The Internet & You(Black Perspectives on Media) Pt. I

There is a tendency to see philosophy as an activity of specialized people, elites, who are usually ensconced in universities, far from the day-to-day activies of ordinary people. – Theresa Perry, “Young, Gifted, And Black”(pg. 12)

The middle-class(which includes most academic types and other professions – including psychologists) tends to see a cognitive style which contains a relatively high amount of “abstract,” “symbolic,” or “conceptual” thought, as indicative of “high intelligence.” The psychologists who represent this class point of view see such a style as innately “superior” to a cognitive style that is essentially “concrete.” – Dr. Amos Wilson, “The Developmental Psychology of the Black Child” (pg. 130)

With the statistics from emarketer pointing market hound dogs sniffing in the direction of what they have assessed to be roughly 64% of the Black population that is using the web, I think it is always wise to consider our(US Blacks) usage online. Accordingly, it would be wise for us to consider the various methods by which we use other forms of media, or at least, as implicated in the new book,”Green DJHTY,” the messages that resonate from the many boxes we attach our minds to.

Interesting enough, as I played a couple of rounds of “Who Did It Better?” comparing Joe’s “Good Girls” to Drake’s “I Always Fall For Your Type,” as well as the Kelly Lebrock’s Pantene commercial from the late 1980s with Keri Hilson’s “Pretty Girl Rock,” discursive enough I’m sure but the link for a Worldstar hip-hop tagged video clip appeared in my AIM messages. Not exactly sure what the video would entail, I clicked play. An obviously umbrageous man began his public service announcement. He informed me of his nephew’s hypermasculine conduct online, namely on his facebook wall. The Uncle, weilding what looked liked about a one inch thick leather belt(if my recall is correct, it would be the 1993 model of the “Don’t Do That No More.” A series that was pulled off the market due to skin rippage.), explained that his young relative did not come from a family of gang bangers. The young man proceeded to meekly confirm the older gentleman’s statements before receiving a not-so-fake whipping(whupin).

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For the record, I agree with physical discipline in certain matters. I also agree with this particular form of public embarrassment. I pray that his uncle’s wit extends to the necessary interpersonal communication skills that the young man will need to channel his energies from Facebook to his school work as well. I’ve heard and read the arguments presented throughout the black blogosphere regarding this incident. I don’t subscribe to the theoritical handling of situations of this sort. It tickles me to no end to think that people will berate the Black man for not being present in the lives of their sons and the young black male in general, and yet when a man does what most men should do in a case like this…it becomes a chance to volley impractical rhetorical sentiments of child abuse. The young brother wasn’t even crying. He was embarrassed. The same sort of embarrassment he would face if he continues to pretend to be a ruffian and a judge gets his hands on him. The same sort of embarrassment he would face if he drops out of school. This is not to say that a very well weilded belt(did y’all see that grip he used? That’s an ancient technique passed down from master ass whipping providers.) will cure all that ails the youth of our community, but I can guarantee that parents of teenage black males would rather deal with a few compunctions of guilt then that ticket the police will give your sons for sagging. Or even worse, being accused of a felony simply for posturing and being at the wrong place.

As discussed at length in the new book,”The Green DJHTY,” our children are prime targets for media campaigns that impregnate impressionable minds with behavior patterns that are often antisocial. Our young boys are bombarded with images of masculinity that lead them into believing that being hard and tough will gain them noteriety and the glamorous life. As Oprah Winfrey and Cornell West parade Jay-Z around white audiences, our youth are being further lead to believe that there is a glistening hope in the world of the cool pose, the tough guise. In a culture where young males are constantly informed that being “tough” and “cool” will garner attention from the opposite sex, and respect from one’s peers coupled with the concommitant message that focusing on one’s studies or expressing oneself in any behavior outside of popular defined modes of masculinity will be met with scorn and derision, it doesn’t take a phd in adoloscent psychology to deduce which path most young black boys will travel. With less and less concern for the young black male in environments that aren’t hostile, many of the suburban youth are picking up cues from their counterparts in urban environments. This leads to problematic behavior expressed by the uncle. Although posturing online is a bit less dangerous-well, until someone accuses you of being a “cyber bully”(more on that in another post)- it still precludes a mindset that attest to the validity given to this particular disposition in the Black youth culture as well as the older one.

For some strange reason adults have forgotten how they thought as children and need outside theorists to explain to them effective means to handle their own children. Children pick up clues from the environment like most sentient beings, and they resonate with the vibrations of power…like most sentient beings. In a social environment where being affiliated with a gang might be attractive, the math is there. Anyone seeking numbers should probably not have children. Another point of interest is this inane obsession with theoritical solutions, and overly critical assessments of solutions in praxis. We read and are crippled daily with academics and “activists” telling us we need to find solutions and stop complaining, and yet the minute a person demonstrates that very concept, it is either too organic and explosive for certain sensibilities, or just inappropriate to those who need to protect their assimilated worldview. Get over your Self. It will be alright. Keep raising your child in never never land, and questioning the responses of detrimental behavior with distant critiques. Those of us on ground zero will always be here to remind your child where they pick up their state greys.