NEWBO: IS THERE TIME FOR A CULTURE SHIFT

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“We carved one out before, why not again?”


In the 1610’s, the African American population was forced to the United States as indentured servants. Later becoming slaves, losing names, religions, birth place of origin, and overall identification. Once freed in 1865, we went from slave labor to still no so full citizens. And with limited citizenship, and no real ethnic identity, we began to carve out a face for our community. And a lot of the culture that has made up the African American community is in the music and food. But what if we decided to take it a little further. Let’s say we made a full conversion from where we are now. I named the title NEWBO, which in today’s society stands for the New Black Overclass.

When you hear the words New Black Overclass, you think of wealth and abundant resources. And how did that manage to take hold? There are many different factors that have influenced that over the years. From young Black children growing up watching the Cosby Show to the electing of America’s first Black president. We have taken what was a bad situation in the past and made the most of it today. Yet there are still so many of us that are still below the poverty level. And not only the poverty level, we make up a disproportionately higher percentage of crime in our community relative to anyone else. So with that said, we are doing better than the past in the area of success, yet lagging behind in other major areas.

And as much as I love Black culture, there is an aspect of our culture that have taken hold in recent history that has cast a dark shadow over the community. And that has to do with the crime in the community. Because of the introduction of Heroine, Cocaine, and Crack Cocaine, from the 1970’s in the 1990’s, the face of the community has changed to much. And it has become so impactful, it is rapidly becoming our culture. Yet when you look at the overall history of Black people in America, this recent violent culture is new to us. So, how about we begin to design a cultural identifier that is us. And when I say identifier I mean clothes we wear, food we eat, music, and behavioral traits.

Having an identifier shows not only togetherness, but it creates a sense of identity outside another group. Our problem as Black people is that we are too concerned and defined by another group. And for the longest, it has been the predominantly White community. So our vision for what success looks like has always been someone in position who is White. Yet when met with resistance by anyone White it boils over quicker than anyone else. Which never happens to any other group because they create their own identity. So what another really has to say becomes irrelevant because they have defined themselves for so long feelings are trivial. But if you have no name, to language, no religion, and you adopt ones culture that’s not yours, yet someone else’s, it could become a problem if not accepted into the culture.

And in the end, that’s a real problem with why there need to be a cultural identifier. Number one, you eliminate the care for what any other group thinks about you; their views are not relevant to who you are in scoiety. Number two, you begin to take pride in something that not only you created, but you’re accepted within. Which brings me to number three, the need to fit into a group. And I think this is why we as Black people cling to Hip Hop music so much. When you create something versus forced to adopt something the sentiment is different. Christianity was never a choice, names given weren’t a choice, and language wasn’t a choice. But the music we create was a pure choice. Though not liked by many, it goes on deaf ears when pushed against because the one major thing we created that we are fully included within. And if we created something impactful and global as Hip Hop, we can create a new identity of acceptance and not tolerance.


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UNAPOLOGETICALLY ME: FEELING BEAUTIFUL IN A BLACK BODY

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“Have your pigment ever made you feel less than?”


As a Black male growing up in the United States my mother taught me at young the uphill battle of dealing with a certain demographic of people. A certain demographic that might not like simply because the color of my skin. But what is not talked about as much is the lack of representation in me being seen as an exceptionable image of affection. Not just Black men, but also Black women as well. The images I saw of Black men and women were either overly sexual, or shown from a space of shame and unattractive physical appearance.  But who makes those decisions regarding on what’s beautiful in our society?

Well, since I was young the fashion industry was strong in promoting the image of that beauty to society. An image that has effected more women than men. The body type is expected to me lean and thin, while the woman is supposed to be tall with symmetrical facial features. The ethnicity of the woman is typically a White girl, 18 – 25 years of age. This image effects so many girls, excluding even more Black women, then it leaves Black women to look to other images. It’s why Essence, Jet, and Ebony have been so pivotal in the Black community.

So how has this effected me, or others that look like me? In reality, it has not done much to effect in how I see myself. But I have seen the effects on the attitudes of Black women in society. Verbal comments regarding any other woman’s appearance that is easily dismissed is elevated when directed toward Black women. So who’s to blame? Should it be the job of an industry or should it come from the people who are effected? Me personally, I have my own view on this topic.

As much as we want to blame fashion and entertainment, I don’t see these mediums changing anytime soon. So to say this is the reason only, then a group of people are in trouble. It has to come from the person/people because who are effected. Because I don’t think the people you want to care actually cares. So you have no choice but to take back your identity. If not you’re going to have a generation of males and females who lack self-esteem. Especially if you’re looking for other ethnic groups to validate your physical. To me, in the end, it has to come from you as the person. No one is going to care because it doesn’t effect them. So what happens in positions of duress; adjust? Adjust, and carve out your own identity.


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STRIKEOUT!: Black Males Departure from Baseball

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“Where have they gone?”

It was April 15, 1947 when baseball player Jackie Robinson made his Major League debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. And for those of you who’ve been sleeping under a rock for the past 70 years, he broke the color barrier in baseball as the first African American to sign in the MLB (Major League Baseball). And for years proceeded numerous names popped up in the majors of Black males who would follow his path. Men such as: Willie Mays Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson to Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, and Frank Thomas. But at some point the names slowed to a screeching halt; but why?

The departure of Black males from baseball is more sinister than you might have guessed. My theory that I have come to as to way Black men have departed from baseball is from the most unlikely of reasons: welfare. That’s right the welfare system had a lot to do with Black men exiting baseball. Now you wonder, why the welfare system. Well, let’s analyze baseball as a sport and what it means to men. Baseball is a sport that you learn to play with your father.

When a boy is young, he and his father go outside and toss the ball back and forth. It’s kind of reminiscent of a typical television commercial or feature film where the mother stares out the  kitchen window. She looks on at the little boy with his baseball mitt tossing the ball to his father. All the while, dad is giving son advice on how to properly catch and throw. From the house mom looks on and smiles as dad says, “Throw it like this son.” “That’s my boy.” Once play time is over, they walk into the house, dad’s arm around son in a loving embrace.

And for the longest the previous description was the face of the Black community. But as times got rough for families in financial straights, some men left the house. Meanwhile the majority stayed in their child or children’s lives. But the government came up with a solution for the moms whom the father had left the household. They stated, “To the Black community, we’ll give you mothers aid for the man not being present.” Then again, women were still rare in the workforce, so him leaving was a major blow to the family.

Well, as you would guess Black women received money, but for the man not being there. As for the houses where the men were present, they struggled as well. But the aid was not for families, but more so for struggling single moms. So in the homes where a Black man was present a plan was devised. He would say, “You (meaning to Black women), go downtown and tell them you need assistance.” “I’ll leave the house so when the social worker get here she won’t see me.” “As a matter of fact, I’ll remove evidence of any man living here.” And that’s what got the ball bouncing.

As you would guess, social worker came and he was not there. Now this was also a time of major racial divide and strife for Black men, so even though a man was present, Black men were denied employment. So with limited work options in this tumultuous time period, stress and depression opened Black men up to drugs and alcohol, as well as other hosts of problems. Still, there was a family to raise. Now for the most part a lot of Black men kept it together, performing odd jobs to make ends meet. But a day away from the house when the social worker came turned into a week. A week into a month, and so on. Eventually there was a full departure of Black men from the household.

This was problematic considering a new wave of trouble was about hit the Black community. And that wave would effect the Black community more than Jim Crow and that is narcotics. Fatherless homes made young Black males turn to creating gangs and cliquing with each other. They formed their own bonds and brotherhoods. With these brotherhoods, the rise of gangs took hold along with Heroine, then powder Cocaine, and next the Crack Cocaine Epidemic of the 1980’s into the 1990’s. Before you knew it inner cities went from quiet low key hard working family environments to crime infested killing fields.

Now you ask, how does baseball fit into all of this, the father. As Black men left the household, Black women were forced to work long hours, so they weren’t coming home playing catch with their sons. Boys were left alone in the world, forced to take on other sports that didn’t require having pop to play with; like football and basketball. Black boys in the community who formed various cliques would get a ball and go hooping with friends. Image result for 23 wallpaperBasketball courts turned into places for gambling and trash talking. Everyone wanted to be the biggest baller/trash talker for respect of their peers and onlookers.

The game of football would soon take hold as well where Black boys developed relationships with their coaches. The coaches would take the place of the father. What’s odd is that none of these boys got together and formed their own base to teach each other the game of baseball. Not in baseball, but they did in Image result for marshawn'football and basketball; but why? Well, for starters today, baseball, hockey, and golf are not only father son sports, but expensive as well. A lot of Black males are still growing up in poverty where finding a basketball and a court is cheaper than playing baseball. A football and a field is cheaper than baseball.

So what happened over time, Black men departed and Latin men entered, as well as White males who continued on strong in the sport. What’s shocking is that Black men fought the system so hard to play baseball. We took hatred in the form of being verbally abused, spit on from crowds, and even sent death threats to our homes. So today, we look back and go, what was all of that for; was it for nothing. What was the use of all that fighting if today we just vanish like we were never there. Will the greats who played eventually be forgotten like it never happened? Or will someone new come up and move aside football and basketball.

We have seen the talent from young up and coming juniors like Little League female phenom player Mo’ne Davis from South Philadelphia as well as the Jackie Robinson team out of Chicago, Illinois. But these are just the Cinderella stories we here from time to time. Stories that will continue to come and go, not remaining as long as the constant trend of fatherless homes stay the norm in the African American community.