Thursday, February 23, 2006

brown bag special.

AN interesting thought came to me yesterday as I was reading the comments from the zero escapades - part deux. In his re-telling, Zero offered his version of our weekend encounter with a racial twist, I must admit, he noticed a few things that weren’t readily apparent to me. He stated that his "light skinneded-ness" afforded him some privileges that a darker brother like myself was not able to attain. He later joked with me that I had to pass the paper bag test (a test conducted by blacks among themselves in the early 20th century, if you were proven darker than the brown paper bag, you were denied entrance into most “elite” social events) to gain entry into an establishment such as that.

The sad part about this is that Zero might have been correct. Racism is definitely still alive and well. That’s common knowledge. But, what boggles me is that there is still racism within our own race based on skin tones. It’s exemplified in our lives daily. It bothers me when people talk about having certain attributes like:

Good Hair. You know when Yvette from the liquor store looks at another chick and says “Ooooh, gurl… yo hurr is so pretty and long. Is that a weave? I wish I had hurr like dat.” Someone please tell me what the hell good hair is? Are we going to have to walk around with water guns and relaxers? Hey, you with the afro – come here for a minute… you know you can’t be seen like that… Will I be banned from the race if I don’t have this “good hair”? On the flip side, will I lose street credibility if I have “good hair”? It’s like we still have eternal battles between the wannabe's and the jigaboo's (shout out to School Daze). Yo, son, git dat soft nigga with the S-Curl… tryna make us think you were down… almost had us fooled until your hat came off…

Talking Proper. What the f@#$?! Just because I'm educated, and don't talk as if Juvenile, Master P, and the Ying Yang Twinz were my grammar school teachers, that's considered "talking White"? I just don't get it. If I don’t use Ebonics or Bling-lish, am I not down enough? Who determines what is or isn’t acceptable? I’m boycotting… we shall overcome --- being dumb.

Character. Not every dark-skinned person is buffoonish, ignorant or living only to get their hustle on. I’m living proof that we field slaves can read and write well. We all don’t dap people up in greeting, drop it like it’s hot or sell CDs on the train platform (well, at least not anymore). To contrast, not every light skinned person is bourgeois. I repeat, not every light-skinned person is bourgeois. I know it may be hard to fathom but some are actually down to earth… a few are even down right hood…

Why do folks think like this? These ideals are passed down from generation to generation. I think that Black parents need to seriously evaluate how they relate to their children and make sure that they know how lovely they are. People, we are not on the plantation anymore, shuckin’ and jiving for sum’ mo’ cobbler… . Instead of worrying about the “other man”, we have to worry about the “brotha man”. Yes, discrimination from other ethnic groups remains an immense problem for our race but we have to realize that colorism is just as serious. Know that just because a person uses slang, they are not ghetto. To contrast, just because a person doesn’t watch BET faithfully (or know how to lean wit it, rock wit it), it doesn’t make them an Uncle Tom. We should embrace who we are and pride ourselves in our differences. The sooner we realize this, the better off we’ll all be…

That's my two cents - holla back at cha on the morrow... - Jorge

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