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.