Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Thug" Life

I know I know it's been awhile, but I figured it's time to come out of hibernation and jump start my creative juices.

Above is an article found in today's edition of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. It asks the question, "What is a Thug?" To give you some background, Michael Vick has been catching serious hell about the marijuana in the water bottle incident, which the Miami police claim there was none of, which I don't believe for one second, but that may be the problem. Anyway, radio personalities, callers, and bloggers have been blasting him, calling him a Thug like there's no tomorrow, although Vick has no record and has not been arrested of anything. The article references one talk show host blasting him on his outward appearance off the field saying he wears baggy pants and stuff like that, which I think is just a moronic statement.

So this begs the question, has the word thug come to besically be used to describe young black males that have the hip hop identity and maybe get in trouble? One person in the article said that it's not fair that when a white person gets in trouble, they've made a mistake, but when a black person does, they're a thug. That's very true. Case in point, the Duke lacross team mess.

I do believe the word thug has become synonimous with black hip hop culture, especially when someone black gets in trouble. I'm guilty of labeling people thugs, especially when I see black youth walking down the street with their pants hanging down by their ankles, holding their crotches, shuffling like prisoners in a chain gang. That bothers me a lot actually, but that's a different story. Young folks shouldn't be labeled as thugs just because of their style of dress. I'm sure there are some truly good, smart folks that like to dress with a little sag in their pants and listen to rap music. They're not thugs, but they're perceived to be. I think we're all lumped into the thug category if we dress a certain way, no matter what we do or what type of education we have.

However, I do think the hip hop culture is at fault for this too. The glorification of being a thug has lead to this. Tupac's image, Biggie's image, 50 Cent being shot, the culture is about thuggism. It's glorified 30-40's mob mentality, just with black people. Everyone's looking for respect and will do whatever vile acts necessary to get it. Hiphop is filled with wannabe thugs, so it shouldn't surprise everyone when folks start associating hip hop styles with thuggery.

That being said, it's still not fair to the person being called a thug. Is Michael Vick a thug? I don't know. Can his actions and demeaner portray him as a thug? Probably so. But why wasn't Bill Romanowski a thug for spitting in player's faces or using Roids? Why isn't Rush Limbaugh a thug for beinga pill popper and carrying someone else's medication (that's illegal)? Farve's a pill popper. How often do we hear K-Fed being called a thug. Or is he called a wannabe thug, which goes to the heart that the word is associated with black hip hop culture.

Being a thug vs making a mistake. What's your take?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What ever happend to the music?

It's been awhile...

I was reading an editorial in the Miami newspaper from Leonard Pitts Jr. talking about black images saying black folks are partially to blame for the images we have (he's black too). He brought up a point when talking about music comparing th "black empowerment" song "I'm Black and I'm Proud" by James Brown, or Aretha's call for "R-E-S-P-E-C-T." Now much of what we have if "I wanna sex you," "Give me some head," "Look at my teeth...they're shiny," and, to take a line from Chris Rock, "They spinnin Nigga, They spinnin."

Not much that goes out over the airwaves is very eimpowering. No songs to fill you with pride. Nothing that lets you keep your head up. Nothing telling folks how to get better, or that they can do better. Just images of Beyonce shaking her ass, girating on Jay Z's crotch, when she should be promoting her voice. Tired I am of booty shaking and bling dropping. Whatever happend to hip hop back in the day when it was about story telling. The Doug E Fresh's and Slick Rick's of the word. MC Lyte, and Queen Latifah. Even in Regulators with Nate Dogg and Warren G, it was telling a story. Now it's about fame, fortune, and capping people.

Now there are still those out there that do a little of both. Kanye, Common, Wyclef. They cuss a little and talk about stuff they have, but they present a message at times that deals with social conscieousness. We need more of that in the hip hop world. More folks telling the young they can make it in the world. More critical thought, less ass in your face. That's one of the ways the youth will have a shot. Otherwise it's the same song just a different era. They Spinnin Nigga They Spinnin.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Societal Priorities

I guess I'm trying to figure out our priorities in this country.
Iran's making noise,
N.Korea's testing Tipodong,
Lebanon and Israel are fighting like two women after the same man,
Gas is rising,
It's getting hotter,
Gas is rising.

There are so many issues out there in the world...and...a horse is one of the top stories. It seems that everywhere I turn I'm bombarded with stories about Barbaro. Barbaro...a freakin horse. Yesterday he was near death, his chances for survival "poor". Seems he had a great sleeplast night. Even slept on his side. Wow. I can't believe we're getting daily updates on a horse. Yes, he won the Kentucky Derby, but does that make him Baby Jessica? We're keeping watch over him like he's the President on his deathbed. Sort of like the Pope.

Are we that knumb of the world that a horse is treated with such importance? Horses get injured and die everyday. This one happend on tv. Why is it such a tear jerker? Am I missing something? It's like a pet dying. Sad, but not the beginning, middle, or end of the world. When the world's crumbling around us, we turn on our blinders and look to Mr. Ed. Wow!

Nothing at All

I'm sitting here at work right now bored out of what's left of my mind thiking to myself, how fun could this be if I lit up joint. Granted, I don't have a joint to light up, but it's of those days. 5 o'clock won't get here fast enough. But for what? A date with my bed and television. My check this week is short so I'm putting myself in exile for the weekend. Fortunately for me, I strat back at the Royals games on Thursday so that'll be some extra income. So my brain is pretty much shutting down and this is the only way i know how to get it going again. Writing about nothing at all. But as I sit here and write I do feel alot better. I haven't written in awhile, partly why I'm writing now. I need to find a hobby that doesn't involve staring at a tv trying to make a little man run around shooting gangsters and bombing the homes of rival bosses (currently playing the Godfather and will probably beat it tonight). I don't know what that's going to be at the moment. I'll find something. Getting tired of the nothingness. I'll have to write more later.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Unnecessary Roughness

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge Ray Lewis fan. Number 52 is one of the baddest linebackers to play the game. Well there was this one play about 3 years ago. Monday Night Football, Denver Broncoss vs Baltimore Ravens. Denver attempts a long field goal, which is short and caught by Chris McAllister. As McAllister starts running, on of Denver's players rushes in to make a tackle, MISTAKE #1. Then the menace known as Ray Lewis appears. See for yourself. You can either watch the whole thing, or skip to the 2:05 mark. You'll see the madness.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Quotes from Hitler

I was reading like I always do and ran across this story. Seems that a couple of boys graduating from high picked some quotes from Hitler as their yearbook quotes. One was, "Strength lies not in defense, but in attack," while the other was "The great masses of people ... will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one." The school principal says they have failed miserably (as educators) and they are issuing letters to parents saying tehy're sorry and providing tape to cover up the quotes. It may just be me, but does anyone else see a problem with this?

I think our nation has become so PC that people are really worried about the quote. Adolf Hitler was one of the greatest leaders of our time. I didn't like what he stood for, but I have to respect the fact that he was able to lead thousands for his cause, much like Osama Bin Laden, but at least Hitler did his leadingout in the open and not from a bunker somewhere in a mountain. We are so worried about offending people that we choose not to look at the quotes on their own. The quotes have some truth to them, in my book anyway. Some people do believe that strength lies in attacking (see the Phoenix Suns) and I do believe the masses of people will fall victims of a big lie (see Iraq War). Just because the person who said them was a vile man with hopes of world domination does not make the quotes any more or less truthful. The quotes made no mention of person, creed, color, religion or anything else we get defensive over. These are just two quotes that can be used in everyday thought.

I feel sorry for these two kids. They will now be the butt of jokes and the subject of people's disdain. I feel sorry for the teachers of their high school for having a principal that doesn't respect free thought and probably doesn't know what a true education is. If we look at and study the teachings of people, even bad people, there is still much we can learn. I'm pretty sure the "Shock and Awe" style of the military stemmed from the German Blitzkreig. The blitz in football stems from Blitzkreig. I don't here anyone raising cane about that. But I digress. If these kids were little Neo-Nazi skinheads carrying a burning cross with sheets over their heads, then I'd be singing a different song. Then I 'd say they are using Hitler's message for the same evil purposes he did just like many use religion to go to war. But to my limited knowledge, these are two kids who saw quotes they liked that happen to come from Hitler. Isn't that their right. Political Correctness will be the end of us all.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Police lawsuit

Wow, this is pretty rediculous. I'd like to get paid for dreams I have about work at night. Or maybe when I just think about work. Or maybe when i say the word work.

"A Day Without a Mexican"

It was several months ago when I rented this movie from Blockbuster. It cronicled what would happen if all Mexicans disapeared from the face of the earth. Nothing got done. Crops died, restaurants closed. It was madness. It was a really good movie for looking like it was done on a shoestring budget. It's funny how sometimes art imitates life, then life imitates art.

So far the Day without an Immigrant seems to be going smoothly. For their sake I hope it continues that way. I have mixed feelings on the illegal immigrant situation. On the one hand, I believe all of our workers should be treated and paid with respect. They should have some benefits and be paid at least minimum wage. Many illegals are already here and we're already taking care of them so why don't we include them. Have them pay taxes and have rights just like most other Americans. On the other hand, they did cross into the country illegally. We do have rules. Granting them "immunity" or giving them the same treatment I think is sort of a slap in the face to those who have gotten in or or trying to get into this country legally. From what I hear, it's a long process and know some people who are going through it. Also, what will adding millions of people to the tax roles really do to the economy and what the government can provide. The extra tax money would help, but would the demand for services outweigh the increase in taxes?

To be frank I don't know what to do. I normally fall on the side of human rights. I believe they should be treated like normal people. But they did enter illegally. That's not fair. Illegal immigrants do a lot for this country. Much like the slaves back in the day provided free labor allowing businessmen to keep profits, the illegals provide cheap labor keeping costs to the consumer down and allows businessmen to keep profits; Hmmm, I wonder what group is opposed to this? I guess this would be a modern day, voluntary slavery with wages. That doesn't even sound right.

On the surface it seems easy to lean one way or the other on the issue. Either let em in and give them comparible wages or keep them out until they can get in legally. But there is so much more to that. I wish I had an answer. Either way, each choice comes with consequences.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Here's something that's been on my mind for awhile now. My mom asked me this question when I was dating my ex-girlfriend Mary. Let me give you some backgrounnd...

Mary was part Spanish, part Chinese, but mostly grew up with white folks so basically she was white with a tint. I used to talk to her about minority issues, but she never understood.

Ok back to the present...I have a propencity to date white girls. That's not to say I don't date anyone else because I don't discriminate (at least not consciously). I women's a women and if she hot and smart (not necessarily in that order) I'm down. Just so happens I've dated a lot of white girls.

Anyway, I fashion myself as a person who is socially aware of who I am, a black man living in a world where mostly white folks are in charge. I speak out about a lot of issues affecting minorities, especially black folks. I want to see disenfranchised folks get ahead, whatever race they may be. As I grow older and become a professional or academic, whatever, I find myself wanting to speak to students about minority issues, maybe as a professor.

So the question I pose to whomever is listening is can a minority dating or married to a white person lose credibility when speaking about minority issues? A friend of mine said that if Louis Farekhan (sp?) fell in love with a white woman he'd have to step down as the leader of the Nation of Islam. I told her she was crazy, but would he really have credibility to talk about the white man being the devil? How does marrying a minority affect your political views (not repub or demo, but issues involving minorities)? No matter whom I'm with, I'm going to still speak of the injustices of the world.

Back to my mom, she always asked me how I can talk about the man stepping on the toes of black folks when I'm dating a white girl. Just told her I didn't know, but I wasn't going to stop.