"After watching the umpteenth white guy on the tube tell me
what black people were thinking, I had to go direct."
This phrase, contained in the very first post on this blog, summed up the sentiment that led me to joining the blog world. It was this sense of frustration with the limited points of view defining the perspective of the major media outlets that had me furiously emailing my friends and family a year ago, just so they could have enough real information in front of them to really think for themselves about what was going on, instead of relying on news readers and talking heads to tell them the truth.
They called me anyway, though, to ask my opinion.
And over the months that followed, this site slowly changed from a information disseminator into an opinion column, partly because we started running out of weekly primaries and partly because I was getting to like telling people how I saw things. I have become the enemy, it seems - seduced, like a lot of the nation's pundits are, by the idea that what I write is important to an audience.
I talked to a buddy of mine, who is originally from Alabama, earlier this week. "You've gotten a lot better at your blog lately," he said, his voice pausing for a second, "a lot better than you used to be."
There have been a lot of days, especially since the election, when I felt the "brown man thinking hard" title of this blog was misleading. I figured it should have been retitled "brown man living hard", or "brown man running Congress out of town", or "brown man exasperated as hell", or "brown man watching too much football lately."
And I remember quite a few days where the "brown" in "brown man thinking hard" could have been dropped completely as I adopted the role of an Everyman observer who championed the universal human condition.
Even though these things are true, I still like the name of this place. If you live in the town where a certain soft drink giant tried to change the name "Coke" to "New Coke", like I do, you are keenly aware of the need to leave a good thing alone when it seems to be working.
2009 is going to be fantastic. A certain brown skinned man on a Hawaiian Christmas vacation will be moving into the White House. Brown skinned people all over this country will still be holding their heads high. Many of us will understand, for the first time in our lives, why we have got to stop patting ourselves on the back about integration and start initiating collaboration.
And the Brown Man himself will be back to thinking hard.