A video that has made me rethink things.
Fuck. I knew there had to be a twist, but not that. Powerful.
wow that was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever seen
That was cute
That was both cute and sad
My fucking heart strings are all broken
“Hey man, take my picture!”
“I can’t do it. It’s too dark.”
“Yeah, we need some light. Let’s go over there.”
“Are you homeless?”
“Yes, I am.”
“How long have you been homeless?”
“15 years. I’ve been in Boston 8 months. Before that I was in Washington, Virginia, New York, Philadelphia, Louisiana, Florida…”
“Why didn’t you stay in Florida? It’s so much warmer.”
“I wanted to see my family. But they don’t want to see me. They don’t understand depression. They treat me like dirt. Homeless people treat me better than my family.”
“And what happened 15 years ago? How did you end up on the streets?”
“I tried to burn myself twice. I had 30 surgeries. I was dead two times, but God brought me back. I don’t know why.”
“And why did you do it?”
“I was depressed. Why you crying?”
“Because you are a beautiful person, and my family is really messed up, and I’ve been very depressed. I think I can understand you.”
“Yes, I am a good person. And when you take people’s pictures, don’t disrespect them.”
“No, man, I won’t. I like people. That’s why I take their pictures.”
“And when you make your portfolio, don’t denigrate people. Let the pictures speak for themselves.”
“I will. Are you safe on the streets?”
“Yes, I am…And now I have $8 to buy me some food.”
“That’s all I have. Next time I see you, I will give you more.”
“No, man. It ain’t all about money. Give me a hug. And next time you see me, give me a hug again. And thanks for taking my picture.”
I agree with Don Lemon 100%. Black Americans (not all, but some) need to fix themselves and STOP blaming slavery for everything that did NOT happen to them.
1.) Go to school
2.) Speak proper English
3.) Stop using the “N” word amongst yourselves
4.) Stop blaming slavery for things that happened a trillion years ago and MOVE the hell on!
5.) Improve your damn FAMILY PLANNING for crying out loud
6.) Stop glorifying the gangster culture and respect yourselves
I have been called “Uncle Tom” several times by ignorant Black Americans but I don’t let that phase me because I have some great African American friends and acquaintances who are very open-minded and respect themselves.
I will never understand why most African immigrants in America work very hard to be successful meanwhile a good percentage of African Americans always blame others and lack motivation to work hard.
Oh, and I’m not in the states right now so if you feel the urge to search for me after this post, well, I am chilling in Maputo so catch me if you can.
I’ve seen quite a few of my fellow Africans posting this Don Lemon clip and lecturing black people to get it together. I’m always taken aback by how blissfully unaware some of us are with our respectability politics. Listen, respectability and being proper will not save you when racism comes knocking. Not at all. It is merely a deflection of the real problem. The problem being racism.
Let’s address a few things.
1. The murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is what sparked this “conversation”. I put conversation in quotes because it isn’t really a conversation. It’s talking down to and lecturing black people. It’s no conversation. Trayvon was not murdered because he said “nigga”, wore sagging pants, disrespected himself and had poor family planning. No. He was murdered because Zimmerman saw a black boy in his neighborhood and felt he didn’t belong. Even after being told by the 911 operator not to approach Trayvon, he followed him, got out of his vehicle and confronted him. This is why Trayvon is dead. Can we stop using this murder as a catapult to lecture black people? Apparently not.
2. The issue at hand here is not respectability. Why many of us keep falling for this smokescreen is beyond me. Listen, respectability won’t save you. That’s not the issue at hand here. It is racism. Medgar Evers was a respectable man. He wore suits and was a wonderful orator. Guess what? He got murdered. MLK Jr. was a respectable, well dressed man and a wonderful speaker. Guess what? Didn’t prevent him from getting murdered. Oh, that’s the past you say? Well, Skip Gates is a Harvard professor. Guess what? Being a Harvard professor didn’t stop someone from assuming he was a burglar breaking into his own house. Gates is a grey-haired bespectacled Ivy-league professor who walks with a cane. He was wearing khakis and a polo shirt when they arrested his ass in his own home.
In this clip, Bill O’Reilly says Marc Lamont Hill looks like a drug dealer. Hill is wearing a suit and he’s a professor at Columbia. An Ivy-league professor and academic wearing a suit, and O’Reilly says he looks like a drug dealer. How much more respectable, educated and well spoken can he get? The problem is racism.
3. Furthermore, wearing sagging pants, saying “nigga”, not speaking “proper” English etc is not a license to be treated like dirt. You’re not a better human being because you’re well coiffed and can speak the Queen’s English. Congrats I guess, but being that way won’t address the issue at hand which is racism. My father is a Columbia educated professor, and he’s in his 70s. Guess what? He still gets harassed by the NYPD. They often can’t believe that he owns the Mercedes he drives. My sister is an attorney and workers (whom she hired over the phone!) have questioned her about living in her own house, demanding to speak to the real owners. Maybe she broke in and hung up pictures of herself and her family on the walls. I’m an educated man and can speak the so called proper English with the best of them. Guess what? I still get stopped and frisked here in NYC. Most of the time, I’m wearing button down shirts. I’m in my 30s, so I’m not sagging my pants, but that’s besides the point. It’s not about that. I’ve been stopped and frisked so many times by one officer on Staten Island that he recognized me after a while and got embarrassed. Even he became ashamed after a while.
I usually come home very late because I’m often taking photos at concerts, and late at night is when the NYPD really lets it all hang out. I’ve been disrespected by them so many times, even after I’ve given them ID and complied to everything they’ve asked. Another cop wanted me to dismantle my camera. I told him apart from removing the lens from the camera body, there is nothing else I could do. You know what he did? He threw my camera bag on the floor like it was garbage and told me to get lost. This is the stuff that is happening out here everyday, and it’s not because of anything you or Don Lemon are talking about. Will you lecture me to get my act together and speak proper English?
4. Africans are being killed out here too. Ousmane Zongo was murdered by a cop. Shot in the back. Amadou Diallo was shot at 41 times, with 19 bullets hitting him. Were they shot because they were lazy, called each other niggas, glorified gangster culture and wore sagging pants? This is all our problem.
5. This so called “conversation”, which is really just lecturing black folks is insulting. Only black people get lectured it seems. The day when people like Don Lemon, Bill O’ Reilly and others pushing this respectability nonsense start devoting entire programs to mass incarceration, draconian drug laws that punish blacks harsher than everyone else, stop and frisk, predatory lending, gentrification, redlining and every other kind of institutional racism against blacks (not the topical bullshit like Paula Deen calling someone a nigger), then we will be having a real conversation. However, it’s really easy just to lecture black people. Need I remind you that the catalyst for this so called conversation was about a young black boy being murdered by some trigger happy self appointed neighborhood watchman? Nothing this so called lecturing about what black people should do had anything to do with his murder.
Anyway, I’m in post-racial America, complete with a respectable black president and his respectable black wife. Oh, they still disrespect Barack and Michelle too? I was gonna tell Barack to pull up his pants and to stop saying nigga and tell Michelle to get an education and speak properly. Maybe birthers and the tea party demanded his birth certificate and acted like giant racist asses towards Barack and Michelle because they know Jay Z, a notorious pants sagger in his prime and a liberal user of the word nigga. Barack needs to get educated and do something with his life. Michelle too.
Thank you Atane…. For the record the encounters you include here with law enforcement is one experienced by a good many “well dressed” persons of colour. I myself have experienced harassment at the hands of the NYPD and I couldn’t tell you they had any “good” reason to accost me. All the points listed by Don Lemon would be all well and good if indeed they were at the heart of the matter.
Why do some of us believe we can defeat White Supremacy with respect? It has no conscience. It survives off the hatred of everything non-white. Why we can’t accept that and then begin to have real life conversations about race, and our place in America, present and future, is beyond me.
The one thing I can say about living here in the south is that our racists are real. They don’t hide behind much at all. I like it that way. The least you could do is be real with me.
YOU NEED TO RESPECT YOURSELVES AND A LOT OF AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE FILLED WITH SELF-HATE.
”I AM SOMEBODY” IS A POWERFUL MESSAGE BUT ONLY IF ONE BELIEVES IT……..
another thought Africans who have come to America have never been slaves and all that encompasses as they have their culture and language. It’s not an excuse but it’s a factor that is deeply engrained in the psyche of any african american…There’s a blackman in the white house so really there are no excuses……..however he wasn’t from a slave family however his wife probably was……..some people can let that past drive them others use it to do nothing………
It’s all a bit complicated as my family are descended from slaves in Jamaica but we’ve got out own country so that does make a difference.
Also slavery did not happen a trillion years ago as only an ignorant fool would say that, it happened in the last century and it’s not as if the whiteman said hey sorry you are equal like us……so saying that negates the struggle after emancipation, Garvey, Dubois, Douglas, Malcolm X, MLK and many others…
Points, 1,2 3, & 6 i agree with if you can’t read and write what do you think you are going to do pick cotton? It’s a highly skilled literate economy the USA is heading for so no schooling then you will miss out on college, jobs and all the rest…….