Our Best And Our Brightest

copyright © 2009 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

For years, many blacks have just come to accept that integration was the path to success in America. Blacks who have been able to have deftly navigated the integration maze either through employment, education, or athletic achievement. And once reaching the pinnacle of their success they have chosen to leave their neighborhoods, friends, and communities to relocate into white America where they take on mythical status as being more than black. To whites they become not like those other blacks and therefore become more acceptable to their white sensibilities. And in some cases blacks believe they have some mythical characteristics that separate them from other blacks. In their wake they leave behind a community that is devoid of role models and success stories. They leave behind a community that is becoming more financially and morally bankrupt.

Before integration and the black man’s desertion of the black neighborhood the only place for successful black men was within the black community. They didn’t have the option of leaving and joining the majority population so their influence and their example were there for all to see and emulate. With the exodus of these heroes the black community has been left with smoke hounds, drunks, and prison gang leaders for masculine role models. And people wonder why young black men are doing so well? When you remove the presence of successful men in a community a vacuum is created and as with any vacuum something or someone is always there to fill it. In the case of the black community it has been filled by despair, hopelessness, and this penitentiary mentality. The heroes we have been left with are those who exploit and pander to violence, criminality, and gangsterism.

I remember when I was growing up we had professional athletes, doctors, and professional men as neighbors. We interacted with them daily and got to see that a black man could be successful without resorting to dealing drugs, robbing people, and killing their brothers. These men provided hope just by their very presence to many young black men who otherwise would have been consumed by their circumstances. Even children who did not have fathers at home still could go out into the community and see that there had been others who were able to overcome their surroundings and reach to another level. As blacks have been able to wrestle success from the clutches of an economic system that for so long had ignored and marginalized them they began to seek the safety and comfort of the suburbs. While I have no problem with anyone who wants to make a better life for their families in the suburbs, I do believe that we all have to be cognizant of the consequences of our actions. As more and more successful blacks have migrated to the suburbs in their wake they have left a more engrained and intransigent form of poverty, a poverty that feeds on itself and creates more poverty.

In my opinion there are two ways to be successful. One is to migrate to the suburbs and integrate into an established system of success. This of course is the easy route to take because the only work involved is assimilation into the larger culture. The second and by far the more difficult way is to stay where you are and rebuild the institutions that you have. By doing this you create and enforce your own definition of success which may be different from the larger culture. The key question in all of this I guess is do successful black men owe any loyalty to their communities besides trying to sell them sneakers or an occasional drive through the hood? Each person must answer this question within themselves, but as a Christian I am not only judged on what I do but also on the opportunities I have to do the right thing and do not.

Our black youth in our communities are at a crisis point. They are angry and for good reason. When they needed a black man to protect them and to lead them there was no one positive there. Instead what was there was gangs, criminals, and disengaged fathers. No longer were there positive role models to emulate and find a communal sense of pride in. As more and more black kids are growing up without fathers the need for hope has never been greater. These kids need to know that they matter in a world that has basically ignored, shunned, and made them feel invisible. They continue to cry out in dysfunctional ways, but it is the only way they know how to say we are hurting and no one seems to care. It is time for all of us to come together not as a white community or a black community but as one community to rebuild and restore our promise to one another. Yes, I am my brother’s keeper.

The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy ~ Charles de Montesquieu

I Don’t Want To Be Black Anymore

copyright © 2008. Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

Here is my question, can a person in America change their race or opt out of their racial classification? Can someone who is defined by others as black check another box on the questionnaire? The reason I ask this question is the events that happened over the last few weeks in the golf world concerning Tiger Woods. For those who don’t know there was a major controversy when a Golf Channel anchorwoman, Kelly Tilghman made the comment that the best thing young golfers could do was to take Tiger Woods out in an alley and lynch him. The anchorwoman was suspended for two weeks. Then in an effort to sensationalize the issue and sell some magazines the vice-president and editor of Golfweek, Mr. Dave Seanor decided it would be a good idea to dramatize the issue with a picture of a noose on the cover. Mr. Seanor was immediately fired.

In both cases many blacks and whites were outraged by the events and demanded swift and severe punishment. It should be noted that in both cases the offending parties apologized and stated there was no racist intent in their actions. While they may have exhibited poor judgment or poor choice of words there was no ill intent involved. Now here is where my question comes in, Tiger Woods the object of all of this attention was not offended by any of these events. Tiger stated that he knew and was friends with Ms. Tilghman and that no racist intent was involved in her comment. He stated that he spoke with her and accepted her apology. Upon hearing how Tiger responded to the incident many blacks were irate that he could so casually downplay the issue.

For his part Tiger was quick to forgive and forget, saying through his agent, Mark Steinberg, that the incident was a “nonissue” and later releasing a statement that said, “Regardless of the choice of words used, we know unequivocally that there was no ill intent in her comments.”


Many have asked why wasn’t Tiger more offended, if not for himself for the millions of other blacks affected by the comment. The answer is simple. Tiger Woods does not consider himself to be black. According to Tiger he is Cablinasian, a word he himself invented that combines his Caucasian, Black, and Asian heritage. It is not unusual for prominent blacks to “transcend” race and become more than black in the minds of white Americans, it helps assuage any guilt they may have of worshipping an inferior human being. And in some cases the black person may believe that they have in fact been able to opt out of being black into a new racial category. We have witnessed this phenomenon with many black conservatives as well as sports and entertainment stars.

So since Tiger Woods is not black the racial epithets and symbols of racism do not apply to him, so why would he be offended by them? Not only is he not offended by them but he doesn’t understand why other blacks would be. This attitude is similar to whites more so than blacks, “why can’t they just get over it”. So, I guess the answer to my question is yes you can change your racial classification if you are Tiger Woods and you made over 100 million dollars last year in endorsements alone playing a game largely played, viewed and supported by white people. However, for Pookie down on the block it isn’t so easy.

When the cops roll up on him as hard as he might try to claim “Cablinasian” status the cops will see him as just another ni**er and they of course will deal with him based on those assumptions. As hard as we try to claim color-blindness the truth of the matter is we are not. We constantly make decisions about others based on their appearance and to deny that is deny our humanity.

So are other blacks upset with Tiger because he is able to overcome his “blackness”, like very light-skinned blacks in the past were able to “pass” for being white or is it something else entirely? The truth be told no one or no group wants to be dissed by a member of the group regardless of their identification with that group or not. I think it is especially painful when it is a member of that group. I remember the talk about O.J. when he was suddenly presented with the fact that he was black and how he embraced that fact when his ass was on the line. Tiger Woods can not be black if he chooses because of the world he lives in. The problem is for most other blacks that is not an option and so I think there is resentment in the fact that he can, because that means he is extremely rich but also that he would choose to do so. A similar case in point would be the infamous Michael Jackson.

So Tiger enjoy the ride and I hope you are never confronted with the ugly truth, but my experience here in America says different. But not to worry, you will always be a member of the family even if you deny us now. We have always been very forgiving, just ask OJ. Oh by the way to show how little any of this meant to him, Tiger went out last weekend and beat the brakes off everyone in the Buick Open winning by 8 strokes.

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic

~  John F. Kennedy