Negro Please!!!!

by Vince Vanguard Vainglorious

Courage is forged through having a passion for something worth believing in. It has been said that having something worth dying for makes life worth living. Some of our ancestors died for the right to vote. Some died to preserve democracy for future generations. While others died so that we as “African Americans” could have “civil rights.” The right to be polite.

From head to toe we dress the part of the upright citizen, always checking to see if our hair is too nappy or if our blouse gives someone else the blues. We speak only when spoken to and only about what is already being discussed. We are told that it is impolite to talk about race, religion or politics in the workplace, which essentially means “We don’t want to hear your whining.” This decorum relegates the usual workplace discussions to topics such as “Who’s the hottest, Jessica Simpson or Britney Spears????” and you had better have an opinion! “Jada who????....Oh Will Smith’s wife. I like that Will Smith” We never notice that knowing nothing about us doesn’t make anybody else less of an American. The banter continues until the work day ends, the melting pot simmers down for the day and everyone goes their separate ways until tomorrow.

As you prepare for today’s toil, you inventory the menu of “on limits” topics that will get you through the workday klatch. “The Apprentice”, Yeah that’s business related, I can’t say anything inappropriate there.” Musing to yourself, you think “Do you think Donald Trump kept Kwame around so he could back up the statement he made years ago about the great opportunities available for Black men in America????” Naw not that. “Do you really think one of the other women did call Omorosa a nigger???? Uh no. You finally decide that it’s probably best that you let somebody else be the pacesetter for today’s discussion. So you make it to the office and sure enough before long the topic of the day is Bill’s triumph as the “Apprentice” After a while, you interject that “I think Kwame would have made just as good a choice.” The conversation ends there and turns to the war in Iraq.

The war discussion takes it’s usual twists and turns. “I support the President.” “If I was there I’d …..” “If we don’t show them “Camel Jockeys” how to live free then who will????” All of a sudden, you have an out of body experience and you hear somebody say “How can a President who stole an election tell another country how to run a democracy????” We’ve got neighborhoods right here in America that need to be rebuilt. Why are we spending taxpayer’s dollars to rebuild a country that was destroyed in a war that most people didn’t even support????” This guy won’t stop. “How come we spent millions of dollars to find weapons of mass destruction in another country and there are drugs killing thousands of people in communities right around the corner from the White House????” Eventually, someone looks at you and says, “I never thought of it that way before. Why is he talking to me you think. “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever heard you talk like that before. Do you think about that kind of stuff a lot????” Oh shit that was me talking!!!!???? Even more horrifying is the realization that there is no going backwards or taking back your words. You are now branded for life as an “Uppity Negro”!!!!

As I was writing this, I noticed that spell check didn’t make one of those red squiggly lines under the word “Nigger” like it usually does when it finds words that are not a part of everyday American vernacular. It did when I wrote Kwame. Will we ever live in an America where Kwame is as proper a noun as “Nigger”???? Many Black people feel that expressing their heartfelt beliefs and concerns around others or just being themselves or even using their non-Anglicized names might make other people feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, they are free to discuss anything around us, their name is always an “American” name and any offense you may feel when faced with a racist comment is due to you hypersensitivity and not to their disrespect. Maybe the reason is that most of us have stopped believing we have a heritage, culture or interests worth fighting for or believing in. As time goes by, we cease to identify as being part of a community at all, while even the poorest immigrants from other countries still send money home to their native lands, continue to speak their “mother tongue” and dress in their native styles. Integration is by definition a process whereby different entities work together in harmony without losing their distinct identities. As Italian, Irish and Jewish Americans can attest to, you only lose your culture if you don’t fight to preserve and defend it. Capisce????

Negro Please!!!! by Vince Vanguard Vainglorious

© Copyright 2004. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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