Being Black. Where do I begin? When your parents got together and later found out they were pregnant the first thing they knew about you is your ethnicity. They knew, based on their racial background, that you were going to be black, white, brown, olive or whatever the hell else skin color combination is out there. For black couples, even interracial couples, they know their baby could be any color from eggshell white to mocha chocolate. They definitely knew the baby wasn’t going to be white. Sure, maybe you could pass in life – oh passing means you are technically one race but your skin color, facial features, or even hair allows you to pass for another race. People do it all the time. Light skin people try to pass as white – if it benefits them or sometimes mixed-race people try to pass as minorities especially if it will help them get a scholarship, grant, or relationship – Elizabeth Warren is currently apologizing for trying to proclaim she was a member of the American Indian race.
I am digressing, my main point in that quick little DNA history lesson was to answer the question for this week’s #BlackBlogsMatter Challenge “Where You At When It’s Time To Be Black?” The answer is “Ain’t it always time to be black?” See being black means you can’t hide or run away from your blackness. At some point you the black will come out, maybe it gets dragged out, or… you can let it shine, like I do and have always done.
Exhibit A: I worked at a public place that decided, after they spent millions on reconstruction, that all employees must enter through the backdoor of the building. They sent an email out about that shit too. I am a black man from Memphis and you telling me to use the backdoor? I refused. I confronted security several times. One day my manger said, “Why don’t you want to use the backdoor” I said, “Todd, I am a black man.” He replied, “Enough said.” And HR sent an email out eliminating the practice immediately. Blackness to the rescue – you’re welcome!
Exhibit B: I worked at place that had a staff of over 90% black workers but 0 black managers or directors and only 1 black supervisor in a town of 65% black people. For 18 months, every promotion was given to a white person. I filed a complaint with HR, at first, she tried to justify it and act as if it was normal and I didn’t understand the process, but when I pulled out my HR Master’s Degree education on her ass and told her that anyway you do the math they were violating the adverse impact and desperate impact 80/20 rule – she STFU and took notes. They immediately implemented a hiring/promotion freeze. They fired some people. Demoted others. I took one for the team. My name was mud, but other blacks saw promotions. Blacktastic!
Exhibit C: I was the Black Student Union President at the small Catholic university from which I graduated, thank you very much. We (the handful of black students) were always teaching, educating and voicing our opinion regarding blackness and what it means to be black. We finally got a black professor who taught black history and theology. Black-a-licious!
So, when it’s time to be black, I am right here, standing in the gap because for me, it’s always time to be black. Even when I listen to Aerosmith, U2, or Coldplay – I’m still BLACKSTASTIC! Not only when a black person is killed live on video or beaten or discriminated against for just doing everyday shit like sitting in the park, shopping, walking down the street, eating, house shopping, taking a nap, chilling in your apartment and every other mundane thing in the world or when a name brand like Gucci, Prada, Adidas, Dove, or H&M does some stupid ass racially insensitive and non-inclusive marketing and advertising campaign!
But we can all do a better job at one aspect of being black and here it is, I want to challenge some of you blackity, black, black, folks. You got Netflix, right? Of course, you do, so go watch “Trigger Warning with Killer Mike” it’s a series of social experiments and I will say about half of them are a stretch but the 1stepisode tackles something very important – black economics! Killer Mike revealed or shared a frightening statistic…. It’s about the black dollar and here it goes.
Paraphrasing: A dollar circulates in the white community for approximately 20 days before it leaves that community. In the Jewish community it circulates over 20 days and the Asian community is about 23 days but in the black community – a dollar circulates for six….HOURS!
That’s right Mr. or Mrs. Afro-Centric, Blackity, Black, Black – as soon as we get a dollar we buy things outside of our own community – that is not black excellence. We have no economic unity. We have some serious economic power – we represent about 15% of the American population but we spend more than $1.2 Trillion Dollars – that’s more than the majority population on clothes, cars, shoes, jewelry, hygiene products, and food – mostly depreciating items.
Dr. King famously broke down the situation in an interview with NBC back in the early 60’s when he said – paraphrasing again, that the negro is told to pull himself up by the bootstraps but how can he when he has no boot. America has given land and economic advantages to every group except the negro and the negro built this country and farmed this land.
So, going forward, I am going to do an even better job at being black by not only using my tweets and social capital but my real capital, my money to buy products produced by black owners.
Maybe in 2020 I will write a follow up.