The 5 Things Black & White Americans Do That Annoy The Hell Out of Me!
You’ll have to overlook my rant. As an African-American born and bred in “the ‘hood,” reality often reminds me that I am one of those rare individuals who has been fortunate—or not so, depending on your perspective—to have lived a very colorful life insofar as experiences which transcend my unassuming beginnings. In regards to my personal experiences with race, some might say that I am a living contradiction. I have been in one major interracial relationship, and I have attended classes at a Nation of Islam temple. I read the works of W.E.B. DuBois as well as Shakespeare. I think Malcolm X epitomizes what a black man in America should be; conscious of, and willing to inspire and provide an example for self-empowerment within the black community…the fear (and sometimes loathing) by which many white Americans of his fiery speeches notwithstanding. I also admire earthly saints like Mother Theresa, who dedicated her life selflessly to helping those who needed it the most…regardless of cultural and religious differences.
However, despite my appreciation for such individuals who are able to see beyond themselves in order to serve their fellow man (no matter their station in life), I also find myself at the wits end of annoyance at how cultural and racial stereotypes still play a part in life in America. Despite commentator and author Ann Coulter’s proclaimed delusion that there are “no more racists in America” (HBO’S “Real Time with Bill Maher,” October 12, 2012), I still find that certain individuals and groups tend to act-out and behave, based on their ethnic background, in certain annoying and socially counter-productive ways toward and among each other.
So being the provocative social critic that I am, I have decided to take it upon myself to list the 5 things that white and black Americans do that I find the most annoying…behaviors which serve no purpose outside of playing to racial stereotypes and reinforcing racial and ethnic social barriers.
Five Things White Americans Do Which Annoy the Hell Out of Me:
“Seeing” (or Believing) Weird Things.
I suppose there is a reason that black characters are the first to die in scary and science fiction movies; we simply don’t believe in the same crap that many whites believe in. Ghosts. Aliens/UFO’s. Bigfoot. The Yeti. Elvis. Then there are the crazy conspiracy theories many have. The Illuminati. One-world governments. Black unmarked United Nations helicopters at the ready to take over America. Masons. I’m going to let you in on a secret; many black people gather in groups, sit around, and laugh at the things white people supposedly see and believe. It truly is annoying to see white adults running around the woods with video equipment, pulses pounding, chasing large animals or figments of their imaginations trying to “prove” that there are things that go “bump” in the night. It would be like us, running around housing projects with cell phone cameras, trying to shoot footage of the Cornbread Monster. And how about those lunatics running around the woods, shooting at cans and cardboard cut-outs representing the “enemies of freedom?” Please…if life is so boring to you that you have to imagine that there are “unexplainable” occurrences or schemes by secret cabals that happen among us on a daily basis, then try living as a black person and really delve into some unexplainable mysteries. Why can’t a black man catch a cab in New York City? Why is it that whenever I am stopped by the police, I always “fit the description of someone” they are “looking for?” Why does it take 15 warning shots in my back for police to get their “point” across…whatever it is? And where are these “threats” to my freedoms by the federal government that I’m supposed to arm myself against (as my recollection of history serves me, it was the various state governments which gave black and other people of color reasons for pause)? President Obama is supposedly a secret Muslim, who has born abroad, somehow made his way into the upper echelons of American society and government, all with the intent of turning our great nation into a “socialist state.” You want “threats?” Try living in some of the same areas I grew up in (and where others still live) if you want to see and get the opportunity to use weapons against actual, not imagined, “threats!” A revision of the health care regime “threatens my ‘rights’?” OMG, call the A-Team! Learn to be more grounded in reality people…it’s not that bad!
White Women Clutching Their Purses.
It’s so annoying that, no matter what professional capacity I may find myself working in—whether sporting a suit or casual apparel—many white women still exhibit demonstrations of their subconscious (or are they conscious) fears by clutching their purses when I’m in the vicinity. Honestly, do you think if I or any black male wanted your purse that you’re clutching it tightly is going to prevent me from taking it? If I stuck a gun barrel in your face, chances are unless you’re exceedingly stupid, you’ll hand it over to me with a fake smile, and the customary plea of “don’t hurt me.” Do yourselves a favor and please stop. Each time you do this, it doesn’t indicate how “aware you are of your surroundings;” it shows how ignorant and paranoid you are of the world.
Becoming Too Attached To Your Pets.
Ok, I think I can understand that an individual can become emotionally attached to another sentient being, especially one that they’ve been with for a number of years. But some of you need to understand that a dog, cat, rat, or boa constrictor is a pet, not a member of your family. I have personally witnessed instances where people showed more concerned about their animal friends than they did about their fellow human beings. Not only is this a distortion of reality, but of priorities as well. When New York millionaire Leona Helmsley died last year, she left $12 million to her dog. I’ve seen somewhat extravagant “funerals” for fallen pets, including those for dead police dogs, with human police officers coming from hundreds of miles to “pay their respects.” I look at this and think, WTF? Get a blanking grip people. They are animals. They are not human beings. They are easy to replace; animal shelters are in fact brimming to overflow with more than you can possibly give a good home to. They are not your family members. They did not come from the same womb which bore you (although I imagine that many might have more intelligence). I am not against animals having a home, or being treated with respect and dignity by good families, but I understand that they ARE ANIMALS, NOT HUMAN BEINGS!
Calling America “The Greatest Country in the World.”
It’s been my personal experience that people who utter this phrase are typically the same individuals who haven’t really been any place else! In addition, many people who think or say this don’t usually think beyond the bumper-sticker effect of how proud we should be to live in a country with so much to offer everyone. What makes America “so great?” Our right to keep and bear arms? Many countries, including many of our nation's allies bestow upon their citizenry the same right. The only difference is that murder isn’t a leading cause of death in those countries. Is it because we have “the greatest health care system in the world?” Debatable, but as you poll your fellow Americans about how great our healthcare system is, be sure you don’t forget to include the parents of the kids who’s pictures are taped to the money donation jars in almost every convenience store across America. You know, the ones begging for money to help with Little Sally’s bone marrow transplants (or similarly expensive medical procedure). What else makes us “great?” Is it that we lead the industrialized world in the number of teenage pregnancies? Or is it that we are the major consumer of the world’s illicit and illegal drugs? The potential for being the “greatest” country is here. But insofar as making that declaration a statement of fact? Think about it. And why we’re on the subject, stop thinking we can’t learn anything from another country. Such arrogance! We spend the most on health care, prisons, schools, and the only thing we as a nation have to show for it are negative comparative standings to other nations with lower levels of the same problems and issues.
During the early stages of the current presidential elections—before and during the Republican primaries—there was a great deal of talk about how President Obama was cut from the same “radical” ideological cloth as someone named Saul Alinsky (put forth most prominently by former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich). So I decided to research who this ideologically demonized individual was, and found out much to my eternal "terror" that Alinsky was a somewhat left-of-center “radical” community organizer. He was “radical” in that he dedicated his time to empowering through political and social organization individuals and groups who were socioeconomically disenfranchised (such as African-Americans, the poor, immigrants, poor laborers, etc.) during the 1930s and 40's. And despite the attempts by those on the political right to malign this man to the contrary, I learned that it was well documented that Alinsky shied away from any kind of dogmatic political or religious ideologies. What a monster! I bet this man even had Hitler waking up screaming from nightmares! My point here is why is it OK for someone to be inspired by Ayn Rand, but not someone who was obviously impassioned to help others? White Americans love their double standards, especially those on the political right. Why is it that whenever Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton intervene in high-profile racial incidents that it’s “race-baiting,” but when former candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich make comments about “telling black people to get off food stamps” and how it’s “not right to give your money to black people,” it’s not considered the same thing? Why is it OK for blacks and other minorities to be expected to willingly submit to accepting the indignity of random searches by authorities, but ignore the fact that doing so does in fact constitute racial profiling? Why is it OK to ask or expect others to give up their civil liberties, but then you scream, “my rights…” whenever someone tries to create a law whereby you benefit from (e.g., health care reform)? Why do you scream to the top of your lungs about your “right to carry guns” in relatively low- and no-crime areas, when many of us are expected to live and function in high-crime areas without them? Penalties for crack cocaine versus powered cocaine. White collar versus street-level crimes. The actions of “Renegade nations” compared to those we consider “allies” (or at least have a strategic interest in). For many of you, your fears create a sense of paranoia, which affects your ability to view the world in objective terms. To quote French Surrealist, Anais Nin, “We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” Or maybe Jedi-Master Yoda said it best: “Fear leads to hate. Hate leads to the dark side of The Force.” Yeah, I think Yoda said it better!
Five Things Black Americans Do Which Annoy the Hell Out of Me:
Barbecuing On The Front Walk To The Home.
When I was growing up during the 70s and early 80s, black people—in fact, people period—had the good sense and social grace to take advantage of the larger space and privacy of their backyards in order to host relatives at family & friend get-togethers. Today, many of us have this incessant need to want to be seen, to put on display how “real” or “cool” we are by showing how much fun we can have and how much we can broadcast to the world how much we can “party” like everyone else around us. It’s a reflection of the same social mentality which allows us to go on national trash-T.V talks shows and talk about our most personal decisions and behaviors…no matter how questionable and/or lacking in morals they are. Can we keep our personal business in our homes and (preferably) enclosed backyards please? No one wants to see you advertise how “ghetto” you are!
Sagging Their Pants.
I can’t tell you how much I want to take a gang of my closest friends, drive around in an unmarked van wearing ski masks, snatch up every brother I see walking with his pants hanging down below his waist, roll them up in a carpet, thrown their butts inside the van, and take them someplace isolated and beat the unholy hell out of them. It’s just such an idiotic fashion disaster that I don’t even know where to start. And now I’m starting to see more and more men in their late 20’s, 30’s and even some in their 40’s walking around the same way…many of them sporting belts at the same time. Talk about defeating a purpose… There is a reason why, when you look inside a pair of pants you find a tag marked with the letters “W” and “L”—Waist and Length! It means pants are supposed to be worn at the waist; those tags do not read “BTA” and “L”! Pants have been worn at the waist since human beings first shed animals pelts in lieu of civilized clothing, up until the last 10 years of so. It’s just a bunch of weak-willed followers doing what they see everyone else doing. I’m sure many will assert that, “No, I’m doing what I want to do.” Really? I’m betting that if gay males started adopting sagging pants as a fashion statement and proud reflection of their homosexuality, straight black males would stop sagging their pants before the next pair of skinny jeans rolled out of the sweat shops, just to avoid “looking gay.” So please stop deluding yourselves into thinking you’re being an individual…you’re being a follower. Case closed!
Looking Down On Non-Christians.
As a former Buddhist and current agnostic, I feel that it’s not anyone's place to tell me I “Need Jesus.” The only person who can tell me what I “need” is a perfect person or a better person…and so far, I haven’t met either! I find it highly offensive when religious (and make no mistake, Christianity is a religion) black people ask me—some upon just meeting me for the first time—“What church do you do attend?” To me, it’s no different than if you were to ask me what my social security number is. It’s none of your damned business, so stop asking me! My sense of spirituality is between me and my Creator…whomever or whatever it may be. Stop assuming that everyone believes as you do, and stop telling me “hell” or some other similarly gruesome fate awaits me in the Afterlife. Unless you can produce someone personally who’s traveled to the Great Beyond with news of how terrible it is, stop with the judgments! If you choose to believe what your parents believed, what their parents believed before them, and so forth—without even stopping to ask yourself just once why you believe it—that’s your business. Being a Christian does not give you the right to judge others. I’m a 45 year-old black male who has never touched alcohol, tried any kind of drug, or ingested, smoked, or sniffed any kind of tobacco-based product; if I judged you by my standards, trust me, 95% of you wouldn’t stand up, so please stop it. Judge not, least ye be judged!
Maintain Willful Ignorance of What’s Going on in the World.
I don’t think anyone has a clue how much it irks me to meet someone who tells me, “I don’t watch the news.” When I ask why, the answer is always “Because they are always talking about something bad.” Welcome to real life, crap-for-brains! We live in a world where good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people. And vice versa. We often like to use the phrase, It is what it is, but for some reason, we seem to forget that that bit of reality applies to every aspect of life…not just those things people ask of you, but you deny. Just because you chose to adopt such a transparently lame excuse for not wanting to be informed about what’s going on in the world doesn’t mean either bad news (or good news for that matter) is going to stop occurring, or being reported. Don’t complain when BET (Black Entertainment Television) airs intellectually stimulating programming, but then has to pull it for lack of interests or ratings. Either suck it up, and learn what’s going on in the world, or be willing to be honest about your real reasons for not wanting to know about the universe around you…because it reminds you that you should have paid more attention in school, and that you don’t want to be reminded how dumb you truly are. Learning about the world gives you a foundation for intelligent future discourse at the very least, and broadening your horizons at the most.
Ignoring Our Socioeconomic Problems.
This is a potential issue which could turn into a multi-volume set of “War & Peace”-sized books. However, suffice it to say that we have a self-defeating mentality which forces us to overlook our complicity in many of the behaviors which we engage in, but don’t want to own up to because it’s easier to blame them on sociological explanations (or on white people). Granted, many of us haven’t been exposed to the layers of thinking which could alter our views of the world and provide insights into how “the system” (as it were) operates, but that still in no way justifies embracing and celebrating everything associated with a “thug” and/or “ghetto” mentality that hinders our ability to comprehend. We eschew the value of a formal education. We are too quick to bring children into the world, but not as fast to actually take the time to raise them. We spend and care more about fashionable appearances than substance, opting to showboat tire “rims” and “sound systems” rather than saving or investing money. We blame our children’ misbehavior on supposed mental and/or emotional “disorders” rather than what it often is…bad parenting, selfishness, and neglect. We malign intelligent people as “nerds,” but put “thugs” and “ballas” on a pedestal. We don’t see anything wrong with the pathology of absent fathers, the reality of 70% of black children being borne to single mothers, and embarrassing drop-out and teenage pregnancy rates. And sadly, any message of “self-help” by our institutions (especially our political parties) is often obscured by their sanctimony and self-righteousness as well as “remedies” which only cause enabling of many of these problems. This is not a question about what white people “owe us”...it’s a question about what do we owe ourselves? Own up!
And that's my rant!