Jeremiah Short, Feature Writer
America is at war with “Black” culture. And I’m sick and tired of it.
I’ve been frustrated for years with America’s “demonization” of black culture. But the recent suspensions of high school basketball players Jordan and Juwuan Jackson for flashing the “3-point” symbol popularized by college and professional players in a Sheboygan Press photo was the last straw for me. (Suspension was rescinded on Friday)
“When you make a three, everyone does this sign, “Jordan Jackson said. “You’ve probably seen LeBron James or someone do it. I did the three in the picture, and my little brother pointed at the camera.”
Sheboygan Press News Editor Jeff Pederson penned a Facebook post explaining why there was such uproar over the photo. “The hand signs made by Jordan and Juwaun were perceived by some to be representative of signals used by the Los Angeles-based ‘Bloods’ street gang,” said Pederson. “The sign made by Jordan Jackson (on the far left side of the photo) is also commonly used by NBA players, such as James Harden, LeBron James and Brandon Jennings, after making a 3-point shot.”
Jordan, Juwuan and Jamal were just goofing off in a non-serious picture. A picture that was supposed to fun turned into something evil and wrong.
The Jackson brother’s suspension reminded me of Tiana Parker, a little seven-year old girl from Tulsa, Oklahoma who switched schools after she was suspended for having dreads, which was against her school’s policy. You read correctly…dreads. The school changed the policy after she transferred. But the damage had been done.
Are black kids allowed to display any part of their culture? I mean any part of it. Hair. Language. Style. Swagger.
America isn’t at war with black culture. You’re just overreacting. We’re in a post-racial society.
I disagree. Let’s break it down.
If a black kid decides to sport twist, braids or dreads, he’s branded as a thug or up to no good. If a kid of another ethnic background sports long hair or funky look, he’s branded as wild or going through a phase.
Every culture in the world has their form of slang. Latino. German. Italian.
But if a black kid speaks in “Ebonics”, he’s not intelligent. He needs to learn how to speak correctly. It’s not ok that he speaks the language of his culture. No one ever stops to think that there are reasons that black people in America talk the way they do.
Minor History Lesson: Slaves weren’t allowed to learn how to read and, in turn, speak properly.
What’s the result? Broken language or what we now call ebonics.
Black people tend to be a flashy people group–loud colors and creative styles. For some reason America has a problem with that, too.
You wear baggy pants. You’re a thug.
You wear skinny jeans. You’re a thug or at least George Zimmerman thought Trayvon Martin was.
You wear a chain. You’re a thug.
You put on a “Du-Rag” to keep your hair laid down. You’re a thug.
No matter what a black person does. There has to be something wrong with what you’re doing.
If black people are known for anything, it’s swagger. But that’s a problem, too.
We’re expressive. We have handshakes. We move different than the other people groups. Every other people group tries to mimic our movements or “swagger jack.” But if we try to display that same swagger like Jordan, Jamal and Juwuan, then you’re a thug.
I never thought about that. You might have a point.
I know I do. To drive the point home, I’ll give you another example.
Miley Cyrus decided she wanted to “twerk” at the VMA’s and now America wants to eliminate the dance from public consciousness.
I don’t see anyone trying to eliminate “salsa” or “belly” dancing, even though both are sexually suggestive in nature.
What’s the difference? Twerking is representative of black culture and the latter dances are representative of other cultures.
Some might not want to admit it. But America is at war with black culture.
How do black people respond? Speak up. Educate. Advocate
People fear what they don’t understand. So, you have to make them understand.
If you have a friend of another people group that doesn’t understand what “off the chain” means, explain it to them.
If you have a friend of another people group who doesn’t understand that you’re wearing a “stocking cap” to keep your hair flat, explain it to them.
And if someone from another people group doesn’t understand what a hand symbol means, explain it to them.
America can only move forward and become a true homogeneous society with complete understanding and education.
Not black people changing the way they are. That must be understood.
The black kids out there that are going through what Jordan, Jamal and Juwuan went through must understand something, as well: You don’t need to change who you are. Keep wearing your braids. Keep having your own language. Keep having your own style and swag.
America is the one that has the problem, not you.