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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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An Open Letter To All My Niggers... I Hate You

There wasn't supposed to be a blogpost from Monday.

I'm not angry at The New Yorker or the artist. I should be but let me explain something.


If Bill Richardson who has Mexican blood running through his veins were the presumptive nominee for the Democratic party and the satirical drawing was of him wearing a sombrero and there were border and stereotypical Mexican items and objects in said drawing, how many Mexicans including companies, special interest groups and immigration advocates would cry foul?

If Senator McCain were depicted in a POW box, door cracked open, laying in his belly, head in hand as he worked a crossword puzzle with VC guards in the background chilling while other US troops were seen in the background strung up... Would we have heard a word or two from his support base?

Well...

I'm angry at the so-called negro in America.

You are so used to being disrespected that you (we) let this happen. Again.

How much longer will you let yourself be disrespected in America? See, the rub is that even though we make up only 12% of the population here, damn near 80% of the news shows us in a bad light. Black folk have never made up the majority of welfare recipients but let corporate media tell it...

Black folk currently have a 3% unemployment clip...
Black folk have a high rate of undergraduate participation...
Yeah, we know that 1 out of every 9 black men are incarcerated but what about the other eight?
Even though we make up a little over 10%, how is it we seem to be the cause of most of America's ills?


We let certain parts of the media tell us that we aren't shit.

We let them.

Whenever we purchase certain products and services
Whenever we keep the TV on
Whenever we go see a movie
Whenever we purchase a vehicle or buy fuel for it
Whenever we listen to the radio

We wanted to be equal to white folk and others after slavery so badly that we sold our souls in order to stand with them, and we let them say and do things to us that have been way beyond fair and balanced.

And for the most part, the struggle lives on.

The cover of that magazine was actually a joke on the masses that believe those things about Senator Obama and his family, but how many got it? I was listening to Bev Smith's radio show the other night and she asked a brother who proclaimed himself to be educated and applauded the release of the cover to the public and said that people got it. She asked him to speculate how many folks percentage-wise using America as whole how many he think 'got it'. He stated that may 30% (and that was being generous) actually knew that the joke was on them. So she asked about the other 70% that just could not get it. You know, those of us who have never purchased this elitist, left-wing publication because nothing about its layout, articles or ads or other satirical covers are catered to regular, working class adults and the brother stated that he just did not know what kind of reaction the 70 would have.

In a age where we let TV, marketing schemes and hearsay tell us what is fact or not it doesn't take much to get others to believe rumor, hearsay or gossip about someone, something or some movement.

20% of Democratic voters believe Senator Obama is muslim.
68% of foreign born, registered voters believe he is not a patriot.

Wait...

You ain't even from here and you get to determine who is patriotic based on TV coverage, rumor and innuendo?

Yeah, and black men are lazy and irresponsible.
And all black women are whores
And fried chicken, watermelon and anything with high fructose corn syrup are deal breakers
And we can shole' score some touchdowns
And we are dumb as shit and cannot articulate the English language

I can go on...

It burns my ass that we used to have a movement, and 'black pride' was not a phrase that would set off telecom indicators to record your cell phone conversation due to it being terrorist in nature. I am disappointed to see shoulder shrugs when it comes to the word nigger and false and untrue information being disseminated to the rest of America when it comes to black people.

Nothing good is worth having if you don't fight for it.

We stopped fighting for ourselves a while ago. Right after we had that glass of Kool-Aid, them 3 fried chicken wings and that Newport 100.

We finally have achieved complete nigger status.

We just let anyone old someone disrespect us whenever they want to. I guess the itis kicks in and we get too tired to fight. The fact that some ministers, churches, lodges, fraternities and sororities, urban development organizations, a few politicians, publications, cable news outlets and celebs of all types being on the payroll to niggerfy you has finally paid off.

So to all of you niggers and niggas (I didn't forget about you n.i.g.g.a.s.), boss bitches,baby mammas and babbydaddies, real mutha fucking G's, O.G.'s, playas and macks, to the pimps and hustlers as well as the hard working brothers and sisters, single parents, diligent, hard working African-Americans, elders and those in the black community I forgot... Thank you.

We as a whole will continue to let a small chosen few dictate to us who we are as a people and think nothing of it as we shrivel in numbers and die without a voice. That saddens and disappoints me, but for the most part, most folk won't even care. You have a choice in this matter. Overstand that you are free and can do something in your freedom to demand the respect you have earned in time and duty and as a descendant of those that built this.

We worked too hard to be treated like this. The real question is do you care or have you given up? If you have, then I need you to go somewhere and die quickly because you have become nothing but dead weight on my back because I am free and will continue this fight.

I will not let high fructose corn syrup, sizzurp or lean for that matter, nicotine or pork, THC, sickle cell anemia or diabetes, fancy spinning rims or fresh crispy T's, new Jordans or iced out chains, remarkably bad hip hop songs from unproven rappers with no learned skillset, handshake deals at a conclave or boule, six figure job in the form of hush money, big booty hoes, prescription drugs or overlooking friends who graduated from high school with me 20 years ago screwing a 15 year old, corporate financed preachers and politicians, bullshit publications in the name of hip hop, restaurant advertising campaigns, malt liquor or any new hard liquor related product marketed by some rapper, internet gossip and rumor sites as well as falsehoods spread over the web via myspace, facebook or bullshit blogs, or even hip hop and R&B radio stations that play the same shit 100 times a day, corporate owned cable new networks or even the dudes from the barbershop distract me from knowing that I'm free and doing what I can to live and thrive in that freedom.

If I am alone, the the rest of you are collateral damage. I'll just step over you and keep moving forward. And I should. You push me and I'll pull you. You fall and I'll pick you up. You refuse to get up and I'll let you stay there if that's what you want to do.

Do something, I dare you to.

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
-- Goethe

10 comments:

Darius T. Williams said...

I'm first!

Um, whoa - so you laid it out in that post. I think I speak for us all when I say we can definitely understand your feelings on the issue. I think you've explained yourself in such a way that you've really made awareness prevalent above anything else.

I think I speak for a representative group of 20-somethings when I say though, with respect, that "I don't give a shit." I understand what's happening out there. I also understand that our communities are viewed in such a light that's not even shining anymore. I completely understand. This goes so deep though.

What do you say when ALL of the stereotypes you've mentioned are true. We love watermelon. The sales for the melon in the Black market are higher than any in the nation. The most chicken joints are where? right in our neighborhoods. You live in Chicago - you know about it. Run through South Shore, Englewood, Austin, Lawndale and other heavily populated Black areas - what do you see? Sharks, J & J, Harold's, Coleman's, Uncle Remus. Go to Avondale, Chinatown, or the West Loop - are those places there?

I think a lot of people are like me, we really don't care anymore. We're fighting so many other battles in our lives that it's difficult. At one point, you're right, we would all stick together and form a mighty fist. Today, we're so divided that making a fist is nothing more than a dream anymore.

It's bad man. It's real bad. To be honest, I've lost hope in us. I've lost hope in our community. I've lost hope in the things we can accomplish. We're just way too divided right now. Way to divided.

nikki said...

amen.

now my response.

first, i hope you haven't assumed because i wasn't more outraged with the new yorker that i'm tossed in with the lot of folk who "don't know, don't show, or don't care what goes down in the hood" so to speak.

however, my thing is this...commanding respect from someone else when we don't respect ourselves is to me a fruitless task. we can get pissed off at the folk at the new yorker or white folk or whomever we feel has disrepected us for whatever reason and to me that's blinding ourselves to the fact that the only respect that truly matters is self-respect.

so ultimately, while i don't like what the new yorker did and have written my letter of protest to them, my main concern is with the black kids who see that shit and believe it, who see music videos and believe they can only be hoes and rappers, who look at television shows and think they can only be asexual tokens with one dimensional lives or professional athletes who fuck alot of women and make alot of money or generally buy into the concept that money and material possessions define a person's worth in this society and anything, even one's dignity and values, can be sacrificed in the pursuit of those things.

volunteering my time with those kids...that's the "something" i do. forgive me if i don't see how white folk treat/see me as the top priority. i think the fight should be addressed from all fronts. i just choose to tackle home first.

The Second Sixty-Eight said...

"We stopped fighting for ourselves a while ago. Right after we had that glass of Kool-Aid, them 3 fried chicken wings and that Newport 100." Oh damn! Don't hurt 'em! (all too right though...)

Damn Darius. If you feel that way then things are already beyond hopeless. To turn your back on the fact that folk are still trying to niggerfy you is no different than asking them to. Especially if they are doing it because of a bloodline and a history that changed hundreds of years ago. Something that NONE of us is in control of! And all them battles aren't nothing new. But hey, that is just my own opinion. I can't help but to respect yours! At least you have one and know why!

As far as the New Yorker cover, I ain't that fresh off of a turnip truck to think that wouldn't, won't or shouldn't happen. The cover itself didn't disturb me. The attitudes behind the imagery are what give me the problem. Because if the artist felt that way or was picking fun at folk who feel that way, it still points to some messed up shit!

To be honest though, I am more upset about the reactions to the Jesse/Barack comment than I am about this cover. The cover at least will open a dialog about folks attitudes! The thing with J & B is nothing more than trying to make one Black man look bad and hence make the other look bad! And seemingly, a lot of folk fell right into that trap since Jesse looks bad and it is reflecting negatively on Barack!

(I really gotta stop blogging in other folks comment sections...)

Terry said...

Hi! Mister White man here. I wanna thank all of you for making it so gosh darn easy for me to humiliate the man who would be President. Oh we got lots of letters and emails, but all of you missed the point. It was a parody. See we showed how ridiculous it was by making sure we illustrated the issue for the world to see. I mean it wasn't like we portrayed him like Uncle Remiss or drew him in cutoff overalls, a tattered flannel shirt, with a straw hat and a bale of cotton. Oh lord no! That would have been racist. We gave is wife a Christie Love afro, him a turban, and threw in an AK-47 for effect. Oh…and we know how you people love your fist pump. That's big in you culture. We just wanted to make sure we showed the world what a "few" people in America thought about "Brother Barack". But hey, it was a parody…no harm no foul…or as you people like to say it…its all good. So don't take it so personal, after all, it's just a cartoon.

* * *

Yeap, nothing to be pissed about in all that at all.

People, listen to Hassan, you've got to know what time it is. The dignity & pride of Black America is at stake.

Zesty said...

You must promise me you will never stop writing.

Ant in Hawaii said...

Yes, I believe it was an unfortunate act by the New York Times, but the real question is: what can we leanr from this?

NeenaLove said...

Wow Hassan... you have a blog happening in your comment section... LOL.

This was heavy! It was great reading. Food for thought that must be digested over a lifetime.

Great writing. Melodic even.... but you already knew that.

Hugz,
neena

Anonymous said...

As someone who has just freed herself I have to say what you are saying is correct. But there are so many other "issues" going on in our community that it's hard to stuck up for Black people as a whole when we are struggling to stand for even ourselves.

I recently just stopped (just for a second though) the work in the community because I really didn't have a set goal or plan of action. Yeah I wrote a few poems, did a few documentaries, but the people I wanted to hear my msgs and view these pieces were not there to do so.

Last year while watching the 2007 State of Black America I kept hearing a theme. Family. How can we talk about repairing the Black community as a whole when we can't even repair our own family issues. In my attempts to unify my family it turned into a scene right out of the Bacchae. I turned into the enemy and now I'm kicked out of my own family.

So like Darius and Nikki, It's so much more important to focus on who you are first and then figure out what you can be doing try to save at least on of our youth.

We have many issues to tackle, sex abuse, identity crisis, lack of education and lack of love. I used to be very angry and then I freed myself in order to give the love I need to give to build the community back up. It's hard out there when you walk outside and theres not a positive role model in sight.

I recently moved from the city to the burbs and a part of me was relieved, but now I can't stop thinking about what I've left behind, and that's what its turned into. When we walked out of our cities and our neighborhoods we walked out on our future.

But I'm glad you put it out there for real "Until the lion learns to write" right! Keep doing you!

Anonymous said...

My mother sent me the same quote by Goethe today.

I always tell the kids I teach: I am not teaching you Math, I am teaching you how to think.

profunksticated said...

Late to the party here.

I think too many of us are waiting to go to Glory and see life on this earth as irredeemable.

Yeah, I'm guilty too. But here's the hit: you're expected to marry, have kids and get a gig to feed and shelter 'em. The minute you've married and had kids, you've sold your soul.

As far as the New Yorker cover, I viewed it as just another media outlet trying to sell its product. And those images of us do sell, don't they?