during my last few months in Korea, but that was what we usually did over there anyway. I had no clue my tolerance was so high when I got back to the states. I kept drinking... All the way back to Chicago.

By the time I enrolled for school I had failed a few drug tests because when I got back to the south side, all of the cats I left there in the 80's from high school were still there, and they were smoking blunts and killing malt liquor. The time I spent in San Francisco was almost like a proving ground. Being in Oakland with a bunch of deadbeat cats that was always at the club helped me enhance my social skills through drinking. I was still in military mode, so weed smoking was out of the question.

Until I got home.

There were no jobs and no love for an unskilled black man in Chicago. There was no pride in serving one's country on the south and west sides. I was a sucker for getting my college money by joining the army and according to many, I was just a pawn. My mother has convinced me to come and live with her so I could give her my entire paycheck and watch my little brother and sister because my dad had left right as I joined the military, and there wasn't any room for me, but that didn't matter. I was just a babysitter in her eyes. One that got a GI Bill check she could spend for herself, damn me.

I slept on the couch and all of my belongings were in a locked closet still packed up for damn near a year until I had enough of that bullshit and broke out of there.

In that time I enrolled at DeVry and tried to stay focused but it was hard. All that time spent in Japan, Korea and other places for years shielded me from the booty, and I had to chase it at all costs, even though I had a girlfriend. I ended up getting a job with the phone company and was earning at least $60k in the early 90's which made me hood rich, so I rented my best friends mother's basement which gave up a place to smoke, drink and party. And that's all I did.

Something was telling me that I would never make it out of the neighborhood so celebrate as much as I can before I die.

And I did.

At the end of 1993 I was downing a twelve pack of Red Bull (the malt liquor, energy drinks did not exist), a half a pack of Newports and smoked at least 2 blunts before I would go to class. After I got the job with the phone company, I switch over to night and weekend classes and eventually stopped going because I would wait until I got off work to smoke and drink. I can't remember much of what happened those nights, I just knew that I worked for AT&T for about two years before I stopped coming to work because I was too embarrassed that I smelled like either weed smoke and/or liquor.

I got fired due to no-call/no-show. And then I got put out of the apartment when my friends mother found out I had no job.

I had a devoted girlfriend
A family
A few friends that gave a damn
A working musical relationship with a close friend... And we were recording
Add a degree in the making

And I let all of that go because I needed to stay in this 'mode'.

Alcohol made me forget and weed made time pass by. I had gained more than 250 pounds in a few years. I was also homeless and had burned a whole lot of bridges.

It was 1996 and I was damn near 400 pounds with a weed habit. I was living out of my van and couldn't find a job to save my life. I was gigging lightly with a band (if free beer counts as pay) and I was thinking about getting back into school... Something happened.

God spoke to me.

Oh don't get it twisted, I didn't get saved or anything like that. I stopped smoking weed but I kept on drinking. Right up until that whole diabetic coma episode.

That was 1998.

I was arrogant, evil and had no respect for my own life. I remember those times and I cannot erase the inate details I will never type onto these pages. I live with that and am in shear amazement that I am where I am now. There is so much more to that time in my life. There is so much I wish I never experienced but I can't turn back the hands of time. All I have is now, and now is as good as it has ever been. But it still feels like I'm climbing out of something.

I hate what I did with life back then. But sometimes those memories come back and I wish...

Never mind.

You'd like to think you're stronger now. I hope you are. I don't know if I am.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Never Again

Sometimes I quietly admonish myself when I'm rendered helpless on things.

That happened to me yesterday.

As much as I trust the one person I feel I can ever trust with everything, I also feel like I should be able to protect my wife from anything and everything with no exception. There was a business situation in which there was an error made and I could do nothing.

I felt like dying because two months into my marriage I was remanded to just standing there being rendered useless in a situation and I felt less than myself. And to top it off it was my anniversary. Dig that.

Now I know as a man there is a point where he is to leave his woman enough space for her to do her thing, I guess I haven't found the point where I'm supposed to give space.

All I could ever want in a woman lies next to me at night, and last night I just couldn't sleep right because I felt like I should have done something to save the situation, so all I could do in lying in bed was to try to find the perfect position. We writhed and wiggled and never found that perfect point. She started snoring and I pulled her close making her skin my skin. I tried my best to find the right touch, the proper stroke to soothe and settle my better half and provide enough comfort for her to find that perfect place in sleep so she could lose her troubles, but to no avail.

We both woke up this morning sore and fatigued.

As hard as I tried to rub her shoulders and caress her neck, pull her close to find that perfect spooning position, wrap myself onto her and vice versa things just didn't work out. And now I feel like I owe her more than I did yesterday.

I got up at about 2:45 in the morning went over to D Herbs and made the decision to take the total body fast and the pancreatic fast seeing as I'm supposedly diabetic, I need to purge my failures and be healthy enough to be her to raise my family and be there for her. That's all that matters, right? We made a decision in December to get a sleep number bed, and that is being purchased first as we fill our new home in a week or two. There is no way she can wake up uncomfortable again. I need to make sure her GPS and satellite radio in her vehicle works perfectly so she can never feel lost alone in this, the third largest city in the world. I still think it's unfair that I lived here first. I hate having unfair advantages over her like that. I need an even keel. I need to make sure she continues to never hear a lie from my mouth and every action directed towards her is geared for comfort and ease, I can never fail this woman. She will bear my seeds and command my home and she deserves better than what I'm doing/giving right now..

I need to do more.
I need to be more.
I need to have more.
I need to make more.

My world no longer feels big, important or just enough enough to have her in it. I'm not overwhelmed, I just need to be the man that she married and I feel that situations like yesterday slips me down a notch where I once stood, unable to do anything.

I never experienced that before. I never need to fail her or myself like that ever again. It cuts like a knife and digs in like a shovel... And it hurts, yet it's so simple.

Damn.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Snow Day

Okay, I'm snowed in somewhere near the Iowa/Illinois border.

When I get a chance... I'll blog about something.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday... Wisconsin just ain't Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay either!

Van Glorious!

Still protected by the red, the black and the green with a key...

It's funny how you think that sometimes you're not ready for things. I really thought that I didn't want marriage because I tried so hard at various times in my life to be by myself. I mean really by myself with no one to turn to because I felt that although I wasn't in control of things that surround my life force that I had to have total control of what I could and I damn sure dismissed everyone and every thing that attempted to try to share in my shine.

I didn't hate people, I just didn't like outsiders with agendas trying to come in and assume a role that I never gave from my heart.

As I grow old (not 'older' like proper grammar and context would normally dictate) I become aware of the value of time. I know that a lot of things I've ingested literally and figuratively will most likely shorten my life no matter how much fasting (for the body/life force) and learning (for the life living/lived) I do a lot of damage has been done and I've lived longer than I actually have left to live, and I'm cool with that. What I'm totally not cool with one bit is where, who and how I used to spend my time. I now have to micro manage that shit. I eluded yesterday to how at various points in my life I was undervalued, underestimated and marginalized by folks that were supposedly close to me and by the situations I put myself in. Note that I take responsibility for said situations and being around folks that could care less for you and yours.

Now yes, I'm selfish and picky. Of course I look out for self most of the time and that came from experiencing other folks' selfishness and me gaging how selfish I needed to be in order to counter. I don't figure to be talented that much but there are those that will be in your presence only to bask in your shine and will take that hue and create their own after market version to have for themselves. Some people will hang onto you like folks listen to Obama speeches thinking that one man's idea of hope is just good enough to be nourished with and will never act on the hope of hope. Just the sound of the voice giving the speech is enough for one to be drousy and the thoughts of what could be is the elixir that actually puts them in dream land. Too bad one day they wake up old and unfulfilled.

Some folks thrust you into Oprah status, living vicariously through you ingesting your adventures as their own, leaving you on the porch waiting to tell another life event that is now reserved for dinner table theater. I've been some of these things to some people and then I noticed that I was just a thing to most, a talking, writing object to others and they never got a chance to really know me, never really knowing what makes me tick.

And then I met the woman I married (now years ago) and the one thing I noticed from the start (all the way back in 2006) that she was picking me apart, not wanting to get a piece just yet but carefully inspecting the pieces of who I was and carefully adding them to her lists of things she could tolerate, things she liked/disliked and the such just to see if she could apply them to her life. And she did this with respect. Respect to me as a person and to our situations and I liked that. She always dealt with me evenly in an emotional sense and that helped us become closer because she still had her own things going on relationship wise, allowing me to continue on my track in being Hassan, whoever he is.

Out of time spent, trials had and conversation spoken came trust, and we still had other things going on in our lives. Although we dated other people, performed other tasks and existed in other spaces the time I spent getting to know her as she did me was damn near storybook with the exception of the bullshit that was happening in our respective individual spaces. So based on what I demanded in my life I made the first move and ejected myself from my personal turmoil and found a quiet place for my mind back home. All the folks that I thought were responsible for helping me make my mind's noise from the beginning assisted me in getting to that quiet place.

And when I got home, she was there, gathering her parachute. It seemed like there was an undue influence causing her to hit the eject button as well.

And then we started spending time.
Buying plane tickets
Living off of Priceline.com
Weekends
Time became life
Weekdays
down time off the truck
Holidays
Family
Internet hate
Friends
Revelations
discussions of babies
Las Vegas

And after Vegas came the realization that I married the one person I could absolutely trust and who could possibly just be my best friend. All of that other stuf that made me not trust the good common folk of the planet disappeared.

What?

Is that why I don't put poetry on the blog anymore?

First the Fat Boys break up, now this: Hassan might just be happy, satiated even.

Imagine that.

More tomorrow.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday...

Man oh Manischewitz..

What weekend that was had. I'm back on the road and when I stop in Des Moines I'll tell you (somewhat) about it.

One thing: This weekend's Chris Rock show featured hip hop icons Whodini.

Damn.

That's right. A lot of folks didn't even know what was going on at the show (meaning a lot of folks who bought a ticket had no clue who Whodini was... Imagine that!) but somebody kept it really real with their material. Not even a few truthfighters could keep up with Chris.

But there was much more that happened in and around Chicago with the wife and I, and when I get a chance...

Oh, and never, never, never, ever, ever, EVER let anyone undervalue, underestimate or marginalize you.

I was at one point in my past very recently and in various situations in my life and I vow with all of my breath to never let that happen to me again. Anyone who comes against me and mine like that is worthy of death. I urge you to look at your situation and your life and do whatever it takes to not let it happen to you.

You'll be able to breathe and sleep when that happens.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bounce...

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Marianne Williamson



I want you to understand that the reason we are in this state of flux is because we are consumers and not producers, and not in a Puffy - DJ Premier sense. The reason we have nothing where we lay our heads is because we spend time putting our hard earned dollar right back into folks that take from us and never give back while other groups of people bounce their dollars many times amongst themselves before it leaves their community.

Asians, Arabs, Hispanics, Jews and whites in the United States generally spend money among themselves, "bouncing" dollars an average of six to 18 times before the money leaves the communities.

"The black dollar does not bounce, not one time in America." The only way to eradicate these problems in the black community is to help these
people do what everyone else does."

Dr. Claud Anderson gave that quote. The theory of bouncing dollars has been on my mind ever since I've been reviewing transcripts of debates on both the republican and democrat candidates. One thing no one wants to talk about or take time in solving is the how and when we will ever sit at the table and attempt to come with a solution for people of African descent.

Understand that there have been bills passed into law giving other so-called minorities the rights and encumbrances fought for so that folks of African lineage could have equal opportunities. Also understand that every other so-called minority group has succeeded in creating a community in this country and black folk have not.

The initial launch of programs, bills and laws created and fought for back in the day was done to give ancestors of slaves financial equality, but so much has happened to take away that equalization through intimidation, death and all things of such an evil nature unleashed on my people that today we are only taught to purchase and consume and not to save, be conservative and make opportunity for our children through investment and production.

If former slaves got a hold of 40 acres, a mule and one hundred dollars it would be smart to assume that land would have been purchased, business stated and crops would have been harvested that would have given brown-skinned folks equity in this country. Things would have been so different.

  • Schools would have materials to enhance the learning experience
  • Families would have stayed together, seeing as the hustle would have not been so prevelent
  • Ownership, investment and real material would have balanced opportunities for former slaves

I know I'm on a soapbox but know that I tire living in a world where people that look like me can't even pool a few dollars and get right. Latin folk bounce their dollars in their own hood 12 times before it leaves the hood. Asians... 16 times. We are the only people on the planet that have to make some sort of concession, whether it be beliefs, political affiliation or morals to others in order to be accepted and to this day, we still aren't. And the acceptance of Barack Obama by voters where there are no black people means nothing to me. Hell, everyone wants change, and Senator Obama through his candidacy and me living in his district witnessing this proves to me that he can offer such change.

When will my people have enough of a collective conscious to represent themselves as a whole people in American society? We have different views and beliefs but still feel the need to pander to others for acceptance and inclusion and we have no lobby where others do. And that is all based on the fight my ancestors made and we no longer benefit. Our people will fall into fourth class status if we don't come together and fight.

That makes me tired. I really want to move to Canada sometimes but... I don't know if Zesty and em' are ready for me. Plus I do like to fight.


Oh, and in other news... On this day 18 years ago... I got kitchen duty and was put on barracks restriction for two weeks for sneaking out of charge of quarters duty to see Mike Tyson get knocked the eff out by Buster Douglas in Japan. I had the time of my life going AWOL and sneaking off the base, but I did get caught by my platoon seargent on my way back to the base. It seems that we like the same sports bars and strip clubs when it comes to watching big money prize fights.

Damn, I'm old.

Seems like yesterday.

I didn't feel undervalued, underestimated or marginalized back then.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Ramble Young Man, Ramble...

You know, I'm getting a kick out of being away from the blog. My time has never been this occupied, and not how you think.

Marriage definitely has its challenges but I'm up to it. As much as I travel in and outside of my job catching up and making time for each other is a challenge and an adventure all in itself. We did get a chance to spend a few days in Oklahoma with the fam and that was cool in itself. We need to get a day planner in order to get time in to see everyone. I think my other half ended up a little disappointed because she didn't get to see a few folks, but we go back very soon. We're planning an event there and we gotta oversee the happenings and goings on.

I've actually been busy mining the deep recesses of my mind on a few creative projects and also making faces at the tv and monitors trying to understand my people, and then I stopped.

Why did my other half's grandmother ask if we were really married like we've been keeping this up at this marathon pace?

Nah, I'm still working on those creative things, I have given up attempting to understand the lost tribe of Shabazz. Whatever.

I have a lot of residual hate in my heart that I cannot rid myself of. At one point in my past I wanted to harm someone for putting me back under the government's (nee IRS) watchful eye. I struggled in my job last year because I couldn't get the security clearance needed to be in certain places which affected my job status and my paycheck. Shortly before the new year, I shook off the report my employer had on me from folk that I actually used for character references and got my clearance and now things are running much smoother seeing as I opted to be a 1099 cat which means they could make me disappear and hire someone direct in my place. I earned their trust, didn't create any incidents or have any accidents and or create moments that would cause them to deny me access to federal properties and databases like this person said I would do. And I got a raise in contractor pay. And a safety bonus. Kind of makes up for last year I guess, but I still wanna hurt folks every now and then because of that. I thank my brother and best friend from stopping me from doing dumb shit. I wouldn't be here now...

Having money don't mean a thing if I can be where I want to be, and that's home. I keep going there but being based out of Chicago (still) means I gotta get off the couch and go to the airport to drive my rig out of the midwest when I live out west. That sucks because contact and conversation ain't the same y'all and that causes tension both emotional and sexual.

Imagine what home time for me is like...

Yep.

And then we forget to take care of the business of bills and such that we had to play catch up with faxing, signing and taking care of stuff that needed to be paid to keep the partnership manageable. We gotta merge the cell phone/home phone/internet/wireless card thing to the point where one person gets our money.

Oh, and cordless phones are getting shittier...

My dad needs a new stint put in and now he's acting all old and needy. Dude is 58 and has a 36 year old wife. Once he gets re-wired, I'm telling him about himself and then siccing my peer of a step-mom on his ass. That should calm him down and get him back to normal. I cant have my pops acting like Grandpa Simpson all willy-nilly.

I haven't forgotten about the 'Hassan Nigger Wake-Up Call' posts. Just because I've been busy doesn't mean that I won't challenge you and provoke thought about our current status and our place right here, right now. I've noticed listening to radio talk shows, television and from last Tuesday that we collectively are one big mass of uninformed, mis-educated folk hellbent on being the first generation of black folk that won't leave anything for the next. To me, that is considered inappropriate behavior and next week I'll drop a few gems and ask a few questions that I feel need to be asked. I cannot be the only cat out there with so much in front of me and no one else notices that info, opportunity and freedom exists.

If Hillary cannot manage campaign funds and we're living in a deficit...
If the gub'ment raises conventional loan maxes to over 700k...
If illegal immigrants cannot vote then why is Barack pandering licences...
If congress is interrogating Roger Clements and the New England Patriots then who's...
Who has time to compose a 6 page email (and then who has time to re-edit it) and send it to hundreds of CHURCHFOLK outing men they think are gay (including children)...
If Vick got 23 months, the Jena cats almost got 15 then how did them WV kids get 10...


Whatever man... I'm rambling about nothing I guess

Monday, February 04, 2008

Yes We Can...





If you don't think we can then just sit and watch.

I don't care if you get a chance to get two votes in for Mitt Romney, get that ass up tomorrow and let your voice be heard.

It does matter.

Other than that, you have no reason to complain.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Okay, I'm Up...

I really don't have much to say.

There are a lot of things going on right up under your nose. No need to travel or go abroad to find problems, they're right here. I'm sure you either commute or drive right by something that irks the shit outta you. Try to fix that, I'll come back and complain when my utopia bubble bursts soon.

Probably wont. Why?

Things are comfortable and easy for me right now. I am happy right at this moment. I haven't been this content in more than a year and a half and I'm enjoying how things are going down. That takes away from my desire to blog. In my mind, ain't nothing much to say, with all of the shucking and jiving going on from Detroit to California I'm sure you have enough entertainment.


Don't worry bout' me.

Find something to get into this Black History Month, I'll be around, doing stuff.

Oh hell naw... Wait.

In the words of Joe Madison: Never let anyone undervalue, underestimate or marginalize you.

If this is the first day of Black History Month, then it is my duty to give you your nigger wake up call.

Now I don't know exactly what is going on in your hood, but as much as I travel and keep up on things I'm seeing a pattern:

you are comfortable, and you think they don't give a damn, but they do

They're going to let you sit and gain nothing while you become a third class citizen. Since the beginning of the slave trade, this nation was set up for folks that do not look like you to prosper off of your back and for the most part, it has worked. Wealth from the sweat of slaves to the ignorant that consume very unnecessary items in the spirit of keeping it real has us for the most part struggling just to get by in America today.

From the damn near 800 billion dollars we spend all the way down to how you are perceived in this current political climate, no one takes you seriously, and why should they? Just because things seem easier as you sit in your cubicle with all of this wonderful technology think about this: Black folk in America would be the 9th largest nation based on their populous, education and money spent if they were actually a community.

That's right I said it, we are not a community.

The reason our unemployment is high, income is lower and crime is rampant is because we have never banned together as a community. Don't blame illegal immigrants from south of the border for taking our jobs... Corporate America would have never lowered the wage standard and gave folks cheap labor positions if there were precedent set. And most of that work is unskilled labor that black folk didn't want in the first place because most folks thought that working with one's hands were beneath them.

How if our unemployment rate has been the same for damn near 20 years have immigrants came to compete with and now have surpassed us as second class citizens in the eyes of those with the big money?

We have been conditioned to fail and most of us get comfortable in that failure.

A portion of that whole Willie Lynch Syndrome was for black folk to be conditioned to protect the interest of the powers that be, rat out those that threaten said powers and be willing to adapt to the power's standards, which was foreign to their own. From speaking the language to worship to relaxing one's hair, we seem to aspire to be like them in so many ways that we have forgotten how to be ourselves. That's why it's so easy for a lot of us to Tom out on other black folks like what you see on cable news these days. I don' t have to agree with you and I can support someone else, that doesn't give you the right to clown me in front of the others.

See, we have no community.

Think about the Mexican immigrant that the damn near guaranteed work promised when he or she crosses the border. Think about the network that gets them here and houses them. Think about the individuals planted and blatantly hired by the big companies that get them to the factories and farms and such. Think about the banks and financial institutions that hold this money for future use. Think about the neighborhoods, the shops, stores boutiques and bodegas where that money is spent and how it circulates just within that community. Think about how an American bank only sees that money when real property or business finance is sought.

Now think about your hood.

If you are black and have a little cheddar, think about the integrated villages in which you live. If you are still struggling, think about the hood. Now look at all of the Chinese and Mexican restaurants, the Greek gyros spots, the Sikh and Middle Eastern owned spots and then ask yourself where they go home to when they close up.

Korea-town
Chinatown
Greek Town
Little Italy
Little Mexico

You get the point. Viable, thriving communities where their dollar circulates, folks have each other's backs and all consumerism for the most part begins and ends there. There are doctors, lawyers and insurance agents that hook them up. Everything they need from schools to daycare is all in that community. And the kicker... They keep the secrets locked up by using their native language and there is pride and inclusiveness in being who they are.

They come tired and poor, ban together, feed each other and fix them up, house one another and keep the money right there with all of the rest speaking their secret code language that we cannot decipher. They are not competing with us, they have moved right past us and you just lay there, watching and wondering.

Now ask yourself where the soul food joint is in their neighborhood? Why isn't there a black nail or barber shop over there but there is one of theirs all up and through yours.

Because black folk either leave for a mixed income spot to get away from the noise and crime of the neighborhood or stay 'trapped' in the hood .

Us = neighborhood
Them = community

And now more than ever we are more separate. From each other.

You as a so-called African American have been underestimated, undervalued and marginalized by everyone else and you are comfortable in selling out your culture. By not bringing the dollar home and partaking in starting and/or supporting our own business, by not owning real estate, by perpetrating violence and hatred against one another through hip hop and not embracing the tools industrial, agricultural, financial or educational we embrace racism inadvertently and institutionalized.

By not establishing an identity, embracing communal living and industry and not recycling our dollars with our own we well never have a community. By not embracing our cousins in Africa and adapting a sense of ethnic pride and continuing to buffoon for the benefit of others, even if one is clocking mad, doo doo dollars not bring that money home sells them to the highest bidder.

We'll never learn from Black History Month. We haven't. I heard a kid on a radio call in show last week telling the listeners that all he ever knew of Martin King was what he read in a book and it was about two paragraphs long. He had his masters. He wanted to state that him along with others are tired of hearing about this 'King guy' and really didn't know why he was held on a pedestal. He cited Barack Obama as a 'real hero' and mentioned that we need to see the world for what it is today instead of living in this vacuum from 40 years ago. In a sense he is right, but he is oh so wrong. We need to get with the program in the present and make change based on today. I was glad his bubble got burst when the talk show host informed him that his hero in Senator Obama presidential candidate, brown skinned, educated and born to lead is a manifestation of Dr. King's dream and wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for work put in back in the day.

We got barely a month to learn about the accomplishments and achievements of those that did what they could to make change and help us advance. What will you take from these next 4 and a half weeks to help play our part?

Or will you continue to be comfortable being undervalued, underestimated and marginalized?