When I was a young man, I started to write a book about my life and how I had “made it” out of the impoverished and dangerous inner city of Milwaukee, WI. I had become “self-aware” despite the fact that I had an absentee father, lived in a poor household, and was black. While writing, I quickly realized that where and who I was in life was about so much more than my current or previous circumstances. It was about how I chose to interpret information (both tangible and intangible), what mediums of messaging I allowed to infiltrate my sphere of influence, and how I coped with perceived failure and rejection. It was about preempting foreseeable pitfalls (I get much better at this as I get older) and reacting to new experiences with realistic optimism. More than anything though, it was about recognizing how I could hold myself accountable in every scenario whether orchestrated by my own hand or someone else’s.

I stopped writing that book…

I stopped writing because I knew there was so much I didn’t know. I knew that I hadn’t gained the proper perspective because I was still on the front end of my pain and anger. I lacked knowledge and I was still projecting negative reactions in over 50% of my interactions. Lacking knowledge hasn’t changed much in the 10+ years since I decided to pen my thoughts, but my perspective certainly has and so has my state of depression. I started to write again because there are so many topics of life that I want my daughters to be aware of. Not necessarily so that they hold to the same convictions I have, but conversely, that they believe they have the freedom of thought and freedom of will to choose their own purpose and convictions without limitation.

At a certain point in my life, I associated my age with a growing list of perceived failures and rejections. As time passed, I tabulated how many goals and objectives I didn’t achieve. How many people I let down. How many people let me down. How many selfish acts I committed. How many times I gave up. I began to allow those moments to define me. Each passing “failure” or “rejection” put me deeper into a hole that I was unaware that I was in. I was not “making it.” On the contrary, I was in a state of self-destruction and degradation – degrading because I wasn’t meeting the expectations of others and degrading because I wasn’t meeting my own. I now look at those moments of failure and rejection as preparation and learning opportunities for future growth both attained and not attained. Along my journey there have been very specific experiences that have served as a harness to lift me out of the depths and I am forever grateful to Whom the harness continues to be tethered. The greatest gift I have been given is the example of my mother’s sacrifice and persistence to make sure that in the absence of divine intervention, NOTHING would stop her from giving her children a chance. This is the awareness of which I speak. The awareness that life’s moments and its infinite ability to teach through an infinite number of scenarios, can be extrapolated to one and only one end – our ability to Love.

Love is the unconditional selfless sacrifice primarily endured for the benefit of others, it is the most powerful force in the known universe; and it’s also the reason I say to you, “Oh, you’re black, get over it!” I could just as well be replacing the word ‘black’ with whatever “condition” you believe you are encumbered by. Are you ‘white,’ ‘gay,’ a ‘man,’ ‘depressed,’ ‘Asian,’ ‘feel like you are a woman but have a penis?’ You need to get over it too. We all have our insecurities and fears based on other’s preconceived notions, prejudices, and generalization; but if you want to get out of the cycle of poverty, which is the coupling of unrelenting disbelief in yourself and the conscious maintenance of a close minded view of what is possible, you must face truth. Your acceptance or non-acceptance of truth, is the lynchpin to your success. Truth, in and of itself, is difficult to come by particularly when a person begins the self-evaluation process, but the real breakthrough came for me when I chose to stay vulnerable after recognizing why I was not “getting” what I wanted out of life. When you discover, acknowledge, or realize the reason(s) why you aren’t doing, being, and having the things you want; then and only then can you convert the negative self-talk into positive action. The next and most difficult step is to hold on to that deep dark truth and capitalize on the anger that is sure to accompany it.

Today I would say that I am “making it!”

I’m not “making it” because I’ve done, said, or thought what I have been told to do, say, or think. I’m not “making it” because I have turned my back on my culture (although I have been told that more than once) to fit in with some other group. I’m not “making it” because I’ve decided that exploitation is an acceptable method for success. I’m not “making it” because I care what other people (aside from my children) think about me. I’m “making it” because I’ve decided that I can control how I choose to react to life’s lessons en route to the completion and implementation of my goals AND that the lengths to which I will go to protest in order to secure a recourse when that goal is not obtained, is contingent upon whether or not I followed the broadcasted protocol. It’s not that I have attained a certain status or have a certain amount of money in the bank or hold a certain amount of power over others. It’s not even that I am completely free of being susceptible to disappointment, depression, and sadness. I’m “making it” because I have the knowledge and awareness that I am free to work towards my goals without the impediment of acquiescing to others belief systems about what I am and am not capable of; that I can love and forgive myself when I don’t meet the high standards I have set for myself; and that I can forgive others when they don’t meet my expectations as well.

As an aside and perhaps a segue, I mentioned earlier that I don’t care about what others think about me, but that was only half true. What other people think matters. It matters when building relationships of reciprocal nature with people which whom if not for a need, you would otherwise not interact with. How you want people to view you, shapes your approach when mutually beneficial goals align and working together is the most efficient path to goal completion. This is by far the most important skill I continue to develop. There are many applications of this. For example, when you interview for a job, your approach is shaped by the desired outcome you wish to achieve which more than likely is to have the interviewer believe that you are not just the right person for the job, but the only person. In other words, you want the employer to think that you will be an asset to their company and that as result of not hiring you, they would be worse off. The secret, however, when cultivating and applying this skill; is that you should ensure your purpose and intent is genuine and not only self-serving in nature. Beyond this truth, I choose to be alone. Alone in the sense that I choose what defines me. I choose not to “fit in” with any group. I am not defined by race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. I am not defined by creed, legal citizenship status, color, or socio economic status. I am concerned with, and defined by, only the principles, priorities, and protocols that I deem necessary for the attainment of my individual and unique definition of success and purpose.

My intention is to share, through this blog, the perspective of a man whom by all accounts and statistical measures, should not have “made it” (and should not be “making it”). You can throw almost every stereotype out of the window. I force the skill of full and thorough analysis in order to begin to understand my depth. Some people will read this post and some of my forthcoming posts with disdain and may even find them offensive. I am unconcerned with that. These will be messages you need to hear with no filter and with no expectation for you to acquiesce. Self-directed change begins with the knowledge that there is a better alternative to your current undesired condition. I do not claim to be the owner of someone else’s truth, but I will be the purveyor of my own. I hope that through dialogue progress can be made.

 

2 thoughts on “Yep You’re ‘Black’ Get Over It!

  1. When I was a young boy I looked at the older homies in my hood getting money selling weed and I was impressed; I wanted in! I came up on Murda Ave, a strip that runs through the Eastside of Paterson, N.J. , a city that is as rough as and dangerous as any . I was blessed to be raised in a two parent household that consisted of a hardworking mother and a natural born hustler for a father. They both wanted nothing but the best life for me and did nothing short of encouraging me to attain it the right way; I had other plans that didn’t involve patience or their way. Where I came from life is short, but legend lasts forever. Its much easier for us as shorties to relate to hustlers, and gangsters, versus polished negroes who’ve been certified collegially in one of these culturally biased universities before “making it out”.
    If you are of the people than chances are that you are against the people, you’re not apart of our reality so why would any conscious youth who has pride in self, who loves self want to identify with you? So when you simply make it out, what you do is run from yourself and your people in a blatant act of “active introversion”.
    I’m in no position to be preaching from a soap box nor is anyone else, for no man is perfect and we all have some growing to do. I’m no saint or law abiding citizen.
    I am currently in a Wisconsin State Prison and I am unapologetically Black! I’ve been incarcerated for over the past decade and I am the first to admit that my past life should be vilified and never glorified. There is nothing glorious about a gangsta/thug and though I seek forgiveness for some of my past deeds I’d never apologize for who I am as a man, or want to Get Over It!
    True enough love is the unconditional selfless sacrifice for the benefit of others and is one of the most
    powerful forces in the world. But what one must not forget is that when looking at anyone or thing through the veils of love, its like looking into a mirror, because one only loves that quality in others that they possess and love about themselves. With this said one must first have “knowledge of self” and love self before you’re able to project this love (positive energy), to others be it your mother, daughters or anyone else for that matter.
    Why would anyone who truly loves himself want to “Get Over It”? What you should want to get over is that age old “inferiority complex”, mental slavery, systemic racism and oppression that Amerikkka propagates in order to keep enforcing their illusion of superiority.
    Innately you are the most high here on earth, being Black is not a condition, it’s a Blessing! – if you only knew. Too many of our Brothers have been mis-educated to the point that they don’t want to be reminded of their blackness, that we are Africans stranded over here in this wilderness of North Amerikkka. One can’t fathom what it means to be an African Man (Black), you’ve lost this sense of self in this so called society, and it was by design and default.
    If you are not defined by race, religion, sex, or natural origin then I think you need to study (Learn)
    “Griggs vs. Duke power” before selling yourself to these corporate capitalists employers (slave drivers). In order to be employed it’s a must that you conform to the principles, priorities, and protocols that your Boss man deems necessary in order to fit into his system.
    The fore father of these modern day slave drivers saw to it 500 years ago during chattel slavery that the unconscious would forever conform to their oppressive protocols that were designed to keep us at the bottom of their cast system. It began with their false religious doctrine and imagery .In Islam we don’t accept and we despise imagery, I now understand why our beloved prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) forbade and lift no pictures of himself. “The one who sees himself in a Divine image is given an unnatural and very inflated notion of who they are, and they eventually become egotistical maniacs. What’s worse is what happens to those who are not portrayed in
    Divine Imagery but worship their self and too often blind, deaf and dumb African Americans worship that cracker as well.
    Negrescence should be your primary goal so that you can teach those beautiful babies who they are and educate them with the truth of where they came from. Otherwise they will eventually become slaves in this vicious cycle of modern day (mental) slavery, forever questioning who they are and eventually they will grow to despise you. If I were you I’d educate them to the truth that back in Africa we came from a system of Matriarchy, not patriarchy /patriotism . Everything these people taught us was a lie but the funny thing about lies is that when you look deep enough there lays TRUTH. Don’t waste your life trying to identify with your oppressor. “Powerful people never educate the victims of their power in how to take it away from them…the ideology of our former slave master cannot save you. Power lays in the TRUTH- in lies, the spirit commits treason against its self”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. King, I have to tell you that I appreciate your insights and comments. Some of the things that you brought up are the reasons why I am doing this and why I am doing this in a very systematic way. You’ve managed to speed up the timeline quite a bit. I was hoping that someone would say what you said. I was intentionally cryptic in my first post because I wanted to spark this exact type of conversation. It is a necessary conversation for us. Not so that we assimilate into society that we were forced into but so that we can have the possibility to flourish in our current circumstance (regardless of whether or not we chose it or someone chose it for us) and ultimately become the proper influential institutionalized voice. Not just for black people though – for all people.
      I have to address some of the things that you mentioned in your very well thought out comment though because it is important that we be on the same page.
      “Active Introversion” – I hadn’t heard this before you mentioned it but I get it. In a sense, you are right except I am not running away from being black, but I am running. I’m running away from some of the behaviors and messaging that is associated with black people. That we associate with ourselves. The behaviors and messaging we introduce to our children to inculcate them with old and tired priorities that don’t serve them or us. I get the argument that other races sale drugs, commit crimes, and do “bad” stuff all the time but in this context, it doesn’t matter to me that other races of people share some of those behaviors because we are strictly talking about the edification of black people. What do WE need to do to get out of our negative self-talk and poverty state of mind? Trust me, I’m not lost on how we got here, but for too long we have allowed people to define us. As you correctly stated, the bias has become so institutionalized that there is an inherent psychological disadvantage that black people start with from jump, but does that mean that we can’t flourish? I want black people to have a conversation about what being black means – not through the negative generalizations and stereotypes, but through positive role models like you. Ideally, we would want to have a conversation about what it means to be a responsible, aware, and “conscious” person. Like you, I am the last person to be on a soap box (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”), but like you also, I feel it’s important that we have these conversations. We need to be talking about this stuff. It’s true that I don’t have the street credibility of a seasoned gangster, but that is not to say that I couldn’t have been one or haven’t witnessed the lifestyle. That doesn’t mean that attempts to murder my entire family weren’t made or that I had to hide my mother and sisters in a closet and pray that we didn’t die. I don’t know exactly why I made the choices not to become a product of my environment, but that doesn’t make me any less black. It’s true that I have some college experience. My high school and college years were in a predominantly white setting. I would say close to 99% white. I don’t let that define me in the same way that I don’t allow my skin color to define me. Even in that setting, I could have been as corrupt as the next person and maybe even more so.
      In my post, I used the word “black” as a ruse on purpose because I think many black people who read my blog might be thinking the same thing you wrote –which was essentially that a man like me is unable to identify with the very people who he seeks to uplift, because he has been whitewashed through various intentional methods by the oppressor. I get that. I’ve gotten that my entire life. That is the reaction that my friends and family have given me for years. At this point in my life, I have accepted that this is how most black people who don’t know me will perceive me. In fact, most white people see me as white washed as well, until I reveal otherwise. Typically, I don’t need to assert my self-reliance until they mistakenly believe that I believe that I am where I am because of them or some other white person; or that I am somehow privileged to be among them; or that I would be ok with being treated unequally; or that I am where I am to fulfill some type of affirmative action quota. That is when I let them know, in no uncertain terms, that I’m already 100 steps ahead, and have documented and verified how to manipulate their vulnerabilities. Sometimes that message is subtle and sometimes its not. These are the things that I have to do and constantly think about. It is a major point of stress that I have grown to live with but I know that there is something better. It’s exactly what I don’t want my children (or any person who fears discrimination) to go through. Through my posts, through your comments (and hopefully continued comments), and through others this conversation will broaden past color.
      You made a great point about the “system.” I think you hit the nail on the head actually. It’s kind of where we need to go. There are multiple methods of “fighting oppression.” I believe that you can fight it through conformity and still maintain your essence. This is a systematic approach and it requires full conformity so that any and all retribution for unequal treatment can be justified. That is all I will say about that. Regardless of how we got here, there is a system of institutions that we do not control and cannot control unless we change. I am black and proud of that. I am a Christian and proud of that. I am a father and proud of that. I am many things, and besides my color, I have decided to be the person that I am. In a sense when you conform to something it becomes part of you. I get that and understand why people equate conformity to “mental slavery.” There are times where it’s not appropriate or advantageous to conform and there are times where in order to achieve a goal, conformity is the only option. Either way I generally don’t care what people think about me necessarily, but I demand respect and outcomes by virtue of my conformity and not just conformity but exceeding the capabilities of those who believe themselves to be the standard bearers. So in essence, I don’t look at conforming as being akin to submission or losing oneself. Conforming is a means to an end. As long as that process does not require me to denigrate, disrespect, or harm others, or myself I am ok with doing it to meet my long-term needs. In the end, if it doesn’t align with my principles and priorities, but I still need to get whatever the goal is, I’ll create my own protocol.

      I hope you stay connected. Hopefully more of these topics will be flushed out in the future.

      Like

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