What’s coming up….

Not to toot our own horn but…

Here’s what’s coming up soon!

“How To Win At Getting a Job”

“The Burden of Being Young and Intelligent”

“Decisive Racism vs. Racial Ignorance”

‘What Your Advisor Won’t Tell You About College”

…and more.

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Coltrane.

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Don’t Drink the Green Seawater: Conversations With The Guys #2

“Conversations with the Guys” is a recurring series where we recount… well… conversations with the guys. This is always verbatim, raw, and uncut.

Scene: At the Beach, A Few of The Fellas and I are at a BBQ. Food and beverages are being served and consumed in copious amounts, as one might expect. Fella 1 (an MBA student) and Fella 2 (a young engineer) are having a conversation, along with some of the other guys.

Fella 1: (Staring at a public restroom about 1000 feet away) Man, I have to urinate… I just don’t want to walk over there.

Fella 2: Why don’t you just get in the water and go in the ocean? No one will know.

Fella 1: (Acting as if he’s somewhat repulsed by the idea) That’s disgusting. I don’t want to go in the water. Beside, I’m special, I can’t be spreading my DNA everywhere like that.

Fella 2: But hold on, Biologically speaking, isn’t spreading our DNA our sole purpose in life? That’s why I urinate in the ocean at any chance I get. That’s why I feel so darned good doing it too, it’s the feeling of living with purpose! (Everyone laughs, and continues drinking beer. End scene.)

Climate Change CartoonOn another more serious note, pay attention to how climate change and water policies are being handled in your community, state, and neighbourhood. A few decades ago, people predicted that water policy would be the next great political battleground, and that many wars this century will be fought over the way countries claim and manage their water. Here in the states, if your community isn’t putting measures in place to deal with water levels (in coastal cities such as mine) and water shortages, then it is sure to become a hot-button topic soon (and possibly, a business opportunity for you).

 

Token Black Guy Stories: The Wiz of Oz

Ed. Note: This is the first in a series of stories about being a token black guy. Enjoy.

When you’re a token black guy, you get used to conversations like this:

Scene: A “regular” office at an “everyday” e-commerce firm. A conversation strikes up about the original “Wizard of Oz” film. A group of employees are discussing the metaphorical connection between “The Wizard of Oz” and the gold standard, which serves no purpose except for proving that they actually paid attention during US History 101 in college.

Token Black Guy (bored, attempting to divert a conversation that had ridiculously become about returning the gold standard): “You know what’s funny? I never actually saw The Wizard of Oz until I was in (a private) High School.”

Coworkers: “What!??” “I can’t believe it!”, etc.

Surprised “Patriotic” Coworker (Half-Jokingly): “That’s Simply un-American”

TBG: “Well I did see The Wiz at least 100 times when I was younger”

Surprised “Patriotic” Coworker:“What’s The Wiz?”

TBG:“It’s a ‘soul’ take off ‘…Oz’ with Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor, and Diana Ross. It was adapted from a Broadway musical and features songs by Charlie Smalls, Luther Vandross, Quincy Jones, and Ashford & Simpson. If you haven’t heard the song ‘Ease on Down the Road’ or seen the movie, then you’re missing a great piece of American art.”

Surprised “Patriotic” Coworker (tentatively, obviously not wanting to offend me): “I’m not totally sure how I feel about that….”

The Moral of The Story: 

Not everyone grew up wearing out VHS cassettes of “The Wiz”, “Lean on Me”, “Ghost Dad”, “Boys in the Hood”, in addition to all the regular Disney faire. That’s something only black people do. It’s funny to see people’s reactions when they find out that there are (gasp!) distinct cultural discrepancies in the way we entertained ourselves growing up… even “nice” black people like me! Wow! </sarcasm>

Does A Year Make a Difference?

Today marks a year since the last time I’ve posted on #YGBfiles. Although not adding anything new to the ‘files was (1) initially due to a frenetic work schedule, it later became due to (2) unchecked perfectionism, which eventually (3) transitioned into an uninspired state, which later (4) devolved into neglect, then somehow, finally evolved into (5) an exercise in observation (“An observation of what?”, you ask. An observation of life, and check the title of this post).

6 Stages of Blogging

How to Come Back. (6) is blogging again… hoorah.

Over the last year, I’ve grown a lot and have experienced a lot overall, but I don’t think I’ve experienced or grown enough. Time will be the judge of that. I won’t bore you by regaling you with tales of exactly what happened or what I’ve learned during the last year, but I will say that I sense I’m on the cusp of a personal revolution of sorts, and it will definitely influence what will be printed here. So world be prepared, I have a chock full of ideas, a hand full of typing power, and a head full of steam. And strong black coffee.

Black Coffee Album Cover

My “Black Coffee”…In Reality I’m More of a Tea Man Myself

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Trinidad James (By A Trini-American)

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Trinidad James (Written By A Trini-American)

Some Thoughts & Observations On The Politics Of Cultural Identity.

It’s quite ironic to me that on the 50th anniversary of Trinidad and Tobago’s Independence, an extremely controversial figure would finally emerge from the Trinidadian diaspora. That figure happens to be as in-your-face as they come, and many Trinis- and West Indians, for that fact- who are in my age group still can’t decide whether to love him or hate him. His name is James, Trinidad James. 

“Trinidad James is a quandary. I still can’t tell if he’s a gunta* or a comedian”
-A Trini American
*gunta= a Trinidadian term meaning a gangster; a roughneck

“I’m sick of all these rappers claiming Trini. Stop it. Just stop it.”
-A Trinidadian in Trinidad

So let’s take a minute and breathe. It’s been a while since Trinidad James first appeared on the scene, and the world has not come to an end. Trinidad James is not the death of the reputation that Trinibagonians have worked so hard to build in the United States. All the Trinis and “foreign Trinis” who have made their influence known in academics, entertainment, and sport do not have to hang their head in shame and fold up their red, white, and black flags.

Who is Trinidad James?

For those of who aren’t part of the WorldStarHipHop crowd or who have been living under a rock for the past few months, Trinidad James is the latest rapper to emerge in today’s heavily diluted mainstream rap scene. He has a hit song called “All Gold Everything”, which contains such poignant lyrics as “nigganigganigganigga” (I’m not joking). He is currently one of the brightest stars in the “trap” rap genre, which is a mostly Southern genre that doesn’t thrive on “skills” and lyrical acrobatics the way traditional (New York) hip hop does, but does thrive on old-school braggadocio, catchy hooks, oversimplified lyrics, and rappers who are oversized caricatures of their true or imagined selves. In a genre cluttered with caricatures that are as inflated as balloons, Trinidad James’ own is as large and conspicuous as a Goodyear blimp.

James’ caricature, if you will, is as unique as they come. In a way, Trinidad James’ style is like a calypsonian of old; he wears lots of gold and is blessed with an eye for making the outlandish and even the outrageous stylish, and has done a great job of creating his persona with BET and YouTube audiences in mind. In interviews, James has even admitted that the “All Gold Everything” version of himself is just that- a persona that was created for the cameras.

So what’s the problem with Trinidad James?

If there are any ideals that are universally embraced by the Trini-American diaspora, it’s that you should be unique, you should work hard to ascend to the top of your game, and you should play by your own rules on the way up. The “problem” with Trinidad James is just that- he’s unique and he’s ascended to the top of his game, but because his game is “trap rap”, there’s a major issue.

See, many Trini-born and Trini-descended rappers are considered legends of hip hop: MF Doom, KRS-One, Foxy Brown, Guru (Gang Starr), Phife Dawg (Tribe Called Quest), Fresh Kid Ice (2 Live Crew), Chip Fu (Fu Schnickens)Nicki Minaj, and several others have left a permanent mark on the genre, but none of them have engendered the amount of hatin’ by their own people that James has.


Above: Trini O.G.s Chip-Fu & Phife Dog back in the day.

Although Trini-Americans as a group traditionally favor assimilation after immigration  more than other immigrant groups do (as opposed to cultural segregation after immigration), and are therefore usually less patriotic about “home” than, say, Jamaican-Americans, many of these rappers- most notably Minaj, Phife, and Chip Fu- have flown the flag high. Unlike James, all of these rappers have emerged from the more “respectable” realm of New York hip hop. The lone exception of this group is easily the most controversial figure (Fresh Kid Ice), but he was definitely overshadowed by the person of one Luke Campbell.

So when Trinidad James arrived on the scene as Southern and unrefined as hogmog and chitlins, it was bound to turn heads of Trinidadians and Trini-Americans alike. What was shocking was that he was not just about shouting out Trinidad in interviews or songs, it was part of his name; as in your face as could be. Even in the music video for “All Gold Everything”, Trini flags are omnipresent. What was even worse is that this Trini-ness is attached to a lyrical presentation that embodies what’s really wrong with rap. Upon taking in this entire package, most Trinis immediately reacted as most blacks would if they saw Barack Obama holding a 40 oz and a blunt in his hand- they were extremely shocked and understandably perturbed.

Destroying the “We Ting” mentality

If you’re not Trinidadian, and you’ve seen how Trinidadians have reacted negatively to James’ fame, you may be wondering why Trinis have reserved such virulent criticism for James, aside from the fact that he’s not necessarily the first person you’d want to represent your country (he’s definitely not a Sergio Mendez-like music ambassador… or even a Rihanna-like ambassador, at that). A major part of their issue has to do with one of Trinidad’s biggest cultural problems: the “We Ting” mentality. “We Ting” is Trinidadian nationalistic snootiness; it has helped Trinidad develop a very unique culture, but has also kept Trinidad from marketing its culture and making a fortune off of it the way Jamaica has. That’s why when Trinidadians see an “outsider” flying Trinidad’s flag high- even if that person is a born Trinidadian like James- they take issue with it.

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A frame from “All Gold Everything”

Respect His Gangsta

I’ve spent the whole article explaining why Trinis don’t like Trinidad James, now it’s time to explain some of the reasons why I respect him and why you should too (even if you don’t like him), especially if you’re Trinidadian or Trini-American

First Off, if you ever hear James in an interview, it will totally change your perception of him. James is a master of code switching; while his lyrics and rap persona are “trap”, in his interviews, he is extremely well spoken and measured in his thoughts, and his words hold a quiet confidence and underlying wisdom that you usually wouldn’t expect from a 55-year old, much less today’s generation of twenty-somethings. If you get a chance to hear his mixtape, this personal maturity shows through in many instances. If you’re a hip-hop fan, then I know you’re probably saying something about how Nas made Illmatic when he was 17, so I shouldn’t be making excuses for a 20-something year old man, but Nas is also arguably the greatest rapper of all time. That is Nas, and this is Trinidad James.

As a side note, James’ code switching ability is even more impressive than I originally thought. He recently appeared in a series of interviews in Trinidad where he surprised many people by speaking with a perfect Trini accent (see one of them here).

Secondly, if James’ code switching says anything, it shows that James gets it. He knows what he’s doing. To become a superstar and control your own destiny in today’s rap game, it takes a combination of knowing what satisfies the powers-that-be, knowing how to appeal to the masses, knowing how to sell an image, and managing to somehow stay sane through it all. Rappers like Jay-Z and Nas have mastered this formula, and James seems to have a grasp of this formula, too. I respect any artist who understands this, even if I don’t like the impression that their music leaves on the youth of today.

Thirdly, given the amount of time he’s been rapping (1 year), the budget that he created his debut mixtape with (shoestring) and his life story (went to prison, turned his life around, opened a legitimate business, and now doing what he can to support his mother), I have to respect James’ grind and ambition. You should too.

Last of all, James really isn’t that bad. If you’re a Trinbagonian and you’re hating on James, then there’s a good chance that you’re a kettle calling the pot black, because face it: he’s an American version of you. Trinidad James curses a lot. Trinidadian people curse a whole lot. Trinidad James marginalizes women by talking about his side chicks and calling them “bitches”. Trinidadian men marginalize women all the time- referring to women by names like “ting”, “bird”, “thick sauce”, “darkie”, “dah big bamsie ting dey” 🙂 etc. isn’t much different than calling women “bitches”, and the concept of “outside woman” was not invented in Trinidad, but it was perfected there. Trinidad James raps about popping mollies to have a good time, and never mentions the dangers of taking this drug. Trinidadians glorify imbibing puncheon and other liquor in excess to have a good time, and never mention the dangers of that particular drug.

Now that I think about it, maybe one reason Trinis don’t like James is because seeing him is like taking a hard, long look in the mirror. Trinidadian society today resembles ancient Rome before its fall- there is tons of money to go around but the income gap is wide; the moral fiber of the country is nearly nonexistent, and the country itself has been on a downhill slope for quite a while now. I referred to caricatures earlier- on the surface, Trinidad James’ persona is a caricature of Trinidad.

My Last Thought On Trinidad James

At the end of the day, Trinidad James is part of a new generation of “hyphenated Americans” who have completely assimilated into American culture, but are also proud of their roots. As I already stated, all of the “Trini” rappers that I mentioned earlier are from New York (Fresh Kid Ice lived in NYC before coming to Miami), where many- or possibly even most- rappers are descended from the Caribbean, and it’s not really a big deal to be West Indian in the first place. James, on the other hand is from the South, where being West Indian is the exception, not the norm.

I don’t know Trinidad James personally, but I’m willing to wager that a large part of his flag-raising identity comes from trying to conform to Southern culture, while still maintaining the values that made him different. Many young Americans from “hyphenated” backgrounds face this same challenge; in fact, my entire life has been shaped by this experience. Once I realized that Trinidad James is a product of this same experience, I stopped hating and started appreciating.

Do you agree with me? Do you think I’m an idiot? What’s your take on Trinidad James? Let me know what you think in the comment section below!

After Black History Month Ends, Black Empowerment Year Begins

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This Guy Is NOT Me.

Let’s end Black History Month as we know it.

Actually let me clarify that- we need to continue to observe black history month. I have no problem with making sure that America recognizes the remarkable story of how the most systematically marginalized group in this country’s history has contributed (and continues to contribute) so much to the country as a whole. Even though black history month is usually celebrated by recognizing the same great people every year (Jackie Robinson, MLK, George Washington Carver, etc.), to the point where (unfortunately) most Americans take their contributions and greatness for granted, it’s still important.

On that note, we (black people) should really take more of a role in creating the curriculum that we pass on to our own youth during this month. I believe that too much of the conversation during February is about figureheads that are given to us by the powers-that-be; it’s never about controversial figures who were all but written out of our history books (Paul Robeson, anyone?) or others who told people of color to stand on their own two feet (Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X). For young blacks, this creates the same utopian view of American history that suggests that the founding fathers were all Christlike in character, the Civil War was originally fought over slavery, and that will suggest we had some kind of business in going to Iraq the second time around.

But I digress. February has now passed us, and we’ve reached the third month of the year. My suggestion is that black people need to stop celebrating only Black History Month as a time of empowerment, and should start observing a Year of Black Empowerment instead. For the rest of this year, let’s honor our past, evaluate where we stand in the present, and plan and contribute toward a new future. In other words, let’s become empowered through February’s recognition of our past to create a new future. Let’s make this year black empowerment year.

What is black empowerment year?

A black empowerment year is a dedication to investment in human capital. That is all.

How Can I Empower Others?

If you’re #YoungGiftedAndBlack, here are some examples of what you can do for #BlackEmpowermentYear.

If you’re a finance mind: Go to your local church and/or school and teach young people the importance of effective personal financial planning and staying away from credit and crazy school loans. Remember how naive you were when you took those school loans? Keep someone else from doing the same thing.

If you’re a gifted businessman: Put seed money in the hands of young, gifted, and black innovators. Don’t just leave them there- spend the next year as their mentor.

If you’re a personal trainer: Work with your local church or community organization to create a fun fitness program for children, adults, the elderly, or families. Also speak on the value of healthy eating.

If you’re well-educated: Volunteer as a tutor for someone who can’t afford it. Give a young person the instruction he or she deserves. 2 or 3 hours of your time will mean the world to kids and their families.

If you love sports: Stop playing fantasy football and Madden, and give back to the game you love. Try your hand at coaching. Even if you don’t have the time to be a coach, spend an hour or two weekly as a volunteer ref.

If you love others but only have a few extra seconds each day: Every day for the next 40 days, give a different person a sincere compliment, or say “thank you” for something you don’t usually say “thank you” for.

If you love yourself: Black empowerment starts with yourself. Get your own business in order. Take the time to evaluate yourself and where you stand in life mentally, spiritually, socially, and physically, then identify 3 areas where you can use some improvement. For the next 40 days, take just a few minutes a day to work on those areas. A bit of dedication can take you very far.

If you love yourself but only have a few extra seconds each day: Come up with a 1 paragraph motivational speech for yourself. Even if your speech is an exercise in cheese, write it down, then look yourself in the mirror every morning and say that speech with conviction. Eventually you’ll start believing whatever you wrote. If it worked for me, it’ll work for anyone.

You Probably Aren’t Malcolm X

No one is asking you to be the next Martin Luther King or WEB DuBois, because you are not Martin Luther King or WEB DuBois. These men and other figures were visionaries who happened to be supported by an incredible brain, physical, and financial trust. No one is asking you to start the next United Negro College Fund, unless you actually have those kind of resources at your disposal. Instead, if just a few young, gifted, and black people take time to do a little something extra for the black community, it will bear tremendous results. In this day and age, it’s needed more than ever.

Do you have anything to add? Would you like to get rid of black history month? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Pondering My Mortality: A Brief Thought

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I just read that as of 2010, the average life expectancy for black males at birth was between 68 (for urban males) and 71 (for those living in middle america). So statistically speaking, I’ve already lived out over 1/3 of my life.

I’d better get on top of this world domination thing fast, time’s a-wasting.

Stats courtesy of United States Centers For Disease Control

How To Network and Prime Yourself For Success, #YGB-style

“Network smarter first, then network harder; but get used to the tokenism on the way up.” –#YGB Ed.

“A #YGB Man is a New Renaissance Man” -A friend of mine.

If you want to live a successful (successful in the Western sense, not in the most pragmatic sense) and well-rounded* life, you need to be a part of several different circles (*pun absolutely intended). Today’s world is about networking; that’s the easiest way to get ahead. No man is an island, and that’s especially true today.

It takes time to build connections such as these, but once you do, it’s well worth it. People often ask me why I don’t leave this city and move up the East Coast where I can make more money. Aside from the fact that Miami suffers from a serious dearth of #YGB brothers (and someone has to fill the gap), the truth is that most of my business contacts are here, I’ve built circles in Miami, and I’m not ready to rebuild them in another city just yet. Or maybe it’s just that I just haven’t gotten sick of the people here yet.

1. The Elite/Affluent/Connected Circle
When I say affluent, I don’t mean “people that own their own businesses”. When I say “connected”, I don’t mean “people that know how to get into VIP at the club” (although that certainly is important). Instead, when I say “affluent”, I mean “people who own their own businesses that own their own businesses”, and when I say “connected” I mean “people who the governor/mayor/university president/other people have in their phonebook”. These people are what our society calls ‘elites’.  The funniest thing is that I didn’t get into this circle through incessant brown-nosing or being rich; I’ve gotten into this network through dumb luck, having potential, and dating people’s daughters (I’m not joking), which was totally unintentional, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

1a. The Network/Professional Circle
It’s important to have a circle that contains contacts within your chosen field of work. If you’re into fashion, for example, it wouldn’t help you much to have a professional circle of social workers. Instead, you need to be cool with photographers, fashion writers, stylists, models, fabric vendors, distributors, and the like who are hustling just as hard as you are. “Cool with” means that you can call them to have a drink at anytime, then talk about your horrible relationships and industry trends in back-to-back sentences. If you don’t have time to make contacts like these, I recommend checking out networking events or trade shows geared toward your profession, or joining a professional or alumni association.

2. The Cultured/Intellectual Circle
So, you’ve realized that many of the people within your (#1) circle are little more than money-hungry power, tail, and recognition chasers. You busted your butt to get your education, and NPR just doesn’t cut it for you when it comes to intellectual fodder. Sometimes you just yearn to discuss what you feel are the parallels between Coltrane’s later work and the abstract expressionist movement. There are those moments where you just have to rap about quantum game theory with someone who understands. And of course, it’s important to know that one guy who can not only tell you about the best ‘underground’ restaurant in town, but will also tell you who the chef is, where he was educated, what his philosophy is toward cooking, and what’s on the wine list.

Raphael's "School of Athens": Plato and Aristotle Detail

These days, “The School of Athens” would leave you enlightened… and six figures in debt.

All these people fall into the cultured/educated circle. This circle is dedicated to their favorite art or their chosen field of study, and as a result, will probably never be as rich or influential as 1’s; mostly because they’re $150,000 in debt after getting their liberal arts education from some private college in California. It’s a shame, but it’s also reality. However, this crew will keep your mind expanding and your thoughts fresh, and will inspire you to stay educated.

Don’t think this circle is important? Try creating an intelligent discourse with yourself. It’s just not as fun, and people will think you’re nuts.

3. The Spiritual Circle
This is probably the most neglected circle in modern society. Today, we’re so hungry for money and physical comforts that we often neglect the spiritual side of ourselves, which is more important to our overall well being than being rich or having things. Why? You can’t buy permanent peace and joy, and you certainly can’t buy spiritual health. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re lying (for those who are critical of the church, I’m definitely not referring to tithing in a Biblically sound manner here. Tithe and offer away, folks). So don’t forget about your spiritual growth- have people around you who you trust to advise you spiritually. Have some elders in this group; have some religious scholars, have some people your age who can give you an example to follow. I won’t get into a discussion about metaphysics or anything, but I do know that working at my spiritual growth has certainly made MY life better. Where can you find people like this? Join a good church and participate, you’re bound to meet the right kind of people.

4. The Black/Ethnic circle
Chances are, if you’re going to be excelling at a certain field, or if you moved away from home to go to a non-HBCU college, then you are not being surrounded by other people your color/ethnic background. If you haven’t been exposed to this yet, the “token black guy” thing is real, and it sucks. It’s important to have some brothers/sisters who you can refer to periodically to keep your soul glowin’, otherwise you’ll forget how to dance, you’ll think Boston Market’s food actually tastes good, you’ll become docile, and you’ll think pale skin and anorexia is attractive. I’m serious. Do the right thing and don’t become a house negro.

Token Black Guys: Herman Cain, Republican mascot.

If you end up being the token black guy, at least TRY to keep it real. Don’t end up becoming a mascot.

Warning: This may involve some serious code switching, or else you will get clowned on. Although it’s apparently controversial to those who aren’t usually exposed to it, President Obama is currently the patron saint of this- check how his accent changes when he speaks with a black audience.

Also: See Addendum #2

5. The Real Circle

“They say the close ones will hurt you/ so I keep a small circle”-Nas

Last but not least, you need to have a very, very small circle of real friends. These friends will tell you when you’re wrong, will come check up on you when you’re not feeling well, and will travel from hours away just to hang out and have a few drinks at your place (then will eat all your food the next morning without asking; that’s a real friend), and you would do the same for them. Most importantly, your real circle will have your back when your chips are down, and will be the first ones to help pull you up, which can’t always be said for circles 1-4. To quote Chris Rock: “You know who knows who his real friends are? Vanilla Ice”.

Stereotypical Black Family

This is the first result when you google “black family”. Is it just me, or does that guy kinda look like Alfonso Ribeiro?

For those of you who are like me and don’t live close to home anymore, it’s easy to forget about the realest part of the real circle: your family. Even though you may not be able to stand them, and they may not be able to stand you, don’t neglect them. You only have one group of blood relatives, and that’s never going to change. Throughout history in the West, the black family has been a fractured organization; it’s time to break those chains and move forward and appreciate your family.

To Summarize Everything I’ve Just Said: Acquaint yourself with a diverse group of people, and “network for your net worth“. It’s as simple as that.

Addendums:

Addendum 1: Some men might argue that it makes sense to have a different lady friend for every circle. Only a couple years ago, in my young naïveté, I would’ve agreed. Now that I’m a bit older, I realized that if you’re a man and you plan to live in all these circles, you should look for a unique woman who is comfortable in all these circles, which is relatively easy considering that there is a surplus of “good” black women these days. There’s a lot less drama that way, anyway ;). If you’re a woman, your pickings are little more slim, so it’s best to find a man who knows better than to embarrass you and who can fit in just one of these brackets. This proves the classic point: men choose, women settle.

Addendum 2: On the fourth circle: If you’re like me (i.e., you think white churches are boring) your #3 circle may also do double duty as an extended part of your #4 circle. The truth is that there’s actually a #4 circle for circles 1-3, and they’re filled with people just like you. Examples are as follows, the “b” indicates black.

1b+1ab. Every city has a “black professionals” association, and every city has a group of elite people of color (who aren’t part of a professional sports team). Although it’s easy to think that many of these people are stuck up Uncle Toms (and some of them are), the truth is that many more of them are as down to earth and “normal” as can be. These people have offered me some of the best guidance that I’ve ever received, especially when it comes to working within the system and keeping it real.

2b. This group is as well-educated as anyone else in the 2’s, but they’re knowledgeable about “ethnic” things that most 2’s don’t know about. For example, most 2’s respect Bill Evans as a creative force, but 2b’s respect Evans and Erykah Badu. 2’s love Warhol, but 2b’s deal with Warhol and Ernie Barnes. 2’s? Social Theory. 2b’s? Social Race Theory.

On fake 2b’s: Try to follow me here….There is a group of people who masquerade as 2b’s but only love 2b things, and not 2 things. Those people are actually educated yet semi-ignorant 4’s masquerading as 2b’s. It’s not 1970; cultural inclusion is important.

Do you have any “circles” to add? Do you think this is totally untrue and a load of garbage? Let us know in the comments section.

In Brief: Why we’re voting today.

Why should you take the time to vote today (if you haven’t done it already)?

-If you’re a man of color, you wouldn’t have been able to vote until 142 years ago (15th amendment), which isn’t that long of a time in a historical context.

-If you’re a woman, your right to vote was only granted less than 100 years ago (19th amendment).

-If you’re broke or in the 18-20 year old set *ahem, college students*, then your right to vote has only been protected for less than 50 years (24th and 26th amendment); your parents have probably been alive longer.

So if you’re a person of color, if you’re a woman, if you’re broke, or if you’re between 18 and 21, take advantage of what your forebears for had to fight for VERY RECENTLY, and remember that the burden of history AND the future is upon you! Vote!

YGB Ed. says: Don’t forget to pay attention to your local, state, bond/referendum, and congressional elections too. In many cases, those have more of a bearing on your day-to-day life than the Presidential race does.

Barack Obama - The Reelection

Hopefully all of America will be copping this album come November 6.

From the RNC: “WE BUILT IT” (Caption that photo)

"We Built It" & National Debt Clock

I asked a few friends of mine to caption this photo from the Republican National Convention. As is the trend with many recent college graduates in this country today, all of them majored in political science, but none of them are actually working in that field, so it’s about time they put their degrees to work. Here’s what I got:

John W., Palm Beach, FL: “They’re right… the Republicans DID build it- that massive national debt”

Roy. D., Tampa, FL: “Well said… in a stadium built with 62% public financing”

Brendan H., Houston, TX (lifelong Republican): “Don’t they have any idea what the internet can do with a picture like this? (Sarcastically) Good job, guys.”

Anonymous, Miami, FL. “hmm… this is better than Mission Accomplished!”

Our Response:

WE built this- slave.Do you have your own caption for the photo? Please leave it below