In which I pit aspects of the African American culture of today

AKA: “In which I make many many people mad at me”

Let me start this off by saying I’m not a racist. I’m a hippie liberal, multicultural, tolerant person, anything but a racist. It is in fact for the SAKE of MLK and the civil rights leaders and prominent blacks that I make this rant, so that their great work doesn’t get shoved down the toilet.

Bill Cosby is right. A culture that glorifies thugs, idiots, and “ghettoness” is wrong. I go to a public high school, and I have friends who are black. These same friends are made fun of as “acting white” because they actually have good manners, speak normally, dress normally, actually work in school, and don’t try to act like idiots. Does noone else see a problem here? I have nothing against black people, and I hate to see this happening to our youth. Since when is it cool to fail out of school and act like a retard all day? And not because you’re stupid, but because you want to live up to a standard of cool that revolves around acting the dumbest you possibly can. I can understand culture differences, where different cultures do things differently, for a variety of reasons. What I don’t get, is that african americans have come so far since the 50s, MLK’s dream realized, we HAVE the same opportunities, but so many kids I see just throwing it away. I see all the problems in inner city schools, and thus I can understand the problems there, and I want the government to step in, actualyl create good programs in those areas, for those underprivledged kids who have nothing else. My problem is with the kids here in suburbia. We go to a perfectly fine school, with relatively good facilities and reasonably good teachers (that’s not saying much but still), but when there is a self imposed standard of just pure idiocy, it tears me apart to see such potential go down the drain for “coolness”.

Now I know that I will get posts here calling me a racist or a bigot, but I’m not. And I see the same problems among many kids of other cultures, but it’s fairly obvious where it’s prevalent. What I want to know is… am I looking at this the wrong way? Is there somethign I don’t see? I want to be educated, just help me out, or at least to discuss this.

whoops, forgot to include the bill cosby quote:
*“People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an education, and now we’ve got these knuckleheads walking around.”
-Bill Cosby

It’s the best way to get laid.

So is GHB.

Your post has some worthwhile discussion points, but you would probably get a better and more thoughtful reaction if you didn’t spend 10% of your effort trying to beat us over the head with the idea that you are not racist. Just make your point and move on.

Similar discussions have been held on this board, in the last year, including:

What went wrong with Black Americans?
Bill Cosby attacks some in black community again
Cosby continues to “hit the nail on the head”

I think all kids these days seem to be knuckleheads, each group for their own reasons.

If you’re still in High School, I’m impressed. You’re well on your way to earning full rights and privileges of Doperdom.

Though I would agree that the disclaimers should be ratcheted down a bit on the racist front. Just accept the fact that someone, someday, is going to accuse you of being racist. Keep yourself above the fray and you should do fine. You’re years ahead of where I was at your age.

In other words, good OP. Never lose your common sense. :slight_smile:

Those threads suck. They’re just a bunch of fogey-style, misguided rehashings of stereotypes in an unconstructive attempt to blame and criticize. This is the first time I’ve seen someone on this board mention the “cool” factor - that blacks are expected to be “cool” above everything else, which is an actual phenomenon, something that makes me think this is a genuine observation and cry of frustration rather than a lazy hate-rant.

Anyway, of course you notice it in suburbia - that’s where a person’s “black identity” would be most in question. You have to black-it-up extra out there to prove that you can still handle yourself on the streets. I grew up in a mostly black area where no one really felt the need to doubt their blackness, but I went to an HBCU that was a magnet for black identity-crises victims.

Geez man, when the hell did we allow the grand dragon of the kkk poster priviliges?

Well, somebody was going to do it. Figured it might as well be me.

Duffer is right. Sooner or later somebody is going to call you a racist. It will be undeserved, but it likely will happen. Just know that you are not and move on.

Well, fuck me, but I am actually going to try to respond to the OP or “Silly white boy” I can hear you giggling now.

It’s not about any of that, it’s about really saying something. I grew up in an era when nigger was as accepted as hello. Yeah, it hurt a lot of people, but it also allowed those same people to rise above it and become stars. People like those that sweated and suffered with me in the 'Nam era service. We both got spit on for wearing the same uniform at a time it was not cool. Never mattered to us, we knew what it took, and those civilians that spit on us, well, we took it together.

Those of you that would look at stereotypes, Well, fuck you. I’ll take the man that I bled with over your posturing today, tomorrow, and yeah, forever.

Today, maybe, cool wins, but give people a real issue, the differences fade. Squeal a bit, but how many “racist” emails do you see coming back from where our troops are together? Links to"racist" e-mails from the current conflict?"

I understand where EvilHamster is coming from. I, too, go to a public high school (in fact, i’m pretty sure a lot of dopers do). I don’t, however, see black kids getting called “white.” Maybe I’m missing it. But the African-Americans in my AP Physics class (and trust me, we are the dorkiest of the dorks. the proud, the few, the elite, the physics geeks) have never been called white, or if they have been, they’ve never told me or anyone else.
Yes, I see the kids who act stupid in order to look cool. If you missed my rant on the counseling office at my school, then I’ll tell you that I’ve been placed in a Magnet 10th grade English class, when I’m a Junior who passed 11th grade English with an A last year. Let’s chalk it up to a bit of human error.
Now, in my English class, where I see this phenomenon occur, it’s not just black kids. It’s also the white kids. And the Hispanic kids. It’s anyone who feels like “being cool.” Why making life a living hell for the teacher, selling drugs, and beating kids up makes you cool is beyond me, but I’m not trying to understand. What I am trying to say is it’s not merely a “black” problem. It’s everyone’s problem.

Every generation is a bunch of knuckleheads, according to the previous generation. That’s why we all pass down such fairy tales and lies such as:

In my day kids had respect.
In my day kids did what they were told.
In my day we ate dirt and were thankful for it.
In my day we walked barefoot, in the snow, uphill both ways to get to school.
In my day, kids were seen and not heard.
In my day we ate our disgusting veggies because people are starving in Europe/Asia/Africa/whatever.
In my day blah blah blah blah blah.

Everyone alive could call bullshit on the above “In my day” stories.

We all swore to Almighty Og we would never repeat this when we grew up. Guess what. We do. :smiley:

Face it. We were all knuckleheads, and age has nothing to do with it. I’m still a knucklehead. I’ve learned to go with the flow and enjoy it.

I wouldn’t go quite that far. Most racism is not so obvious. It’s actually so invisible that even the people perpetuating it don’t realize they are doing so.

For example, one of the most destructive things for black americans in the 20th century was that whites would move out of neighborhoods when blacks moved in.

The reason? Blacks moving in lowered property values. Whites were scared the values would go even lower, so they sold.

See? No racism at all, just good economic sense.

And it resulted in the fact of blacks having much, much less financial worth on average. I think this kind of thing is still pretty common today.

Then there are things like how asians who came to the country with money and education are compared to blacks, and people ask why blacks don’t act like them. Nice.
Having said that, it sucks to call anyone names because they want to work hard or perform well academically.

I’m certainly not planning on flaming the OP, and I believe you when you say that you aren’t a racist.

That said, it needs to be stressed that some black students are under pressure from some cultural ideas that stress hipness over intellect, but certainly not all. I go to a college so white that looking out over the glistening during the lunch hour can cause permanent blindness, but I’d say that I have a disproportionate number of blacks in my biochem classes than in the college as a whole.

Basically, like all of adolescensce, these things too will fade. And I think that looking at real statistics rather than making vague guesses from personal observations will reveal that, demographically, black and white people are now more demographically similar than they’ve ever been and the gap in income, availability of health care, employment, etc. continues to decline. Basically, I can’t look at real statistics and say that black culture or youth is any more emperiled than it was before or that things are suddenly getting worse. The black kids in your high-school that unfortunately feel pressured to dumb-it-down will eventually leave high school and it’s associated pressures and rise to their natural level of ability. Hopefully they’ll end up in college where they can be in an environment that nurtures rather than criticises intelligence sooner rather than later.

Also, even though there were no racial overtones to it, I felt pressure in high school too to not be a “dork.” I did all sorts of stupid things like smoking weed, driving recklessly, drinking excessively, and not particiating in class to (unsuccessfully) prove that I was cool and nothing horrible came of it in the end. This was nothing intrinsic in the white culture of the day, it was teenagers being teenagers.

Raising academic standards and creating challenging public schools where learning is valued is the answer, and I see no reason to be particularly worried about how “black culture” of today will wreck decades of progress in approaching equality.

I agree with threemae.

If we judged white people by what they were like in high school, we wouldn’t come away with too favorable a view of them, either. Teenagers in general glorify “thugs, idiots, and ‘ghetoness’” in various forms and always have.

I don’t think this is unique to any one ethnic group. As part of my graduate studies I’m in a multicultural issues class, and I hear this sort of thing all the time, by people who are getting MA’s and PhD’s !

In academic jargon, ‘whiteness’ is the ‘culture of hegemony’ round these parts. We’ve had several people in the class, especially white women oddly enough, point out how uncool they are and how their students point out all the time ‘how white’ they’re being.

I’ve tried in vain to point out this is as racist as to talk about ‘how black’ someone is being, but to no avail. I think the lunatics now have the keys to the asylum, and I doubt this phenomena is going to get better. After all, ‘acting white’ includes using proper grammar, knowing facts, etc… And we sure as heck can’t have that, now can we? Just wouldn’t be cool.

Bill Cosby is an old angry man who is out of touch with reality. Very little of what he said was insightful or meaningful.

Please point to a time in history when thugs and idiots weren’t glorified. They are few and far between. That is the normal order of things. If you really want to stop this glorification, you can tell white people to stop buying rap records and seeing gangsta movies. That’s not gonna happen.

The issue is far more complex than you make it out to be. I certainly agree that it’s a problem, but to describe the problem in the way you did will not lead to any meaningful changes.

This is ridiculous. If you really think blacks and whites have the same opportunities, you are tragically myopic. In fact, many things have gotten worse for blacks since the 50’s. While much of the outward racism is gone, it’s not far beneath the surface.

I think what you are missing is that black people are a large, eclectic group that cannot be “understood” anymore than one can understand white people. I get tired of having this discussion all the time. Many of the things you mention are seen as wrong and retarded because people view societal standards by what white people do. It’s a very ethnocentric way of looking at things.

For example, this “thug behavior” you castigate didn’t begin when black music/culture began to influence the mainstream media. For every rapper that Bill O’Reilly complains about, there are a dozens white actors, musicians, and artists that get a pass for promoting the same types of behavior.

Another example is how many people decry the use of black slang (esp. on this board). This is the height of arrogance and stupidity. White people have been changing the language as they see fit for centuries. Yet, when Black people do it, it’s ignorant and “a sign that we can’t learn the language”. It’s usually not a matter of colloquial language interfering with comprehension. It’s more about people prejudices.

Also, the fact that White America insists on keeping a collective “permanent record” of everything bad any black person has ever done, then asking every black individual to account for these things, and be responsible for the behavior of others doesn’t help. It’s pretty damaging to the psyche when you are asked to atone for things you has nothing to do with.

Basically, I think understanding how/why things are they way they are has to focus more on the source of the problem.

And I thought you just said

Seems then that 'White America" would be an odd phrase to use.

If don’t realize that every Black journalist has suffered because of Jayson Blair and that every young Black kid suffers because of things [insert rapper] has done, then there is no point in having this discussion. Every time a famous Black person screws up, you can expect a referendum on why Black America is failing society.

How so?

So in other words, no cite?

Got a cite for that one too? Or does it also have to be taken on faith?

Hrm… I thought it was pretty clear. If you can’t speak to what ‘black people’ are doing any more than what ‘white people’ are doing, then it’s somewhat squirly to turn around and talk about what ‘White America’ is doing.