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Elon James White Headshot

Another Message From the Average Black Person

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Greetings. My name is Elon James White...and I'm still the Average Black Person.

Not a lot has changed since the last time I got all average and Black on your asses. I'm still average. I'm still Black. Even with all of the rigmarole that people were having over classification on the census forms (To Be Negro, or not to Be ... that was the question ... I chose 'not'), I'm still just plain-old Black.

I don't even qualify as a cool shade of black that might garner interesting (read: annoying and oft-ignorant) questions. I wouldn't be categorized as super dark ("Is your family from Africa or the Caribbean?" Never mind the fact that there are incredibly dark-skinned people who are fifth generation American.) Nor am I light skinned(ed). (My Mom is. I've seen her field questions like "You gotta be mixed, right?" and she's not. When it happened most recently I soooo wanted her to respond with: "Possibly. Or perhaps there was a case of rape in my family from back when we were slaves. Thanks for bringing that up. Oh! And have a Happy Confederate History Month!") But I don't have any of those problems. I'm just regular old middle-of-the-road Black.

But let me take back the previous statement that things haven't changed. Some things definitely have. Not with me per se (I still rock), but with race in America (No CNN-O). Apparently, people have gone--or at least have embraced being visibly--bat-shit crazy.

Tavis Smiley and his get-fresh crew are still fanning flames about possible allegations that President Obama isn't specifically helping Negroes. (He even teamed up with Farrakahn. Not to worry though, he didn't have any mortgages to help peddle this time.) We have the ever-expanding Tea Party, which is very, very diverse ... or so they keep saying. (If you have to continuously defend your diversity levels, perhaps you may not be the melting pot of ethnicities that you THINK you are.)

The unemployment rate for Black men is flat-out scary. But that should improve soon ... since finding a job in this economy is super hard ... and unemployment extensions are barely getting passed. Soon they (And the REST of America) won't be able to claim, and that'll make them NOT unemployed anymore, right?! And if I'm to believe virtually every major media outlet, Black women are broken: They can't get a man because of various issues that they haven't fixed yet (being highly educated, having standards, ugh. What is wrong with these ladies?) Luckily for them, the media has experts like Steve Harvey to help them out.

Note to Black Women: Please do not throw your coffee at the computer screen. That was sarcasm.
As I take all of this in and hear what we, as Black people, think of the subject (thanks, Nightline!) I feel as if once again I'd like to throw some things out there.

Media

I'm not sure what your purpose is when it comes to Black people anymore. It's as if because the highest office in the land is held by a Black person, you feel as if you now have to pay more attention to Black people in general. But watching panels held by MSNBC, CNN's infamous Black in America series, and the latest travesty that appeared on Nightline, it seems that you have no clue as to how to deal with us. You always use extreme ends of the spectrum to explain and express certain issues. Rarely do you EVER hit the mark. I understand that dealing with Black people like ... well ... like they're "people" is HARD. It's pretty new to you guys. Fifteen years ago, a Negro's face on the news for some random crime was the answer. Now you have an African-American (in the truest sense of the phrase) signing Nuclear Proliferation agreements. That's gotta be hard. If only Blacks would just find a nice little box and STAY in it. But so that we're clear: you're going to continue to get a shitload of complaints and criticism until you realize that your handling of "us" is clumsy, insulting, and almost never helpful. I say all of this to say "quit it."

Supposed Black Experts

Holy shit. What are you guys DOING? From politics to relationships, every time someone seems to be explaining Black folks it comes off as completely asinine. I understand books need to be sold in order for everyone to maintain their awesome lifestyles, but peddling this much garbage has to garner some sort of bad karma, right? Aren't you afraid of the universe just tripping you down a flight of stairs or something? I'm always amazed when "we" classify "ourselves" as one group. It's magical, really. Who genuinely thought it was a good idea to have a nationally televised panel on "Why Black Women Can't Find a Man?" with hilariously ill-informed experts?

In the same country that a few years ago Black woman were being classified as "welfare mothers" we've decided to re-evaluate them and say since you're really successful and educated, "Well that's why no one wants yo' ass." And as Princeton Professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell pointed out, what qualifies these Negroes as the definitive voice? So much of the "Blackness" experts' knowledge comes from personal experience. That doesn't make you an expert. That makes you one voice within MILLIONS. The scariest part is that non-Black folks are listening to you guys as if you are an encyclopedia! A "Negropedia" if you will. Do you care what effect you have on REALITY? When you go on Nightline, this isn't you postulating in the barbershop or at dinner with friends.

Critics of Obama

It's amazing. I have virtually the same response when I listen to Rush Limbaugh as I do when I listen to Tavis Smiley and Michael Eric Dyson at times. Not because they're the same--because really? Rush Limbaugh is a buffoon wrapped in idiocy sprinkled with the Dark Side with a side of douchebaggery--but because they speak in such ridiculous ways and often seem to completely misunderstand the situation. One side of the coin cries "Obama isn't taking care of BLACK PEOPLE" while the other side screams "Obama is racist and only cares about BLACK PEOPLE." Criticizing is an awesome luxury. We can say what we feel and when people are doing dumb shit they should be held accountable. But I'd argue 75 percent of you guys have an agenda outside of what's best for America. And when I say "America," that includes Black people.

Obama isn't in any way perfect. He does dumb shit and calling out "dumb shit" isn't bad. Calling out "unreasonable standards for someone in the situation that this guy is in" is bad. How can you expect be taken seriously if you've become a cartooned version of whatever ideal you thought you were upholding?

Know what's awesome? Being post racial. It's Teapartyriffic!

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