I was always around some extremely urbane and hip type person. Once I was able to fend for myself well enough outside of the borders of the kingdom provided for me by my parents, I was a cohort to a brother who fit the description well. He would always tell me, “Now, I don’t have to like you to love you, but I do like you…”
I was reminded of this tonight. And although it can sting, I think it is only proper for to be able to seperate the two, and even more important for anyone to be able to candidly express it. Whether it be that I like you, but don’t love you;or that I love you, but don’t exactly like you, or to be exact, like the behaviors you display. I do believe that American Black suffer from the inability to accept one another unless we fit this jello mold of activities. As though, in order to love me, you have to like everything that I do. How often have I seen family members stand up together against neighborhood threats, and yet, not one of them actually liked the other’s habits and idiosyncracies.
Often enough I realize that my style doesn’t reflect the stereotype, nor should I chose it to. I don’t like everything “Black”. I do love my “Black people”, but that doesn’t mean I have to like everything that we do. I think that is a very fine point that we often have difficulty addressing. And seriously, why should you trust me just because I laugh at all of your jokes? Why should you trust me because I “yes!” or “amen” all of your affirmations? Have American Blacks lost the ability to be critical? Are we so overwhelmed by groupthink that everything that we do must be compliant to the group norm? Can I not like skinny jeans, but understand that is only one form of dress in this vast world of various styles and fashions? Can I think that Erykah Badu was possibly aroused in some way while walking naked in Dallas, Texas without being labeled some derogatory term?
Can I reserve the right to not like everything that most American Blacks like?
Do we have to be “building” everytime we discuss something other than Kobe and Lebron? Does it have to be a “cypher”? Can we not slap fives at every well articulated point? Can I not be trying to “white/european/western” if I call it a “dialectical synthesis”? If I don’t rhyme or say something that we have been saying since the 1930s, can I please avoid ridicule? I’m not saying I love you any less…I just don’t always like doing everything we always do…
Can I avoid being labeled a sexist or a “little boy” if I don’t think Queens were all that moral? I mean, will you avoid my glances even more when we pass by on the streets if I remind you that Queens had concubines for their sexual enjoyment? [REITERATION: PURE SEXUAL ENJOYMENT]. So, if I call you Queen…I might be calling you a loaded term that may or may not represent you well. And for that matter, maybe I ought to think about who I call King. I mean, were ALL the kings noble? Were ALL the kings of great stature? I mean, is it alright for me to dislike some of the kings? Maybe I don’t agree with them. Maybe I think Hannibal should have made a left instead of a right. Maybe I think he was too haughty. Will I be lashed out against? Will I have to qualify all my statements with,”In all due respect”, or “not to disrespect the elder”?
I am an American Black because I was born in a global war that was lost, nobody made me one, and I’d like to keep it like that. I would like to reserve the right to act and carry myself the way I choose to based on my experiences, instincts, and the judgments that develop from them when allowed. I refuse to be bound by a culture that considers dance and sport more important that math and reason. I refuse to be bound by a culture that considers Jordans and Polos more important than being able to recite Wright or Jomo Kenyatta. But those are my likes, and we all have our very own. I still love you…but I’m learning to like you…give me time…as I work to give your space to learn me…