The politics of respectability in the black community may not only hinder us from acting and engaging in the constructive protest, lobbying and collective action needed to create a more just society, as it has with respect to the Ferguson protests, but it may also prevent us from simply being and living freely.
I must be the most serene dude on the planet, because I swear to you that I have never hurled a racial invective at someone. No, not even when I was a kid. And no, not even when I was drunk. I'm not boasting, because it would be pretty sad if I wanted kudos just for avoiding hateful insults. To me, that should be basic behavior.
I am American. Some of my ancestors were born here and knew no other land, some of my ancestors journeyed here from Europe, and some of my ancestors were brought here from Africa. I don't know the complete stories of any of their lives, but I know their stories merge to create mine. One that is very specifically American.
When you work on issues that directly affect people's lives, it's easy for passion to overcome politeness. That said, there are some lines you just don't cross. Recently, on Tallahassee radio station WFLA, Florida Family Policy Council president John Stemberger crossed one of the most basic lines we have: racism.