The Thoughts of an Educated Young African American Male

My Ghetto Graduation

Over the past weekend, I was fortunate to graduate from law school. I have not posted in a while because I have been busy getting prepared for this date. I won’t be posting much after this because I will be studying for the bar. But, at my graduation from an HBCU, the band put down their instruments to dance while people recieved degrees, people grabbed the mic and “shouted-out” their frats, family, and friends while people recieved their degrees, and fraternities and sororities party hopped around their seats while people recieved their degrees.

It was a sad day for black higher education. In a moment to celebrate, we looked like fools. This post is edited, as in a moment of bad judgment, I spoke of the fellow alumni in a maner unbecoming of them and myself. Name calling gets us no where. However, I still hold contempt for those who made my graduation a minstrel show. Can we ever hold ourselves out with dignity and respect. And, if not at graduation, then when? Just a question.

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May 8, 2007 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, college, ghetto, graduation, HBCU, Uncategorized, university | 10 Comments

Suprise, Suprise! Rape Charges dropped in the Duke Lacrosse Case

Ok, the District Attorney of Durham, NC dropped the rape charges in the Duke Lacrosse case. He managed to hold on to the sexual offense and kidnapping. Some are going to wonder the difference between rape and sexual offense. The major difference is that:

(1) Rape involves vaginal intercourse. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-27.2 (2006).

Sexual offense involves : a sexual act defined by North Carolina statutes as, cunnilingus (oral sex on a female organ), fellatio (oral sex on a male organ), analingus (oral sex on the anal region), or anal intercourse, but does not include vaginal intercourse. Sexual act also means the penetration, however slight, by any object (including human body parts) into the genital or anal opening of another person’s body. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-27.1(4) (2006).  I added everything in parenthesis for clarity.

Both first degree rape and sexual offense, in relevant part, must include one of the following:
      a. Employs or displays a dangerous or deadly weapon or an article which the other person reasonably believes to be a dangerous or deadly weapon; or
      b. Inflicts serious personal injury upon the victim or another person; or
      c. The person commits the offense aided and abetted by one or more other persons. (clearly the element the State is going after).

Also, both rape and sexual offense carry the same punishment. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-27.4 (2006).

So, rape is vaginal intercouse while sexual offense involves other sex acts. Also, the punishment for both crimes is the same so this is not quite the victory it appears.  

It seemed clear from this point that a rape didn’t occur, and the sexual offense charges are a way for the State to maintain their belief in the story of the accuser. They might be the only people who still believe her. 

I wonder if all those people who were ready to burn the players’ house down, and vilify those who wanted to wait before coming to a decision will apologize. Also, when are the black panthers coming back to Durham? It’s about time for another circus act to come in town.

Also, some relevant case law to consider.

  The guarantee against double jeopardy under U.S. Const., Amend. V protects against multiple punishments for the same offense. Defendant may not be punished for both first-degree kidnapping and sexual assault, where sexual assault is used to elevate kidnapping to first degree. 

Further,  where defendant was convicted and sentenced for sexual assault and first-degree kidnapping predicated on one sexual assault, trial court was required to arrest judgment either on conviction of sexual assault or on conviction of first-degree kidnapping. Defendant could be resentenced for second-degree kidnapping, if judgment on first-degree kidnapping was arrested. State v. Coats, 100 N.C. App. 455, 397 S.E.2d 512 (1990), cert. denied, 328 N.C. 573, 403 S.E.2d 515 (1991).

December 22, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black Panthers, Black women, college, district attorney, Duke Lacrosse, Durham, Law, NC, rape, rape charges dropped, sexual offense, strip club | 7 Comments

How Much Must We Be Disrespected Before We Decide to Vote?

rep-burmeister.jpgGeorgia people should know this case well. They also likely know Representative Sue Burmeister, who is Secretary House Republican Caucus, Vice Chairman Rules, Secretary Special Committee on Tort Reform from House District 119, and a Republican representing Augusta, Georgia. She is currently serving her third term as a State Legislator. But do you realize her racist views?

In the seminal, and new, case of Billups v. Georgia, 439 F. Supp. 2d 1294 (2006), Burmeister’s sponsored bill to require that all registed voters in Georgia who vote in person in all primary, special, or general elections for state, national, and local offices held after July 1, 2005, was challenged. She wanted everyone, including poor blacks, to pay money ($35) for the ability to present a government-issed Photo ID to officials as a condition of being admitted to the polls and before being issued a ballot and being allowed to vote.

When questioned about the possibility of disenfranchising African Americans from voting (preventing us from doing something we rarely, if ever do…vote) she said, “that if there were fewer black voters because of this bill, it will ONLY be because there is less opprotunity for fraud.” She went on to say that when black voters in her black precints are not paid to vote, they do not go to the polls.

So there you have it. Whites don’t have to hide the fact they are trying to prevent you from voting. They don’t even hide their racial views, believing that the only way blacks will go and vote is if they are paid. 

So, what are we going to do about it? Vote? Malcolm X, the man we love to quote and adore, advocated for it when he said the ballot or the bullet. The phrase is just as relevant now as it was all those years ago. If we don’t vote people who think like us in, we will suffer from the bullet of tyrany from whites who don’t believe in our abilities.   

Please, vote in the upcoming elections. Go and register now! Don’t prove these racist right!

December 14, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, disenfranchise, Georgia, Georgia v. Billups, Law, malcolm x, republican from georgia, Sue Burmeister, vote, voting | 2 Comments

“Top 5 Dead or Alive, and that’s just off 1 LP”

Sorry Luda, Jay Z Takes the Number 1 Spot!Ok, so JadaKiss made the above quote, but who is the best rapper? In one of the many conflicts of an educated African American, we listen to the same music we hate. With that said, and the mass of new CD’s hitting the I Tunes market, lets take a second to evaluate.

(1) Jay Z – I doubt most “Street” guys will like it, but I love it. He’s talking about being on another level. Not about being a thug, but about progessing to a business man. I feel that. Most African American males and females should. His progression from a thug to businessman, and not being affraid to make a record about it, makes him by number one rap artist today, and of all time.

(2) The Game – He name drops like a whore, talks about being street when he was on “Change of Heart” and the girl had a change of heart, and had a tattoo of a butterfly of his cheek (which even sounds gay to gay dudes). All in all, the Game is aweful, but the beats are hot. Not to mention, be brags about being in a gang to which he doesn’t belong. That is going to sell. Stupid, but that makes him second.

(3) Emenim – Same old, same old. Ripping new ass wholes, wishing he would be named as the greatest, wondering why people don’t beef with him when he tries to start drama. No one cares. Get off your drug habit, lock down your girl, and say something I haven’t heard you say. But, with a full collaberation albulm where he is only on a little less than 1/2 the songs, I will give you the 3 slot for putting others on.

(4) Nas – Haven’ t heard it yet. Sure, everyone’s got the bootleg, but I’m waiting. Hip Hop is Dead? True indeed, but you lying about what you’ve done in your street life isn’t going to bring it back. For that, you get the fourth spot.

(5) Anything from the south exept Little Brother – Young Cheezy, I mean Jeezy – LAME! Didn’t like the first.Won’t like this. Go ahead, promote your snowman shirts, be a detriment to our youth, and act like a clown. No one should support you. You may make money, but you are a sell out!

Laffy Taffy, snapping fingers like you’re a homosexual, no content, and all detriment. Luda is ok because he knowshe’s not a thug, and TI knows his mom went to Duke. I don’t know you? You’re mom got a premire education. Lil’ John, your parents are educated. Say YEAH to them. That probably call you the clown that you are. 

(6) Snoop Dogg – I was once fooled by you persuasion. Not now. I know you to be the clown that you are. I am not sold.

So, rap music is down these days, but I still like Jay Z. Thanks for truely keepin’ it real.       

December 12, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, college, Emenim, Gangs, hip hop, I Tunes, Jadakiss, Jay Z, Lil John, Little Brother, Luda, Nas, rap, Snoop Dogg, The Game, TI, Uncategorized, Young Jeezy | 15 Comments

Understanding Racial Profiling

The framework of this entry is based in the legal profession which I will be employed shortly. I intern during the year at a local district attorney’s office. There, I interact with roughly 300 or so African Americans per day. I see many African Americans at the trial and punishment phase for the crimes they commit. As such, I have a duty to run their criminal records for sentencing purposes. After performing such searches for over a year, I have become immune to African American mens and women’s records which are 6 – 8 pages long, with conviction after conviction for a multitude of crimes. When they are in court, they dress as they would in their normal life: long white tee shirts; big baggy jeans; long chain around their neck; and a hat if the bailiff did not make them take it off.

 

In undergrad we were required to take a class called psychology. There, we learned the concept of conditioned stimuli. The concepts’ premise is that when you see or hear something repeatedly (the condition) and it is accompanied by a certain result (stimuli) you will eventually expect the result (stimuli) every time you see or hear the condition. The concept is similar to training a dog. If you point your finger down and tell the dog to sit (condition), once the dog knows he will get a treat every time he obeys the command (stimuli), he will do it mostly every time.  

 

When people in court see black men and women dressed a certain way 300 times a day (condition), and run their records half the time, seeing long records of convictions most of the time (stimuli), they become conditioned to believing that most every young black person they see in their personal lives dressed that way has a long record for the crimes like the people we see in court.   

 

Further, there is nothing in these white peoples lives to break the condition. When they go home, they have no reason to interact with blacks who look that way. Of course, they work with other blacks and went to school with many others. But, those blacks seem different and outside the condition. They do not wear their jeans baggy, with a big white tee-shirt, and a straight brimmed hat. Thus, they do not place the blacks they know within the conditioned group. The result is that when you dress a certain way (like anyone in a basic rap video) you will be perceived by these whites to have a long criminal record.  And, I do not condone such stereotyping. However, I must say, I understand where it comes from.

 

Some will say, they don’t know the real me. That is true. But, they do not have to get to know you. They see many blacks on a daily basis, and a person’s record is as much a reflection of their person and character as anything. 6-8 pages of convictions for assaults, larcenies, theft crimes, and violent crimes tells a white person all they need to know. We may not like it, but its real.

 

All of this just to say, we need to break the mold and do better to stop the conditioned stimuli.   

December 3, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, college, court, Law, racial profiling, teens, university | 5 Comments

One HBCU is Listening to a Young Black Man!

Last week the Durham Herald Sun reported that HBCU (school name ommited by me) would focus on customer service. (See the article below). In the article, they refer to a letter sent to the board of trustees which complained of customer service at the school. It just so happens, that I sent a letter to the board of trustees complaining of customer service. See my letter under the news paper article.

Our classmates may not like it, but speaking up is the only way to facilitate change!
 

 article, which can also be found online at: http://www.heraldsun.com/durham/4-785275.html

HBCU to focus on customer service
November 5, 2006
BY GREGORY PHILLIPS, The Herald-Sun

Leaders at HBCU want to see the school’s employees paying a little more attention to customer service.     Recent incidents yielded letters to the board of trustees . And they have that body’s executive committee concerned that, while Chancellor James Ammons has set up an office reporting directly to him to handle complaints, more needs to be done to prevent them from happening in the first place.    

Every time we get a letter like that we have lost a potential contributor to the university ,” Chairman Cressie Thigpen told the trustees executive committee last week. “Sometimes I wonder if we are moving as quickly on that as we should.”    

Thigpen said a complaints office, while necessary, amounts to a Band-Aid approach when what’s needed is a change in the way HBCU hires and trains employees.    

The committee will present a list of recommendations to the full board of trustees meeting later this month, including customer service training for new employees, a mandatory annual seminar for all workers, monitors to deal with university departments and rate their service, plus a reward program for customer service.    

Board Secretary George Miller said some employees need reminding that, “We’re here to provide service and an education, not to keep someone in their place.”    

Any directive from the trustees is just a recommendation, but Thigpen said changing the customer service culture at HBCU has to come from the top.    

The chancellor has to send the word out that we’re not going to tolerate people treating other people badly ,” he said.    

Thigpen also wants to see the trustees more actively involved in the university’s capital fundraising campaign. The committee agreed that all trustees should contribute money, but past chairman Ed Stewart also pushed for a minimum pledge level.    

“We all should be a participant of at least $1,000 each,” he said.    

Although Stewart’s suggestion got no traction, Miller said he’d never been asked for a donation during six years on the board.    

“I don’t think we need to set a dollar amount, but each trustee needs to know there’s an expectation,” he said.    

     COPYRIGHT 2006 by The Durham Herald Company. All rights reserved.

My letter to the board of trustees.

I have attended HBCU School of Law for two years. I have enjoyed my experience here at the law school. The staff is educated, respectful, and the facilities are exceptional. However, that is where my love for this institution ends. While I have attended the law school, there has not been a year where the main campus staff and employees have been anything more than rude, disrespectful, and completely unhelpful.    Unlike many who attend the Law School, my undergraduate degree is from a historically black college/university. I understand the struggles which face our HBCUs. However, HBCU ranks, in my mind, as administratively, one of the worst institutions a person could attend. Some of the reasons why include:  

  Financial Aid I have never seen such an unorganized group of individuals like what I have seen in the fiancial aid building. It is typical to wait for hours on the phone in an attempt to talk with someone. Once someone is on the phone, students are greeted with an unpleasant employee who chides students and rushes people off the phone before disseminating any useful information. In person, financial aid workers are often on cell phones while lines wrap around the room. Like over the phone, workers treat students like children and chastise them about problems. Students are there for information about their money. Such lines would not be necessary if financial aid did their job through out the year explaining the processes and procedures. In financial aid, students are not treated as if they are respected and valued, but as a burden in the day of the workers. You may make undergraduate students believe it is like this everywhere, but the graduate students know better, and we know you do as well.  

Now, financial aid tells the law students we will not receive our refund checks until October of this year. What is equally as frustrating is that the financial aid office is placing the blame on the students! What did we do wrong other than fill out the same forms and financial aid with came in September last year? If a change occurred in procedure, I would assume it would be financial aid’s job to inform students about it. However, that would require people to do their job, and at HBCU, that is always asking for too much.

Parking

Why are the law school parking lots VIP parking for football games? There is no where to park on Saturday’s to do school work. Students cannot study our rigorous course work because of these events. Indeed, there is no parking for students to use the undergraduate library during games. So, attending the athletic events is the focus on HBCU. Funny, at most schools, getting an education comes first. What do you think your serious students do instead? They travel to UNC-CH, Duke, or NC State to have a place to study. When students feel that it is too much of a hassle to study at their own institution, do you think they will become an alumni dedicated to giving contributions to improve the university? I hope not, because most students I talk to feel it was a mistake to come here, mainly because of the issues dealing with administration.

In regards to the daily parking problems revolving around the school, what attempts have been made to increase parking areas? All many students see is increased enrollment with no new lots. The law school itself has enough students to fill all the lots surrounding it. Because your administration is slow to act on anything non athletic, the law school pays a local church to rent parking spaces for its students. At least the law school takes swift, affirmative steps to show its students it is working with and for them.

Cafeteria and other services

At HBCU, I have witnessed, on multiple occasions, employees of this institution using profanity at students for asking questions like: ‘what is that for dinner’; ‘is there anywhere to park’; and ‘why can’t I wear my undergraduate school paraphernalia in the gym’? Overall, the staff at your institution is disrespectful and rude. Most graduate students feel being on campus only leads to hassle, and head-ache and prefer to stay here only for class. Is that the reputation you want for this university?

Before the Law School MPRE exam, a white individual said, “I was told to not take the exam at HBCU. Hopefully nothing will go wrong.” Not surprisingly, a fire alarm went off during the test. Many students are appealing the scores and want to invalidate the results. This is embarrassing to the institution. The students who took the exam are not just HBCU students, but students from across the world taking the NC Bar examination. The widely known reputation of HBCU as being ghetto, inefficient, unprofessional, unorganized, and dangerously susceptible to crime continues to grow with each instance where outsiders come on campus. Most students at the law school leave immediately after class because they do not feel safe here. In addition, many students here illuminate their undergraduate institutions in interviews because HBCU is thought to be a stain on any resume. After internships, many employers remark that they are impressed with our work despite coming from HBCU. All of this combines to make this institution the worst collegiate experience most of us here at the law school have ever experienced.

HBCU is a business and the students are its customers. The customers are dissatisfied. Most of my classmates agree that our children will never attend this institution. Further, we have no since of pride for anything here outside the law school. This letter could be longer, but you have heard all I have to say before. The question is, will you do anything about it or continue to hide behind the fake guise that this is a great institution with no problems?  

Young Black Man

School of Law, Class of 2007

November 13, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, college, HBCU, Law, Law School, university | 6 Comments

Duke Lacrosse, from the Start to Now, from a Durham, NC Perspective

Kim Roberts (Self Proclaimed Stripper) is one of the many people involved in this case that will say anything for the attention and national spotlight.Now that the trial in the Duke Lacrosse Case is a mere formality, I want to share my views on the case. For those who do not know, I attend law school in Durham NC.  There are only two law schools in Durham, and both have students involved in the case. When the news of the accusation broke last spring, I was in a class named Criminal Procedure. Of course, after class, we had our views of what was going on. The females were ready to join the protest in front of the players’ house, spoke of racism and how wrong the players’ were. I reminded them that “WE ARE IN LAW SCHOOL” and that they need some actual facts before they could make an accurate decision or opinion.

 

Then, I said something that changed my fate at the law school for the rest of my time here. I said, “What you ladies need to do is go to NCCU’s Main Campus and hold a forum with other students groups telling our black women to stop hoe-ing, stop stripping, and start acting like intelligent women” (a clear theme on this blog).  The black women thought the forum was a terrible idea. They said, “She had a child. She had to do what she had to do to put money in the child’s mouth. You don’t understand the struggles of a black woman!” To this day, many of those women will not speak to me, do not respect me, and various other things not to be mentioned here.

 

Now, we know the alleged victim lived with her parents. So, while people claim that stripping pays the bills, it did not afford her enough money to get her own place. These black women didn’t believe me, but most strippers don’t make a lot of money.

 

The truth is a stripper may make a lot of money living in a major city like Atlanta, New York, California, etc. But, in Durham, a predominately African American city, where the majority of wealth is still in the hands of whites, the average black stripper in a black strip club will not make any more than she would make working at Leaner. Don’t believe me?

 

First, most people are cheap in strip clubs and throw out one dollar bills. Further, most of the African American males in Durham are either in high school, in college with student loan money, or adult locals who are not making a decent living.  Therefore, there is not a large amount of wealth within the African American community. And, the money they do have gets spent on the frivolous things blacks spend money on, i.e., rims, a car, shoes, hats, jerseys, and just anything that does not appreciate in value. Jay Z and big named rappers are not throwing hundred dollar bills around in Durham strip clubs. Second, the club takes a large percentage of private dances for which they charge the most. So, even the money she gets is taxed.

 

Third, because Durham is not a major city, every night is not a party night. A stripper has to make the majority of her money during weekends, and specifically around pay days, because Monday-Thursday will yield low profits for a stripper. It’s just not in Durham’s culture to go out on a Monday night. This is still the south, has southern ways, and nothing has modernized the city to change that.

 

I am digressing.  These women had convicted the boys from the beginning. I wanted to wait. Never the less, asking to wait for facts, in their eyes, made me anti-black, anti-woman, and just an outcast. How could I side with the white boys?  But, I wasn’t. I just wanted to hear some concrete evidence before making a decision. 

 

The forum I proposed wasn’t totally about money. I thought it was needed to show our young black women that they won’t make enough money to pay back those student loans, so don’t use that excuse. Notwithstanding that, it was more about not placing themselves in adverse situations.

I told the black women I know, “take the victim out of the picture, no black women should be shaking her ass for money at anyone’s house.” But, the excuses continued. Men need to stop hiring them. I agree with that statement, but the issue at hand is black women and stripping. Can black women admit that stripping is wrong?

And, young black women need to know, that while no woman deserves to get raped, putting yourself in adverse situations will increase the odds that something bad will happen. No black man deserves to get killed, but dealing in drugs will increase the odds of a man reaching that fate. Can we tell women that if you strip, you may get raped, and you will have to prosecute the man, and the world will know that you are a stripper? The men will deserve to go to jail, but your secret of stripping will fade. So, if you strip, the odds of your secret being revealed are greater. Are they ready for that? Are they ready to be disrespected?    

 

Now, because the case involves the underworld of stripping, we have a situation where every stripper involved is standing up, telling anything and everything they can, trying to get national media attention, and trying to work the media like the men they work in the VIP rooms.  The case has become an embarrassment to our culture.

 

Speaking of culture, what happened to the New Black Panthers Party? They came down to our town, made a little stir, were mostly disorganized, did not raise the level of fear and shock that they wanted, and left. They promised to be back, but we haven’t seen them sense. We will likely never see them again. What a joke. If you’re going to do something, be organized and follow through. They tried to march on Duke and got shut down so fast the national audience may have missed it. I was there when they came. The media was laughing at them. CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, everyone was there. They laughed. They found it funny. They were mocking the New Black Panther Party, taunting them when they were late to arrive to their own press conference. They were left to hold their press conference at the gates of Duke’s West Campus. Hell, any other idiot can ride through campus anytime of the day or night. It’s never shut down. To be so political, I am suprised the New Black Panther Party could not find one student to reserve a room for them!

 

Further, the racial rhetoric doesn’t work well in Durham. Jackie Waggstaff  (former Durham County School Board Member) was voted out of office here for using similar rhetoric. So, when she appeared with the Black Panther Party, the credibility of the party was lessened worse than imaginable. And, before radical blacks respond about us being too middle class, she was voted out in a predominately black, lower income, part of Durham. Yes, we all know that the Duke family gained wealth using slave labor and tobacco. Tell me something new within the past 100 years. The so called refrences to Duke as the “Plantation” were only for national media. I have lived in Durham for my entire life, minus 4 years of undergraduate school, both of my African American parents work at Duke, as do many African Americans in Durham, and I had never heard that phrase until this case. So, for the New Black Panther Party to come in and tell me about my city, when they were not even here long enough to be called visitors, showed how wrong, off point, and comical they truely were.

 

Those who were ready to hang the white lacrosse players last spring are really quiet now. I hope the lesson learned is to take race out of the equation, wait until facts come out, and make as much as an informed decision as possible.

November 3, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black Panther, Black Panthers, Black women, club, college, Duke Lacrosse, HBCU, hood economics, Law, Law School, university | 8 Comments

Black Women, Enough is Enough!

My inaugural post on my blog (see very bottom post below) talked about women consenting to being touched in a club. Now, I will briefly discuss how such behavior is just foolish. The below You Tube video is my example. Why, in the world, would women rotate on grinding on a wguy? Why would they allow this behavior to be recorded in front of hundreds of people, singled out for the crowd to see?  I wonder if they think this behavior will make them marriage, girlfriend, or eployment material? I believe that this behavior makes them look like sluts, and further affirms the stereotypes that whites have of our culture.  Sadly, you can see whites in the crowd cheering more than most of the blacks in the crowd. Have you read Ralf Ellison’s Invisible Man (appogies for using Richard Wright in the original post. Heis, however, my favorite writer)? The video is all to similar to the book. Except, it is black women put on display for the enjoyment of others oppopsed to black men.

The sad part about this is that these women are put on a spot light. Singled out to see who can dance the most slutty. Interestingly, at the end of the clip the camera man pans the audience, and you can see that many black men and women in the audience are not comfortable being on tape. They do not want to be seen there. They do not want to be precieved to condone this behavior. The women do not have to get on stage. And comparing the bottom video with the top one, it is clear that SOME women will dance this way notwithstanding a man being there or not. This is not an excuse for men to act in any way, this is a plea from a black man, asking black women to not act and dance like sluts.

 

Ellison wrote the the embarrasment that blacks suffered by being put on display for the entertainment of others (whites particularly). Here, these women do not seem embarassed or ashamed. They seem proud to be there and happy to entertain the crowd. Is this the state of our black women in society? I want them to be ashamed. I want them not to act that way. I want them to be better. Am I asking too much?

 

It is clear from the video, however, that the men are not to touch the women. Based on my first post (see bottom post on page) these women did not consent to the touch! But, does that mean that they are any more respected? You be the judge.

 

One final observation. You look look to the side of the stage you will see that theNational Basketball Association (NBA) is a sponsor of this event. As if we didn’t already know they were in the business of exploiting our culture and community.

 

November 2, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black women, club, college, HBCU, hip hop, Uncategorized, university | 5 Comments

Are you Suprised Snoop Dogg was Arrested?

I have to admit, I like Snoop Dogg’s music. When Snoop was in his prime in the early to mid 90s I was in middle and high school. I was a part of the syndrome I spoke of in the below post “Act Like the Middle Class Negro You Are.” I also admit that Snoop Dogg influenced many of my peers. I would even go as far as to say that he was one of the most influential people to my generation of African Americans. Why?

Snoop make it common place to call girls “hoes” and he started the pattern of  “I don’t love them hoes.” He took passion out of relationships, and made young African American affection seem soft and corny.  Snoop was responsible for eliminating courtship from our generation and replacing it with casual sex and telling young black men that, “Real niggas don’t give a fu**!” That pattern continues even stronger today.

Snoop was also infuential to the spread of gangs into surburan culture. After all, Snoop was the loveable gang member.  His videos, for the most part,  showed parties, girls, and liquor. For young men (white or black) who could argue with that? Thus, Snoop might be the most influential person to African American culture.  

With all of that out of the way, MTV is reporting that Snoop was arrested outside of an airport for possession of marajuana and a gun. Now, from the person who told us over ten years ago that he would “stay high ’till the day that [he] die” and that fact that he is an open gang member, I ask, are you suprised?

Snoop’s arrest is the result of what happenned to many black men who embraced his music. He was arrested for doing the very things he brags about. The only problem is, that because so many of his followers suffer the same fate, his arrest is not a negative.  Instead, his followers will like him more because they feel he goes through the same things they do.  Worse yet, while the local street negro continues to get arrested and suffer financial strain, Snoop’s arrest is profitable because it makes him more marketable to his genre of followers. Therefore, it is a positive for him to get arrested.  No, he doesn’t want jail, because he can’t make money there.  But,  Snoop is not trying to get a job where you need a clean record.  Snoop makes money off of being a thug.

I am not saying don’t listen to the music. I am just saying look at the example. When you proclaim to be a pimp, a drug user, and a gang member, and you act on those things, the odds of you going to jail are increased.  Snoop doesn’t care because he has enough money not to. Plus, you buying his records justifies the behavior. But, for the local street thug, what’s your insentive? Who is paying you to go to jail?  

I know from experience in the District Attorney’s Office, that the majority of local thugs don’t even have the money to hire an attorney. Instead, after all the talk of “getting [your] lawyer to make sure the cop is transferred of Alaska,” you have to hire a public defender. In real life, you are not Scarface or Snoop Dogg. You are an uneducated, broke, hopeless negro destined to continue to cycle through the penal system. It is a sad fate. Look at the lessons of Snoop, but take in account you don’t have a million dollars. Is the behavior worth it. What do you think Snoop really tells his wife and kids when he gets out of jail? I don’t know for sure, but I can imagine it doesn’t sound like anything he has ever said on an album.

Another thought for you. MTV reports that “After being booked into the Burbank Police Department jail, Snoop was released at 7:50 p.m. on $35,000 bond.” Who out there can afford $35,000 secured bond? Don’t lie, don’t claim have it like that, don’t claim to be ballin’? Seriously, how many people can afford that? Not many, so for the local thug, think twice. Snoop got out the same day. You may be in jail until trial.

In sum, I was smart enough not to follow the examples of the rap music to which I listen. I hope you do the same.  

October 30, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, hip hop, Law, rap, teens | 2 Comments

Black Greeks, Stop the Hazing! You are not Helping Anyone!

Recently, black male fraternity at Florida A&M were not punished for allegedly hazing potentials. There was a hung jury in the case.  In a sense, I am sure they feel they won! Everyone, and anyone, who is in an African American Greek organization knows they are guilty. We all know hazing exist. Most of us were hazed ourselves.  But, as we get older, we realize that hazing is not cool. It does not earn respect, and that such behavior only hurts the organizations.

 

Many will argue that hazing is a way of earning respect, and proving yourself. I ask, who is trying to gain respect from?  Hazing doesn’t prove anything.  Most people in these organizations will tell you that people who love to haze are also the same people who are not financial, do not pay dues, thus do not pay insurance for the reckless behavior they love to embrace. They are not active members.  They will attend parties, they will hang out, but they will not attend anything that requires the service these organizations demand.  In short, people who love to haze are parasites to our organizations.  They add nothing and act in a way that could take everything.

 

African American Greek Letter organizations are a way to uplift our culture and aid in our success.  It is not paying for friends. Instead, it is joining a network system. Most blacks who are in high ranking positions are Greek. These organizations serve many benefits to members and the community. However, if they are used for the purpose of beating on one another, they are pointless.  Certain chapters in each organization allover the nation run counter to the objectives they claim to live by.

 

Some final questions about hazing. Did the founders haze each other? Did they say, “before we start this, we need to make sure we are all good. So, let us beat on each other for a semester to a year to make sure I can trust you.” Remember most of the organizations were founder in or before 1913. Thus, many of the founders had parents and grandparents who were slaves (which ended in 1863).  Being so close to the brutalities of slavery, do you think the founders of our organizations meant to create a group in which blacks would inflict pain on each other.

 

 Do you think the founders would condone hazing today? Likely not. Truthfully, any founder of any of these organizations (in which the founders were doctors, lawyers, teachers, PhD students, and in esteemed professions) would think the process of beating each other to prove worth is juvenile and brutal.  When these organizations were founded, being an intelligent person in college was worthy of respect.  These groups were meant to uplift, not to beat down.  We need to get back to those ideals.

 

To the men at FAMU and fraternity/sorority members nationwide: get it together. You did not win. You are not more a Brother/Sister of your organization because you haze. You do not do them a favor. The potentials are not more employable now than they were before you allegedly beat them.  However cool they might be after the incident, the white man in the business world could care less about the brutalities you suffered. They don’t care how much wood you took. So, help your potentials. Get their grades together.  Help them become men. Don’t beat them like children.       

October 26, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black women, college, HBCU, torts, university | 3 Comments