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Time to redefine black culture
St Petersburg Times ^ | Novembeer 23, 2003 | Bill Maxwell

Posted on 11/23/2003 4:17:52 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife

Each week, I receive several correspondences from black people calling me an Uncle Tom, a race traitor and that sort of thing.

The most recent epithets came as a result of my column asking Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp to shut his mouth, stop acting like a child and get back to playing the exemplary football that made him a repeat Pro Bowler.

Weeks later, I am still being accused of dissing not only Sapp but African-American culture itself. So, the question is: Exactly what is African-American, or black, culture?

According to my critics, the likes of Sapp and the late rapper Tupac Shakur epitomize African-American culture. If they are right - although I believe that some are simply venting out of anger - then I primarily dislike their brand of black culture.

What do I mean?

Although I appreciate Tupac's poetic genius, I dislike his gangsta persona. Remember, Tupac was a violent brother, and he died in a hail of automatic weapon rounds. I like Sapp's work ethic (which I would advise all youngsters to emulate) and his love of the game, but I dislike the nasty image, on and off the field, he has faithfully cultivated.

Again, if these two men represent African-American culture, then I have major concerns with my culture.

Now, to the essential point of this column: We - African-Americans - should strive to be admired for all the right reasons. I obsess over who we are as a people, about how we fit into a nation that continues to treat us as outsiders after all this time. I obsess over our survival. Sure, we will survive like everyone else. But what will be the status of our collective health in another 100 years, or 50 years even?

These are questions I ponder daily. I have convinced myself that the time has come for mature African-Americans to redefine black culture. Mature blacks must wrest back from the Sapps and Tupacs the values that sustained our people during the long years when de facto and de jure practices guaranteed our third-class citizenship.

We must relearn the sentiments of self-determination and introspection. We should not tolerate another black-on-black killing, another neighbor's house being invaded, another ounce of cocaine being sold on our streets, another adult luring a boy into a deadly confrontation with the police, another child lollygagging and never opening a book.

Mature blacks should unapologetically teach the values their elders taught them. Earlier generations of blacks were taught, for example, the practical power of simple politeness. A "yes, sir" still opens doors of opportunity. A "thank you" still commands respect from others. An "I apologize" still forges trust. Allowing someone else to "go first" in line still paints a smile on the other person's face. "Please forgive me" still elevates the worth of everyone involved in a given conflict.

Blacks nationwide plead for economic development, and we complain of discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere. Well, I have a radical solution for many of our complaints - at least where we have control: We, as a people, need to apprehend the subversive efficacy of the intellect and formal education.

The most subversive act an African-American child can commit in school is to demonstrate a mastery of standard, formal English. Imagine a boy mastering algebra and chemistry. Suppose the same boy completes all of his assignments with excellent grades? Suppose he stays on top of current events? Suppose his teachers and principal like him?

This boy would take away every excuse for whites to legitimately deny him anything. At the same time, he would be admired for at least one good reason: He values learning.

Being intellectually capable is black people's most important possession. Acquiring knowledge and using our intellect to better ourselves are the most powerful and most useful acts we can commit to subvert a system that has kept us down.

My fraternal and maternal grandparents were quiet, determined subversives. I loved listening to them talk about the "days before welfare." I remember how these unflappable people put their families before everything else; how children dared not insult an elder inside or outside the home; how doing well in school was taken for granted; how "cutting up" in public and "shaming the family" were not tolerated.

Calling me old-fashioned and an Uncle Tom does not change this simple truth: If African-Americans are to succeed and enjoy the benefits of this rich culture, mature adults must persuade our children to strive to be admired for all the right reasons.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: africanamericans; blackculture; culture; education
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To: section9
Yes Chris but he's a tortured man who sees the devil in his party. He's been gradually addressing this and his columns are getting bolder as time passes. Maxwell may never leave his politics behind but his columns are encouraging a movement that will help educate and stablize a community that for now buys the LIBERAL bs, but won't when they see how much better life is when they don't owe their vote to the party that promised them everything and gave them the shaft.
51 posted on 11/23/2003 8:14:37 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: SamAdams76; Cincinatus' Wife
I agree with this column. People are judged - black or white - by their behavior. More specificially, their attitude, the words they use, their ability to interact with others in a civil manner, even the way they dress.

Totally concur ... language skills, manners, morals, propensity NOT to curse, etc. all are much more important than race in determining someone's "acceptance".

Not to open up a can of worms, but I would be interested in the authors opinions on "quotas" and the like, i.e. the results of so called affirmative action programs.

I don't see how any of the "social experiments" of "Affirmative Action" that actually result in 'reverse discrimination' will ever really assist a young African American. How does lowering an admittance standard of a university help?

My definition of "affirmative action" that I would hope that all races would get our elected officials to support as well as NO other definition, is to provide economic scholastic assistance to the inner city poor child, or where ever that poor child may be found. If all efforts, funds, assist, scholarships, programs, etc. were focused here the African American or Hispanic youth would be the benificiary. Racism exist in poverty, and focusing at this level, not at "lowering admission standards" is the right thing to do.

Many people may respond and say "we already do that" but I would disagree. One just has to look at the condition of "inner city" schools provided by our tax dollars and see that. The over whelming support in the African American communities for school vouchers, admitting that their is an imbalance, is a testimony to where we are "missing the mark" in educating our youth.

Anyway, just got me going ... I would be interested in Cincinatus' Wife's opinion on this subject, as well as any other of our African American brothers and sisters on this board.

Again, great article!!

52 posted on 11/23/2003 8:17:10 AM PST by AgThorn (Go go Bush!!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Sorry. Maxwell will never admit that he and other black liberals made an historic mistake. He and others can never admit that by catering to one party, they became prisoners of that one party.

Be Seeing You,

Chris

53 posted on 11/23/2003 8:21:02 AM PST by section9 (Major Kusanagi says, "Click on my pic and read my blog, or eat lead!")
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To: section9
Sorry. Maxwell will never admit that he and other black liberals made an historic mistake. He and others can never admit that by catering to one party, they became prisoners of that one party.

Come on- if 95% of blacks voted Republican, would you have the same opinion? It is the blind adherence to liberal social and ecomonic policy that is the problem.

54 posted on 11/23/2003 8:30:47 AM PST by LWalk18
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To: AgThorn
I don't see how any of the "social experiments" of "Affirmative Action" that actually result in 'reverse discrimination' will ever really assist a young African American. How does lowering an admittance standard of a university help?

I see that as LIBERAL vote pandering. It helps no one to lower the bar, except, of course, the snake-oil salesmen aka politicians. Universities are packed with Sixties radicals and the fruit of their Marxist teachings. Everything that a progressive believes in thrives on university campuses - affirmative action, environmentalism, feminism, diversity, sexual experimentation, anti-Americanism, anti-business, anti-moral under-pinnings, justice this and justice that. Text books are politically motivated instruments of social teachings. They ridicule America and leave students with a prejudice against their own country. Beyond believable.

55 posted on 11/23/2003 8:41:16 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: LWalk18
I hope I would. King maintained that it was never in the interest of the black community to tie itself to the fortunes of one party. It's not that 95% of black voters tend to vote Democratic come rain or shine; it's that they treat those who dissent as race-traitors and believe and propagate charges of racism against my own party.

I can excuse cluelessness. I can't excuse cluelessness combined with mendacity.

Be Seeing You,

Chris

56 posted on 11/23/2003 8:43:57 AM PST by section9 (Major Kusanagi says, "Click on my pic and read my blog, or eat lead!")
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To: AgThorn
My definition of "affirmative action" that I would hope that all races would get our elected officials to support as well as NO other definition, is to provide economic scholastic assistance to the inner city poor child, or where ever that poor child may be found. If all efforts, funds, assist, scholarships, programs, etc. were focused here the African American or Hispanic youth would be the benificiary. Racism exist in poverty, and focusing at this level, not at "lowering admission standards" is the right thing to do.

There are exceptions to every rule. There are good inner city schools but they are the exception. We must insist on English only - none of this bilingual stuff that's destroying academic achievement, contributing to dropout rates and condemning generations of uneducated Americans to live lives of poverty. It's very obvious from testing that kids fall further behind the farther they go in public schools. Why? Teachers are not educated. Teachers don't know much about the subjects they teach. They know a lot of theory and politcal correctness but that isn't going to educate a student.

57 posted on 11/23/2003 8:51:58 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: bert
Huh?
58 posted on 11/23/2003 8:58:52 AM PST by thathamiltonwoman
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To: mhking; Cincinatus' Wife; Landru

Sorry Mr. Maxwell. The items you speak of have absolutely nothing to do with "Black Culture" or any perceived need to redefine it.

Substitute "Tupac" with "Eminem", "Warren Sapp" with "Bill Romanowski", "black" with "white", "race-traitor" with "cross-burner", "African-American" with "Anglo-American" and the epithet "Uncle Tom" with "Nigger Lover". Now read the article again.

On extolling the virtues of a return to a more civilized society, the article has its merits. However, this article has nothing more to do with redefining "Black Culture" any more than it has to do with redefining "White Culture". Mr. Maxwell's attempts to put such a narrow focus on black culture does everyone a great disservice.

59 posted on 11/23/2003 9:13:35 AM PST by BraveMan
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To: AgThorn
This part of the post caught my attention as well. Efforts to promote such things as "Eubonics" will never help the black child succeed, where excellent language skills will.

Those who support and promote "Ebonics" in our schools are in my opinion the worse kind of racists. These people seek only to keep black people down and "on the reservation" as Alan Keyes would put it. It is difficult to think of a worse crime that could be perpetrated upon our young black people then to teach them that "gangsta talk" is an acceptable way to communicate in our society.

What a sad waste of young talent, for to teach them in this manner, their doom is sealed as they will never function normally in society. No company will hire them. Nobody will want to do business with them. It is an unspeakable thing to turn a young person into the world without the communication skills he/she will need to be successful.

About the only successful lines of work that one who cannot speak English properly can engage in is professional sports and rap music. But so few ever make it to the top of those fields that it is hardly worth a mention. What are the other 99.9% of these people going to do for a living? Probably nothing as they are effectively doomed to the welfare rolls for life and many of them will end up in jail, with additional cost to our society.

The liberals pushing this Ebonics agenda sicken me. They are destroying the lives of so many black people who could contribute so much to our society, if only they were held to the same educational standards as everybody else.

60 posted on 11/23/2003 9:21:22 AM PST by SamAdams76 (198.4 (-101.6))
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To: yankeedame
*(Why is the "B" in the word Blacks capitalized? Tradition? Proper grammar? PC-ism?)

Because the "W" in Whites is. It is a proper collective noun describing an entire race. "Jews" is capitalized, as is "Indian," "European," or "Chinese." Nothing PC, just an old editor's conscience.

61 posted on 11/23/2003 10:37:07 AM PST by IronJack
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To: cyborg
black people in this country were succeeding before they had self appointed leaders and snotty white liberals.

I would go a step further and say they were succeeding DESPITE these dubious "helpers."

62 posted on 11/23/2003 10:41:45 AM PST by IronJack
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To: IronJack
Yes you are right. Actually if the libs and communists had stayed OUT after civil rights laws were passed, I think this country would have done just FINE. Except libs love to fix what's not broken, and further break what's already broken.

63 posted on 11/23/2003 10:46:57 AM PST by cyborg (liberals are the tapeworms in the intestine of America)
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To: FITZ
just like there is no "White" culture that all whites belong to

Of course there is. We are all racists and do things when no minorities are around. Didn't you see Eddie Murphy's "White Like Me"?

64 posted on 11/23/2003 10:59:09 AM PST by freedumb2003 (Peace through Strength)
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To: mhking
Thanks for the ping, Michael. I just emailed this article to Larry Elder.
65 posted on 11/23/2003 11:04:22 AM PST by EveningStar
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To: FITZ; thathamiltonwoman
I was trying to point out that there are symbols and identifiers of individuals who want to convey their own specific associations. I chose three that I have noticed with Black people.

I didn't use names/classifications because I don't understand what I see.
66 posted on 11/23/2003 11:16:37 AM PST by bert (Don't Panic!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
I would like to add that these adults should also start teaching their chilren that they are Americans ,and no different from me and my kids, or any other American.

Some of us have may have lighter skin than they do, but other than that they are Americans frist, and have ancestory from Africa ,secondly. They should be raised to behold their American spirit ,and to forward themselves using all of the riches of this country. That is what I am teaching my Scottish-Danish -Cherokee- Irish American children to do.

An intersting story for you: I had to remind my son of attending a friend's birthday party. He could not remember her from the homeschhol co-op group of girls in his class. I told him her name, she could not remember her that way, I told him what she was wearing the last time we saw her, he still was unsure because all fo the girls sort of stick together. I asked him: "Honey, have you ever noticed some people we know ,and some friends of ours have darker skin than we do, including our friend from co-op with the darker skin than yours"? He said , "no Mom, I only see them as people".

This from the boy who notices when I have trimmed my bangs in the bathroom as I come out the door.

I don't want to teach my son to see people with darker skin than his, as African- Americans. I want him to always see them as people first. I wish for the sake of all of those children, that we could do away with calling them Africans. They are Americans.

67 posted on 11/23/2003 12:07:41 PM PST by Diva Betsy Ross
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To: IronJack
Because the "W" in Whites is. It is a proper collective noun describing an entire race. "Jews" is capitalized, as is "Indian," "European," or "Chinese." Nothing PC, just an old editor's conscience.

As a recovering freelance writer, I question this. This is not to say you are incorrect, but the races/groupings in question are Negro and Caucasian. The words "black" and "white" (modifiers) are colors which, as fair as I know, we don't capitalize*, e.g. the Purple plum, the Green pencil, etc., and yet we (are expected to) write "the Black man", "the White man" quite frankly it's more along the line of "the Black man", "the white man".

This is why I wondered if this practice wasn't rooted in PC-ism.

*(We don't usually capitalize.)

68 posted on 11/23/2003 12:34:44 PM PST by yankeedame ("Oh, I can take it but I'd much rather dish it out.")
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Excellent post.

Keep them coming CW.

69 posted on 11/23/2003 12:55:13 PM PST by happygrl
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To: mhking
These are questions I ponder daily. I have convinced myself that the time has come for mature African-Americans to redefine black culture. Mature blacks must wrest back from the Sapps and Tupacs the values that sustained our people during the long years when de facto and de jure practices guaranteed our third-class citizenship.

We must relearn the sentiments of self-determination and introspection. We should not tolerate another black-on-black killing, another neighbor's house being invaded, another ounce of cocaine being sold on our streets, another adult luring a boy into a deadly confrontation with the police, another child lollygagging and never opening a book.

I love this guy, but does he realize that he's not just talking about black Americans? Lower, dumbed down standards are rampant in all segments of U.S. society.

It's the "I'm a victim, so everybody owes me" game that is played by the Jesse Jacksons, Al Sharptons, and their surrogate white and hispanic Democratic counterparts. The design is to keep the leadership rolling in money, and they must have a miserable, self-destructive underclass always in need to sustain them. The massas can whip up said underclass when votes are needed, and then let the neanderthals sink back down into hopeless lives until the next time the rent-a-mob is needed.

The author is right that common sense in raising our young is crucial, but common sense has not in been vogue for a long time.

And on a completely different tack, I wonder why Republican leaders are allowing a huge new underclass of illegals to overrun our country, particularly with Homeland Security supposedly in charge. Illegals provide cheap labor, yes, but it's the average U.S. taxpayers who are paying all their social benefits and other expenses, while living next to the only ethnic group to ever illegally enter the U.S. by the millions, and who don't even have to learn English. No problemo, we'll print your voting forms in Espanol. < /rant>

70 posted on 11/23/2003 12:59:29 PM PST by xJones
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To: SamAdams76
Exactly!
I sub part time in a mostly black and Latino school district and attitudes and study habits are less than exemplary to say the least among many in those two groups of students.
Yet two weeks ago I went to a mostly white and Asian magnet school and guess who the obnoxious little snots were?
Right,the WHITE kids!
Riverman
71 posted on 11/23/2003 1:54:10 PM PST by Riverman94610
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To: yankeedame
"Black" isn't capitalized in the AP Stylebook entry. However "Negro," its synonym, is. The Stylebook says "black" is acceptable in all references for "Negro." If the latter is capitalized -- which it always is -- then I believe the former should be as well, since it NOT simply a color, but the informal title for an entire race.

I capitalize it out of respect, then.

And if I were being PC, then this discussion would be academic. I would refer to Blacks as "African-Americans," or whatever tag the chic are using this week.

72 posted on 11/23/2003 2:10:21 PM PST by IronJack
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To: Wonder Warthog
" Well, if we would stop mollycoddling the blacks with "affirmative action" (aka "quotas") and let them stand on their own two feet, there would be less lollygagging."

Spoken like a true scalawag.
73 posted on 11/23/2003 2:28:01 PM PST by billhilly (If you're lurking here from DU, I trust this post will make you sick)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
The LIBERALS penchant for grouping people to manipulate them, has grown old.

This is very well described in Berbard Goldberg's new book on media bias, Arrogance. He devotes a chapter to why the media excuse the bad behavior of Blacks, and others to their treatment of gays and feminists.

But now that we have talk radio, the Internet and Fox, this stuff isn't going to work as much. It seems that young people are more attracted to the Conservative news sources than to the Lieberal ones.

74 posted on 11/23/2003 2:31:27 PM PST by speekinout
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To: billhilly
"Spoken like a true scalawag."

Depends on which kind of scalawag you mean:
1) one who is playfully mischievous
2) a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel
3) white Southerner supporting Reconstruction policies after the Civil War usually for self-interest

I'll admit to 1), but only a poltroon would call me 2) or 3).

Long live Jubilation T. Cornpone!!!!!!!

75 posted on 11/23/2003 2:53:25 PM PST by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel)
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To: cyborg
Black Americans have always been here. Where does immigration enter into this picture?

I was responding to Post 12 by G.Mason.

He offered a quote:

"There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism...The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin...would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities." (Teddy Roosevelt speech, New York, 1915)

This quote has to do with immigration, that is why I was writing about immigration.

Sure there were Americans who happened to be black in 1915, but I do believe they were not referred to as anything hyphenated.

Americans who happen to be black, should consider them selves lucky for not being an African who happens to be black.

Americans who happen to be black, pushing to be hyphenated are really pushing for the ruin Teddy was speaking against.

Let me be clear before I hurt any feelings, white politics are just as stupid as black politics, and buying into the concept of African-Americans, is buying into the concept of black politics.

76 posted on 11/23/2003 3:28:49 PM PST by Mark was here (My fan club: You're a plague on this forum and I hope you find reason to leave.)
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To: Wonder Warthog
" 1) one who is playfully mischievous.."

I gleefully accept that description, as it was intended.
77 posted on 11/23/2003 4:06:15 PM PST by billhilly (If you're lurking here from DU, I trust this post will make you sick)
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To: section9
THANK. YOU. CHRIS!!!!

...You took the words right off of my keyboard ;-). Maxwell just remembered to take his meds today.

-Regards, T.
78 posted on 11/23/2003 4:39:46 PM PST by T Lady (Who Let the 'RATS Out?!!)
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To: Mrs Mark
oh I just wasn't sure what you were referring to... I happen to agree with you.

For whatever reason everyone wants a new definition of themselves thinking it'll change something. UNhyphenated America very much united, I can't imagine how successful we would be (more than we already are).
79 posted on 11/23/2003 6:27:08 PM PST by cyborg (liberals are the tapeworms in the intestine of America)
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To: No More Gore Anymore
I agree. Our color is part of us but shouldn't be what defines us. LIBERALS want to put people into groups, they're more managable that way. Blacks, Hispanics, Indians, etc. think they have more power enmass. And they do to an extent, but who in the long run do they want that power to flow to, them or politicians? Their children or an agenda? When it comes right down to it, the values and principles of the GOP will move low income people up and out of poverty faster than anything LIBERALS espouse. It behooves them to flex their voting muscles by not guaranteeing they will vote Democrat. Less government will free Americans to unite and prosper. Education is the key.
80 posted on 11/24/2003 3:28:14 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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