About Me

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New York City, New York, United States
41 year old African-American Male. I like to think of myself as a jack of all trades and a master of none...I rely on reasoned common sense, rationality and what my gut tells me is right/wrong (combined with the well reasoned opinions of others!). I don't consider myself an expert on anything in particular, but I have lots of opinions.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Philly Mayor Michael McNutt thinks that the so-called "flash mobs" of primarily young blacks (and especially men) are doing a disservice to "their race" (Actually, I am really paraphrasing...He said that the dress and demeanor of some young black male youths is doing a disservice to "race", but the article that I linked to referenced the flash mobs...I think that they are related).  I have to disagree.  I think that the lack of self respect that these folks manifest (whether they are in flash mobs or are just generally unproductive) is a disservice to THEMSELVES [even if I am empathetic to some of the root causes behind this dysfunction]...Call me crazy, but I am just not going to accept everything that some black person does (whether it is good or bad) as an indictment or reflection on the entire race.  That makes absolutely no sense [to me, at least].  Its not an a matter of being black unidentified (or naive), its just a reflection of my thought process.

I wish I could explain how I feel, but this strain of monolithic black essentialism is incredibly troubling to me (and, its not something that's new).  I think that is part of the tendency to see a black person who has "achieved" some level of success in American society and want to translate that "success" out to the larger black community irrespective of whether the community actually benefits (which, generally speaking, they do not).  I understand the importance of symbolism (which is a separate but related issue).  I felt it the night that President Obama was elected.  At the same time, I have had a realistic perspective on what he could actually achieve (and, I recognized that he was not quite as progressive as I would have liked).  Similarly, I have just taken the position that I am not going to extrapolate the behaviors of individuals across the black community as a whole...This may not make much sense and it may appear to be two disparate strains of thought...But, in my warped mind, they are one in the same.

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