Ishmael Reed Imitation and Tribute

by Tyiako

I don't wear a hoodie anymore
I don't go outside after dark
I stopped seeing my girlfriend, she lives in a gated neighborhood
I don't offer strangers a helping hand
I wear my ID around my neck
I sit in the back of the bus, I don't want no trouble
If a white man's guilty as me, then I'm guilty double.

- Nameless colored man

The White Humanitarian Association of Common Knowledge presents:

~White Humanitarian's Observed Ordinances for Personal Survival~

Recently there have been growing concerns that a fair number of individuals, whose features and identities shall remain secret (much like the unregistered firearms of hoodie wearing evildoers), are being victimized by society. While all rational persons are completely unfazed by this completely unfounded idea, W.H.A.C.K. has come forward to establish a set of principles to help ensure the maximum protection for all peoples, particularly those prone to paranoia and suspicion. In light of the numerous 'mistakes' made by law enforcement which result in innocent members of the aforementioned secret peoples' being jailed (Yes, valued readers, we know law enforcement never makes mistakes, please humor...), the White Humanitarian's Observed Ordinances for Personal Survival, or W.H.O.O.P.S. for short, aims to address factors of suspicion that result in innocent criminals being victimized unduly. The Ordinances are as follows:

Any person of color must not wear certain articles of dangerous clothing such as: 'Bandanas', 'Hoodies', or the ever popular 'Chain'. Research indicates that such devices are both lethal and dangerous.

Persons of color must refrain from venturing out after hours or in groups of two or more. It is a common criminal tactic to gather accomplices and commit crimes in the dark.

Persons of color must not enter, observe, live in, visit, or travel past gated neighborhoods. It is a common fact that they have no business there under any circumstances, and therefore must be up to 'No Good.'

Persons of color must be able to identify themselves at any given time, without doing so in any way, shape, or form that could be considered threatening, such as: leaning over, reaching into a pocket, turning around, or lifting a hand.

People of all origins (but most assuredly persons of color) should refrain from performing gestures, engaging in activities, or speaking in ways deemed 'Ebonical'. Ebonic actions are a surefire sign of 'No Good.'

Additional W.H.O.O.P.S. may be added as the need arises. Please do your part in adhering to these ordinances so that W.H.A.C.K. can ensure the safety of all people.

1 One

I Don't Wear a Hoodie Anymore...

Trayvon Martin's 'Hoodie Is As Much Responsible For [His] Death As George Zimmerman'

Geraldo Rivera provoked outrage on Friday when he said that slain teenager Trayvon Martin was partially responsible for his death because he was wearing a hoodie. Speaking on Friday's "Fox and Friends," Rivera said, "I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was."

He maintained that Martin's hoodie was to blame for his death. He denied that he was "blaming the victim" and called it "common sense" for minorities to avoid wearing hoodies. He said that he was "reminding minority parents of the risk that comes with being a kid of color in America."

Rivera made his original comments to Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy and guest host Juliet Huddy. He said that he believed George Zimmerman should be "investigated to the fullest extent of the law" and "prosecuted" if criminally liable, but blamed Martin's parents for letting him go outside wearing a hoodie.

He stressed that Martin was an "innocent" and "wonderful" kid who "didn't deserve to die." However, he reiterated, "I'll bet you money, if he didn't have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn't have responded in that violent and aggressive way."


W.H.A.C.K. held a demonstration today as a token of good will for the community. They closed off both ends of Main St. and held a parade. They marched down the street, alive with energy, singing and dancing and chanting. W.H.A.C.K. officials state that their demonstration was intended to be educational- to show how people should behave to avoid being 'No Good'.

Above all else, they value intelligence- it's why they have the 'Common Knowledge' in their name and why they take their responsibility to humanity so seriously. To symbolize this commitment, they thrust their fists into the air and chant. See, the clenched fist represents the brain, held high to demonstrate a secure position of great intellect. When they press their fists to those of others, they think of this as the sharing of ideas...

2 Two

I Don't Go Out After Dark...

Reports all over Spigton County revealing a 61% decrease of violent misunderstandings after this latest string of W.H.O.O.P.S. Law enforcement, as always, takes its invaluable role in our fair county so seriously. As such, they have been looking into the apparent disappearance of people of color. Sheriff Frank P. Dudley of the Spigton County Police Department has this to say.

“We would appreciate any new leads as to the whereabouts of our missin colored folks. we've already checked the most logical places, dem bein' the county jail, and the morgue, but all those folks are accounted for.”

According to Dudley, when so many colored folks go missing, there is a clear issue of public safety, as colored folks out of the public eye can only mean that they are working on some 'No Good.' Additionally, Dudley reminds all respectable citizens to not approach a group of colored folks alone:

“If you have a problem with them, they'll pull out their guns (they all have them, mind you) hold them sideways and kill you on the spot. That's how they do things.”

This is the life for the man who follows W.H.A.C.K.'s W.H.O.O.P.S. The 'Sundown Curfew' eats nightlife, changes the jazz club audiences, taking out the Cool Cats and the Guys Who Can Really Blow and replacing them with Fine Gentlemen. Meanwhile half the population stays indoors, watching the news and shaking heads.

3 Three

I Broke Up With My Girlfriend...

Dear Marlene,

Baby, I know I ain't been around in a long while, but I been thinkin of you. You ain't never gonna leave my heart an' my thoughts, but there's somethin I gotta tell you, somethin I gotta do. Have you seen the news lately, my sweet Marlene? Have you seen them regulations the five-O been tutin like battle-clubs an' whack-a-nigg permits? They says I can't see you no more. They ain't says it, but they means it.

I know this'll break your poor lil' heart, Marlene, but I gotta do this for the both of us. Sometimes a man gotta do what's best, even if he don't like it. I don't like this, but things'll get worse for everyone if I stay an' keep seein you. I know what you be thinkin. You wanna take a stand against the man an' shove those W.H.O.O.P.S. back up the W.H.A.C.K. ass they came outta. That's what I'ma gonna do.

But not you, my sweet Marlene. I need you safe an' sound at home behind your gate. I need to know that no matter what happen to me, that my lil' baby is still safe, ain't bein held guilty of 'No Good' or any of that W.H.A.C.K. nonsense. See baby, I'm doin this for both of us. For us an' our friends an' our families... an' maybe if you have a sweet lil' girl just as bright an' beautiful as her mommy, wit' hair like gold an' eyes like the sky, maybe that lil baby can grow up in a world that ain't divided by gates of any kind.

Don't forget me, my Marlene. I ain't ever gonna forget about you.

4 Four

I Don't Help No Strangers No More

“In West Philadelphia born and raised
On the playground where I spent most of my days
Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool
And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school
When a couple of guys said 'we're up in no good'
Started making trouble in my neighborhood...”

-Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

I waited in the parking lot, having returned from my night walk. She was busy unloading her trunk. In retrospect, there was no way to avoid scaring her. I didn't say anything to her, she would have screamed. So in a pause, she looked up, noticed me, and screamed. That's how our conversation began. She introduced herself with an earsplitter, and I replied with a shrug. These days, I'm like a linguist, speaking in shrugs all the time. I asked her if she needed help with her things. She, of course said no. I had another shrug ready for her before moving off to let her catch her breath. In retrospect, in retrospect...

I sometimes think about W.H.A.C.K. If they had seen that, I might already be the poster child for a W.H.O.O.P.S. But then, it doesn't take much to get there. It's the new fifteen minutes of fame, though they'll tell you otherwise. Anyway, I think that lady was a colored herself. Regardless, that was the last time I offered to help a stranger in the dark. Well, almost. Once me and another helped one of our own move a broke car into a gas station parking space. If we'd left it there, the Law would have cracked him open for suspicion of 'No Good.' Sometimes I wonder who's really up to 'No Good'....

5 Five

I Wear My I.D. Around My Neck.

I go to parties every so often. Late night, get drunk, all that sort of thing. 'No Good' is 'no problem' if you do it in a designated 'No Good' or, in layman's terms 'Non-Gated' community. But yeah, I go to parties, kick back, have a good time. They'd have you believe that people like me don't exist, at least not in any significant number or presence, and as such when it's time to 'represent', we don't always make for the best showing. To that, some might say 'that's whack', to which I'd have to reply 'who else would it be?'

There I am, the colored guy, among slightly less colored guys and gals. Definitely the recipe for a 'No Good' nightmare. If no one is good, then we're all the same right? Good and Bad cannot exist without each other. But yeah. I am the 'most' colored guy there. Or so I thought. Let's just get to it and say, I left the party early; there was another black guy there, and he was better looking too.

Ishmael Reed Imitation and Tribute by Tyiako

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