"Keeping It Real": Being Stupid On Purpose

Can you believe that there are black people out here in the blogosphere who are now BLAMING OBAMA, LIKE THEY DID COSBY, FOR TELLING BLACK PEOPLE THAT WE NEED TO FOCUS ON GETTING AN EDUCATION?

Is there that much status in being stupid?

In being stupid ON PURPOSE?

Do you see any rappers still living on the streets they came from?

Hell no!

So why brainwash our children into believing that attitude and swagger mean anything when they have no brainpower to back them up, no knowledge base upon which to anchor them, and no way to communicate with the rest of the GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT ENGLISH speaking world, whether they are white, black or brown?

If "taking it to the streets" is all we are, then kill me now.

I've been hearing all this talk around the internet today about how the education we get here in the U.S. is "Eurocentric", but most motherfuckers who can't read don't really know anything about Africa except kente cloth, Roots, and the STUFF THEY SEE ON TV that has been programmed by the same "whitey" they swear they are afraid of acting like.

Nobody here is going back to Africa. I live in Atlanta, and the line for the one-way flights back to Africa is mighty, mighty short. Maybe they are swimming back these days. But believe me, NOBODY is headed back to Africa, despite all the "Afrocentric" rhetoric. Certainly not anybody I see standing on the corner, talking about "The Man" who is holding him down.

Why is an education important? Because these "black businesses" my crazy as a loon brethren are so in love with, the ones our phonetically challenged, mathematics deficient urbanites are going to simply pull out of their asses, cannot be financed by taking a loan out on a collection of Air Jordans.

But you CAN start a business IN THE HOOD with practically no money if you have an education. Brand new lawyers who have next to no experience hang out their shingles everyday. Young doctors with 125K in loans do it and can get paid Year One if they take Medicaid patients, which our HOODS are full of. Even if you don't get that far in school, you can either learn how to navigate the government grant system to get a loan to rehab your block, or start a small retail shop - BUT ONLY IF YOU CAN READ.

If I was Martin Luther King, Jr., or the beloved Malcolm X that so many dumb ass thug wannabees holler about while they wave their 9mm's around, killing up US, our own black people IN THE HOOD with impunity, I'd look down on their ridiculous asses and say "damn all of you fools who don't know any better than to believe this bullshit."

Malcolm didn't get to be Malcolm cause he sold drugs or wore a conk. He got to be Malcolm because when his ass could have been rotting in that jail, he took the time to master the language of the land, one word at a time.

Every African in Africa who has a bit of sense and the middle class luxuries many of us here in the States enjoy know two, three, or more languages, and they live on the biggest continent in the world. REAL AFRICANS have no fear of Eurocentric educations, enrolling at Oxford by the dozens whenever they can wangle admission.

So what the hell are we afraid of? Is our poverty and ignorance so precious to us that we simply can't bear to part with them? Can't we just get a wing for this shit at the Smithsonian Institute, so you can go look at it from time to time when you get nostalgic?

If you can learn to cook crack properly, you can learn to be a pharmaceutical technician, and mix legal drugs.

If you can hotwire a car, you can learn to pull conduit and wire a house.

And if you write rap songs, SINCE YOU PROBABLY AREN'T GOING TO GET A RECORDING CONTRACT, you can learn how to understand iambic pentameter, alliteration and onomatopoeia. Which means you can probably learn how to teach the next generation of Downtown Browns how to read.

The only reason you tunnel vision, "keeping it real" Negroes even have half a chance to spew this nonsense about RayRay in the HOOD not giving a damn about an education 'cause someone like Sarah Palin is revered for knowing nothing - guess what, it's because a whole lot of EDUCATED NEGROES took one for the team for the last hundred and fifty years, all the way back to Frederick Douglass, a real "G" if their ever was one. Douglass, A FORMER SLAVE, was the owner of one of the largest private libraries in D.C., "keeping it real" one page at a time.

And I don't think Douglass hankered for one minute after that plantation he escaped.

So to all of you internet naysayers who think President Obama "overstepped his bounds", take these nursery rhyme fantasies back where you got them and quit fooling our black youth. What happens to the Sarah Palins of the world has no relevance for the average Joe "I Don't Know" Negro.

For every Sarah Palin who barely crawled out of college and blinked her way into making it big, there are three white chicks who get treated like total tricks when their ignorance shows, because all white chicks don't look like Sarah after having 5 kids, and if you don't believe how she looks didn't have anything to do with her skating her way into the governors mansion, I've got a stack of Martin Luther King's paper's to sell you.

Predicating the importance of the educations of our children on whether or not white people are overlooking these same standards for themselves is illogical. Not kinda dumb, not sorta stupid – it's the most idiotic motherfucking reasoning I can think of for just throwing in the towel on a whole generation of black kids.

The people - slaves, remember them - whose educations were eked out by candlelight when their lives were at stake didn't worry about how white men looked out for each other even if the ones who needed looking out for the most WERE stupid, BECAUSE THOSE SLAVES KNEW HOW POWERFUL IT WAS TO BE ABLE TO FIGURE OUT THE MORE COMPLEX THINGS IN THIS WORLD FOR THEMSELVES. Even if they had no freedom with which to use this knowledge.

If you are wrong, and many of us are wrong, a lot - then I owe it to you to give it to you straight. Your president owes it to you. Bill Cosby owes it to you. Lil Wayne owes it to you too - to tell you you've got a better chance of being in the NBA than having a hit rap record.

Maybe Jamie Foxx can give us a remix - "Blame It On The AC...AC-AC-AC...AC-ACADEMICS"

An education doesn't guarantee any particular job or income level, though - I'll be the first to admit that - but what it does do is provide its recipient with a better ability to see the machinations and complexities of the world for what they really are. And for many of our children, who are currently looking through poverty colored glasses, that little bit of improvement in their vision is all they need to see their way forward to their next way station in life.

So for my money, you Negroes who can make up any old bullshit reason why we shouldn't be putting on a fucking Carlton Banks outfit if we have to in order to get the knowledge we need can go catch one of those "keeping it real" bullets that always seem to be flying around the hood.

The only thing that will be "good in the hood" is when the last light in the last project finally goes out forever.

They play rap music in the suburbs too.

Cats at my Starbucks wear more Sean John than black folks.

We would still be black, though, if we had never rapped, break danced, ate collard greens or corn bread, or even if we had never once ripped a jazz solo.

Trust me.

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Val said...

Brilliant post. I am glad I found your site. I will certainly share with this post fellow volunteers and others working with our at risk youth and young people.

We need more men to make this stance crystal clear. I can't believe the increased number of people who publicly take pride in being ignorant.

ch555x said...

Browsed in via J&J Politics. Good points!

Texas Girl in L.A. said...

Wow...what a good read. Love your flow. Points well made.

dave crockett said...

Good stuff as always BMTH, BUT...

I wonder how much of this is a straw man. I can't claim to have my finger on the pulse of the streets, but all the black folk I hear from agree with you. I have heard very, very few who dismiss the importance of education.

Even where I live, in Columbia, SC, where the black dropout rate is sky high, these guys dropout because they're just being warehoused -- not taught. They want a quality education. And they recognize that without one they may as well start working the menial jobs they already have because that's all they'll get. Why forego the income for a worthless diploma?

The only people I hear running that "white man's education" line are buppie teenagers mad at white folks because they didn't get selected for national honor society at their suburban high schools. People who really have no options know better.

RiPPa said...

Brown man, when did you start cursing? This is great! They musta got you fired up. Good post!

Anonymous said...

Love the message....hope it's "REAL"

Brown Man said...

Dave, I'm one guy on a blog, not Everyman. I just happened to run into some people on a black political website whose conversation was spiraling down into some psychobabble about why the kids were rejecting the stuff taught in schools these days because it was too Eurocentric.

Are you kidding me? Unless South Carolina is still using the books I had when I went to school, they can't possibly be learning anything any more "Eurocentric" than what I learned.

But the school is not the only resource. The library has books you can read for free. I know they aren't located next to the neighborhood basketball courts, but they are air conditioned, with clean bathrooms and all the water you can drink.

School is not the only answer. WE - parents, neighbors, aunts, uncles, family friends - have got to DO BETTER.

I make it a point to ask every kid I see - especially my friends kids, even if they aren't in school - "what are YOU reading these days" - to see their faces is to see a look of surprise,as if ho one has ever thought to ask them what they are reading. And these are upper middle class kids, some of whom are in the toniest of private schools.

Why is that? Why don't we want to engage our children in some kind of intellectual or philosophical or historical discourse? Is it because we find these things boring ourselves? Is it because turning our kids into designer label experts is more important?

Even among the kids who do well in school, there is an aversion to any kind of extra reading as if too much knowledge will kill them, or erase some of their cool points.

I don't know what the answer is, Dave. But I know its not what we are doing today.

A.Smith said...

(slow clap)

Well said, Brown Man Thinking, WELL SAID.

I don't care if there are or aren't black folks out in these here internets saying Obama overstepped or not, the truth is there are kids out there who buy into this same crap year after year. They don't want to go to school because it's just a bunch of white people teaching white people stuff.

Well good luck running things in these here United States with no United States education. Lord Jesus I can't stand ignorance and this is sheer ignorance to think for one moment that there's ANY excuse for not getting the highest education you can.

A. Spence said...

Love it!!! Being stupid on purpose sums it up completly!!

TiredOfThePhonies said...

dave crockett, the high-school dropout rate in my city is 50% because the dropouts HAVE NO INTEREST IN ANY TYPE OF EDUCATION, LET ALONE want a quality education.

dave crockett said...

TiredofPhonies: The dropout rate in my city (and yours too) is almost certainly over 50%, because kids aren't usually tracked if they are expelled or transfer out of a given district. So you’re saying that more than half of the black children in your city and mine have ZERO interest whatsoever in education. I don’t know that I agree, but I’d be interested in understanding why you think that’s so.

BMTH: One of the reasons this is such a great blog, and that I’m a regular visitor here, is that I know you don’t write just to hear us say amen. This is a dialogue where none of us know the answers. We’re all here trying to figure it out together.

I definitely agree with your point that it can’t just be schools. But, I also don’t want to get stuck in the old dichotomy of racial uplift vs. institutional change that often keeps us from getting out of the starting blocks. Black folk have never had the luxury of focusing on one versus the other. I think most of us can agree on that.

As for the anti-intellectualism that currently runs rampant in black pop culture (and American culture more broadly it should be noted), I’ll punt. People much smarter than me have written on the topic. The only thing I’d say is that although I think economists are rarely right about anything, they do get it right when they say that people are pretty instrumental. They engage in behavior that (they think) gets rewarded and don’t engage in behavior that (they think) won’t get rewarded. So, whenever you see widespread dysfunctional behavior it’s usually because there are incentives that reward the dysfunctional behavior and/or that don’t reward the behavior we want. So, I try to see how people get rewarded for dysfunctional behavior. AND, what do they get (or not get) for doing things the right way?

That’s where we have to engage our young people. I think they’re hyper aware of how what we say and what we do as a society often don’t line up. “Get a diploma and you get a good job.” But walk into any grocery store in America and high school dropout and graduate work side by side drawing the same paycheck. That’s not an excuse for cynicism about education but we can’t sit back and act surprised to see it either.

Anonymous said...

What got you so pissed? Great points! I still live where stupidity is proudly worn like tattoos.

Cheryl said...

I'm white and so is my niece, but she totally rejects anything related to education. She says I and all of my friends sound like "lawyers" because we speak correctly. She doesn't see the need to work 40 hours a week for $400 if she can turn a trick, or make a sale for $1000 in 15 minutes. My sister, her Mom, died young because of the life she led. Now my 18 year old's 2 week old baby has died young too. Where does it end.

You're saying all of the right things, but how do you make them hear it????

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