Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Man’s Occupational Aspiration and Need: Pimp and Prostitute

Colonial Drive Elementary School was the stomping ground for my primary school education. It was a place that sheltered us little black and white kids from the world. The teachers were so protective and so caring. They were extensions of our mothers and fathers. In all of their efforts to guide us they routinely asked us in open forum the following question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Still to this day I remember various teachers cornering me with this question and demanding an answer. It was their way of “keeping us on track”. I also recall the litany of responses that were murmured by my fellow third and fourth graders. The professions doctor, lawyer, policeman, teacher, etc. were yelled with passion and confidence. Those were the good ole days when even an eight year old could NOT get away with saying something innocent, but borderline disrespectful. The disrespect I am speaking of is Brian’s response to the question: What do you want to be when you grow up? My response: A Pimp!

For years, I have often wondered why I responded with A Pimp. My uncles were not pimps and I never knew what a pimp really was until I entered middle school. I believe the introduction to pimp ‘in was mentally formulized for me while “devilishly” watching R rated movies. You know those 70’s movies that glorified a black man with a big black Cadillac and numerous women running up to the car to touch his fur coat? It was those scenes that captured my attention. I was infatuated with the power this man appeared to have. Women and a big car equaled: Pimp ‘in. What young brother did not care to have a big car and plenty of women at his disposal when he was growing up? Fellas, don’t answer that? Keep reading.

I can only speak for myself; this was the epitome of success. Not only was this brother able to convince women to sleep with other men, he also got a portion of the payment. Easy money!! How I wish my 8 to10 hour days generated easy money. No dice for me! I have to deal with whining employees on the regular. The loot does not come effortlessly. And, another thing that does not come easy for me is my understanding of the black culture’s continued fascination with pimps and the pimp ‘in lifestyle.

Pimps up, Ho’s Down. You remember that documentary. I do. The featured pimps were the shyt and their prostitutes were controlled. Hold up! Maybe I am on to something: The pimps were the shyt and the prostitutes were controlled. How often are we (men) trying to be the man? The coolest cat? The most fly? The one with the most materialization? And, how often are we attempting to be in control? In control of our manhood? In control of our man of the house status? And yes, even in control of our women.

Is the pimp always in control? He never gets his hands dirty unless his flock gets out of line. The pimp is the reservoir for the money. The savings account is in his glove compartment. The prostitute is the work horse. She is getting the dollars while on her back and/or knees. However, I believe the prostitute is the one who is really in control while the pimp and the John are thinking they are the SHYT. Why do I think this? Not sure. But, I am sure that a man wants to be in control. So, ladies, why not let him be your “pimp”. Rub his fur coat (stroke his ego). If you are not doing this ladies, part of the pimp is bound to come out of him in some way or another i.e. getting a woman that will be his personal prostitute who understands the necessity of ego stroking.

Written by Muata. Inspired by that fourth grade teacher that threw me out of class for proudly saying: “I want to be a pimp when I grow up.” Inspired by that woman out there who has mastered the stroke. Bless your heart!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Once upon a time there was a Porch Monkey

If you know me you perfectly understand that I have recently become a football watching fan. In the past I definitely enjoyed watching the phenomenal athleticism that’s displayed on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I even enjoy Friday night football. The high schoolers are a treat to watch also. You would think I am overloaded with football, but I am not. I still have time to tend to my son and write commentaries. Nothing will change that. However, what has changed is my attitude concerning the commercialization of football and one educational disparity between the athletes.

At one point in my life I was okay with the hype that infiltrates college campuses and cities that have professional football teams. The excitement is intoxicating! The tailgating, gatherings at team fanatics’ homes, and the packed sports bars are enough to literally change a city for a day. The athletic event brings people together for three hours. The world’s problems are suspended in time for a brief moment. We become one. One in attitude and behavior. We are die hard fans who wants the Dolphins to whip-up on the Ravens. While we are celebrating, eating, betting, and drinking, someone out there is making MILLIONS of dollars at the expense of us and the stallions on the field. Someone is adding to their net worth while we bounce around declaring “The Steelers is MY team.”

Now, don’t let me steal your joy. Continue to be a fan. I will! The College Bowl Series is coming up and the Super Bowl is around the corner in Miami! But, I plan to re-incorporate a few facts back into my thinking process. I have allowed my mind to be clouded with Plaxico Burress’s one handed catches for far too long.

There is one major reason why I wrote this piece: an alarming study that was just shared with me. The study reinforced elements surrounding education and sports I already knew. Nonetheless, they are worth sharing. Hopefully, we will be reminded of the statistics as we jump with felicity while Reggie Bush dives into the end zone from the five yard line.

*The study shows that 72 percent of the white players who signed with the University of Georgia between 1996-1999 earned their diploma within six years, compared with just 24 percent of black athletes.

*There was a similar disparity at Georgia Tech, where white football players had a 72 percent graduation success rate. Blacks were at 41 percent.

Where should we attribute the blame? The black athlete, the black parents, or the schools? Of course there is a reason for the statistics. To help you understand the magnitude of the percentages and in an effort to share a redeeming story that can be shared with young black youth give me five more minutes of your time.

Once upon a time an 18yr old black man decided to go to a small predominantly white college to run track. He was recruited to run track, not to get an education. Getting an education was the last thing on his mind because he wanted to run track, not study. He wanted to share his dynamic jumping ability and speed by hurdling over a 42 inch high barrier. He was to be a hurdler, not a student. After only receiving a combined SAT score of 550; after his second semester of running track as a red shirt freshman; and after earning a 0.8 GPA at the close of that semester he began to rethink his purpose for going to college. He went to run track, not to be a student. Remember? After this horrible academic year he decided to buckle down and not embarrass his high school teachers any longer. He became a student, and not a black jock. He stayed at the same college. By the end of his five years at the white school he was a scholar athlete who graduated with a 3.4 grade point average. He became a leader on campus. He also completed an impressive track and field career. He became a 5 time all American athlete. This black man is yours truly.

I don’t share this story to be egotistical. I am sharing it because it is my “testimony”. In church we are told, “A testimony can save a life”. It is my sincere hope that this story will be shared with more black kids. They need to know that education is our most precious asset. Running up and down a field is fine. Black football players have made millions, and some have put some of the money made back into something good. There are countless examples. However, we (black folk) are still lacking in the most important area of life: Education. Jesus, Cadillac’s, and overpriced homes with cheap carpet will not save us. Some meaningful form of education is our gateway to a better life. If only we valued education like the Chinese. If only we yearned to learn the complexities of algebra and geometry. If only we stop depending on schools “to graduate” our black men. If only we were prepared to die for what our ancestors died for us to have:
An Education.

Shouldn’t the purpose be to graduate your self?

Written by Muata. Inspired by that young black boy who is encouraged to read instead of being trained to be a Porch Monkey.