OUR OWN WORST ENEMY?
[This is one of the longest posts I’ve ever written. Just a friendly warning.]
I’ve been psyching myself to write about my very first time in
Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is around the corner and I can’t help but admire the man more and more with each passing year coz he truly was one of the greatest revolutionists ever. He dispensed so much wisdom in so short a period it’s amazing. [See here] He’s a prime example that one man can indeed change the world. As black people, foreigners or not, we cannot take his efforts lightly coz if it wasn’t for him some of the everyday freedoms we take for granted today wouldn’t exist.
Why do we always kill some of the greatest people that ever walked the earth? Seems like everyone who talks about peace and who really cares about the well-being of humankind gets their ass killed. Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr. & Malcolm X, to quote a few well-known examples, were all peace-loving, liberated men but were all plucked in their prime. Are we really against ‘world peace’ [at the risk of sounding like a quote from a beauty pageant contestant] that much? Food for thought.
I sometimes think we’re our own worst enemy. Now, I love black people to death. We’re easily the most imitated [but never duplicated] people ever. Like Paul Mooney says, “Everybody wanna be a nigga but nobody wanna be a nigga.” Everyone imitates black culture but no one wants to be black – ain’t that a bitch? In addition, few other people/race have endured as much as black people have. One of the best quotes I’ve ever heard concerning ‘blackness’ is from back in the day during the Harlem Renaissance and it goes a little something like this:
Beatings, castrations and more beatings…
It almost passes human understanding
How a people can be so socially despised
Yet artistically esteemed;
So degraded yet
So ostracized and yet
A dominant editorial force in American life.
[Time to talk about some real everyday $hit]
Black people’s attitude is sometimes really f_ed up, and it makes me mad as hell. This is more so when it comes to the corporate world where this alarming trend is legendary in its proportions. For instance very few, if any, of the black people I’ve worked with really bust their ass at work. They always come in late, leave early, take hour-long lunch breaks when it’s supposed to be a half-hour long, call off sick every week…. I can go on and on. Good work ethic is so important, so very important. We already have one strike against us. Let’s not perpetuate the stereotype that black people are unreliable in the corporate world.
I know I’m far from perfect but I’m always on time for work, always, with the exception of the instances where the horrendous D.C. traffic leaves me no choice but to be late. You might think these cats really don’t care but my boss always cracks jokes like ‘Damn, I can set my watch by the time you step in through the door!’ This, however, makes him trust me implicitly coz he knows that I’ll be there to hold it down. Trust, dear reader, is of utmost importance, especially because it’s earned and not given. Even though we might feel they screw us over – as in we work too hard and earn too little – please get $hit done. No one bad job lasts forever. Not only that, but that readies you for the tenacity of that dream job, and high-profile jobs are extremely demanding most of the time. Even if you started your own business you’d need to really step your game up attitude-wise. You feel me tho?
What prompted this tirade though are some things that have happened recently. To jock mutumia’s style I’ll break it down like this:
I went to a Wendy’s the other day. This one is in the heart of
This one Wendy’s I went to in WB is Negro-owned and managed and – you guessed it – most of the workforce is black. Not only did it take a full minute for someone to take my order but there was 10 cars in front of me, the cashier gave me the wrong change & didn’t even apologize – or at least be like my bad, the sandwich was cold and the lettuce was soggy and wilted, the mayo was a huge glob on one side of the bun and the chicken was ice-cold and was hanging out one side like a virtual tongue!
I realize it could’ve been a busy day for them but yo, at least center everything between the buns. It’s really not that difficult!
So, yesterday – I mean Friday - I go to get my car’s registration renewed. I intensely dislike going to the DMV coz the lines – or queues for all y’all British-English-speaking folk – are ridiculous. [American English is so… so… annoying sometimes. It’s like having to re-learn terminologies all over again!] There’s this one DMV that everyone and their mama goes to where you’d spend the better part of the day waiting just to, say, pick up your tags, which should take all of 2 minutes to get it over with. This one DMV center I shall name ‘The White DMV.’
I discovered another little-known center someplace else a while back though. That’s where I went to coz I can’t line up all day long, nosir. There was almost no one at this center and I was elated. Let’s name this one ‘The Black DMV.’ Most of the workforce is black, as are the receptionists, two middle-aged ladies. So I go over there to reception and say hi. They didn’t even acknowledge my presence. They were engaged in animated conversation talking about:
“… so that was him you were talking about?”
“Yes girl, didn’t you read the paper? That was back in October.”
“Oh my God, that was you, the lady in the paper?
“Yessir. I thought I would die….”
And on and on and on they went.
My elation quickly fizzled and I was like:
“Uh, hello? I need to renew my registration.”
“Hold on one second,” bitch #1 said. [Excuse my French.] They kept on talking! My patience was really running thin and I was about to say something nasty when bitch #2 was like:
“Can I help you?”
“Yes you may,” I said, making no attempt to disguise my tone. “I need to renew my registration.”
“You need this form here and this form here,” #1 said, flashing a rainbow-colored 2-inch-long fake nail with sparkle all over it. #2 pushed a button to give me a number and #1 was like:
“Not ‘D.’ Push ‘C,’ remember? ‘D’ is for tags, girl.”
“Oh, right,” #2 said absentmindedly. No sooner had I been handed the number than their oh-so-interesting conversation resumed in vull vorce [wsup B.E.T.], as our High School Deputy always said.
Something happened to my phone in
Lord, gimme strength!
[A1 can attest to this one. Wsup girl] Need I even talk about this one? I’m talking about our very own Kenyan Embassy in D.C. You’d think Western efficiency would’ve penetrated the inner workings of that establishment by now but no. It’s a virtual Nyayo House in there. I go to renew my passport and the receptionist lady was like: I’m not dealing with passports today. Talk to that man over there. When I go to the dude he’s shutting down his computer and picking his keys up and before I even say anything he’s like: I need to go. Talk to [dude] over there. I was speechless. I went back to the receptionist lady and was like: Look, all I need to do is drop this off. Can I do that? She was like: Just leave it here on my desk, at your own risk.
I usually don’t have violent tendencies but yo, that’s as close as I’ve ever come to bitch-slapping anyone. That kind of behavior is so unnecessary, so unnecessary.
Before I roll out, my beloved black people – and everyone else, of course, watch out now. King Jr. made it all better for us. Please take the time to click on the link at the beginning of this post to read some of the man’s quotes. Perfection isn’t attainable in this lifetime; we could all use some improvement, every last one of us. I reiterate from a previous post – complacency is a terrible thing.