Why do you want to say it?

I was intrigued at the recent controversy surrounding Frank Kaminsky and Andrew Harrison.  During a press conference, the Kentucky team was asked about Frank Kaminsky and Andrew Harrison mumbled “f*&k that n!&&@” into what he didn’t realize was an open mic. I can honestly say, I thought that was one of the funniest things I have heard in sports in a long time.  Not necessarily what he said but everyone’s reaction to it.  First, because Dropping an f-bomb on national television somehow didn’t seem to matter at all anymore and hearing it referred to as a “racial slur”.  Let me make something perfectly clear, while there are more than a couple of “slurs” for referring to white people, that word has NEVER been one of them.  To Harrison, calling him that would be the equivalent of one of the white players on Wisconsin referring to Duke players as “dudes”. The way Harrison and many (not most) blacks grow up, that word has no racial connotation whatsoever.  It’s another way to say “guy”.  I’m not interested in talking about the whole “with an -a” vs “with an -er” debate because in all honesty, it’s very tired and played out.

What does interest me is something I heard hundreds of times during discussions and has to be one of the dumbest things I ever heard.  “Well if Kaminsky had said that, all hell would have broken loose! It’s a double standard!”  Any idiot who says it’s a double standard clearly has no idea what a double standard is.  A double standard is me letting my 15 year old have a girlfriend but telling my 13 year old daughter that I will strangle any boy I ever see talking to her.  A double standard would be me correcting one of my player’s vulgarities by telling them to “Watch your f-in mouth”.  This situation is not a double standard.  There are two types of people who use that word (in whatever form) on a regular basis.  Blacks who grew up in a setting where they were surrounded by people of their own kind and have never known the word to carry negative connotations in every day speech. And good old-fashioned racists.  People who grew up in a setting where they were surrounded by their own kind and who choose to refer to those who are different than them with separative slurs rather than traditional labels.  That is all that either of these groups know.

And guess what, that is okay.  If Blacks in neighborhoods across Oakland and Chicago or wherever want to greet their best friend with “What up my ….” It’s okay.  It’s okay if they have lost track of the animosity of that word because that is one less concern that they have to have in life.  It’s okay if they want to associate it with camaraderie and love that they feel for their fellow brother and sister in their life’s unique struggle that no one else can share.  If a hard-working good ol boy farmer in Mississippi wants to turn off the TV so he doesn’t have to watch the “……. President”, that’s okay.  At least that guy is upfront and expressing how he truly feels about Black people.  You don’t have to like it but at least respect that you know exactly where he stands.  You’re darn sure not going to change him. I would prefer that over that fake closet racism I have witnessed, any day of the week.  That’s just it, those are the only two groups of people on Earth who should be able to use that term Carte Blanc.  For anyone else, I just have one question, why do you want to say it?

What type of VIP privilege are you associating with the Blacks who use that term to make you believe that you are somehow being unfairly shut out of a benefit?  What in your life would change if you weren’t being unjustly denied your “free speech”?  There are people who honestly say, why can’t I say it if they can say it?  That would be like me having my students’ parents fill out a survey asking what the worst thing they ever said to their kid was and then justify using that term because they had used it.  “Yeah, I called your son a spoiled little a-hole but he said you called him that last week so….”  That rationalization will  never hold water.  Does that mean someone can say filthy things to you spouse if you have ever done it?  Can someone call your sister a b*&%h because you did when you were teenagers?  A precedent based on a relationship does not become universally accepted.  Don’t look for that quote anywhere because I just made it up.  No, you don’t have a right to say it nor should you want to say it.  But rappers….. Are you a rapper or is that music you despise?  But in the inner-city…. Do you live in the inner-city or do you avoid certain areas like the bird flu. But my friend Jamaal… Is Jamaal Black? Does Jamaal say it because he grew up where that word is just another subject pronoun?

It’s funny how people flock to debate that word but allow the term “queer” to be thrown around in the gay community as a positive.  Back when I was growing up, people used queer as an insult but as soon as the gay community embraced the word, it was all good.  Same with the b-word for women.  Now women are putting it in the title of songs and albums (not just rappers) and it means empowered. Now that’s a double standard. I have white guys who jokingly say all the time, “Oh I can’t dance, I’m just a white boy” or “I can’t hoop, I play golf, I’m a white boy”.  Guess what, I can count the number of times on one hand I have heard the term cracker used to insult a white person to his face.  I can name 20 different incidents where I heard “What’d you just say, white boy!?” or “I’m going to kill you, white boy?!” and not once was white boy used by a person of color in a positive way. So why is it that awkward boat-shoe wearing skaters and preppies can take that derogatory term and turn it into an innocent form of self-depricating humor and it is okay?

But what about the power behind the word?  That’s just it, power is a very relative term.  I love cinnamon and brown sugar pop tarts.  I love my family.  If you think those two words carry the same meaning in those situations, you’re a special kind of idiot.  There are those that say NO ONE should be able to say it.  Well guess what, I believe that NO ONE should be able to smoke but it’s not against the law so who am I to have the audacity to suggest that how I feel about something should apply to everyone.  It is a word that can exert differing levels of power based on how it is used.  Much like a nuclear weapon can be used to destroy an enemy or impose your will by intimidation.  Not sure why so many people want access to the red button of the word just because they can’t get everyone to stop using it.

Advertisements

Is there a rehab for Facebook/Twitter?

Head down in meetings doing the “inconspicuous” thumb scroll.  Sitting in Starbucks laughing hysterically without benefit of a conversational partner.  Stuck in stupid mode at a green light just because the last couple of words of that status or tweet that couldn’t wait.  I actually read an article that 1 in 5 women prefer Facebook to sex.  Are you kidding me?  I don’t even prefer eating to sex.  Put me in an episode of Survivorman where I have to forage for berries, eat bugs and drink my own urine, I could do that.  Put me on an episode of Survivor for $1,000,000 where there are only dudes for 90 days, stick a fork in me about 85 minutes into that episode.  Even though I don’t understand it, I can’t help but acknowledge that social media has a mysterious addictive quality to it that slowly saps away minutes of your life before you know it, particularly for women.  I can’t tell you how many times my wife has asked me about a mutual friend’s status that I completely missed because….it was of no interest to me whatsoever.  There are only so many pictures of food, kids or nature I can pretend to be interested in.  As a matter of fact, I only post pictures of my own 4 children when it meets one of the 3 a’s of posting criteria, a noteworthy achievementathletics, or to shame their ashyness.  I have NEVER posted a picture of my meal and typed “Yummy”.  I have never instagrammed a pic of a Colorado sunset with the caption “Wow”.  If anything, I find myself missing most of the photo opportunities because I DON’T HAVE MY PHONE READY.  How am I going to hold a phone at a meal when one hand has a fork and the other has some Frank’s Hot Sauce?

 

The funny thing is I think there is a portion of our entire society that misses stuff going on in their whole lives because they are so worried about stuff going on their “friends'” lives.

“Oh my God, did you see that Suzie got married in Cancun!?”

“Did you see you just stepped in dog *&^%?”

 

“Have you seen Kurt and Trina’s pictures from Paris?  I really want to go there one day soon.”

“It will be hard to travel to Europe when one of us is no longer receiving income. Weren’t you supposed to be at work 15 minutes ago? 

 

If anyone ever wants to do a Facebook intervention.  Please invite me so I can record.

“We are only doing this because we love you!”

“I don’t have a problem!”

“Sweetheart, you forgot your phone when we went to Puerto Rico and you made us fly home to get it.”

“That’s because I wanted everyone to feel like they were with us.”

“But you drove back to the airport without me and the kids!”

“That’s because I was instagramming picture of the honeybun I bought at 7-11 on the way back.  That’s an honest mistake.”

“What about when you recorded over the season Finale of Dexter before I could watch it?”

“Uhhhh, hello.  They had a special episode of the Doctors about how Facebook can slowly destroy a marriage.”

“You tweet during sex!”

“I’m still paying attention”

 

Everyone is worried about the zombie apocalypse but we are living in the zombie apocalypse.  The thing is you are looking for mindless masses with blank eyes searching out brains to consume.  We are already there.  Our zombies carry around iPhones and Galaxys III’s wandering aimlessly in search of a status to like.  Welcome to the night of the living Faceheads.

There is a lock on the door for a reason

As I lay here watching ESPN’s analysis of today’s NFL games, I pay specific attention as to why they say Jay Cutler is struggling this year.  They say he has “no protection” and his line is awful.  I feel like sending a tweet to @JayCutler and letting him know that I have the four best “blockers” on the planet living in my house.  They may not be able to pick up a blitz assignment but they have made sure there is no action going on in my wife’s backfield for years.

Anyone who is married with children knows that getting “alone time” with your spouse is like getting the President to meet you at Five Guys for a burger.  That’s why we as parents have come up with concepts like date night, play dates and a neighborhood-wide game of hide-and-seek.  But in unique circumstances, you come across a group of children with a special power to overcome any parental plan for extra curricular activities.

Allergy Boy – My oldest son has the uncanny ability to develop puffy red eyes, runny nose and a sore throat at the most inopportune time. Of course, when the time is right, he becomes the poster child for Sudafed and that knock comes at the door followed by, “Do we have any Visine”?  What the heck!?  Are you going outside and doing face plants in the grass as soon as your mom and I disappear from site?  Are you on WebMD typing in fastest ways to make eczema flare up?  I am wondering this kids affliction is he allergic to dad getting some action.

 

Homework Girl –  Sure, why ask for homework when everyone is out in the living room talking or eating dinner?  Everyone knows that is when you do all of the easy problems. You save the difficult stuff for after your parents go in the room and shut the door.

[knock knock]

What?!

Do we have a ruler?

If we do, it’s not in here!  I stopped doing that in 6th grade!

[knock knock]

How many pints are in a gallon?

I don’t know!  Maybe you can measure my tears in 20 minutes and see.  Didn’t I just buy you a $300 phone for your birthday.

Yeah.  Who should I call?

No one!  Look it up!  When I was your age, we had to look stuff up in a $1000 set of encyclopedias and it still wasn’t there so we just had to go around looking stupid.  You guys have information at your fingertips yet you still keep asking the people who grew up stupid.  AND HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LOOK UP HOW TO SPELL A WORD IN THE DICTIONARY!?

What?

Never mind, I was yelling at your Nana in California for something that happened 24 years ago.

[knock knock]

Yes

What is outline format?

It is what the police will use to surround the body of the next person who knocks on this door.

Are you kidding me boy – If you have one in your family, you know just who I am talking about.  This kid is the reason you actually consider messing around with the door open.  Because as soon as that door closes, something breaks, burns or disappears.  He is always at the center of that heart-piercing scream that makes you jump up butt naked and almost run out of the room.  He is the one that doesn’t knock, he just screams “Mom!” from wherever he is in the house.  His special power is the super tattle.  Even though he is usually the worst behaved in the bunch, he things tattling on everyone else will make you forget answering the door and seeing a patrolman holding him by the collar.

MOM!

WHAT?!

MOM!

WHAT?!!!

MOM!

[I get up and go to where they are]

They said I have hairy nipples!

Who cares! Do you have hairy nipples?

No!

Then ignore them and stop calling your mother, she is busy!

What are nipples?

They are the things that both of us USED to spend a lot of time with until you started walking, talking and disrupting my life energy.

 

Mastermind – This is the child who possesses all of the super powers of the other members.  He can come to you with an imaginary injury like allergy boy.  He can ask you for help with his homework which at his age is COLORING.  He can tattle with the best of them.  But along with the talents he sucked from his siblings like Rogue of the X-men, he has his own skills.  He can pick locks.  The truth is, they all can but he is the only one who does it because the others know they will get hit in the face with a shoe when they open the door.  He not only picks the lock but then stands in the doorway and asks questions.

Can I have some cereal?

Yes!

Can I have some chips?

No, I just said you can have some cereal.

Who is going to give it to me?

Any of the other 5 people in the house besides the two your are looking at and making uncomfortable right now! Aren’t you the same kid who stacked a barstool, an Xbox 360 and a case of Ramen Noodles in my closet to get a giant Oatmeal cookie from the top shelf?  I don’t care if you stab a hole in the milk with an ice pick and let it pour into your bowl, go away!

Ok……..Hey, mom and dad are kissing and they are wrestling butt naked.  I think mom is winning, she had him pinned.

This is in no way meant to discourage having children.  They are a beautiful addition to your lives and will make your family complete.  This is just a warning that they all have secret powers bestowed upon them by the society of “blockers” and you need to know that having someone to mow the lawn and take out the trash comes with its own issues.

I’m not trying to be racist but….

I wish people understood that prefacing what they say with, “I’m not trying to be racist but…” is the most racist thing you could possibly say.  I recently had a conversation with a guy who made me appreciate people who really say what they mean.  He obviously needed to work on his filter but I appreciated knowing where he stood.

So, what do you do?

I’m a teacher.

Wow, what do you teach, gym?

Actually, I teach foreign language in high school.  Spanish and Japanese to be specific.

[Shocked] Really, that’s an odd combination.

Not really, my mom was in the military so I got to travel a lot.

No, I meant you being a foreign language teacher. [pause]  So do you coach too?

Yeah.

Football or basketball?

[At this point, I am looking around for hidden cameras because there is no way this is real]

Actually, I am a softball coach.

Seriously? Get the f*&^ out of here!

I wish I could.

Wow, it was fantastic meeting you.  

Yeah, you too.

 

The fact of the matter is, as much as I wanted to punch this guy in the face, I appreciated the fact that he embraced stereotypes.  Stereotypes make the world go round.  As much as we don’t want to accept it, stereotypes make the world go around.  You need to know that if you are showing up to an event AFTER the Black people, you are extremely late.  You expect your Latino friends to have a relative or know someone who does landscaping or concrete work.  You turn to your Asian friends when you can’t get your computer or camera working right.  If given the choice of riding in a car with a male driver or a female driver, you know what common sense dictates.

There are definitely times when this backfires.  Like when you choose THE Black guy on the side of the court for a game of pick up basketball at 24HR Fitness and he ends up being atrocious.  You spend the whole game looking at him like HE deceived you.  You mumble stuff under your breath like “You probably can’t even dance” or “I bet you were listening to Carley Rae Jepsen on your way here”.  Or when you go to your favorite Chinese restaurant and the Asian girl at the front turns around and yells into the kitchen”Un lo mein y dos egg rolls, por favor”.  Or going to a hip-hop concert and realizing that minorities really are the minority.

Stereotypes are a way of life.  Stereotypes allowed my 6th grade teacher to cast me as Santa Clause in the Night Before Christmas and make me break dance instead of laughing like a bowl full of jelly.  Stereotypes are what made the farm girls flock my roommate Tony and I at the club in college and ask if we were football recruits even though we barely weighed 300 pounds combined and reached 6’5 sitting on each others’ shoulders.  Stereotypes are what make me understand why I am the only black person walking the aisles of whole foods.  Stereotypes are what keep me from decking random white guys who end their statements to me with “bro” or “homey”.  Stereotypes are what allow me to giggle in the store when I see a non-minority shoplifter because I know security and the cameras are probably following me.  Stereotypes are why there are 1000’s of memes on the internet of our Black President with ebonic captions.  He has probably never spoken like that but that’s beside the point to most.  

Believing stereotypes doesn’t make you racist.  Believing that everyone of a particular race adheres to a stereotype does.  There are many exceptions to the rule.  You feel me, homeboy.