When I wrote this post “Stuff White People Like”, I had planned to do one about Black people too. Well that time has come so here it is. These are the 10 things that first came to mind, which are based on my observations and experiences. They are in no particular order of relevance or importance.
1. A White Jesus
You ever go into a Black persons home and the first thing that meets your eye as you enter is a picture of a white hippie looking, blond hair and blue eyed Jesus!? The one that really get’s me is the picture with the “sacred heart” on the outside of his chest. In previous times, I would ask the host (usually a family member): “who is the white hippie dude in the photo? Is he family!?” They would look at the photo and I could tell that the wheels in their mind would start to turn… then they would look at me long and hard, like they couldn’t believe I wasn’t struck dead (and probably silently praying that I would be), then and there by lightening! If you close your eyes and think about Jesus and the above image comes to mind, then read this and you may also want to read this book.
2. Barack Obama
On the flip side of worshipping a white Jesus, Black folks all over the world worship Barack Obama as the “Black Messiah”. I swear that when they see him, ole negro spirituals starts playing in their heads! He can do no wrong in their eyes. He is Moses and Jesus all rolled up into one, sent by the Almighty to bring them into the new heaven and the new earth. The post-racial promise land that is America.
3. Hating on Tavis Smiley
Ever since Tavis Smiley called on then presidential candidate Barack Obama to be accountable to the Black American electorate, he has caught hell from that community (see here). I recently read a post where the author referred to Tavis as a “self promoting race hustler”. “A self promoting race hustler!?” Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson… maybe. Tim Wise and Soledad O’Brien… for sure. But Tavis!? I guess if you criticize or question the Black Messiah and don’t get struck by lightening, then the true believers are obligated to demonize you.
I like this definition of Swagga from the urban dictionary: “one’s own unique style or personality that sets them apart from anyone else.” There is no doubt that we are the leaders and trendsetters… worldwide… when it comes to the originality and uniqueness of style. From the Caribbean to Africa… from the Americas to Europe… whether it’s in popular culture, fashion, urban wear, hair styles, art, music, dance, slang, etc., we set the bar. Individually and collectively, we get our “swagga on” like no others!
5. Saying “hello” to other Black people
I have been blessed to travel to many parts of the world and the one of the things I find that really defines us, is our acknowledgment of each other. Whether it’s a lift of the brow, a nod, a smile, a wave, or a simple hello, we will greet each other, especially when we are in an environment where there aren’t that many of us (if you know what I mean). Granted not all of us are like this and some of us are even down right nasty and disrespectful when it comes to dealing with another Black person. However overall, I find that overwhelmingly there are many more good experiences with this than bad… and I hope we never lose that quality with each other. It brings a certain level of community and reassurance.
6. Drinks with lots of sugar
Another thing I found in my travels is that Black people around the world love to put lots… and lots… and lots of sugar in their drinks. Whether it’s Kool-Aid, lemonade, ice tea, or some other local beverage of the country, it’s gotta be sweet. Real sweet! I can’t remember how many times I’ve gone into hyperglycemic shock from just one taste of a drink from my peoples!
Curry chicken, jerk chicken, fried chicken, bbq chicken, roast chicken, baked chicken, stew chicken, broiled chicken, braised chicken, minced chicken, peppered chicken, blackened chicken, creole chicken, cajun chicken, glazed chicken, ginger chicken, lemon chicken, orange chicken, mango chicken, honey garlic chicken, tandoori chicken, teriyaki chicken, sweet and sour chicken, szechuan chicken, chicken in red sauce, chicken in peanut sauce…
8. Getting in free at events
How many times have you gone to an event, lined up and heard similar conversations like these between a patron and the doorperson: “Hey is BamBam around? Tell him his boy (or nigga) Lexx is out here”, “Skinny Mike told me that he would put me on the guest list… you sure my name isn’t there? let me see the list”; “Hey Bruh, I know it’s a $10 cover, but I’ll give you $5 for each of us… there’s 8 of us so it’s like a group rate”; “Don’t you remember me… you’re cousin used to date my best friend’s aunt sister Clorette… I met you at the bbq 4 years ago… hook a brothah/sistah up”… These are the same people who rarely spend the same time or energy trying to make it into an event that is free every Sunday: Church!
This is a term referring to “light-skinned” Black people, usually used by Jamaicans. Reggae star Buju Banton made it popular with a song of the same name. There is a powerful scene in the Spike Lee joint Jungle Fever, when Flipper goes to his wife Drew’s workplace with flowers, after she throws him out for having an affair with a white woman. Drew, who is light-skinned, breaks it down to Flipper (and to “us” by extension), that he has “a complex about color” which manifests itself in his preference for light-skinned women, and ultimately his attraction to white women. How many times have we heard (and/or even said) that a light-skinned person has “pretty hair”, “pretty eyes” and “pretty skin”, because of their eurocentric features!? I remember visiting family with my little man a couple years ago when he was a newborn, and was told to pinch his nose so that as he grew it would become straighter and not so broad! Which leads me to my last item…
10. fat trashy looking white women or pasty, sweaty looking old white men.
I have never understood the attraction of fine looking brothers to fat trashy looking white women or fine looking sisters to pasty sweaty looking old white men. It really must be love… which begs the question: “why can’t they find that love with each other!?”