Monday, June 15, 2009

How Come Ya'll Still Got Jet Magazine and All Black Colleges?

This man asked me the above aforementioned question. I don't get offended by these kinds of questions because to me they are dialogues that need to happen. He continued.

"I want my child to be able to have real competition. If you are attending an all black college, isn't that limiting? And why do you have to have an all black magazine, like Jet? It should be about everybody, not just one race of people."

I thanked him for his frankness. Then I cussed him out.

Naw, ya'll...I'm just playing! I didn't cuss him out. I started with the easier of the two. I asked him,"Have you ever heard of Bono from U2?"

He replied that he had. Then I asked him, "Have you ever heard of Chris Tucker?"

A smile played across his lips and his face lit up with the memory of something pleasant. "Yes, I have. He played in those movies with Jackie Chan, Rush Hour, I think it's called, " he added.

I continued. "Did you hear about Bono being considered for a Nobel Peace prize because of his work in Africa?"

He nodded affirmatively and added,"Yes, that sounds familiar".

Then I said, "Did you know that Chris Tucker was present at the same points and places as Bono and he nary received a mention? And do you know the only place I saw that was in Jet Magazine? My point is, that the accomplishments of African-Americans are often times overlooked or ignored by the mainstream media. You didn't know about Chris Tucker, but I did. As long as there is racism in this world, there will always be a need and a place for a magazine like Jet. That's one reason we still have Jet, or at least the reason why I embrace it."

I told him, "You and I both know that racism is very prevelant in America. It is present during hiring, during dating and is pervasive in every aspect of our lives, especially for people of color. If a man wins an award at an 'exclusive' law firm, that consistently screens out and blocks people because of their color or their sex, is HIS award based upon REAL competition? I would say, 'NO!' The possible competition may have been screened out 'before the games even began.' "

I don't think he ever asked or questioned, "How come all the management of most companies is all white males?"

But you, know, I didn't get angry with this gentleman. You see, he is the one who is limited. He is caged in by the perceptions that he has, conditioned over time. When you are forced to walk on the outside, the peripheral, you develop a vision and sharpness that those who rest comfy on the inside never will.

Open up your mind, your heart, and your arms to all kinds of people and all kinds of questions. You will see that the creature that was once trapped in the gilded cage, may not be totally free, but he may find respite or rest, or obtain temporary crystal clear vision just for a moment, but long enough to flap and expand his unused wings.

And when we allow someone to soar, or even just aid them on that journey a little bit, we plant a little seed of hope and understanding. Perhaps that seed will grow into a tree that will someday eradicate the need for an all black magazine. Especially if the purpose for the creation of that magazine is to celebrate the accomplishments of a race of people because nowhere else is it being done or to present a realistic and fair depiction of them that can't be found anywhere else.

Don't let that stop you ladies! No matter what, let those love lights shine. Take the high road as often as you can. Your patience and understanding may open the door for dialogue that is healing and enlightening for someone else. Patience and understanding pay dividends. What could be more beautiful than that?


Samantha Maureen said...

this really hit home for me. I go to an hbcu and people question me all the time! some fail to realize the need for these things..

Chicoro said...

You are in a good place. Focus and strive on excellence and it will pay dividends as well. You are in the right place. Let folks question you. When you feel like answering, take the high road whenever you can, Samantha. Keep going, lady!

ChocolateOrchid said...

I love how you dealt w/that type question. I'm sure he would've shut down had the response been a verbal thrashing of some sorts. Thanks for sharing your positive outlook!

NowIamNappy said...

This is truly a good post at the right time. Sometimes its so easy to get heated in racial discussions. My wish and hope is that one day that there all no divisions and that everyone is treated equally. I know that seems impossible but with God all things are possible

jenteel said...

so true chicoro. another bomb post. i've educated a formerly ignorant male caucasian co-worker by applying this same practice in dozens of discussions about race. at the same time, i also helped him understand that i am not the spokesperson for all black people since we can have different cultural experiences depending on where we're from. patience is a beautiful thing.

Chicoro said...

Thank you for your responses Samantha, ChocolateOrchid,NowIamNappy,and jenteel!