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Archive for July 2008

let’s see him return that

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In case you hadn’t heard, Devin Hester was blessed with a 4 year, $30M contract by Bears management a few days ago. I really didn’t know what to make of it, so rather than think on it myself, I went to one of my best friends, closest associates, and wartime consigliere (he also happens to be the biggest Bears fan I know), to see what his thoughts were. I sent him a one line e-mail that read “$30M for Hester…thoughts?”. And in a brazen maneuver of convenience sampling, I will take his opinions as the uncontested, consensus view of the ursine nation. Enjoy.

Well, here’s my whole take on the Bears paying big money to both Hester and Urlacher. Is it the best use of money? probably not.

BUT…

The Bears do not operate like Jones and the Cowboys. Jerry Angelo is not going to stiff Urlacher and Hester so he can spend money on something else to make the team better (look at our QB’s and WR’s). So, it’d be one thing if he was going to say, “we’re not gonna pay these guys because we’re going out to get other players who will make us better.” If Hester doesn’t play Rashied Davis will take over for him.

Also, I think Chicago sports fans are different than in other towns. They LOVE Urlacher and the REALLY LOVE Hester. And they HATE the Bears management. And they’re used to losing, so if we’re gonna lose at least we should be able to watch Hester. So they did what they had to do. If the Bears had other options at WR, they might have some leverage. The truth is, he’s our best option even though he has a huge potential to bust at WR. Our WR’s right now are Rashied Davis, Marty Booker, Brandon Lloyd, and Mark Bradley. Pretty pathetic.

And, like we were talking about the other day. You said he only scored 6 or 7 TD’s last year. But I looked this up the Bears offense scored 26 TD’s and 31 FG’s. So, when you figure Hester had 6 TD’s that more than anyone else on the Bears other than Griese who threw for 10. How many of those FG’s were the result of Hester brining it back 40-50 yards so the offense could go three and out and kick a field goal? Hester lead the NFL in TD’s and punt returns of 20+ and 40+ yards, so probably more than a few.

I guess that’s my take. I’m glad they signed him and he’ll play, but the Bears obviously don’t care about winning since they won’t sign a real QB or WR. So if they overpay Hester, so be it.

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Written by misteressama

July 29, 2008 at 3:01 am

Posted in Sports

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white power

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I was reading a post on mgoblog.com where the author predicts an all maize uniform for our “big” games. And without seeing it, I’m not really going to comment, I actually could see how it would work given the right design. However, if I had to design an alternate uniform for us to wear, I would go with what I like to call the “hyper-whites.” We would don white jerseys with white pants, white socks, and (are you sitting down?) white cleats. The white cleats are absolutely critical to tie the whole aesthetic together. I know that both Oregon and Texas have hyper-whites, but I don’t think anyone could legitimately claim that we would be copying them if we unveiled one. Essentially, if Oregon and Texas’ hyper whites are fresh, mu’fuckah, ours would be RIPE[1].

Oregon tries too hard to be different, plus they’ve got that weird font for numbers (which I’m sure serves to emphasize physique…O-Line?). Texas does have the advantage in the sense that their helmets are predominantly white, but I think we could overtake them with some key design nuances on the jerseys. What would really dictate the aesthetic appeal would be the color of the numbers. At first I thought we could roll with yellow-excuse me-maize numbers outlined by blue, but then I realized that the maize and white would not be distinguishable enough, and it would take away from the white. So we go the other way (and get all the panties in Happy Valley in a bunch) and go with blue numbers with no trim. Where Texas has “TEXAS” printed above the numbers, we will just have the block ‘M’. There would be smaller block ‘M’s on the shoulder pads (facing up) and smaller numbers on the sleeves (facing out). As stated above, the pants would be all white, but real white, not that bathhouse see through that Miami broke out a couple of years ago; and there would be small, blue adidas logo on one of the front hips, probably the right. The idea of the white cleats is imported from world class soccer players. If you pay attention, only the most flamboyant wear white cleats. That would add just the right amount of flamboyance[2].

I’m perfectly happy with our uni situation as it stands, but if I had to add one alternate for the Notre Dame and Ohio State games, it would be a hyper white. Sorry MSU, but you don’t wear your dress whites to give your little brother a wet willie–where would you wipe your finger? Nothing else really conveys that sense of gangster like all white. Think about it; LeBron James on draft day? All white. The KFC Colonel? All white. That one guy in the Yakuza from the Simpsons episode where Marge got help from the mob for her pretzel business? All white. You get the idea.


[1] Wayne, Lil. 2008. Brand New. Happy Father’s Day: 2:24-2:26

[2] See: Billy “White Shoes” Johnson.

Written by misteressama

July 28, 2008 at 2:19 am

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aural fixation: the weekend of july 25, 2008 a.d.

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Back in the day, when I used to use instant messenger, I used to keep a list of songs/albums I “recommended” that my friends look into on my profile…Yeah, I thought I was pret-tyyy, pret-tyyyy, pret-ty cool, but in my defense, I never purported to have the biggest library…or be cutting edge. Tell you the truth, I think those who actually looked and used my recommendation list appreciated the fact that I wasn’t a such a elitist “contrarian” about my suggestions; I merely posted what sounded good to me, commercial or not. So I figured I’d just bring it back for nostalgia’s sake; I can’t think of any real tangible description for the main criterion, so I’ll just call it “songs I’m not skipping on my iPod right now.” I’m also doing it here because I’m too cheap to drop $5/month for last.fm, but you should check it out; you can still make your own radio for free). Keep in mind my musical palette is a bit varied and completely capricious, so not every suggestion is for everyone, but I think that makes it better, so you have to sort it out yourself; plus you can then discover the whole album yourself. Oh and listed in no particular order.

1. AmpLive – Video Tapez from Rainydayz Remixes. Props to my girl Lleigha for putting me onto this one. Apparently this guys is based out of the Bay area (right up your ally, JWeezy) and this remix of Radiohead’s In Rainbows is a great work of indie hip-hop (if that’s what you would even call it, I have no idea). Either way, this is probably my favorite track on the album. I guess the simple thing to say would be, “if you liked In Rainbows, and you like good beats, you’ll like this remix…which Radiohead kind of got pissed at him for because he didn’t consult them about it…and released it for free, but…whatever.

2. Phonte (from Little Brother) f. Carlitta Durand – Take on Me. This is just a singlay. Yep, that take on me, Phonte remixed a classic, and I love it. Anytime you touch a classic you gotta use those kit gloves, and Phonte just reaffirmed what I already believed; that music is music, doesn’t matter where you’re from; anyone can appreciate anything. AND he sang the vocals…that in and of itself is worth a HUGE nod.

3. DJ Drama & Lil Wayne – Gettin’ Some Head from Dedication: Gangsta Grillz. I have realized that I tend to prefer Lil Wayne on freestyles and mixtapes much more than I like his commercial stuff. You should definitely get your hands on this mix-tape if you can, and if you enjoy Lil Wayne. The thing I like about it, is you get to hear what Lil Wayne can do over beats you’ve heard from other popular singles. Also checkout, Poppin’ Them Bottles, I’m a Ridah, This What I Call Her, and Weezie F Baby.

4. Santogold – You’ll Find a Way from Santogold. Santogold is one of few artists I can really claim to having “been all over before it was hip.” Yeah, before her songs were playing at the end of Entourage episodes, and during Bud Light commercials… actually, both of them, I was in the 9:30 Club with my boys Craphonso and the Lawless Element (not the rap duo from Detroit, just a kid I know) watching Santogold open for Architecture in Helsinki. I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t like Santogold, but then again, who do I know? Lights Out, and L.E.S Artistes are also “pretty dope tracks,”…sorry.

5. Röyksopp – Remind Me from Melody A.M. Everyone knows this song by the Norwegian duo, they just don’t know they do. This is the track from the very first GEICO Caveman commercial when he’s going through the airport, and sees that billboard that spawned a series of unnecessary, never-be-as-good-as-the-original commercials and a short-lived series on ABC. Props to my girl Lleigha, again, (take in some of her eclectic musical palette here) for putting me onto the music video, which is pretty cool, but I was shocked that I had to fill her in on the fact that this song was used in a GEICO commercial, or that ABC actually had a series based on the cavemen from said commercial. She didn’t believe me until she verified with the internet, but can you really blame her? I mean, the whole story does seem entirely too fantastic to be true.

Tracks I’m totally listening to and not telling anyone about:

1. Usher – Love in this Club

2. Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love

3. The-Dream – Fast Car

4. Greg Laswell – What a Day

salty nuts

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Maybe somebody can help me understand this. Snickers just recently pulled an ad because certain gay rights groups have come out and vocalized their displeasure with the advertisement. Watch it below, then continue reading.

Get Some Nuts! MMM!

Here is what I think is key to note; at no point are we ever explicitly told this guy is gay. What I think is interesting is that if you really think about it, gay rights groups are actually making all the assumptions, and invoking all the negative stereotypes of gay men, that they’ve been trying to dispel for all this time. Think about it, Mr. T is essentially calling the speed walker effeminate, right? Ok, but hasn’t part (a large part, I thought) of the gay rights movement been to dispel the stereotypes that gay men are characterized by effeminate behavior? I always believed that being gay was simply an issue of sexual orientation; it didn’t mean that you necessarily acted a certain way, dressed a certain way, or spoke a certain way. They simply prefer same sex partners, but for all other facets of life, they are just like you and me. So, it strikes me as a bit counterintuitive, when I see a man power walking down the street, and it is a gay rights group that assumes that he is gay.

I thought the idea was to move to an area where we were not making judgments of people’s sexual orientation simply because of stereotypes. Essentially this gay rights group is saying, “This guy must be gay, because he’s doing something that is traditionally viewed as effeminate.” Yet, were a straight man to say that, that would be pretty ignorant. My question is, what if the speed walker is straight? Then what? Actually, let’s take it one step further, since the politically correct stance to take is that gay men can be and often are just as masculine as straight men, what if Mr. T is gay? We have no way of knowing if it is never explicit. You can make all the arguments about the “suggestive-ness” of the ad, but when groups are out there to dispel stereotypes, they can ill-afford to make critical errors like this where they jump to the conclusion that one would only arrive at by employing those very same stereotypes.

I, for one, happen to believe that there are gay men out there who do not think speed walking is at all manly, and I also believe that there are straight men out there who enjoy speed walking. This is a keen example of how even those who think they’re doing a service, could actually be guilty of the very behavior they’re trying to quell. This is just like when the women’s student group at my law school wants to raise money (presumably to undertake further programming to help and support the idea of women in law school)…and then they have a bake sale.

I’m as progressive as they come, but I think people still get wound up about the wrong things sometimes. If you ask me, I really don’t think the theme of this commercial was all that bad, but then again, I’m not gay, and am not going to make it a habit of speaking for groups to which I do not belong. Truthfully, I thought what the real controversy would have been over was B.A. Barackus dropping a “cracker!” near the end, and/or the new slogan Snickers is unveiling, “Get some nuts!”

Written by misteressama

July 26, 2008 at 5:33 am

boldin the beautiful

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Huge news out of Arizona. Anquan Boldin has instructed his agent not to negotiate with the Arizona Cardinals. Not only did the Cardinals hand Larry Fitzgerald a contract so big that it made re-signing Boldin an impossibility, they did that after promising Boldin that they would give him a new contract before this season, but apparently this has been too long for Boldin, and he has decided that he will not re-sign with the Cardinals.

CHA-CHING!! Enter stage left, Jerrel Wayne Jones. Turns out, after the preliminary attempts to trade for him failed, the circumstances have changed; although not that favorably. The Cardinals know that they can just sit on Boldin for the next three years, though, and that he’s not going anywhere unless they trade him. That’s why the Cowboys have to come up with a big offer to get the Cardinals to part ways with the potential headache that it’s going to be if Anquan potentially holds out, or doesn’t report next season. Especially since we just waived Terry Glenn. Glenn has been trying to strong arm an extra $1.2M out of the Cowboys, by holding out on signing a $500K injury waiver. Everyone forgets the Cowboys put together that 13-3 season without Glenn, so he shouldn’t overstate his importance to the team. Patrick Crayton was the goat last season, his teammates know it, management knows it, the fans know it, and most importantly, he knows it. If Crayton is at all the competitor we would assume one has to be to make it to the NFL, he’s been gnashing his teeth all off-season. If anything, Crayton is probably hoping that Glenn doesn’t sign the waiver and that Jones goes ahead and perhaps trades him so that Crayton can get his opportunity to redeem himself.

Boldin is 27 right now, and will presumably be 30 by the time his contract with Arizona expires. Though I would love for Dallas to keep trying to acquire him now, it might not be the worst thing in the world to just acquire him as a free agent when his contract with the Cardinals expires. With the approximately $60M Jones has doled out this off-season, he might not have the money to fit Boldin in with Owens’, Barber’s, and Newman’s new contracts; not to mention Chris Canty still needs to be re-signed at some point, not to mention if Adam Jones can keep his nose clean, he’ll be up for a new one too.

The Cardinals probably wouldn’t trade him before the next two years, as there is no real need to part with him before they have to. They will probably trade Boldin right before the beginning of his last season to prevent him walking out free & clear. The $40M contract Larry Fitzgerald is feeding his family with has pretty much made it a certainty that Boldin will be done in Arizona. Just for the record, I am on Boldin’s side of this matter, I mean the guy is just as good, if not better than Fitzgerald, but somehow he’s only scheduled to make $8.4M over the next three seasons, while Fitzgerald is scheduled to make $40M over the next four. Boldin is not being petulant, he just realizes that the Cardinals have made their decision, and he is ready to move on; but he plans on honoring the rest of his contract. Boldin is like a parent who has resolved to stay in a bad marriage for the sake of the children; but as soon as the last one goes to college, it’s a wrap.

If Jones can get his hands on Boldin at anytime before the contract expires, a la Brewers with Sabathia, maybe, just maybe he can get Boldin to fall in love with the Cowboy family and resign for a slight discount. If not, Boldin is going to be a very, very rich man after after his 30th birthday. Boldin has the size, speed, hands and agility to be a dominant wide receiver in this league. Even with missing 4 games last season, Boldin pulled down 71 balls for 853 yards and 9 happy endings, and that’s sharing with Fitzgerald.

Fact is, we have our first marquis drama thread for next off-season, and the way money’s been flying around at the wide receiver position (Moss, Owens, and Walker), one thing is certain; Boldin’s got his popcorn ready.

Written by misteressama

July 26, 2008 at 1:26 am

Posted in Sports

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phil equipped

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Far be it from me to tell an NFL franchise how to run its team, but let tell the Philadelphia Eagles that they have squandered the career of Donovan McNabb. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all Lurie and Reid’s fault, McNabb didn’t help himself when he picked up a pitchfork and helped management run T.O. out of town, but he doesn’t make the personnel decisions either. Maybe I’m spoiled by having an owner like Jerrel Wayne Jones, but to watch the Eagles clip their own wings is only risible because they’re a division rival.

You look at the rest of the division, Jones has put together a gem in Dallas, The ‘Skins have hard-nosed defense has mastered the art of playing ugly, which keeps them in every game and renders them incapable of losing more than seven games in any given season, and The Gigantes are the defending Super Bowl Champs, which means they can do WHATEVER they want for the next three years. Philly went 8-8 last year and was the ONLY team in the division not to make the playoffs, yet they act as if this is the NFC East of the early 00s. They think they can just stick McNabb & Westbrook on the field and go 11-5. Maybe Reid hasn’t noticed with his kids’ insane drug problems, but the NFC isn’t the same conference it used to be.

Let’s start within the division, for the second consecutive year three out of four teams in the division made the playoffs. The Cowboys are the “class” of the division. I put class in quotes because it doesn’t really matter in the playoffs, NFC East teams are not intimidated by their division rivals in the playoffs, so I mean it’s great to have the Cowboys be the best team in the division but trust when I say that I would rather face ANYONE else in the NFC than a divisional foe in the playoffs. Nevertheless, the Cowboys set a league record with 13 Pro Bowlers last season, and there’s no reason to expect those players to repeat next season, since none of those seasons were that eye-popping. The Cowboys got Ken Hamlin resigned and drafted one of the consensus top four DBs in the draft, Mike Jenkins, who has the versatility to play corner or safety. Then the Cowboys add Adam Jones, who has proved himself to be a competent #2 CB, and if he can get himself back into game shape, and refrain from the rain dancers the secondary looks to be even more formidable. Everyone says, “yeah, but what about a #2 receiver?” Don’t forget Dallas played all last season without Terry Glenn, now whether he signs the waiver and comes back healthy is another issue. The Cowboys add Zach Thomas, and draft Martellus Bennett and Felix Jones as rookies who will fill the “voids” left by Anthony Fasano and Julius Jones. All in all, the Cowboys are a better team than last year.

As I said before, the Giants are the defending Super Bowl Champines and are “off the hook” for at least this season. However, you still have to worry about whether last season was just a fluke for Eli, or whether something has clicked for him. If it is the latter, then the division just got a serious headache, especially if he keeps Plaxico Burress. When you consider the production the Giants got from their rookies like Bradshaw and Steve Smith, it’s kind of worrisome to think that theoretically they should only get better, unless they catch the Michael Claytons disease. You want to bring up their “losses,” but when you think about it, who did they really lose besides Strahan? Yeah, they just traded Shockey, but in case you forgot they went on that run without him. That defensive line will still be one of the most formidable defensive fronts in the league, the pass rush should be fine with the loss of Strahan, they still have Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka (who I presume has learned not to let go), and 1-800-Osi-Ocean. Kawika Mitchell just flat out wasn’t that good, and I think Kenny Phillips will replace Gibril Wilson just fine. Verdict: Giants are a touch worse than they were last year simply because they lost Strahan, and that was just another horse to rotate in and keep the pass rush fresh.

Washington took a huge step forward with landing Jason Taylor. The day they lost both defensive ends, the ‘Skins land the most prolific sack artist in the league since 2000, I believe. Jason Taylor alone makes the rest of Washington’s defense better. JT Money just brings straight heat and that’s all there is to it. The offense has shown how explosive it can be, and what’s more, it has shown that it doesn’t much matter whether Jason Campbell or Todd Collins is in there calling the plays. Clinton Portis will be the horse he always is in the backfield and that’s all there is to it. Don’t let any of the three pass catchers the ‘Skins drafted pan out early and the ‘Skins are definitely in a position to win more than three games in the division.

However, when you look at Philly, what have they done? It’s almost as if they’ve been purposely squandering McNabb’s career because they know the fans never liked him (which is pretty unfair to him, have they forgotten that they wanted Ricky Williams?) and management knows they will never be blamed for the Eagles’ short comings. Let’s look at it though, who does McNabb have on that team? When you look at the tools McNabb has around, nobody is the best at their position in the division. LJ Smith? Nope. Brian Westbrook? I don’t think so; Portis is better than Westbrook if you want to go just straight up best RB in the division, but if you want to talk about entire running platoons, the Eagles come in last. Let’s not even talk about wide receiver, last is an understatement. You could take away every other team in the division’s top wide receiver, and Philly still wouldn’t necessarily be the best. With all those legitimate receivers sitting there in the draft begging to be drafted, the eagles went with DeSean Jackson, a punt returner. They better pray that ESPN airs some games on ABC, because that’s the only time I saw Jackson show up to play in college. Westbrook hasn’t played a full season in lord knows how long (neither has McNabb) but the Eagles seem content on their past accomplishments; beating up on the NFC when it was still just a JV League.

The Saints have become a top flight team in the conference, thanks to the offensive genius of Sean Payton and the resurrection of Brees. Bush should play better if Deuce McAllister comes back healthy. Add Shockey to an already loaded offense, and Jonathan Vilma (yeah) to anchor that defense, and I think it stands to reason placing the Saints ahead of the Eagles. The Panthers had an awful season last year, but they did also play it without Jake Delhomme, and mark my words, they’re back up Matt Moore will eventually be a quality starting quarterback in this league. If I’m the Bears, I offer a first or second round pick for the kid. He was Dallas’ 3rd signal caller during Parcels’ last pre-season, but everyone knows Parcels only carries 2. Either way, Carolina will be back to reassert themselves in the conference. Throw in what should be a resurgent St. Louis squad, an overachieving Tampa Bay, a consistent Seattle, a stout Green Bay and a potent-at-every-position-but-quarterback Viking team, and Philly is not really looking at that manageable a season.

Back when their defense had the players to make Jim Johnson’s defensive scheme seen unbreakable, and McNabb, Owens (for 21 games) and Westbrook were making football look as easy as it was in the playground, the Eagles didn’t really have to worry, but now, most of their stars are gone, and the ones who are left are no longer as radiant as they once shone. Yes they added Asante Samuel, but why? They’re just going to lose Lito Sheppard because of it, and the kind of money they’ve given Samuel will prevent them from really bringing in any other defensive stars. Add to that the fact now that EVERY team in the division (except them) has a pass rusher capable of logging 16 sacks next season, McNabb is in for a long one, but hey, he’s been hearing it in Philly since he was drafted, I guess it is true the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Written by misteressama

July 23, 2008 at 1:46 am

“a drop of coffee in a cup of cream”

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I had a pretty deep conversation with a friend of mine last night at the bar. I don’t remember the conversation word for word but I can convey the essence of it because it really struck me. Just to get some background out of the way; I am black (African, not African American), my friend is white (your standard Caucasian Anglo-Franco-Saxon mix), his great grandfather was a grand wizard in the Ku Klux Klan (don’t hold it against my friend, he couldn’t do anything about it), he was born and raised in a small town in the Midwest, his best friend from undergrad is demographically similar to me (African nationality, raised in upper-upper middle class America).

The conversation started with my friend leaning over to me and wanting me to make sure I understood that he has no problem with people of color, despite his great grandfather’s “involvement” in the KKK. He felt the need to do this because after finding out about his great grandfather, I cracked a couple (OK, more than a couple) of jokes about it, and he was feeling as though I was looking at him differently (pretty much, he thought that I now thought him to be a bigot, once I found out about his g.grandfather). He went on to say that it wouldn’t be fair for me to judge him as such, because he had nothing to do with that, that was his g.grandfather’s choice, not his. I reassured my friend that I don’t make it a habit to judge the people around me, let alone on the actions of ancestors they’ve never met. If I did, let’s face it, I wouldn’t have any white friends; and I don’t mean that as a purposeful indictment of all white people past, present and future, I’m just saying, if I cut out all my white friends with racist relatives, my friend pool would probably shrink more than I’d like to imagine.

He later went on to tell me about his friend from undergrad (who also I know, but not as well) and how he felt for him because he was “not black enough for most black Americans, but also not a regular white kid.” I told him that is an experience I know too well and that there was no need to explain it to me. My friend said despite all the sympathy he felt for the social quandary people like myself and his friend from undergrad find ourselves in, he still wonders to himself sometimes whether we make too big a deal of it, or whether that really is a problem. I told him that I really could not explain that phenomenon to him, it’s one of those things you either experience in your life, or you don’t. How was I going to explain to a middle class, Christian, white male how it feels to not really have a group you identify with in this country? Are there any words I could have used to explain to him what it feels like when 99% percent of the people who look like you don’t see the world AT ALL like you, and essentially disavow you? And how 99% of the people around you, even though they may think like you, don’t look AT ALL like you, and for that reason think you’re too different, thus they keep you at a distance. Is there any way I can convey to him the sense of patronization you feel when you here a white female say “I date black guys,” as if it’s some feat of courage or something she should be commended for? There are really no words for that, and that’s what I told him. It’s an experience that some of us cannot escape, and the rest of you will never fully grasp.

I said to my friend “When you look at me, the way I dress (the Brooks Brothers and Thomas Pink meet cashmere sweaters, dark jeans and Steve Madden shoes), the way I speak (vast vocabulary, east coast prep school cadence [don’t worry, I’m public school educated], and just a hint of pedantism), you probably wouldn’t even really call me black would you?” Not sensing what he was being baited into, he answered “No, I wouldn’t.” That was the closest I could come to explaining it to him. I pointed out to him that perhaps the reason he has been able to get close to me is that he doesn’t really see as a black man anymore (aka, I no longer make him uncomfortable); an initial barrier that does not exist between himself and “regular white kids” to use his phraseology. What that translates to is a process where black people such as myself (ahem…Obama) have to demonstrate that they are “safe, clean, and on your side” to whites before they are “accepted.” However, as the difference we’re talking about is phenotypic, it is always at the forefront of how people view you. As if being black entails something other than the color of your skin.

Let’s be clear on one thing though; it’s not just white people who are guilty of this. African Americans are notorious for the same thing. That’s why you’ve got instances with exploitative opportunists like Jesse Jackson saying that Barack Obama is not black enough. This is the Jesse Jackson who “prays for” Michael Vick, who vehemently asserted that R. Kelly was being “persecuted” because he was black, and who will, a priori, defend a crackhead stripper claiming she was raped before he even knows what happens, all because to Jesse Jackson, that’s what it means to be black. This is the Jesse Jackson who calls for people to stop buying Seinfeld DVDs because Michael Richards called hecklers at one of his stand-up routines “niggers,” yet turns right around and uses the word in his diatribe against Barack Obama…but that’s neither here nor there, the point is, it’s not just sheltered Midwest whites like my friend who think that way.

My friend told me about how he also cannot get over the feelings of unfairness, at the opportunities for advancement that people like myself and his friend from school are given. He told me that to him, it just doesn’t seem right that kids like us who come from “affluent” backgrounds (by affluent he meant families with more money than his) are afforded greater opportunities (e.g. given bigger scholarships, get into better schools…yada, yada, yada). I see where my friend is coming from with that, because at the end of the day, it’s not his fault that people of color in this country are where they are (now his g.grandfather on the other hand…[chuckle] sorry I couldn’t resist). Just like it’s not his fault that many people of color are in the position they’re in, there are (have been and will continue to be) generations of whites benefiting from their ancestors’ exploitations of people of color; generations who have known nothing but privilege and luxury, who never had to work for it. What my friend doesn’t understand is, those of us he’s referring to, children of color who grew up with all the fiscal advantages of upper middle class or upper class America, are so little in number, that it is wholly negligible. It’s just that he sees it every day because he’s friends with two of us (which is almost all of us), so he thinks it’s rampant. One need look no further than the first image that will pop into your head in two seconds after you read the term “token.” That tells you everything you need to know.

People like myself, besides being one of my favorite Timbaland songs (p.s. what did ever happen to Magoo?), cause quite a stir considering that, numerically, we’re just a drop of coffee in a cup of cream [I hope that wasn’t lost on you]. It should not be overlooked why, being a black male in America has opened doors for me during my formative educational years, it is because so many others get chewed up and spit out by the iniquities of their circumstances, that when social policy sees an opportunity to help, appropriate programs are designed and implemented. The fact that I was raised in an affluent suburb (not because my family has money, but because my parents were willing to make the immense financial sacrifices) combined with the color of my skin means that I belong to the felicitous few who benefit from programming and policies aimed at reversing what has been an ugly, untidy history of racism, segregation, disenfranchisement and subjugation of people of color in this country. Though my educational advancement may seem unfair to many, consider what’s going to happen when I get out; I will go right back to being a black man in America, and the period of my life where that could have ever meant something advantageous will be over. Whereas for my friend, being a white man in America never gets tired; it means he’s got the biggest, baddest (I know that’s not really the superlative of ‘bad,’) interest group on the planet at his back, Congress.

This issue is just a part of the larger intricate entanglement that is “Race in America.” And I, for one, think that it’s never going to progress in this country unless we have what my friend and I were able to have last night, an open, honest, RESPECTFUL, non-confrontational dialogue about the concept of race and its impact on our society.

For your contemplation (If you have 9 minutes to kill, you should check this out, the production is a bit cheesy, but listen to the message…and really think about it)

Written by misteressama

July 20, 2008 at 11:37 pm