Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Respectable Negro New Year's Resolutions in 2008

For time immemorial, people have made New Year's Resolutions. In the spirit of this time honored tradition, we, in our inaugural year, offer the following--

Respectable Negro Resolutions for 2008:

  1. We resolve that as a nation we need to stop saggin'. Stated differently, these United States of America need to stop showing their collective asses and looking raggedy to the rest of the world;
  2. We resolve to ask ourselves if they are laughing with us, as opposed to at us? Do "they" really get our jokes?
  3. We resolve never to support authors and pundits who profit from positioning black men and women as enemies.
  4. We resolve to elect our leaders rather than have them either appointed by the media or be self-appointed. Relevant question: how in the hell does one earn the title of "black leader?"
  5. Like the rest of the world, we resolve to get some Euros and to use them as our benchmark currency;
  6. As black men and black women, we resolve to work harder to understand each other and to address our problems as a collective issue in our community;
  7. We resolve to condemn all efforts to paint black folks as a monolithic ideological group;
  8. We resolve to be more sympathetic to tragic mulattos (qualifier: this only refers to those who are truly tragic, and not to all mulattoes);
  9. We resolve to be less sympathetic to self-destructive black athletes and entertainers;
  10. We resolve to follow the example set by of our nation's leaders and to never, ever snitch;
  11. We resolve to not frame our decisions and actions in response to white expectations;
  12. We resolve to always keep in mind that, in spite of the success and power we might attain as individuals, we as Black people have yet to see success as a group in the promised land (A Luta Continua!);
  13. We resolve to critique adolescent-minded music made by people pushing 40, but we also resolve not to praise mediocre music simply because it's "positive."
  14. We resolve to complain to the management at local bookstores about their conflation of "niggerlit" with African American literature. (Candy Licker shouldn't be shelved next to Their Eyes were Watching God);
  15. We resolve to learn Mandarin and/or Cantonese;
  16. We resolve to do more for each other.


Anonymous said...

In re #14, can you also complain to your local bookstore about segregating black authors, period?

Candy Licker should be in erotic fiction, and Their Eyes Were Watching God should be in literature. Just plain ol' literature.

Putting all those authors in the "African American interest" section doesn't really tell you what the books are about, it just tells you that the authors have something in common. The booksellers can just shovel books by black authors into that section without treating them with the regard with which they treat other authors, without thinking about the sections where those books truly belong.

Since many (most?) shoppers browse by genre, black genre authors whose works are cordoned off can lose out that way.

The "African American interest" section is just too easy -- for both booksellers and readers, but especially for the booksellers.

T. said...

When you were talking about praising mediocre music just for being "positive" in #13, I was so hoping that would be a Common clip attached.

Anonymous said... *chuckles*

I HATE the Borders/Books a Million/Barnes & Noble Ghetto. A a BOOKstore!!

I died 1000 deaths when I saw The Fire Next Time on the same shelf as "Charge it to the Game" or whatever it was.

I resolve to recommend real books to women on the Metro instead of "Queen of the Hood" or the latest nigglature.

Finally, I resolve to strip down all Candy Licker signs on the Metro.

deva said...

An excellent list! I have to say, I especially like #8 and #14. I'm not sure I've ever actually witnessed a real-life tragic mulatto, but when I do I can certainly resolve to be full of compassion. And I don't know that I've ever fully recognized the sinking feeling that I have when I enter the "African American interest" section of the bookstore, but it is not entirely unlike the feeling I get when I see young people slinging rocks on the westside of Chicago. Both always make me think, Are you serious? Is this who we are? very depressing, indeed.

T. said...

I'm not sure I've ever actually witnessed a real-life tragic mulatto

Check the blog roll by the sidebar under "The Respectable Negro Don't Like"

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything, especially #7. I'm getting sick and tired of certain negroes,usually on alternet and fans of Alfred Ofari Hutchinson, that think all black people think with that victimization mindset,and quick to jump on any Black person that disagrees as a bourgeosie token, when in actuality their the uptight negroes.