DARRYL JAMES

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running all Summer. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

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The Evolution of Sex

By Darryl James

The Bridge: The Evolution of Sex?

By Darryl James

ev·o·lu·tion  any process of formation or growth; development

Whenever humans want to do something divergent from what is “traditional,” the first route of making things easier to digest is to call it “evolution.”

Sometimes, it is evolution. For example, eliminating slavery was growth toward man’s humanity to man. Abuse and evil are things to be evolved away from.

Garnering parity within the national community for all citizens is evolution for America, even though we’re not there yet.

But sometimes, people label something evolution or revolution, and its frankly, the opposite, or just stagnation.

Take the so-called “sexual revolution” for example. Without any real “evolution,” it was just something people did. Since that era, there has been more sex, but no real growth in ideas about sex and/or sexuality–just chaos and confusion. Particularly, since the results are arguably negative and backward, which is a sign of de-evolution.

Have we arrived at a place where we can exchange sex freely without connecting it to anything?

The answer can only be determined by examining what once was and what currently is.

In the 60’s people talked about a sexual revolution with the lie of “free love,” but all that happened was the de-evolution of love and relationships as people began to sex more and marry less, because hooking up for sex has become more important than connecting for love. That’s not evolution, that’s de-evolution.

And let’s be honest, men can be whores, because they don’t seek the same needs from a sexual encounter as women—the need to be valued, honored, respected, loved and cherished. Human females have always expected those things when allowing a man to take advantage of their sexuality. Most still want it today—even after participating in free love, hence the pursuit of redefining “whore.”

So what happens when the sex is given and no connection is given in exchange?

Frankly, women and children cannot afford the wages of sexual freedom.

More children raised by single parents is not evolution. More women growing old and alone without companionship and/or protection is not evolution. The world can change and be cold and cruel, but evolution is supposed to be about making us into something better. Sexing more with wider spread of disease and less comfort is not evolution.

Things are worse, not better.

And, while some women want men to make peace with female whorishness, they themselves have difficulty with it. Women rarely revere whores and many go to great lengths to disguise their whorish past, speaking hypothetically about whores they know who should be given freedom.

Participating in discussions with women who want random and prolific sexual proclivities to be recognized as evolution and not just plain whorishness gives another example of the misuse of evolution. Particularly when some of those same women express regret over pursuing lust instead of love, and exchanging sex for gifts or for nothing at all, only to end up with no human emotional attachment after the “freedom” has been expressed.

Things have changed, but that doesn’t make it evolution. There is more sex, but that isn’t growth. After all, isn’t random, unattached sex what humans were doing before we formed societies—before we were civilized?

Here’s what HAS changed: Women who would have been called whores in previous times for exhibiting whorish behavior, today no longer want the label, even though they embrace the actions. The push back is claiming that men are unable to handle the behavior, but if men can’t handle it (which really means men don’t want it), doesn’t that signal that there has been no evolution, particularly since all women aren’t on the same program, leaving men with CHOICES?

There was a time when women kept their sexual partner numbers down because it just made good sense for a lady to do. Now, some just get mad at men for not redefining “lady” and “whore.” Instead of keeping the Poison Principle (from BBD’s song: “Me and the crew used to do her…”), whores now just throw it back on men for being “sensitive.”

Men now hear comments such as:  “You are too ‘sensitive’ for not wanting to wife a woman half the town has sexed,” and “If you were a ‘real man,’ you’d be able to handle the fact that your brother and cousin had your fiance first.”

The bottom line is that neither the whole of men nor the whole of women have really evolved with sex and sexuality–we’ve just begun to talk about it more, and some of us have begun to sex more.

If there were a true evolution, the oxytocin that gets released when a woman is held by a man she has been sexed by wouldn’t be as strong. If we were truly evolved, it would no longer be easy to define a whore and a lady–and, let’s be honest, the definitions have not changed.

Comedian Steve Harvey may not have had evolution on his mind when he penned “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man,” but his message certainly added to the confusion. After all, thinking like something typically leads to acting like that same something.

Frankly, it’s not a good idea for men to be whores either, but the consequences are cheaper to pay for.

Whether you agree or not, the great equalizer has been the widespread transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, attaching a very high cost to “free” love.

That ain’t evolution.

The Bridge: Dirty Black Secrets, Part 4—The Dirtiest Secrets

By Darryl James

One of the dirtiest Black secrets of all is that Black people have kept themselves enslaved.

The enslavement has been perpetuated largely by pretending that there is no racism. But also by passing lies and mythology about ourselves.

Many Blacks think we are doing worse than we really are because of the lies they pass around about us.

Let’s start with the biggest lie of all—stupid knee grows love lying about how Africans the world over are lost because they were fighting before Europeans came to Africa.  Well, guess what, dumb ass knee grows? So were the Europeans!  Humans have been fighting since there were humans.  This is neither a reason nor an excuse for the predators to come into a continent and begin the world’s worst treatment of humans.

But, really, who hurts us more than the most vicious white racist?

We do.

We harm ourselves with our inability to police ourselves.

The worst behavior will be defended if the perpetrator is an athlete or entertainer.

One of our dirtiest Black secrets is that, sadly, many of us love being Niggers.

There is no ugly definition of us that many of us won’t be willing to aspire to, up to and including being Niggers—in all the ugly derisive lack of glory in the meaning of the word.

Where our public behavior was once of dignity, many of us now aspire to be as undignified as possible. Males (not men) walk around with their underwear showing, accenting their butts and females (not women) walk around with as much of their precious sexuality on display. Tattoos are on chests and breasts, backs and thighs and on necks and ears—not body art, but body dirt that inhibits job searches and other opportunities where basic dignity is required.

Males have gone soft, while females act hard and menacing, fighting in public like men used to do.

Many of us look like garbage and act like garbage—all the while referring to each other as “Nigger” in front of anyone who can hear. The stupidest, most destructive thing we ever did was to pretend that using that ugly word in public was some sort of “revolution.”

The word hasn’t changed, but unfortunately, we have.

And we love our Black Athletes and entertainers—especially when they are acting like Niggers.

It’s a problem that horse faced Jay-Z can talk about all the money he has but neither he nor his wife do much to create anything better for the kids who are coming up in the same neighborhoods they pushed themselves up off of to get out of.

The fact that no one has killed he and that other self-hating bitch Kanye West is a testament to our willingness to allow our talented filth to drag our image and standing through the world’s mud.

How dare these two self-destructive pieces of defecation make a recording called “Niggas in Paris,” which essentially tells the world that wherever they go, they are still Niggers? And how dare Nas threaten to slap people for being angry that a white actress couldn’t wait to tweet that she was with those Niggas in Paris and was therefore also a Nigga herself?

Another one of our dirtiest Black secrets is that we are the most beautiful people on the planet and everyone wants what we have, yet we want to alter everything about ourselves, from our lips and hips to hair and from our skin color to our eyes?

Secretly, we are not the only ones. Asians abhor the sun and the darkness it gives their skin, which is why they wear wraparound sun visors and walk with umbrellas in the sun. Whites risk sunburn and skin cancer every day just to get some color—any color—on their skin. Why? Because they hate themselves.

Yet, they have convinced us that we are to be hated and many of us line up for the hating. And we hate ourselves most when we pretend that we are something else.

Hispanics love to pretend away their African ancestry to focus on trying to be some “other” or even white. And sadly, many islanders love to pretend that they are anything other than African American. For example, Lisa Nicole Carson volunteered to the media that her pet peeve was being “mistaken” for African American. She clarified that she was a Jamaican from Canada. Um, yeah, but you look just like us…

Dead of brain and dead of soul, we act like we are all good because a few of us are financially good.

Who is really damaging us?

Our dirtiest secret the world over is that we have seen the enemy…and he/she is us.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

The Bridge: Dirty Black Secrets, Part 2—Countering Lies & Deception

By Darryl James

Last week, I discussed a powerful dirty Black secret: Many Black women are a huge problem for Black America.

One of the reasons is that they are the strongest perpetrators of feminism in this nation. We saw in the 2008 election a powerful rejection of Hillary Clinton by older white men and younger white women who know she represents feminism. They know what the propaganda has done to American relationships and the roles of men and women. Yet, Black women act out the feminist propaganda on a regular basis, while many of them claim that they are not feminists.

According to Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister, “Propaganda works best when those being manipulated are confident that they are acting out of their own free will.”

And of course it’s propaganda. Otherwise, we would have to believe that Black women simply woke up and decided to become “independent,” and to proclaim loudly and prolifically that they “don’t need men.”

If it smells bad, it’s usually rotten.

But it’s not just Black women. Black people in general view every aspect of life from a deficit model, which begins with the assumption that something is wrong.

Both Black men and Black women have been inculcated with some of the most horrible propaganda about Black people, particularly about Black men. And they pass it around faster and more prolifically than any venomous racist ever could.

The dirty Black secret is that when it comes to propaganda, the enemy is Black.

Any given comedian would have the world believe that whites are perfect and, based on their punch lines, that Black people are everything that is wrong with the world.

This explains why we hear the “more Black men in prison than college” myth, and a host of other lies which paint the Black man in a horrible light.

According to the U.S. Census, there were around 17,945,068 Black males in the nation. Around 6.3 percent are in college and 4.7 percent are in prison.

My friend and colleague Janks Morton has updated the anti-Black Myth machine with a new book called “Black People Don’t Read: The Definitive Guide to Dismantling Stereotypes and Negative Statistical claims about Black Americans,” in which he illustrates that “The remaining 89 percent of Black men have already graduated from college, already served a prison sentence, have a life trajectory that does not involve college or prison, or are too young for either to apply.”

Morton agrees with me that Blacks have to stop talking about how poorly we are doing as a people for two reasons: First, because when we speak negatively, it affects our self-esteem and accordingly, our ability to succeed and Second, because many of the things we say simply are not the truth.

The dirty Black secret is that Black people—not white males or white women—perpetuate the myth that Black men are somehow a “dying breed.” Yet, in “Black People Don’t Read,” Morton illustrates that “according to the U.S. Census, since 1970 there are 3.9 million less White Males and 2.5 million more Black Males, age 15 to 25, in the U.S. population.”

And Black women do not escape the negative hype.

Any given moron will spout teen pregnancy as some epidemic causing Black women to drop out faster than flies. But if the moron did some real research, he would realize that, according to the Center for Disease Control, Black Teenage Pregnancy rates have been reduced by 56.42% from 1991-2009.

And while Black college enrollment could always be higher, Black men are not dropping out of high school and simply failing to garner a diploma. There is no 50% dropout rate. Again, according to the US Census, 83.43% of Black men over the age of 18 have a high school diploma, but when stats are negatively manipulated, we find that Black men who switch schools before graduating (from another school), or who miss a semester but finishes, or who test out before their class are not included because the focus of the negative statement is on Black men who graduate from 12th grade with their 9th grade class.

The dropout rate for Black males is 9.5%. Slap yourself.

Black men and Black women have been inculcated with some of the most horrible propaganda about Black people, particularly about Black men. And they pass it around faster and more prolifically than any venomous racist ever could.

Any give comedian would have the world believe that whites are perfect and, based on their punch lines, that Black people are everything that is wrong with the world.

Another dirty Black secret is that many of the institutions that were originally designed to help Blacks uplift themselves are in fact, the cause of Black misery in many cases.

Next Week: Dirty Black Secrets, Part 3—Alphabet Soup

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

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Dirty Black Secrets, Part 1

By Darryl James

Black people have some dirty little secrets.

We all see them, but we’re not supposed to talk about them.

But you already know that I just don’t care.

Here’s one:  Some Black women can be a huge problem for Black people.

Old crazy Darryl James has been saying it for years. I first talked about it in 2005 and people claimed I hated Black women.

But imagine the work that could have been done if we had simply acknowledged it.  We could have also rooted out the core issue and then began to work on some solutions.

Instead, we kept pretending that only Black men were problematic.

Black Americans trotted out every single problem plaguing Black people and laid them at the foot of Black men so that Black men could take the blame.

We pretended that only Black fathers were deadbeat, even though many single Black mothers were having babies by men who were ALREADY deadbeats, knowingly creating a larger pool of fatherless children, when instead we should have been chastising the single mothers who were choosing poorly—if the man has children that he doesn’t support or visit, why would he do anything differently with the children you give him? And if you know that you will be a single mother, why become a single mother? Multiple times?

We should have stopped pretending that there aren’t women who know full well that they will be bringing a child into the world with no male influence or involvement, but do so eagerly, because they simply want to be mothers.

But we continued to blame the men, with the likes of Bill Cosby telling Black women that Black men are simply “sperm shooting machines” who want only sex and then “walk away from a thing called fatherhood.”

We allowed anyone to claim that Black boys were “choosing” to drop out of high school while Black girls were perfect and progressing. We allowed anyone who desired to claim that there were more Black men going to prison than to college and more Black men dating white women than Black women and more Black men in poverty than Black women and that for these reasons, Black women were being left alone in the dating process or “forced” to date outside of the race.

We allowed broken women to lie about there being no good Black men, instead of focusing on the simple fact that many of the Black women who aren’t married simply aren’t marriage material.

And, too many Black women are acting like whores and thinking like men instead of acting like ladies and thinking like wives.

Yes, I said it—oversexed and under-loved (no self love and no love without sexual attachment), while blaming it all on Black men.

And it’s not like anyone in our race benefited, because far too many Black women are still turning 40 with zero marriage prospects, and far too many of them are raising Black boys and girls without male influence or involvement, while lying about how they don’t want or need a man for love or child rearing and blaming Black men for the results.

But today, that has to stop.

Because today, we have finally been given concrete evidence that there are some horrible Black women who have been tearing our race apart.

And we saw it with Gabby Douglas.

Hearing Black women—not white women or white men—tear this beautiful Black Olympian down made it clear that something was stinking and the smell was not coming from Black men.

That same stench facilitated the media’s virtual erasure of Gabby’s daddy as though he didn’t exist. The media was comfortable with it because for more than a decade Black women have been telling the media and the world that Black men were absent and essentially, that they weren’t necessary anyway.

I already know that some of you are getting your “he hates Black women” responses ready, but you should stop and use your brain, or slap yourself.

If we cannot finally embrace the fact that feminism, self-hatred and insidious racist propaganda have turned too many of us too far against Black men and that it seeped into the Black community through Black women and turned into something ugly, then we are doomed, because we will never face the hard cold facts, and so will never have any resolution.

Next week, I will present some hard cold facts that will turn many of the myths about Black men on their heads.

The hardest fact of them all is that many of the myths have been perpetuated by Black women.

We must admit to ourselves that just as there are horrible white men and women and horrible Black men, there are some horrible Black women who are wreaking havoc on our people and they are not all uneducated hoodrats.

The truth is that many of these are college educated Black women who claim to be perfect victims are also in the ranks of those who tear down our community by passing lies, but also by refusing to stand up against the destructive elements

Black women, you are not the victim of Black men.

You have not been simply abandoned and forced into single motherhood, you have not been abandoned at the educational success line and you have not been forced to grow old and alone.

Many of you have made some poor choices that have lead you into some bad situations, along with our children.

And I love you enough, love Black children enough, love Black people enough to tell you and to encourage everyone to stop lying to you.

I’m here to tell all of our dirty little Black secrets.

Next Week: Countering Lies & Deception

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

By Darryl James

How sad is it that in today’s economy, women are still complaining about how much men spend on dates?

Really?

First off, dating is supposed to be a process by which two individuals get to know each other. If you already have rigid standards and expectations of people you haven’t even met, chances are things won’t go well when you do meet.

For women who are on this silly program, think about this: What if the man you expect to spend a certain amount of money on a date, has expectations of getting you naked the same night? Would you judge him for having unreasonable expectations? Is he being unreasonable or are you?

Who is right and who is wrong?  Who is to say when there are no real standards in dating anymore?

Let’s be honest (even though it will make a lot of stupid people angry): The women who claim to be “old school” to excuse their unreasonable standards and expectations are full of it. Women in the “old school” actually used to cook for dates.  Women also used to be polite enough to go with a man to wherever he took her, even if she didn’t like the place, but especially if she liked the man. Why? Because it was all about getting to know each other.

It’s just sad that so many women are complaining about where a date took them or how much he spent, but not many are conversing about what they contribute to the dating process, as if men owe them something because they want to get to know them.

And we’ve all heard dead brained loser women state that men who are unwilling or unable to spend “enough” money on dates shouldn’t date.

So, because someone who doesn’t know you and may not even like you doesn’t want to invest in spending money entertaining you, they should go into dating exile?

Slap yourself.

I’ve used this example in discussions about dating to make the point clear to people who still have active brain cells: Our president, Barack Obama was not only low on funds when he met Michelle, but he was UNEMPLOYED! She helped him get a job and certainly didn’t chastise him about not being able to spend $200 on a date. Why? Because she was interested in being his life partner, not some line item in his dating budget.

Let’s do the math here:  If a man spends $100 on dating four times each month, he will spend $400 each month, which equals $4800 per year. That is the equivalent of a car payment or the down payment on a house. If a woman is seeking to be a life partner, I doubt that she would want that kind of money to be blown. Now, if she’s just looking for the good time, then she shouldn’t judge the man who is also looking for the good time…

A fair exchange is no robbery.

Now, I realize that the math may be a problem for stupid people, but frankly, the people (men and women) who think it’s reasonable for a man to be judged by the amount of money he spends on dating are stupid anyway.

Sadly, the biggest problem is that dead-brained morons believe that everyone has the same belief set. You can use the cost of a date to show the fallacies of modern dating, but the bigger reality is that relationships and marriage have been diminished by boneheads who have rigid expectations of people they haven’t met yet, but want those people to be open to their expectations.

Men paying for dates comes from a time when women were either unemployed or underemployed.

How do we move into an era where women are crowing from the mountaintops about making more money than men (whether it’s true or not), yet still expecting men to pay their way?

Now, here’s the kicker:  that time I just spoke of was never on deck for African Americans. After slavery, Black women went to work just as did Black men. Now, if a Black man earned more than a Black woman, he would likely pay her way, but they rarely, if ever, discussed how much the man should spend and where he should take her. That’s some new ignorance.

Today? How about men and women go on dates prepared to pay their own way so that the focus can be on getting to know each other?

For every woman who complains that men are cheap, a man is complaining that women only care about getting money spent on them. Neither discussion does anything to improve the marriage rate.

Dating, relationships and marriage are all about partnership—all about sharing. If that is the goal, why start off by NOT sharing?

It all comes down to money. Who pays the cost?

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

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The Walk Of Shame

By Darryl James

Traditionally, men were hunters and gatherers and held the sole responsibility for initiating the mating ritual, which included marriage proposals, asking for the first dance and initiating first contact.

First contact.

That’s the dreaded first “hello” or the first smile. And it used to be fairly simple.

Men did it.

Until society was turned on its head.

Society was turned on its head partially by the world becoming smaller, thanks to the Internet, where a great portion of relationships begin in online dating.

But society was also turned on its head by the hoax of a sexual revolution and by women beginning to tell the world (and men were listening) that they wanted to be something different. The problem for women, is that this requires that they also DO something different.

You see, it’s a dicey proposition to declare yourself equal to men (which for some women, means becoming men), and then proclaim a portion of life and love that will remain untouched by this equality.

The question is asked: “Who decides what portions of life are equal?”  The answer is: anyone, everyone and no one.

And therein lies the difficulty. Some women subscribed to the equality program and some men followed, but many men and women either made no such subscription, or simply stayed somewhere in the middle where confusion lives.

My point?

At this stage in the game, many men have no idea how to approach women because there is too much uncertainty.

And so, the “Walk of Shame” that has always been difficult, has become increasingly more difficult to the point of perceived impossibility by some men who simply refuse to initiate first contact.

The “Walk of Shame?”  Oh, that’s the walk a man takes when he leaves his comfort zone to move into a woman’s comfort zone in order to initiate contact. This walk can occur in any setting, but is most popular in group settings, such as clubs and parties.

The man typically walks over to the woman’s comfort zone and if he is met with disinterest or worse, disdain, he must then take the infamous “Walk of Shame” back to his own zone, which carries a stigma of shame—the shame of being rejected, which is just a tired, silly notion of “manliness.”

Of course, some women are quick to dismiss any sensitivity to this shame by pointing out that “a man should be man enough to take such a risk.”

Really?  That sounds like women who have been thinking like men, and frankly, that never turns out well, contrary to the comedian’s best-selling book.

My advice to women is to act like a lady and think like a wife. That’s if the goal is to actually become a wife.

You see, thinking like a wife means that a woman is doing some choosing based not on silly social signals, but on primary personal signals (looks, posture, etc.) and secondary personal signals (morals and standards revealed by discussion), which may be contrary to the signals relied on in the ever-changing society of the new century.

You may think you’re being open, but the man you’re attracting may see the same signs in you that he saw in the last few women who rejected him and he just may decide not to take the risk with you.

The elevator is broken, so I’m suggesting that you take the stairs.

Does thinking like a wife mean that women become aggressive? No. in fact, the fake sexual revolution ushered in aggressiveness amongst women, and that hasn’t really worked out very well.

It’s really not that deep.

All that is required in many cases is for a woman to smile at a man, or even to say “hello.”  The coy routine, in which the woman pretends not to be interested typically backfires. The game has changed too much for that.

What will happen is that you will likely waste time waiting for men to take the sole risk of initiating contact when they have no idea whether the risk is worth taking.

And, that is a huge risk these days.

Really, a grown woman has no business playing games and sending confusing messages to men who have been sent far too many confusing messages anyway.

In the age of “Independent Women,” its good sense for women to actually display some independence.

My overarching message to women is that it is pure folly to wait for men to do what you as an individual have accepted as “traditional,” because nothing truly is traditional anymore.

Changing times call for change.

That means that you may either have to make that walk less risky, or take a walk yourself.

The risk of shame must be shared or released.

I’ve quoted Will Smith as “Hitch” before and I’m not ashamed to do it again.  The film was very cool, but more importantly, it touched on a portion of men’s perspective that just isn’t often heard.

“Does it ever occur to women that maybe a guy might like to have a plan?  Because he’s nervous.  He’s not sure if he could just walk up to you and you’d respond if he said: ‘I like you. I like you.  I like you’…This is exactly why falling in love is so God Damned hard.”

–Will Smith as “Hitch”

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

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The Bridge:  Keeping It Real

By Darryl James

It is popular to comment on someone’s statements that we agree with by saying that person is “keeping it real.”

But really, many of us talk a good game of keeping it real, but we are keeping it real fake.

Yes, much of what we embrace today is fake, because it makes us feel good to say certain things, but we do not want to act on those things.

For example, we love to talk abut supporting Black businesses and some of us even bemoan the lack of Black owners in certain arenas. But, too many of us break our necks running to a non-Black business and feel proud to do so.

I remember when I purchased the second largest rap music publication and mad it the only Black-owned national rap magazine. Knee-grows were always calling and writing to tell me how they had spent their money on the largest magazine (white owned), and how proud they were to have done so. That magazine wouldn’t support them with editorial, so they came to me to get “love,” since I was a Black man.

Essentially, they were saying that the white man needed the money, but I needed to provide them with “the hook up.”

Is that keeping it real?

No.

If we really wanted to keep it real, we would completely overhaul our thoughts and align our speech with our actions.

The first step would be to reverse integration, so that we can get real with each other again.

It would be keeping it real to return to our communities with renewed and focused political power resulting in more police protection (from a police force which reflects the community);  more services (schools, after-school programs, parks, street re-paving, etc.); and more self-sustaining commerce (Black-owned businesses supported by the community, while supporting the community).

Black America would be keeping it real with a focus on forward movement for all of us—not just the rich, not just the males or just the females and not just the famous, but all of us.

If we really want to keep it real, we would get down like the Jews and make a commitment to our preservation as a group, and not promote individuals who we never hold to any obligation to give back to the community.

If one of us becomes successful, many of us will excuse them for doing nothing for the community because “it’s their money.”

But, to keep it real, it’s not their money, because they (whoever “they” are) have typically made their money by being Black and by taking advantage of the support of Black people.

If we were keeping it real, we would no longer be satisfied with a Black face in middle management, or even the sole dark face in the CEO’s office. One of us can show up and attempt to assimilate, but to be real, having one dark face in the company has failed to open the door for others.

And , keeping it real, we should follow the Jews in being a community, but not in spending in their community.  Too many of us are all about building the commerce of others who sell us shiny things.  Yes, shiny things.  Blacks get five dollars and spend four on a truck, some cheap jewelry and some “nice clothes” all made by “others.”

The late Black publisher, John H. Sengstacke said “If we take care of our community first, the community will take care of us.”

That would be keeping it real.

And speaking of taking care of us, if we were keeping it real, we would seek to return all of our necessary services to our community. Our doctors understand our particular health issues and our lawyers understand our particular legal issues.  Dentists, contractors, car dealers and hardware stores are vital parts of our commerce and they need to be in our communities, serving us and being supported by us intentionally, not because we happen to walk in the office and see a Black face.

We can truly keep it real with Black businesses and services when we return to living next door to each other and loving it, living it responsibly.

It’s real to socialize with each other and talk to each other about the issues we face in common, so that we can work together toward resolution.

We can keep it real by becoming what we used to be–a people who survived the horrors of the years and still knew how to party, look good and work hard.  We must party, look good and work together for our coming generations.

That’s keeping it real!

Next Week: Loving The Real Us

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

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The Bridge:  The End of Everything

By Darryl James

At the end of it all, this is an ugly world.

This is a world that is callous, crass, unenlightened and mean spirited, where people will attack other people simply to make themselves feel and/or look better. And then people wonder why someone can write as eloquently as I do, but still curse people out when they are being assheads.

People can easily pose as thinking, caring people, particularly with the Internet and it’s aura of enlightenment, but really, many of us know that most people are stupid and mean, posing as something they are unwilling to work on becoming, and so will never be because everything around them has become broken and dead.

Common courtesy is no longer common.

Excuse me. Pardon me. Thank you. Opening doors.  We’ve lost all of that and it’s been replaced with an overabundance of information that most people have no idea how to process.

Instead of applied knowledge, people regurgitate phrases that they’ve heard too many times and get emotionally attached to the phrases in discussions they are ill equipped for, using the phrases by rote in place of understanding.

This detachment from knowledge includes religion, particularly because most Christians have never read the Bible, yet they rely on the preacher to (mis)interpret and deliver (mis)understanding. How else could a religion based on a man who loved everyone be used to separate people—in his name no less?

And it is separating us.

Before America, religion brought people together. But the bastardized form in this nation is designed to separate. And many people who claim to be about love will hate me for saying it.

Culturally and socially, things are eroding and falling apart.

The economy is falling apart.

From entertainment to the news, those things which were once standard are falling from grace.

Everybody has a blog, and misinformation abounds.

The housing market has fallen apart and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men may not be able to put it back together again.

When you study structures, there are necessary outcomes.

If you set up a social dynamic, you will get a specific result.

In this liberal democracy—theoretically, there is no substance to this system. The democracy side is all rhetoric and theory—it can only be actualized under certain circumstances.  It only creates classism, racism and materialism and debauchery. Ultimately, every system has its Achilles heel—it’s inherent contradictions which will ultimately bring down its people to their demise, from the Romans to the Egyptians—America is no different.

We have reached the point of overproduction and underconsumption.

Take a look at McDonald’s and the Dollar Menu. Why is food suddenly cheaper? Everything else is rising, but food is now cheaper than it was years ago. Really?

There are not enough jobs and not enough demand for the services that exist, even though morons still tell young people to go to college and get a job.. Historically, we can track where we are.

When you get to the end phase, you see the wildness.

We’re headed to a Third World existence.  While people can’t conceive of it happening here, it can and it will. People can’t conceive of it because many people who are two paychecks away from poverty imagine themselves to be “middle class.”

But the US will be like the vacation spots where there are only the ultra rich and people who cannot eat.

In the course of natural order, things will get a whole lot more ruthless and people will become more screwed up.

And they are screwed up. Rudeness is the order of the day, even as people demand to be treated with kindness right after taking their stress out on someone innocent. Soccer moms fight each other and in the pursuit of beauty pageants, children have been assaulted by each other and by parents.

Strippers of yesterday would be called modest in comparison to the way nerds move today. Dances amongst young folks are so hypersexual, they are more sex than dance.

Sex is killing our children, but sex education has been under constant assault.

And without education, more mothers are having children without a male parenting partner and no one wants to ask some simple questions:  If the man was a deadbeat to other women/children, why have sex with him and add to the fatherlessness? Even if there is no man in the home, why can’t the single mother teach her kids what is right and wrong? And, if the child support system has failed to provide proper support to children, why is it being supported?

Black people imagine that saying “Nigger” in public is revolutionary and everyone uses our Civil Rights struggle as a platform without contributing anything to history or to us while we take it on the chin from any and everyone and then ponder the abject lack of respect we endure?

At the end of the day, we are all linked together, yet even the most united of groups in this nation are disconnected from the remainder, and we all should understand that when one falls, we all sink a little lower.

With diminishing morals and standards, politics and policy, American is slowly grinding itself to an end.

We think we are untouchable, but if we are not careful, we could soon see the end of everything.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

The Bridge:  “That” Kind of Man

By Darryl James

As an educated man who is clearly a thinking person, I confuse a great number of people.

To some, a thinking man should also be an extremely tolerant man.

To others, a thinking man who writes critical pieces, should be a sounding board for those who disagree, and even for those who disagree with acrimony.

But to the thinking man himself, perhaps his freedom dictates the order of the day and not the people taking in his opinion.

In the case of this particular thinking man, my freedom often dictates a response to detractors that elicits shock and amazement.

It also elicits a categorization—that I am “that” kind of man.

As a Black man, “that” kind of man typically refers to the age-old stereotype of the Angry Black Man.

In response to many of my articles, the confused and the stupid are quick to hurl:  “he’s an angry man,” as though it will stimulate productive discussion and as though it is actually true.

Whites began using the label “Angry Black Man” to explain the behavior of Black men who raged against injustice.

Currently, that label is being made more perverse. Black men who are passionate and of conviction are still being labeled angry by whites, but now, also by ignorant Blacks.

Legendary Film maker Spike Lee has been garnering the label since his first major films, “Do The Right Thing,” and “School Daze.” Some have even mused erroneously that he hailed from an unhappy childhood that made him angry.

In his book, “That’s My Story and I’m Sticking To It,” Spike Lee explained who he really is and what his childhood was really like.

“I was not an angry child,” wrote Lee. “I was an obedient child, a happy child.”

The book continued: “But it was the more domineering aspect of his childhood character and the side that earned him his nickname that the media would later concentrate on, to such an extent that Spike Lee has grown accustomed and weary of issuing denials that he is an angry man by nature.”

When I hear people label Spike as “angry,” one question comes to mind.  It is the same question I answer when assheads assign the same label to me:  “Do you know the person who you are calling angry?”  Typically, the answer is “No.”

Producer John Pierson, who has known Spike Lee since the eighties, said “People to this day…think that Spike is way too angry, but one thing that I want to convey is that he is really funny, but fundamentally very shy.”

While in college, I had the opportunity to work with Spike Lee’s publicity team.  I spent some time with him during the release of “School Daze,” and I found him to be far less than the angry man he was accused of being.   What I realized was that the accusers not only had little of Spike to judge from, but their accusations were borne of fear and confusion.

As with many Black men who garner the “Angry” label, Spike is a passionate man of convictions, who refuses to back down simply because his position intimidates or angers others.

Another Black man that people always characterized as “angry,” was the subject of a Spike Lee Joint featuring Denzel Washington as White America’s epitome of the Angry Black Man.  People who didn’t know Malcolm X very well could only focus on the fury and the fire, but to friends and family, Brother Malcolm was much, much more.

El-Hajj Malik al-Shabazz was a doting father, who was playful and tender with his children, and a loving husband to his wife. The public only has one photo of Brother Malcolm smiling, but Sister Betty and their children held a much broader perspective of the real man and “angry” was certainly not his lump in life.

But in this nation, we are quick to assign limiting labels to that which we can not understand or that which we fear. Anytime a Black man stands strong and proud without flinching or failing, he is labeled as “Angry.”

A good example can be found in some of the weak-minded idiots who frequently disagree with what I write about in this column.  It is not enough that they dissent, but they go to great lengths to get me to alter my position, even launching insults they expect to go unanswered.  When I respond consistently with holding fast to my position and returning the insults, the inevitable result is to label me as an angry man.

Sadly, these morons are not basing their labeling on anything psychological, since they have no real foundation.  It’s just the confusion and lack of understanding that leads idiots to mislabeling that which they have no capacity to understand.  I won’t bow down, so I must be angry.

Whatever.

A quick sample of nearly any man’s life can reveal something to label him as angry. Take a sample of the lyrics from Prince and, even he could be mislabeled by fools who really don’t know the man at all.

In “I Count The Days,” Prince sings: “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, here’s a motherf–ker I’m about to blow away.  Here’s my chance to cure the ills of the people, but not until I make this motherf–ker pay.”

Now, just because he is angry when expressing this thought doesn’t mean that his entire spectrum of expression is anger.

The Angry Black Man gets stereotyped from his public speech and demeanor, which is often misunderstood.  Further, the label given to “Angry Black Men,” is typically a label borne out of fear.

No one who truly knows Darryl James would call me an angry man, even though ignorance and stupidity anger me.  My anger is a temporary state, which I take action to resolve.  You’re reading part of my resolution right now.

In the fashion of other so-called Angry Black Men, including Spike Lee and Malcolm X, I will never waver from what I believe to be the truth and I will never falter in the face of weak-minded people who have nothing solid to hold on to save the label “angry,” that they hurl at others while refusing to acknowledge the unresolved anger in their own tortured souls. I already realize that they are incapable of understanding anything new anyway.

I am a well-rounded individual with a full range of emotions and emotional states.

I’m not always angry. I’m just not always with you.

If you really knew me, you would know, I’m not “that” kind of man.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011and will be running throughout 2012. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

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The Bridge:  A Market For Niggers

By Darryl James

In the marketplace of America, they say that everything is for sale.

And, for the most part, it is true.

Malcolm X made it popular for people to understand and chastise Blacks who willingly participating in the harming of their people for money—effectively selling us out in order to get paid. Their demeaning behavior pandered to the market in America for Niggerish behavior.

Niggerish behavior is so much more than “entertainment.” It is used by the racists who want to continue to keep a boot on the neck of the Black. They can point to Meet The Browns or Precious or Flavor Flav and cite these images as “evidence” of all the horrible things they say and believe about Black people. Those beliefs become corporate policy.

In a time when most of us were conscious, we understood what it meant to protect our image and we understood the impact of negative images in the media on our collective image, the resulting impression and our standing in the world.

We understood that it matters what whites think simply because whites arrest us, judge us, hire us and fire us. When they see that we don’t give two damns about acting in the same exact manner as the roles they created for us in the early 20th Century (Stepinfetchit, Mantan Moreland, Buckwheat, Stymie, any given fat, greasy-faced Black mammy, etc.), their negative views of us are CONFIRMED. Hell, many of us have negative views of ourselves and those views are confirmed regularly by garbage released from the likes of Tyler Perry and the filth from the mouths of any given comedian or rapper.

African Americans are the only group of people in the world that fails to protect their image.

African descendants in third world nations do a better job of protecting their image than the so-called free Knee-Grows in America.

In America, many African Americans pursue Niggerish behavior as though it is freedom, which is why we will never be truly free. And they justify the Niggerish behavior by stating that it makes us laugh or it makes us money (even though others profit multiple tens of times more than the one or two of us who do).

Then, we bring up things that other groups do (“Mista Chollie do it too…”), which is a failure in critical thinking because other groups have balance. We do not.

And we also do not have, for example, a Jewish Defense League, which would cut, chop, slice, dice and wreak havoc upon the career and standing of anyone who dares to defame the Jewish image. We instead, have some Niggers Associated for the Appeasement of Caucasian People, who award Niggerish behavior as well as whites who mock us cruelly when “entertaining” us.

We facilitate the destruction of the Black image by calling each other Nigger on the world stage and by acting out the definition of Nigger (yes, the white man’s definition) in all of our popular entertainment, by embracing the behavior of Niggers and then some of us have the nerve to be offended when someone hurls the word at the behavior.

But if it talks like a Nigger and defames itself like a Nigger…

Sad, powerless people claiming to have altered the word Nigger by adding an “a,” as though that means anything to the vicious, violent racist who drags Black men chained to trucks, or who beat Black men and rape Black women under the color of authority. Quick–was Oscar Grant viewed as a Nigger or a Nigga?

Sad, powerless people, claiming power in someone like Perry, yet refusing to brandish any real power when it comes to something as easy, yet as crucial as protecting our image.

Sad powerless people claiming some revolutionary aspect of Perry because he employs Blacks, but keeping curiously silent about the fact that he sometimes doesn’t pay Black writers, even though he has profited quite handsomely in the Nigger market.

Because we do not protect our image, it is packaged and sold in the world market—even to us.

Yes, there is a market for Niggers and it is quite profitable.

Niggers are like chickens who pluck themselves, clean themselves and butcher themselves and then lay themselves on the counter for display.

Bastardized African cultural legacy pieces are used by Niggers and taken by any and everyone who wants to and they allow them. Even other groups take on the Nigger motif and make money and there is barely a peep from anyone.

If we weren’t grooming ourselves to be a sad, powerless people, the white clown who insulted us with “Shirley Q. Liquor” would be dead and Eminem would have been boycotted when he called Dr. Dre a Nigger.  Instead, some of us thought Shirley was funny and Eminem was dope.

And they will become outraged that I call them Niggers.

I hear Black women claim that Black men no longer protect them, but when any of us have demonstrated ire against their beloved Tyler Perry, we have been attacked in order to defend him. I’m hoping that will change now that Tyler Perry has officially informed Black women how he really feels about them.

I’ll say this: The white man has trained Niggers well. So well, that they will jump up and buckdance on command.

Niggers are so backwards that they do the very things Blacks used to fight against and now call it freedom. They are super cool with being Niggers and having anyone treat us that way. Just don’t say the word…

Yup, there sure is a market for Niggers. Everyone else is getting paid, but they are the product, strutting around pretending that they are the marketers, the owners and the profiteers, but they are the product and most of them get nothing…or less.

Yes, there is a market for Niggers. Even if you don’t say the word…

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running throughout 2011. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

The Bridge: Africans in America–A Bloody Fight, Part 2

(From Klan to Clandestine)

By Darryl James

It is significant to illustrate that the first riot on record in America was by white people. It was in 1863 and was called the New York Draft Riot.

This fact is significant because the popular lie that racists love to perpetuate is that African descendants are violent for no reason, but owe the nation and benevolent whites for their freedom.

Contrary to that racist fairy tale, Africans in America have been in the midst of a bloody fight for freedom from slavery to today.

The most significant thing that I want to point out with this series is that African descendants in America fought back against the vicious attacks from rabid racists who were either taking out their frustrations on Blacks, or pretending to defend white women’s honor in some trumped up accusation of a Black man smudging the honor or a white woman.

Not much has changed in more than one hundred years.

Right smack in the middle of the Civil War, while Africans were dying on the battlefield for this country and for the assumption of freedom in victory, they were also the target of vicious racism—even in the “enlightened” North.

In July, 1863, in New York City, a demonstration against the first federal Draft, blossomed into a revolt against President Abraham Lincoln, and before long, against Blacks, as white citizens blamed slaves and ex-slaves for the war and refused to fight for “their cause.”

The city was out of control as the rioters burned draft offices and local business establishments and gathered rage and insanity, melding it into an armed assault against police officers, soldiers and, of course, the Black community.  At the end of the violent uproar, more than one hundred people were killed.

And, even after the Civil War, when Blacks were freed from slavery, rabid racists continued their campaign of hate and evil against Africans in America.

On April 30, 1866, four policemen forced a group of Blacks off of the sidewalk, causing one of them to fall in the street.  One of the policemen tripped over a fallen Black man and drew his gun on him.  The other officers joined, attacking the Blacks.

The next day, a crowd of Blacks, many of them former soldiers in the Civil War returned to the scene.  It is unclear how they interacted with the whites, but a fight ensued.  The Blacks were outgunned and several were jailed.  The only casualty from this fight was a police officer who accidentally discharged his own weapon and died.

John C. Creighton, the city recorder of Memphis then assembled a crowd of whites and urged them to hunt and attack or kill every Black found, including women and children.

In his street-corner speech, Creighton urged that “every one of the citizens should get arms, organize and go through the Black districts,” and that he “was in favor of killing every God damned Nigger. We are not prepared now, but let us prepare and clean out every damned son of a bitch of a Nigger out of town.  Boys, I want you to go ahead and kill every damned one of the Nigger race and burn up the cradle.”

During that night, a mob of white citizens, including policemen, firemen and politicians shot,  raped, robbed and killed any Black person found and burned their houses to the ground.

Three churches and more than fifty houses were burned as part of over one hundred thousand dollars of damage.  More than thirty people lost their lives.

The murderous riots lasted until May 4th, when many of the town’s Blacks had fled the city.

It is important to note that the murderous mood of the white citizens was not only sparked by a city official, but fueled by local papers, which reported frequently that “low whites” should be hostile to Black citizens.

In other words, whites who weren’t doing very well were incited to blame Blacks for their condition.

Sound familiar?

At the turn of the century, William Edward Burghardt Dubois, intellectual and activist, made his famous prophetic statement: “The problem of the twentieth century will be the problem of the color line.”

At the precipice of the turn of the century, the Wilmington, North Carolina Race Riots set the tone for many twentieth century riots in this nation, in that it was based on a direct conflict between whites and Blacks.  This event, in particular was the visible flash point for the white supremacy campaign, and the beginning of the Jim Crow era of segregation.

These riots escalated into a government upheaval in Wilmington marked by the removal and replacement of the mayor and city council.

It is important to note that at this time, Blacks were largely loyal to the Republican Party, which was the party of Abraham Lincoln.  That fact is important because the government insurrection and race war in Wilmington was led by Democrats.

The Wilmington Riots were also important because they signified a growing trend—fear of a Black penis.  The white citizens of Wilmington were brought to rage by the public recognition of the sexual mixing of the races, published in the Wilmington Daily Record, a local black owned newspaper.

Prior to the city elections in November of 1898, Alfred Moore Waddell, a former Confederate officer, blamed the race mixing on the town government and pressed for the overthrow of the current political regime in Wilmington, urging the white citizens to go to any lengths necessary, including murder.

In the early morning, about two thousand white men descended on the office of the paper and burned the building and threatened the entire town with further violence.  The mob, armed to the teeth, ran amok, rioting through Black neighborhoods, burning buildings and beating and killing the Black citizens.

The final death count was nearly thirty people.

The mayor, who was white, resigned, along with both white and black members of the city council. Waddell appointed himself mayor and worked on constitutional reform such as the “Grandfather Clause,” which prevented Black citizens from voting if they could not read or write and if their grandfather could not vote.  Since the majority of the citizens were sons of slaves, or former slaves themselves, that clause denied them the right to vote.

The new century brought with it more racially-tinged violence, particularly from the mouth-breathing cowards who donned white robes and covered their faces with hoods, calling themselves the Ku Lux Klan.

With their identities hidden, the new band of racists could conduct clandestine rides under the cover of night to pursue their evil ignorant dream of racial purity.

But Africans in America were more than victims and in the 20th century, riots ensued as they pushed back against racism.

Next Week: The Red Summer

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running throughout 2011. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

The Bridge:  The Circle Of Life

I’ve dealt with death before.

But as I grow older and acquire more experiences and more wisdom to place those experiences in perspective, death takes on new meaning.

Death takes on a new feeling—a passing sadness for those who I do not know and gut-wrenching sorrow for those I love and have to bid farewell.

This past weekend, I was literally knocked to the ground with news of my older brother’s passing.

My brother, Dwight Leron Madison, was not just a big brother. He was a friend and the standard bearer for what I realized through him that I could become—a stellar father, a wise counsel for family and a loving friend.

Dwight Leron, or “Ronnie,” as he was known to family and friends always tried to find something good about somebody and took time to point out the goodness if you were willing to listen. Willing to listen was important because he never pushed his views on you.

And he didn’t have to push anything on me. I wanted to be like him, so I listened and as I grew older, I discovered that I was very much like him.

Ronnie was the standard of cool for me. As I grew older, I adopted many of his mannerisms, his expressions and even his manner of speaking. I can recall one time I was staying at his house and his daughter, Ronnette thought she was speaking to her father instead of her uncle when I answered the phone.

Ronnie became my very close friend as I matured. We shared a love for music and even made a few songs together. But we also shared many views, particularly when it came to family and family values.

Ronnie was a proud husband and a proud father, even when things went differently from his plans. He was a teen father and his first daughter, Antoinette was born out of wedlock. But he fought life and all of its twists and turns to keep himself ever present in his firstborn’s life and to keep her connected with Ronnette as well as his youngest daughter, Jeannette.

I needed his views on fatherhood when I became a single father. I’m glad that he was around long enough to be proud of his baby brother for changing his life to become an ever-present father.

But I’m also glad that I had him around to share some very great times, including the male bonding trips with our brother Preston and my youngest brother Martez.

I’ll hold such memories as I work through the pain of losing him. A loss I could not have seen coming and so was laid low by the shock.

But it’s not as if a departure ever comes at a good time.

And if we don’t see it coming, the pain and anguish that it brings can lay us lower and render it harder to move on with the daily grind of life than if we prepared for it.

We can act as stoic as we think people will expect or believe, but in the midnight hour, or during the most inopportune time, reality will come crashing down upon us and force us to deal with the harsh and cruel reality of a disconnection from a portion of humanity.

You see, part of the beauty of the human experience is that we can be connected to other humans in a variety of ways–physically, emotionally or mentally.

Those connections are part of what makes life worth living.

The thing is that the act of living can be a voluntary experience to be cherished as it is experienced, as well as in retrospect.  But when life is filled with trauma and madness and mayhem, it can become an involuntary act, filled with numbness and darkness, and only the faint hope of reaching a piece of light at some corner of the darkness.

I’m sad, and selfishly so, for no longer having my brother and friend to talk to and laugh with. And I’m sad that his daughters have to say farewell to a father who was also their friend. And for my other siblings who are dealing with the ugly shit that has been tearing at the core of my being.

But I’m also sad that Ronnie will no longer be able to enjoy a life he worked hard at enjoying, even though I keep reminding myself that I believe he is now in a better place.

For many of us, our lives are so filled with traumatic experiences–poverty, relationship turmoil and disconnection from the milk of human kindness–that we sometimes find that life isn’t really worth living at all.

Ronnie didn’t have that. He enjoyed his life, even through all of the pain and turmoil that he had lived through and overcome, including the Vietnam War, the death of our mother and the death of his wife.

He had turned his pain into lessons and his darkness into light.

We all have darkness at some point(s) in our lives.

Ronnie had his and I certainly had my own.

My childhood had been filled with the traumatic experiences of poverty. To add to that trauma, I lost several loved ones within a small span of time.

In the seventh grade, my best friend was taken by Leukemia.

Within a one-year time period, lasting from the end of ninth grade to the end of tenth grade, I lost my oldest brother, my grandmother and my stepfather, who had raised me as his son.

As a selfish and short-sighted teen, I never imagined the heartache and blinding pain my mother must have felt to lose her own mother, as well as her first born son and husband within one year.

But how could I imagine her pain when I began to close my own pain out of my life?

Darkness began to surround me and threatened to engulf me several times over the next two years.  By the time I graduated from high school and had to face more loss, I was prepared to face it with the only coping mechanism I had–disconnection.

And for a while, I was disconnected from everything.

But, eventually, I began to climb out of my darkness and make connections to warm, living human beings who would help me to shape and develop an understanding of life.

My big brother Ronnie was one of those.

He helped me to find an understanding that nothing is forever.

We can keep alive those with whom we are connected, if we keep them in our hearts and minds.  Even if those places are the only places where the connection thrived in the first place.

We hold on to memories, to photos and to other mementos which trigger memories of the connections we made.  And in doing so, bits and pieces of those people live on us.

Many of us are still maintaining the connection to loved ones long gone, but still alive in our hearts and minds.  Some of us are still holding on to friends, spouses and lovers long gone from our lives but not this world.

At some point in life, you will find yourself saying goodbye.  You will have to say goodbye to lovers, to friends and to family, as they leave you alone in this world with disconnection or when they move into death.

It’s difficult to say goodbye, but the end of each relationship is a natural part of life.

I am reminded of the film Lion King which I have now seen at least one hundred times with my four-year-old son.

The father, Mufasa, who eventually dies, explains life and death to his son Simba, with the metaphor “circle of life.” Essentially, we all live and we all must die in order for the world to make sense.

I know that Ronnie’s passing has a greater meaning. I can’t identify that greater meaning now, because the pain of losing him is too fresh.

But I will eventually find it, embrace it and find strength in his existence, even as he makes the transition into memories and a spiritual presence.

And I’ll do it with the words to a song I loved to hear him sing, GC Cameron’s “How Do I Say Goodbye,” originally from the film, Cooley High: “And I’ll take with me the memories, to be my sunshine after the rain.”

Farewell big brother. Long live your memory as you complete your journey in the circle of life.

The Bridge:  Dumb Ass Columbus

Each year this time, the nation celebrates one of the dumbest explorers in the history of exploring.

Good old Christopher Columbus (born Cristobol Colon) is given credit for “discovering” the “New World,” and set up as some master explorer when such was really not the case.

Dumb Ass Columbus was actually commissioned to find a shorter route from Europe to the East Indies, by sailing West, no less.  And Spain was dumb enough to fund his goofball mission in hopes of gaining some leverage in the European spice trade with Asia.

In addition to being dumb, Columbus was a liar.

He landed first on an island that is now Haiti and the Dominica Republic and named that location San Salvador. He called the people he encountered “Indios,” Spanish for Indians, since he thought he was in the East Indies.

Even when the bonehead realized (after subsequent voyages) that he had in fact come upon a continent that Europeans had no knowledge of, he still refused to admit it. He insisted until his death that he had landed in Asia and eventually turned his focus from one of discovery to a mission of spreading Christianity.

Culumbus did spread a few things, though, including syphilis, scurvy, death and destruction.

The Spanish crown knew he was a moron and a liar and eventually had him arrested and stripped of political power given to him over the settlements in the Americas.

But that didn’t stop other ignorant, lying Europeans who continued to support his bullcrap, even going so far as to credit him with “discovering” a land that was filled with people staring at his dumb ass when he arrived.

The fact of the matter is that the “great” explorer, Christopher Columbus grossly underestimated the size of the earth, grossly overestimated the size of Europe and was completely ignorant as to the true location of Japan and other islands of Asia.

And, the credit given to him of “discovering” America is a travesty indeed.

In They Came Before Columbus, author Dr. Ivan Van Sertima uses Carbon-14 dated sculptures, Arabic documents and maps as well as diaries of the actual explorers to demonstrate African contact with Native Americans. He carefully outlines cultural links between the two and the African impact on the Native American civilization that was in existence long before Columbus was ever born.

The most ironic piece of evidence that Dr. Van Sertima presents is from the Native Americans themselves. They actually told the Spanish invaders that they had been trading with Black people. And, bananas, yams, beans and gourds—all from Africa–were in the Americas before dumb ass Columbus.

The shame in believing that Columbus “discovered” a land where people were thriving is the blemish on the face of the indigenous people; but also to African people, who are, according to the Columbus mythology, only seen as arriving to America in chains as slaves, as opposed to arriving before the Europeans as explorers.

What Dumb Ass Columbus represents to both Native Americans and African descendants in America is the insertion of the European into America, which meant centuries of brutality, death and mayhem at the hands of the European.

Europeans prior to Columbus’ “discovery” of America had no particular growth in no particular area. However, once the Americas were taken over by Europeans and once the Native American population had been mostly killed off, exploited and/or otherwise dominated, the new settlers began to explore the world for someone to do the work necessary for building a new world.

The European found the African and thus the African Holocaust, also known more mildly as the slave trade was ignited, along with centuries of brutality for the African in the Americas.

Thanks Chris!

Columbus’ bumbling would have perhaps been replaced by the eventuality of some other European “explorer,” but since it was Columbus who set things off, then the dishonor becomes his legacy.

The legacy of many Africans in America is sadly, stunted in their minds and limited to their time in America, which means that they simply accept that their own time on earth began in chains.

With such a stunted view of their own past, it is easy, although painful to see how some American Blacks are comfortable with self-hatred, the likes of Herman Cain.

But that’s another story for another column.

The celebration in holiday of a bumbling explorer, who lied about his misadventures is a joke.

Christopher Columbus was no more a discoverer of anything that I was when I visited my friend’s home last month. I could have easily have declared that I discovered his home, even though he and his family were living there before I arrived.

Isn’t that what Columbus did?

Millions of people in a vital civilization were in the Americas when Columbus “sailed the ocean blue,” yet racist liars who reconstruct history persist with the myth that one dumb ass European “discovered” a land that was only unknown to Europe.

So, while America spends this week celebrating the life and legacy of old Dumb Ass Columbus, I have chosen to spend it damning his existence, cursing European exploration and colonization and weeping for the stunted American legacy handed to the African in America.

And I’ll continue to recommend that every Black person read They Came Before Columbus.

Then they’ll realize how dumb Christopher really was.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running throughout 2011. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

 

A King Sized Mistake

I’m accustomed to having a divergent viewpoint, even though some people still get all strange and twisted reading my column.

But to those who still think on a regular basis, this piece should come as no surprise.

I’m a Brother of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s  illustrious fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and I sharply disagree with something that people across the land are lauding as a monumental achievement.

Alpha Phi Alpha spearheaded the raising of more than 100 million dollars to erect a monument of our beloved Dr. King in Washington, D.C.

Some people are so proud that they are angry at any detraction from the celebration of such an accomplishment.

But I have no celebratory mood to offer.

I have no cheers or “attaboys” to contribute.

I have nothing but sadness and disappointment.

I am sad and disappointed for several reasons.

First, Dr. King was a man who placed his life on the line for improvement of mankind, not so that he could be lauded and celebrated.

He was a man who exemplified the true spirit of our beloved fraternity, in that he was a man who lived his life in service. He was a genuine spirit because he did so without seeking glory.

In his “Mountaintop” speech, Dr. King made it clear how he wanted his life and his contributions to mankind to be remembered:

“If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy…tell him not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize. That isn’t important. Tell him not to mention that I have 300 or 400 other awards. That’s not important. Tell him not to mention where I went to school. I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody.”

Yes, he tried to love people and that is what he wanted people to remember.

I remember when Stevie Wonder led the effort to get a national holiday in honor or Dr. King. Oh, how the people worked and oh how they celebrated when the day of celebration became a law.

But I also remember that over the years, the day began to lose its shine and its reason for people having a day off of work. Many people forgot about the reason for the day and began to forget about magnifying the works of our beautiful hero.

But there are other reasons why I have been opposed to the monument and why it saddens me to see it come to fruition.

I am disappointed because more than 100 million dollars were raised for a monument that will be great for children to visit, while millions of children are unable to eat and unable to afford clothing.

I am disappointed that 100 million dollars were raised for a celebratory rock, while millions of people are living between a rock and a hard place on the streets.

I am also disappointed that 100 million dollars were raised and that people will be sticking their chests out, while our collective war chest is empty—empty of resources and empty of promise for the future.

The 100-plus millions could have been employed for purposes that would have changed lives and made strides toward the dreams that Dr. King gave his life for.

Instead, we will have a rock that we hope will teach a lesson or two.

But the greatest lesson we could have learned has been ignored.

We should have learned that instead of seeking to idolize any of us, we should empower many or most of us.

But we keep waiting for a savior to do that for us.

Sadly, we are waiting, but Dr. King ain’t coming back.

Without a savior to guide us and die for us, we are divided and confused and so we rally around things that sound good, but have little substance.

Like the effort to memorialize Dr. King in the nation’s capitol with a piece of rock.

Many are angered and many more will be angered that I dare to oppose my beloved fraternity, and/or that I dare to oppose any effort supported by the masses of Negroes.

But the lesson I learned from Dr. King and from heroes like him, was to think for myself and to evaluate efforts based on the intrinsic goal and the intrinsic result.

The goal of this rock was misguided by people who have taken personal enrichment from the effort and the result is dubious given that empty impact the rock will have on people who cannot eat, and who have no place to live.

As a Black man in America, and as a brother of Dr. King’s fraternity, I hold his memory near and dear to my heart.  I try to live my life walking in the path he and other brave men and women blazed for me with their very lives.

I find it embarrassing that more than forty years after his death, the best that we can do is to erect a monument in his memory, while the memory of his dream is waking us up to a nightmare of broken promises.  We are waking up in a cold sweat to that same non-negotiable promissory note written to the sons and daughters of slavery in America by a nation that has never looked at us as full human beings.

Dr. King led a fight in the streets of America, forcing her to face her crimes against us in front of the world.  He was followed by millions of humans in this nation and around the globe.  He inspired us all to dream of a better world and to claim the right to have it.

A monument can not do that.

Forty years after The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated for daring to dream of a better world and for fighting for our right to have it, Black people have united to raise money for something that may make us feel good, but will do little to further the dream of the man himself.

My point?

Simply this:  We don’t need a symbol, we need something real.

Dr. King had a dream.

His monument may become our nightmare.

I believe it is a King-sized mistake.

——————————————————————————————

The Bridge:  Conflicted Minds

By Darryl James

America is a nation of conflicts and confusion.

For example, many people proclaim America to be a Christian nation.

And with that proclamation, one would imagine that the so-called “Christians” would seek every opportunity to help others who are in need.

Instead, the American Way is to judge those at the very bottom, and to do so in order to justify turning a blind eye to their need.

The most popular excuse is to pretend that the people who ask for money on the streets are all drug addicts or alcoholics, and so undeserving of any assistance.

Some people go as far as to lie and proclaim that the beggars are already on government assistance and are simply too lazy to accept a real job.

And, sadly, these are people who probably go to church regularly and claim to be deserving of God’s mercy, even as they have no mercy for the common man.

I almost understand the thought process that advocates away from giving money to the homeless or beggars, because the money may be supporting a habit, but that is simplistic and in many ways, inhumane.

The reality is that many of us who have homes drink and many of us even imbibe in controlled substances.  But, we really have no idea what will happen to money we donate or give away, and if we are being freehearted, then it is only important that we give.

We donate freely to non-profit organizations without a thought as to where the money is going, and many of us tithe to the church without ever reviewing the church books.  Our friends and family hit us up for loans and God only knows what use those funds will be put to.

Americans have some very strange ideas about people in need.

For example, ask a person who calls themselves conservative or Republican and typically, they will tell you that too many Blacks are abusing the Welfare system, an ideology put in place by the late Ronald Reagan, which was proven untrue.

The fact is that the traditional Welfare Queens are white women abusing the system, and of course they are the traditional Welfare Queens, because they comprise the majority of the Welfare rolls.

Truth be told, I, like many Blacks realize that Welfare doesn’t work, but the answer is not to villainize or punish those who need it as a failsafe for their families.  The answer may be to deal with it even-handedly, like perhaps, curtailing corporate Welfare.  But of course, Welfare Queens like Enron would get all strange on us.

Further, some people hold strange ideas about Affirmative Action, as though it is being abused and as though it is abusing Blacks.  Their argument is that Blacks who enter college through assistance based on their skin color feel inferior.

My immediate response is: “Who asked you to think for us?”  My second response is that the idea is dead wrong.

I am unashamedly a product of Affirmative Action and for the record, I don’t feel one bit inferior to anyone.  I realized, even as a child, that the deck was created to be stacked against me and that if I got assistance with college admission, it would at least give me a chance to prove my worth.

Employment works the same way.  If you give me the job because I am Black, that ceases to matter on the first day of work, when I will begin working my behind off to prove that I am qualified for advancement.

But I do realize that Affirmative Action can be abused and misused.

Affirmative Action got our dimwitted former president George W. Bush into Yale and the Texas Governorship.  It also got him a baseball team and an oil company.  Finally, it got him into the highest office in the land.  Unfortunately, he has proved that his kind of Affirmative Action is a truly bad idea.

Affirmative Action for Georgie meant that doors opened for him that he should not have gone into.  Opportunities were given to him that he was not only unqualified for, but at which he failed miserably, including the presidency.

Yet, I hear voices opposing Affirmative Action for African Americans, which only benefits the qualified to begin with.  No Affirmative Action opponent can produce one shred of evidence that a student who nearly flunked out of high school was admitted to college on Affirmative Action, and there is no data to show that Blacks with little experience were given management jobs they were unqualified for.

It’s sad, but many otherwise, smart and forward-thinking Americans speak in platitudes, strongly and vehemently, without knowing what the heck they are talking about.  Moreover, people feel too comfortable offering opinions about things that they don’t even have any way of knowing.

A glaring example of this can be found in dating.  There are too many single people with poor relationship histories giving advice on relationships.  They have done no research, and have spoken to no more than the people with whom they are acquainted, yet, they give advice on how to deal with ALL women or ALL men.

Without a basic examination of the world or at least a piece of it larger than your own experience, you can do little but offer confusion to those who probably didn’t ask you anyway.  It is typically dangerous to offer advice if you have bad experience or no experience.

And, it makes no sense to advise people to do what you would not do yourself.

So, the next time you are doling out advice, or speaking sanctimoniously about social ills and who is doing what, think carefully, and if you don’t really know what you are talking about, just keep your mouth closed and your mind open.  You may learn something.

And you just may resolve some of the conflicts in your mind.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running all Summer. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

At any given moment, when we are single, many of us will proclaim that we are ready for love. But we never stop to ask ourselves if we truly have the preparation and knowledge base required for love.

We simply feel ready because we want to be in love.

We want to be rich, but we know that we must prepare and we must work hard.

But with love, we simply want and believe that is enough.

The law requires a certain amount of education for all of us. Some of us choose to stop the education process at a certain age, while others of us choose to attain higher levels of knowledge and understanding.

Our attainment of education or skill sets is typically directly related to the career we choose. We know that even for a trade, certain skill sets are required before earning a decent living.

But how many of us take the same approach to our love lives? For example–how many of you have been to a relationship coach?  This illustrates how we will take classes and acquire education to advance in our careers, but assume that we need nothing for our love lives, even if we are failing miserably.

Let’s take a look at two prime examples:

Tony was an All-American sports hero, demonstrating winning tendencies as early as middle school.  He moved from college to professional ball, never letting the team down, leading them to victory four years in a row.  His skills acquired for the game were sharp, so he used those same skills in his relationship.  For him, it was about winning at all costs, and when his team member (his girlfriend) wouldn’t follow him, he focused on the win anyway.  He was a winner, but sadly, he lost his love.

Gina was a vice president in the company that recruited her right out of her Ivy League College.  The division of the company she led had a winning year and sales were through the roof.  Her skills required for leading a sales team and negotiating with clients were sharp, so she used those same skills in her relationship.  For her, it was about management of human resources and towing the hard line to focus on the bottom line, so when her subordinate (her boyfriend) would not follow the plan she laid out for them, she kept her eyes on her goals anyway.  She reached her goals, but sadly, she could no longer reach her love.

We learn things as we grow that are good in our careers and in many other places, but are actually bad in relationships.

For example, men learn in sports that if we play hard enough, we get our time to shine.  We learn that being hard or even a little rough can get us through a tough place.   However, in relationships, you may put in work that goes without notice.  It’s still necessary–even crucial–but it’s not about the shine.  You also learn that even the women who talk about wanting a man with a little “thug” in him, really don’t–they want a balanced human being.

For women, the world may teach you that you have to tuck in some of your softness in order to be taken seriously.  You can’t expose your feelings at work and in many cases, you learn to cry in solitude.  However, in a relationship, a man will view you as strange if you aren’t as expressive as he wishes he could be.  Even those of us who are emotionally retarded seek more emotionally stable women in hopes of passing emotional stability on to our children.

The result of suppressing emotions is also a failure in communication.  While the stereotype of men as non-expressive is historic and popular, more women are failing to develop emotionally expressive interpersonal communication or worse, learning to avoid communication altogether.

We also have to let go of things that may sound good, but really make no sense in practice.  For example, when I hear men talk about wanting a woman who can cook and clean, I already know what lies underneath.  There is something to be said for a nurturing woman, but any of us can cook for ourselves.

What is really desired is a woman who will nurture by nature, demonstrating the behavior of nesting in preparation for a family.  However, if both parties are working, the cooking and cleaning duties may have to be shared or even farmed out to domestic assistance personnel.  That does not necessarily diminish or define the woman’s nurturing capacity.

It may also sound good when a woman talks about having a “traditional” man.  Now, there is something to be said about a man who can be the sole provider for his family, but that is not the majority of our tradition, and it isn’t really our nature.  As African history goes, our ancestors were partners in building families and villages–that tradition was carried even into the last century.

What is really desired is a man who is able to be the strength of the family unit and able to take the lead.  However, in today’s corporate environment, women are learning to be leaders and taking those leadership skills into relationships where they may still expect men to be leaders, but only based upon the woman’s definition and allowances.

In college and on the job, we learn that if we make certain moves or achievements, we will be rewarded.  We learn coping skills for functioning within an environment established for white men, when we are not white, and some of us are not men.

The workplace is a manufactured mini-society, but because humans are present, some of us believe it is part of the real world, and carry over socialization from that fake world into our personal lives.  What we fail to realize is that socialization and politics can be vastly different from company to company.  The relaxed dress code and friendly environment of Silicon Valley is starkly divergent from the more stringent dress code and more detached and impersonal environment of a law office or an investment banking firm.

A writer or other freelance artisan has less structure in his or life than an entrepreneur who still has to work in an office, often even managing a number of people in a similar fashion to management in the workplace.

The end result may be two people with divergent acquired skill sets, who do little or nothing to enhance their social behavior or social skills.

We no longer have the socialization of yesteryear, when family members would act as matchmakers in addition to passing on valuable information about getting along in relationships.  We simply walk into a world where most of us are making it up as we go along.

No matter how successful we are at what we do for a living, we still have to acquire specialized skill sets for dealing with other human beings.

For example, in relationships, we must learn to open ourselves, showing and sharing, negotiating for the greater good of someone else, in order to build mutual trust and the walk of love outside of the feeling of love itself.  We must identify the things that make sense for other people and enhance them, while identifying the things that are not very good so that we can diminish them.  We have to focus on someone else and sometimes take a loss in order to really win–subjecting ourselves to things we may not like for people we may love.

We must learn that the relationship is not public, but very private, requiring us to close the door and leave the rest of the world outside.

We must learn to communicate and compromise with our mates, so that we can provide each other with respite from the stress of the world, as opposed to maintaining the same attitude and approach from work when we love.

We must leave our politics, the opinions of our friends and family, as well as much of what we learn in our professions once we find someone to love.

We’ve learned how to achieve and maintain valuable skills on our jobs.  We must learn different skills for relationships, including love relationships, family relationships and socializing in general.

Then we will be truly ready for love.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running all Summer. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

The Bridge: He Who Laughs…, Part 2—Who’s Culture?

By Darryl James

Critical thinking and independent thought are rare in a world of social seeding and engineered popular culture.

Yes, popular culture, which once developed organically from Black culture, is now artificially stimulated, taking backward portions of Black mis-socialization into the mainstream, which, even when it comes back to our own community appears smooth, but in reality is as artificial as fake sweetener.  Blacks who have either been raised on that fake culture, or have simply been duped into accepting it as their own, now have very little sense of who we are, who we once were or who we could potentially be.

This may explain forty and fifty year old men and women who would rather wear silly hairstyles and ridiculous clothing, claiming to be “ghetto” and “real,” instead looking like clowns, duped into foolish behavior symptomatic of arrested development.

This may also explain why many of us have begun to turn on our own people.  The likes of neo-Black Conservatives, who are really radical activists for change attack every effort made by anyone to deal with real issues faced by the Black community, operating under the false reality that America really is one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all. The saccharine reality they have been consuming has deluded them into thinking this nation is really a melting pot.

And sadly, this explains why Black people can tell jokes of how perfect white people are with the punchline being how dysfunctional Black people are in comparison and Black people will pack the house to laugh. I understand it, but I am still confounded by the throngs of blind-minded morons who emailed me to defend the advent of Black men in drag simply because it makes them laugh.

So many of us have been raised on fake culture and disconnected from our heritage of dignity that we have come to expect laughter instead of reality and entertainment instead of hard work.

There has been so much abject avoidance of reality that those among us who still see the world clearly are maligned and attacked for dealing with real issues that real people are affected by.  Those who have a false sense of reality are so shocked by the divergence that they recoil from it and lash out at that which confuses them.

Their retarded mental state has them believing that freedom of expression means cursing at or otherwise deriding someone who will simply take it.

But our freedom of expression was abandoned in a time when we were searching for something greater than what we are.  We believed that we could be more and we were well on our way to grasping it.  Where we once set lofty goals to surpass the best of us, now, we define ourselves by how good we look in comparison to the worst of us.

And, instead of working to make things better, we turn to anything that will allow an escape—especially comedy.

So, perhaps it feels good to laugh because the world is so difficult.  But while the people are laughing, the joke is on them. The world economy is in the toilet, while a few continue to get richer and many continue to get poorer.

This nation is slowly but surely becoming a police state as civil rights are being offered up by the frightened masses who are barely aware and stolen from those who are happily asleep.

Our children are fed over-processed garbage devoid of nutrition and given little activity. Most of America’s youth are undereducated and ill-prepared to compete on a global level, yet we blame the children of poverty for poor schools while the nation spends more on defense than school improvement or teachers’ salaries and more to bailout failing corporations than on after school programs or books.

The nation is creating a subculture of undereducated, underemployed people who are finding it hard to remain hopeful, while those who have better chances and better choices bitch and moan about how the poor make it hard for the “rest of us.”

But the great equalizer is coming as global greed and manipulation for power go into the end game.  Those without are prepared because they have already been functioning with worn out tools.  Those who have or pretend to have and lose will be harmed greatly because they were looking for the laughter while the situation kept getting sadder and sadder.

There is a big, black boot headed for their stupid behinds, but they’re laughing so hard that they can’t see it coming.  Sad, but they won’t realize it until it has kicked the stuffing out of them and smashed their hopes and dreams. They won’t wake up until it is too late and they are left with broken lives for which they will continue to use medication or alcohol, spending or sex, gambling or comedy to pretend away, looking for the punchline because they have been punched while in line.

And it’s really not even funny.

Again, it has been said that he who laughs last, laughs best.

When it comes to laughing at African Americans and ignorant Black comedy, we have to seriously ask ourselves: “Who’s laughing last? Who’s laughing best?”

We’re doing neither.

The Bridge: He Who Laughs…

By Darryl James

It has been said that he who laughs last, laughs best.

When it comes to laughing at African Americans and ignorant Black comedy, we have to seriously ask ourselves: “Who’s laughing last? Who’s laughing best?”

I’m not certain that it’s us.

Let’s take, for example, Chris Rock’s famous quip: “There’s a difference between Black people and Niggers and I hate Niggers.”

The “Niggers” who laugh may think its funny, I thing that the white racists who are laughing are laughing best and last. After all, Rock’s quip is merely a re-hash of the old school racist delineation between the race they loved to hate and the few amongst that race they considered “safe.” Racists would often proclaim someone to be other than a Nigger when they liked that person.

The most common defense people offer up for the demeaning Black comedy is that we need to laugh at ourselves. That is neither new nor interesting and disrespecting me for disagreeing will only get you ignored or cursed out. How funny is that?

Tough talking assheads slammed me for criticizing Black men in drag, but while they defend demeaning comedy, the world is turning upside down. And damn, if defense of degrading comedy is now your revolution and if dogging me out is the best revolutionary tactic that you can muster, then your worthless life is the real punchline.

Since critical thinking is dead, allow me to offer background on how we got to the point where many of us feel all too comfortable laughing and how we have come to expect laughter even when there really is nothing funny.

In America, the people have become lazy. And because of our laziness and dumbing down, we expect to be entertained at every turn.

Advertising is delivered in song, but much of it is delivered in humor, even when dealing with serious products or services.

Corporate meetings have to be quick-paced, and conventions must be laced with entertainment to keep the attention of the ADD masses.

Morning radio shows are no longer simply music, news and traffic–the pressure is on to make the audience laugh.

And, even the most serious of presentations, the morning and evening news, is now delivered in most cases with humor.  They must compete with entertaining shows and other entertaining newscasts, because, in this society, the fear is that people will tune out.  We know the people won’t fight, so the fear is that they will switch.

Politicians can no longer focus on messages and promises, however empty.  They must focus on being entertaining, good looking and engaging.  Neither Lincoln, nor Washington could be successful politicians today, unless, of course they learned to juggle.  Witness the complaints lodged against Al Gore–that he was stiff and boring.  Or how about the attacks on John Edwards for his excited utterance that surely occurs with regularity deep in suburban white America?

Our schools have to take special care to keep the lesson plans moving swiftly, competing with the pace set by television and computer games, even if the message is a bit cloudy or missed by the majority.

Where previous generations of children were given age appropriate entertainment for children, today’s youth are bored stiff with entertainment designed for them.  They are given access to entertainment that is violent and sexual beyond their years, while the purveyors of entertainment argue that times have changed and children have evolved.  There is no real evolution, only overexposure.

In previous times, the average citizen placed primary needs above entertainment–the need for assistance, freedom, education and enlightenment and the need for a cure for the most threatening disease.  Now, we fear being bored more than we fear death or destruction of our way of life. And while some factions push for the eradication of our most threatening disease, too many of our mushy-minded citizens would rather point accusing fingers at the victims of AIDS or create ghostly villains who mysteriously promulgate the disease.

Not too long ago, the standard forms of entertainment grew old and could only hold attention for a short time.  Everyone is looking for the next level of entertainment–the next thrill.

Amusement parks build faster, scarier and more dangerous rides, while the people line up for them, ignoring the crash test dummies that fell apart or got necks snapped during testing. Reality television shows promise to present real people in real activities, from eating bugs and pig intestines, to risking life or at least limb, in risky stunts, but that has nothing to do with real life.

We talk about keeping it “real,” but very little is actually real.  Very little exists because it exists.  Much of what we do, think, wear and say is developed for corporate benefit, even as we imagine that we have individual thought and freedom of expression.  Even most of the people’s politics and religious views are shaped by mega-corporations, while the people defend beliefs they don’t really understand with tooth and nail.

Next Week: “Who’s Culture?

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running all Summer. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

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9 Responses to “DARRYL JAMES”

  1. Montie Pierson Says:

    Just got through reading “A KING SIZE MISTAKE”
    Mr. James, you are a very good writer and a very good thinker.
    I have enjoyed reading what you write and I ….
    “learned from Dr. King and from heroes like him, was to think for myself and to evaluate efforts based on the intrinsic goal and the intrinsic result.”
    Keep writing and telling.
    Peace,Blessings,
    Mr. Bromont

  2. I also enjoyed reading “A KING SIZE MISTAKE.” But I notice one point was not mention. You forgot to say that Dr. King must be turing over in his grave that his frat had to look outside of Black America to China of all places to have someone carve and erect his memorial. What kind of lesson is that for the black community?

    We built the Prymids that are still standing!

    I took the time out this morning to read your other blogs you are right on point. Keep telling it like it really is—-I know it can be loney at times!

  3. NYC MAYOR BLOOMBERG SUPPORTS RACIALLY PROFILING BLACK AND BROWN MEN TO DECREASE CRIME.. ATLANTA KKK PLAN TO ADOPT ADOPT A HIGHWAY NEAR APPALACHIAN MOUNTAINS..THIS COUNTRY CONDONED TERROR GROUP….THE NEO NAZI WAS ON 60 MINUTES NEWS SHOW SAYING THEY WILL MAKE THIS COUNTRY ALL WHITE BY FORCE……..

  4. I SAW WHAT BLACK MEN THINK ON DOCUMENTARY CHANNEL. NOT SURPRISED CHURCH LEFT OUT..ALL THE CHURCH CORRUPT BEHAVIOR ,FRAUD PREACHERS A REASON BLACK COMMUNITIES IN CHAOS.. WE HAVE HOUSE NEGRO POLITICIANS AND PREACHERS ENSLAVING THEIR PEOPLE FOR PROFIT…////

  5. 3 BLACK MALES KILLED,TRAYVON MARTIN,CHAVIS CARTER,ROBERT CHAMPION.. TRAYVON MARTIN DELIBERATELY KLLED BY GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, CHAVIS CARTER KILLED BY THOSE KLAN POLICE IN ARKANSAS.WHAT ABOUT ROBERT CHAMPION..HE WAS HAZED TO DEATH ON FAMU BAND BUS. BLACK MAN KILLED ON A BLACK COLLEGE BAND BUS..ON THE NEWS FAMU SAYS IT WAS ROBERT CHAMPION FAULT, HE COULD HAVE STOPPED THE HAZING.WHAT/.WHERE IS THE PROTESTING BY NAACP/RVS.AL SHARPTON,JESSE JACKSON/////////.

  6. ACTOR AND COMEDIAN D.L. HUHGLEY SAYS BLACK MEN,BLACK PEOPLE SHOULD BE ON THE ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST.. ANIMALS ARE EXTINCT OR BECOMING ,EXTINCT,BECAUSE OF MAN. WITH KNOWLEDGE THAT FOR CENTURIES, THE WHITE MAN HAS BEEN TRYING TO MAKE US EXTINCT..BLACK PEOPLE ARE HAVE THEM SELVES ON THE RACE ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST,…UNPROTECTED SEX, , KNOWING OF AIDS ,HIV VIRUS.GANG WARS, AND DRUGS..WE ARE DOING WHAT SLAVERY PLANTATIONS, LYNCHING AND HANGINGS, RACE CONFINED COULD NOT DO…WE ARE GENOCIDING OURSELVES./////

  7. ON THE NEWS IN SOUTH FLORIDA, 9 STUPID BLACK MEN ARRESTED GAMBLING ON YOUTH FOOTBALL.REALLY GAMBLING ON YOUTH FOOTBALL….

  8. y5lx2mz4q@windstream.net Says:

    ON WHAT BLACK MEN THINK, YOU SHOULD HAVE TALKED CORRUPTION I N THE CHURCH,,PREACHERS THAT CHEAT ON THEIR WIVES,HAVE A CHILD WITH MISTRESSES..3 BLACK PREACHES IN PRISON FOR KILLING THEIR WIVES./////

  9. harry brown Says:

    EXPLAIN KANYE WEST, CONFEDERATE FLAG BELONGS TO HIM NOW////ONLY AN IDIOT WOULD HAVE THAT ON/// CONFEDERATE FLAG IS LIKE NAZI SYMBOL////

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