The 7 Worst Things to Happen to Black Folks
I skipped obvious things like slavery, racism, and crack in order to focus on things that ONLY black folk can control starting today.
1. “The Corner Store”. Also known as “The Chinese Store” or “The Ghetto Store.” Unlike a bodega, the corner store only sells Newports, beer, blunts, candy, gum, Chinese food, single-use Tylenol PM, snack foods, soda, 3-pack condoms, and phone cards. Nothing sold here is meant to be used tomorrow – you can ONLY get what you want for TODAY from a corner store. Plus none of it is healthy, premium, worth what it costs, or assumes that you will have any needs in the future. In short, the corner store caters to straight up check-to-check livin’. To top it all off, you usually pay the Korean shop owner through a bulletproof divider – rather dehumanizing. Let’s walk the few extra blocks to a real store from now on. Along the Same Lines: Check Cashing spots.
2. “Talking/Acting White”. After being told I ‘talk white’ for most of my life I now find myself surrounded by other people who have been accused of the same (just ask ill mami). Is that because “white is right”? OBVIOUSLY not! It’s because somehow black folks started believing that speaking standard English, reading, and even extra-curricular activities in high school are for people who ‘act white,’ but these are the same exact people who are now able to contribute something to society besides grunts and lip smacks. I actually spent a fair amount of energy trying to ‘talk black’ around 7th grade just to fit in, all the while listening to Def Leppard on the sly. What a waste.
3. “Bling”. The hottest chain, the hottest car, the hottest brands. We spend a whole lot of time and energy trying to make other people think we have money and in the process stay broke. It makes no sense.
4. “Baby Daddy/Baby Momma”. I’m not going to rant about the decline of the black family (or the decline in my personal dating prospects) and the extent to which single parenthood has become expected in our community. Just as troubling are the terms themselves and people referring to themselves as someone’s “Baby Daddy/Momma.” I once dated an SEBD (Someone Else’s Baby Daddy) whose BM called his office and when the receptionist asked who was calling she replied “Oh, this is his Baby’s Momma,” as if the term is generally accepted. No. Just no.
5. “Cheesy Pan-Africanism”. This includes all things related to Kwanzaa, kente cloth, and cowrie shells. Nothing is inherently wrong with any of these things, it’s the lack of understanding and willy-nilly identification with cultures we know little about that is cheesy. You may think that these X-clan-gear days are behind us but judging by that fresh fake kente cloth boot, they clearly are not. Can us slave descendant black folk just agree that we’re our own squad descended from of mix African slaves, Europeans, and Native American Indians and leave it at that instead of trying to be all randomly African for no good reason?
6. “Nigglature”. Ninjagirrl, an avid reader who coined the term “nigglature”, wrote that its distinguishing characteristics include rampant typos, weakly bound spines, and even weaker plots: a young fatherless girl who wants to get out of the projects turns to her local drug dealer for help and then gets involved in sex, drugs, hip-hop, the church, and/or other Negro things. Not literature. Just nigglature. Published books aren’t supposed to have typos! The next time you have the urge to read a book with a title like “Thong on Fire,” or “Holy Hustler,” get a bag of salt & vinegar potato chips instead. I swear it will be just as satisfying.
7. “Conks and Curls”. The day the first black man to chemically straighten his hair put in that first touch-up black consciousness died a little. Even the more ‘evolved’ conks (Jheri Curls, S-curls, Leisure Curls, and all other ‘taco meat’ hair) turn an attractive black man into a wack dude instantly. And don’t think that combing a little texturizer through it is something we don’t notice, fellas. If all of the energy black men have spent processing their hair in the last 50 years could be somehow gathered and applied to, say, fighting oppression in America, we wouldn’t have to be bothered with Al Sharpton today in more ways than one.