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unblissful ignorance

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In one of the most impressive manifestations of ignorance I have encountered in quite some time, Ron Artest explained that his charging into the stands was just him “representing his culture.” He then went on to say that Yao Ming has played with black players before, but has never played with “a black player who represents his culture as much as Artest does his.”

It is precisely this type of dumb shit that makes it harder and harder for black people to break free of the stereotypes that still plague us today. Not only do black people have to deal with stereotypes being imposed on us by those of other races, we also have to deal with ignorant blacks in positions of prominence perpetuating them. With these statements, Artest has essentially cast black culture in this county as one of perniciousness, lack of decorum, and emotional instability.

I guess I shouldn’t really be using the term “we” because those who know me, know that I am straight out of Cameroon, and am not African American. One of my African-American friends called me on this and said I was trying to distance myself from the African-American population; because when I told him about this, I said “Man, Artest just set African-Americans back quite a few decades.” I found this funny because it has typically been my experience that African-Americans only view us all as black people, when shit is hitting the fan or when something like this happens. I’m pretty sure I got made fun of (to my face) more by African-Americans than by any other group I could think of growing up. Made fun of mostly because I spoke differently, dressed differently, and thought differently. Let’s not even get into what happened once they found out I was African, then all the jokes about growing up with flies on my eyelids, running around naked, and throwing spears came out. I understand kids are mean, and frankly it didn’t really get to me, because I have a pretty strong apathetic sentiment when it comes to what others think of me; but all that time from my youth being reminded of how different I was, now I’m being accused of trying to distance myself.

I really do find it a bit risible. Ron Artest is ghetto, not only should I separate myself from him and his thoughts, EVERY black person in America should. This is a problem that is extremely pervasive in black America today; this idea that being “ghetto” or “hood” is a good thing. No it’s not, it’s in fact what keeps black people (I’m including the Africans that come over and adopt this ideology) from ever fully making the move out of second-class citizenry. Think about what being ghetto is; has anyone yet to find ONE positive or redeeming factor on society from people with a ghetto mentality? But yet we have guys like Artest (yes, I’ll say it, who young black kids look up to) purporting this idea of ghetto as if it’s something to be proud of.

As long as WE as a whole keep thinking that somehow being well educated, well adjusted and affable are just for white people, we as black people are going to be a long ways off from overcoming in this country. So yes, I’m not like Ron Artest, and I’m proud of that; but what must be noted is that I didn’t create the distance, it was created for me, and I can’t be more grateful.

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Written by misteressama

August 6, 2008 at 1:11 am

Posted in Society, Sports

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