It was lunch time today at work when the IT Team decided to visit Buffalo Wild Wings to take advantage of their 40cents Tuesday Wings special. Without hesitation, I swiftly grabbed my wallet, realizing my last 5bucks will be sufficient to get 6wings, a medium fries and pink lemonade. After getting there, my stomach was profusely making some serious noise in reaction to the many chicken that have been slaughter and currently cooking/fried/grilled with the smell engulfing the whole bar. We were waited on by a beautiful young lady, and asked to place our order. After few minutes of irrelevant sports game yapping, and of course why Steve Jobs should allow porn on the Ipad, our meal finally came in. Halleluyah I silently yelled, glazing at the hot bbq chicken I had order like a lion ready to devour its prey. Like a gentleman, I smoothly ate my first piece of chicken, snacked on my fries, and washed it down with my pink lemonade, while maintaining my cool and thanking God for providing me my first meal of the day all at the same time. As I was graciously smashing this delicacy, I wasn’t comfortable. I felt like something wasn’t right. My food was tantalizing, but I still wasn’t contented. Then ‘gbagaun,’ it hit me that I haven’t shattered the chicken bones into pieces with my molars like a typical African man would. My conscious-self and alter-ego started wrestling each other on how to address this serious dilemma. My conscious-self employed me to keep it real and crack the bones to the last, suck the juice in it, and if possible eat the table and waitress alongside because it is my hard earned money am utilizing, and not anyone’s business. My alter-ego was telling me to chill out, reminding me how am very well groomed in my fitted T.M Lewin shirt and paisley tie, and it will be a totally shame on me and a big embarrassment to my colleagues and most especially my boss if I indulge in such act. At this moment, I could only wish my roommate or at least one of my nonchalant friends was available so we could do justice to those chickens, you know…This ‘Chicken Situation’ made me very confused and furious. It propelled some serious reasoning in me and for some reason I thought things would have been a little convenient if there was another black brethren around. In paranoia, I started looking around for black folks, but to no avail.
Where are the black people for goodness sake I asked? It felt as though my existence depended on setting my eyes on just one black human. ‘Gbagaun,’ it hit me again that black folks are “minorities,” and it’s not a big deal if we are not everywhere. As soon as those thoughts came into my head, I felt a virtual smack on the back of my head, the smack that you get from your Mother when you’ve done something wrong as a kid. I came back to my senses and concluded that it was very shallow of me to think it’s not a big deal if black folks aren’t everywhere. In this case, it was in a restaurant in an industrious suburban metropolitan area, but so what? I continued to ask myself, where are black folks? Where art thou? Blacks are minorities, yes, but shouldn’t mean we should engage in minor tasks and responsibilities. It shouldn’t mean we can’t be in prestigious places, events or functions. Whatever happened to seeing more black folks striving to be Doctors, Engineers, Programmers, Teachers…? What is wrong with a black kid playing volleyball, or joining the swimming team? (I suppose that is gay huh?!) What fool came up with the terminology “Black people don’t do that, its only a White thing?” When do you decide a black child is a geek? At what stage in a child’s developmental stage should he start working out or having tattoos? We shouldn’t settle for mediocre, and kindheartedly accept the norms presented to us by the society.
I remember few years back as a freshman in college, I was always so proud and full of myself when i found out that am the the only black kid in my class(es). I felt so cool and smart that I continually bragged about it to friends and family members. It wasn’t until when I started missing my own people and feeling isolated every time I was involved in a group project, meetings or curricular activities, which allowed me to be highly sensitive to every comments made, and initiating all kind of negative thoughts in my head about the people I worked with whom for the most part weren’t people of my color. Mind you I love my white folks, and i am no racist. Also, in no way, shape, or form am I an activist, a preacher, counselor or a pioneer for that matter (not to say these titles aren’t to strive for), but I am in every way human. I’ve got soul, body, emotion and a thinking faculty. I want to be able to be in a caucus of professionals and executives where I see, smell and feel people of my own race and color. I want to be able to talk about Colored Greens, Watermelon and Chicken and not looked down upon. I want to be able to wear a dry-cleaned tailored European 3piece suit to work and not assume am overdressed. I want to be able to invite my white colleagues to functions, cookout, and parties without them thinking they will be shut in the brain, robbed or have any fear for their life whatsoever. I guess I just miss my black folks and what them to do bigger things.
Here is to challenge fellow black brothers, continue to write those rap lyrics, keep working and dreaming about being the biggest athletic yet, but do all of these things with education as your armor. The world is most likely to listen to you if you have a college degree or some type of formal education than without one. It is highly possible to attain these heights, as there are records to back them up. Ryan Leslie graduated at age 19 from Harvard, David Banner pursued a Masters Degree in Education, Rondo Rajon was an (A) student while he was in college, J. Cole graduated with honors from St. John university in New York. No one should ever shut your dreams down, but set realistic goals and have alternatives. You don’t have to be Larry Hover or a Drug-Lord before you make money and support yourself. Learn a trade, read a book, watch the news, go to school. Education isn’t only the key to success, but it as well creates numerous opportunities. It would be unfair to shy away from the different circumstances and variables ranging from funds, father-figure, peer-pressure, unemployment amongst others that might deter your aspirations, but keep pushing and praying. If this strikes a nerve, a self evaluation will go a long way. If you are satisfied with where you are right now in your life, congratulations, but don’t forget to help lift another brother up. You are the architect of your own life, don’t ruin your destiny. You are the change the world needs!
From a concerned Brother, Mr. Virtuoso!
*Gbagaun: An exclamation of excitement, pain, surprise… used according to the manner of utterance.
image source: http://adinkrafilms.blogspot.com/2009/11/is-black-hair-black-peoples-business.html