Tonight I am in a racism chasing mode, although I really didn't want to be. But this UCSD thing has me, once again, contemplating issues of race and A-merry-ca's future.
Some of you have mentioned the incident it in the comments section on this blog, and tonight I got an e-mail from someone at UCSD who wanted me to post about it, (shout out to* Natasha)so post I will.
But I am going to approach this post from a different angle. I will not get up on a soap-box and rant about racism in A-merry-ca and it's effects on our national psyche. No, instead, I want to learn. I want to truly understand the mind set of people in the majority here in A-merry-ca.
Because honestly, it's not about a bunch of ignorant college students having a ghetto party to commemorate black history month, (hell these types of parties have been going on forever, and I suspect that there will be more of them in the future) and it's not about what type of literal harm they can bring to one black person in A-merry-ca. Rather, it's about something much deeper and pernicious, and it's something worth discussing as we try to make this country that we love so much live up to her promise.
So here is my question to white folks reading this: (Honest answer please)
When you see a black man in a Hickey Freeman suit, starched white shirt, wingtips, a very nice silk-tie, and a brief case walking down the street, are you thinking...well let me give you a quote from the flyer at UCSD:
"For guys: I expect all males to be rockin Jersey's, stuntin' up in ya White T (XXXL smallest size acceptable), anything FUBU, Ecko, Rockawear, High/low top Jordans or Dunks, Chains, Jorts, stunner shades, 59 50 hats, Tats, etc....We will be serving 40's, Kegs of Natty, dat Purple Drank- which consists of sugar, water, and the color purple , chicken, coolade, and of course Watermelon. So come one and come all, make ya self before we break ya self, keep strapped, get yo shine on, and join us for a day party to be remembered- or not..."
.....so is that what you are thinking when you see the black man in my hypothet? Is your imagery of black folks so messed up that this is the only way you can identify with something having to do with Black History Month? Then, of course, your image of black women doesn't seem to be any better:
"For girls: For those of you who are unfamiliar with ghetto chicks-Ghetto chicks usually have gold teeth, start fights and drama, and wear cheap clothes - they consider Baby Phat to be high class and expensive couture. They also have short, nappy hair, and usually wear cheap weave, usually in bad colors, such as purple or bright red.They look and act similar to Shenaynay, and speak very loudly, while rolling their neck, and waving their finger in your face. Ghetto chicks have a very limited vocabulary, and attempt to make up for it, by forming new words, such as "constipulated", or simply cursing persistently, or using other types of vulgarities, and making noises, such as "hmmg!", or smacking their lips, and making other angry noises,grunts, and faces.The objective is for all you lovely ladies to look, act, and essentially take on these "respectable" qualities throughout the day." [Story]
So why is this? I mean I don't see kids at HBCU's having red neck parties, calling them West Virginia hoe downs, and doing all types of stereotypical things that they associate with rednecks; all in the name of fun. But yet, this is a persistent theme with white kids at various college campuses.
Honestly, (and I have to get like my man uptown Steve now) I have been in more black upscale homes than white ones, and my dentist, doctor, broker, and accountant, are all black.
I really don't know any black males or females like the ones mentioned in the flyer (yes I am sure they exist, but I don't know any) and the black professionals I associate with are more cultured and urbane than the white ones. So again, where does this come from? Is it popular culture? (Are black folks their own worst enemies?) Is it home training? Or is it,as some have suggested, an overpowering need by some folks in the majority population to put down others?
If we don't get the answers, next black history month, you all will be up in arms about another bunch of kids making fun of your race. And yet another institution of -supposed- higher learning will have to do things like the following:
"UCSD CAMPUS NOTICE University of California, San Diego OFFICE OF THE CHANCELLOR OFFICE OF THE VICE CHANCELLOR - STUDENT AFFAIRS February 16, 2010 ALL ACADEMICS AND STAFF AT UCSD ALL STUDENTS AT UCSD SUBJECT: Condemnation of Off-Campus Party and Affirmation of Principles of Community We were distressed to learn that over the weekend an offensively themed student party, mocking the commemoration of Black History Month, took place off campus. We strongly condemn this event and the blatant disregard of our campus values. Although the party was not a UC SanDiego student-organization sponsored event, participants did include UCSan Diego students and that causes us great concern. As stated in our Principles of Community, we reject acts of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, age,disability, sexual orientation, religion, and political beliefs, and, we will confront and appropriately respond to such acts. We reaffirm our Principles of Community and encourage the campus to join us in our affirmation. In addition, we invite students, staff and faculty to participate in at each-in from noon to 2 p.m. on February 24 in the Price Center East Ballroom to explore how such incidents continue to occur today and to discuss the importance of mutual respect and civility on our campus.
Marye Anne Fox Chancellor, Penny RueVice Chancellor - Student Affairs"
Blah blah blah blah. Sorry Marye Anne, in post racial A-merry-ca, anything goes.
*Thanks again Natasha, keep holding it down at UCSD. 200 among 20,000.00 in Ward Connerly country has got to be tough on even the strongest Field Negro.