Hey BaBAY! …What’s Up Family? – Miles in the House!
As Miles Sees It
I just KNOW you didn’t think Brother Ten would be Back on the Block and leave me at da crib! I enjoyed hanging out with LeBron in China and the rest of the Ballers in Vegas this summer, but like Dorothy sez “there’s no place like home.”
Besides, can ya help a brother out – Miles is looking for a job! Can you believe those cola guys gave me my pink slip! They dumped me for a couple fat-n-sweaty loin cloth wearing sumo wrestlers !
Where’s Johnnie Cochran? How come somebody aint planning a march? I know! – It’s because I’m short!!!! Why aint there a group called the NAASP – National Association for the Advancement of Short People? I got RIGHTS!
For those of you new to Ten’s neighborhood, I’m Miles Thirst and when I’m not hanging out with LeBron or trickin’ out somebody’s ride, Brother Ten will from time to time allow me some space on his space to speak on things —
“As Miles Sees It.” If ya got a sec I’d like to rap a little with you about everybody’s favorite uncle and family doctor – Dr. Heathcliff Huxetable aka Uncle Coz. If you recall, back in 04′ Uncle Coz got a lot of peoples panties in a bunch when he put black folk on blast by dissin’ some of us for “irresponsible lifestyles that have culminated in a number of social problems.” While some high-fived Uncle Coz for being real, others said he was out of line for airing our “dirty laundry.” As we all know it aint cool when somebody from the neighborhood airs our dirty laundry – even if its the Uncle Coz! For some folk, its a crime punishable by public flogging and a demand for the surrender of your “black card.”
Uncle Coz wasn’t the first famous African-American to catch hell for putting our business on front street though. In his book of personal essays, “What’s Going On?” – Nathan McCall has an entire chapter on African-American writers who caught hell from some folks because their critically acclaimed works might have revealed some of the unpleasant truths about life in the hood.
Brother Nate writes that for the past 20-30 years, a number of black writers have been ceremoniously chased from the hood by angry mobs of black folks because they violated some unwritten code about telling it like it T-I-S. Again, according to Brother Nate, in the 70’s, it was Michele Wallace, who wrote Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman. Then, Ntozake Shange caught hell for bringing us For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf.
Brother Nate says in his book that one brother actually went on Oprah campaigning for black folk to boycott the movie version of Waiting to Exhalebecause he felt that Terry McMillian was dissin’ black men. Others went as far as to question the sisters devotion to hoodem’ based on the characterization of brothers in her book.
Brother Nate goes on to suggest that with all the hoopla generated by these controversial works you’d think that black folks would have had a “Dr. Phil” moment and worked through all of our misplaced angst by now, but you know that aint the case. Just ask Alice Walker, whose 1982 book, The Color Purple, left her purple, black and blue from the beat down she got because her book upset some people. Homegirl won a Pulitzer Prize for her work, but on some corners in the hood she would a had trouble buying a bean pie because folks were so up set. Quit fakin’ da funk – you know you got a Auntie Celie some place in the family. You probably gonna have Thanksgiving Dinner with her next week and she’ll put her foot in them collard greens like she does every Thanksgiving! Anyway, with sisters like Terry McMillian and Alice Walker getting such a beat down, Uncle Coz shouldn’t feel too bad gettin’ piled on for airing our dirty laundry. But you know Coz, being one to always wanna get in the last word, last month Uncle Coz and his homeboy Dr. Alvin Poussaint, you know the dude – the prof at Harvard University, they released a new book, Come On People: On the Path from Victims to Victors. If you believe Uncle Coz and Dr. Poussaint, for the last generation or two the hood has been spiraling downward, we don’t raise our kids the way Big Mama used to and no one has suffered more as a result than our young black brothers. Back when TV was black and white, before “Brown-vs-the Board of Education, before the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, back when Ms. Parks was still riding the back of the bus, when the NBA was mostly white dudes in tight short shorts, back in those whacked out times, brothers were born into a different world than they are today according to Coz and Dr.P. Speaking of Ballers in tight outfits, did you catch LeBron hosting Saturday Night Live? I could a done that “Solid Gold Dance” skit with them honeys too. I don’t think I could traded my fro’ for a jehri curl… But I could a … …….. Okay, my bad – back to our conversation. Civil Rights leaders had hoped back then that by shutting down the likes of Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor (damn and I though some of us had it bad!) and the “Jim Crowisim” of the south, brothers would have greater access to the good life. They had fully expected that we would be better off in every way – with money in our pockets and able to take care of business at home like everybody else. Instead, if you believe Uncle Coz and Dr. P, the overall situation has continued to go downhill among poor folks who are still mostly shut out from the American dream.
The argument amongst the old heads at the barber shop is this – is Uncle Coz right? Do we bear any responsibility for what’s going on in the hood? I’m not saying that I completely buy the hype, there’s still a lotta good in the neighborhood. We got a brother who is a serious presidential contender and not all of our kids are BeBe’s kids, but here are some things to think about. Brothers are still not gettin’ paid like other folks, with unemployment rates at 9 percent for blacks and 4 percent for whites. Of 100,000 killings by handguns (ages 15 – 34) blacks, 785.4 – whites 86. Of 100,000 folks locked up: Brothers, 3,145, Latinos, 1,244 and whites, 471.
Don’t get me wrong, we still got situations like Genarlo Wilson and the Jena Six. We got “21st Century Money Changers” targeting our neighborhoods with predatory lending and money stores. We got “Sundown Towns“ like Anna IL, that as late as 2003, locals acknowledged that Anna once stood for Aint No Niggers Allowed after sundown. But again the question is – Is Uncle Coz right? Do we have any responsibility for what’s going on in the hood and the things we can control?
And finally, do we give the paper boy a beat down because he brings us a newspaper filled with bad news? Well family, these are just a few of the things we be talking about at the Barber Shop. If you’d like to see some more of “As Miles Sees It!” check out Machiavelli Never Lied, – In the mean time, in between time – I gotta bounce.