At my best, I am a thinker. Don't get me wrong, I write. I love to write. But my love of thinking supersedes my love of writing. Hell, I think that I love to think about writing more than I like to write at times (yes, this can be a problem). At moments, I think aloud, and sometimes thinking aloud means that I take to some form of social media with my thoughts because I feel compelled to share what I'm thinking.
One of the few things I think about a lot, but I'm not to quick to share my thoughts on, is racism. I'll admit it. I do catch that "Christmas in July" spirit when it comes to writing about racism from time to time. I know that it's real. I know it's institutionalized and systemic. I've experienced my fair share of it, I suppose (I've been called a reggin in reverse by a former co-worker on a job before and had to deal with the fallout from it). I know that the term post-racial carries about the same weight as a Plies insulin analogy.
But though I think about it, I'm never quick to talk or write about it, especially in trivial "if/then" type circumstances. I feel as though that crying wolf mentality makes it so that the effectiveness of the worthwhile plea/outrage is marginalized. That, to me, is not a negative.
It's why I have a big problem with some of the discussion surrounding the Epic Beard Man fight. As I'm sure most of you know, a young black guy stepped to Saint Nick's brother Frank Whitebeard on a Norcal city bus. The black guy got handled. It was, well, epic. It reminded me back to Nolan Ryan and Robin Ventura. That fool got what he deserved for laying his hands on another person, especially an elder, over a verbal dispute of any sort save his mama.
But the one thing that didn't really cross my mind was racism. Yes, I saw race. There was a black guy. There was a white guy. Race was present. But I saw age, ignorance, violence and then race, a distant fourth. To me, it was an inconsequential bystander, well, just passing by. The novelty was the age gap and the whooping that commenced.
It was a surprise of sorts (similar to the shock that the crowd got when those girls from Zeta Tau Alpha, a white sorority, won their way into the mostly black crowd's hearts during the Sprite Stepoff. They were surprised that they held their own. If you've stepped for real, you know it wasn't that great. It was OK at best. But it has garnered attention because of the novelty -- in this case, race).
But notice how I've said very little in the last two graphs about racism. Race? A little. Racism? Not so much. Yet, somehow there's been plenty of talk about the racism that can be gleaned from the YouTube sensation (I had a healthy discussion with someone I respect and admire about it on Twitter). There's the idea that if they (the fighters) were two blacks or if roles were reversed (young white guy, old black guy) it wouldn't get the same spin. There's also the idea that it's getting its run because of racial heroics, whites being proud that the black guy got molly-whopped by a white man. But why the need to twist this story beyond recognition? It's about an idiot who miscalculated the ability of a man more than twice his age and got self-defensed and then some. Fight over.
I don't care to give a voice to the people out there who see this as some sort of racial heroism, especially when they don't come from behind the veil of Internet courage. Are there people out there like that? Hell yes. They exist. But, to me, it's unnecessary over-analysis because they have no sustainable voice. Pulling them into the light for two minutes is counter-productive.
It's like beating a busted pinata's spilled candy until you can't tell the difference between a Starburst Chew and a Jolly Rancher. People end up looking at you like you've got mad issues and they're scared to approach you for fear of dismemberment. Worse yet, they tune out you and your shtick.
Am I saying we need to be more cautious? Not really. I'm saying don't cry racism when you feel like someone's stepped on your toe but no one is in sight. To me, that's what this seems like.
That's not good, not when there are real issues of race that people overlook because they think we're swiping race cards that will surely return the error message "Insufficient Funds." I'm good for over-analyzing trivial stuff (I did so at the beginning of this rant while I was trying to find a way to get to my point). But genuine analysis shouldn't be wasted on "if/then" racial bits that do nothing but make people of other races hit the mute button.
That is, unless they're Martin-in-Boomerang-cue-ball-pool deep:
I'll indulge in that type of chicanery all day. Anyway, I guess I'm done thinking aloud for the moment. I'll give you a turn. Oh yeah, I love black people.
Alright BougieLand, what do you think? Are people quick to cry racism for EVERY perceived slight? Have you ever been is a situation where you had to stop and wonder… wait, was that racism directed at ME!? What did you think when you heard the Sprite Step-off was won by a non-black crew? And for the last time, who's with me to sign the petition to kill the phrase "post-racial" for once and for all? Thoughts, comments, love notes... it's Friday ya'll.