Monday, June 28, 2010
Am I Losing My "Blackness"?
A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in my office talking to a guy servicing some electronic equipment for me. Some of my staff got to talking about some events occurring around the the downtown area that weekend, which included a hip-hop/rap concert featuring Yo Gotti, 8Ball & MJG, Young Dro, and a couple of other artists.
I proceeded to joke around with the service guy, who was white, that he needed to come back to Montgomery on Sunday to go to the concert and see 8Ball & MJG. Expecting him to look at me crazy, he says "they are really going to be here on Sunday". My mouth popped open and I was told the look on my face was priceless. I am a black man and never listened to 8Ball & MJG (knowingly). He said that he had their latest CD in the service van which had my jaw hitting the floor. However, another reason that he knew who they were was because he was from Memphis, Tennessee - the same as 8Ball & MJG.
Of course, I got a ribbing from my co-workers that I was not familiar of the lyrical stylings of 8Ball & MJG. I like my old school hip-hop-rap from the 80's and 90's. I am going to sound like my parents, but most of the new stuff today sounds the same and is not that entertaining. Every now there is a gem in the middle of a lot of noise.
It made me feel a little like I am losing my "blackness". I have been told that I was an "Oreo" or they said that "one of the whitest black guys" they knew. I do not talk with a lot of "urban" slag; I do not wear clothing fron South Pole, Ecko, Coogi, or Rocawear; I don't watch "The Game", "Tiny & Toya", or "College Hill" on BET." So with all of that being said - am I lacking "blackness".
I realize that I am still surrounded by a lot of young black men and women in my interaction with staff and the public who are still living their young "black" lives. I am older and more conservative nowadays so I cannot always relate. I have been blessed to see things outside of a stereotypical urban black environment. I have interacted with, made friends with, and dated people who may have also "lost their identity" like myself and you cannot truly label.
All of this reminded me of some unflattering contact I had with a woman earlier this year in "Basically She Called Me an Uncle Tom". I cannot say she was acting like "some typical black woman" because she was truly just a stupid woman who didn't have any sense and thought someone owed her something but even then she made me wonder.
So I guess the question is do we, as we grow older and more mature, conform more to some non-racial sense of self? I think the only ones who can answer that question might be those who follow the adage of "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things" (1 Corinthians 13:11).