"You'se a Nigga and I don't mean that in a Good Way!!"
- Bernie Mack Impersonator, Intro
Kanye West, The College Dropout
As a matter of race, being the only, the first, or being associated as a pioneer for your people in you field is always a milestone that deserves some respect. Martin Luther King Jr. was not the first to speak about the oppression of people and the tyranny of the establishment - he wasn't even the first Martin Luther to do it, nor the first person of color. But he was first to declare that the system was wrong for black people and declared that he would protest and not strike back when struck upon (not my personal favorite philosophy, but hey ...).
History is wrought with the discarded carcasses of brothers down with the cause and giving their last breath to express their agenda. Every one of the members of the Black Panther Party that were part of the vanguard * were discredited and defamed within 15 years of the groups official disbanding. Bobby Seal was labeled a lunatic, Huey Newton, a crack-head, Eldridge Cleaver, Geronimo Pratt, jailed and so on. These were bright, young men who wanted better for their people and took seldom compromised stands in order to get the means to their end.
In this new era, The New World Order, how could we expect our revolutionary Negroes to remain the same as they have been? In today's time, gone is the sit-in approach. Even the Jesse Jackson Shake Down method has become passe and the establishment has found counter-measures.
From the world of NASCAR, this weekend came one of the most glaring examples of the New Negro attitude, and not from a twenty something, new to the ways of the world, trying to topple the status quo before he is thirty. But from a gentleman who has been around the block. Bill Lester had been a Hewlett-Packard engineer before leaving that behind to drive Craftman trucks. The forty something year old man has declared to everyone that would place a mic before him that they should stopped referring to him as a Black driver and stop making point that he is the third Black man to qualify for a NASCAR event. He is just a driver and wants to be noted as such.
Where have our pioneers gone? Where are those that proudly represented the race of the person they saw staring back at them every morning and only person that will be with them throughout all trials.
Bill, you are Black and in a venue dominated by those unlike you, you will stick out like an apple bottom. Be proud to represent your accomplishment as a Black man. Race like Hell and rejoice in the fact that you have not, by appearances at least, sold out. That makes you even Blacker and Stronger. I have not accomplished any first as a Black man in my profession, but often I go several days at the "mill" and not see another brother. I am looked at as a reference point to most things Black and new to White people at work. Lexicon for slang, rap music reference, and conscience for my race, I embody it all. But because the rest of the family rely on me to bring a check home, I can not truly show them how black I can be by cussin' their asses out of my office with that bullshit and slamming the door - knowing that the knob would cause irreparable damage to their spine because of the lack of ass to protect it.
But Bill and I nonewithstanding, there is an old time Black that has never gone away, but has had a image over-haul. The Uncle Tom or House Negro. Tom as he is known affectionately as in most ghetto's has been revamped. He used to only handle domestic affairs and never getting firsthand information from the big house. Now he is showcased, promoted, and put out front to show the general public that hand of the puppetmaster is not as uncomfortable as some would think. Claude Allen, Code Rice, and Colin Powell have been the most recent example. Embracing their employer and not taking a stand that would matter in the same communities that they come from. Putting themselves in position to be simmered down to a paste that is used as administration glue and nothing left to give afterward. Powell's hiatus after public service has been dogged by having to explain some crap that he was not down for in the first place. Conde Rice had to be removed from security service all together and she is still called to the carpet on who made the call that there were WMD's. But the saddest of the triumverate of Negro tools is Allen. He was so ambitious to be a political star that he completely sold 100% of his soul and now blames his brother for a series of petty crimes that eventually lead to his resignation.
So Bill all and all, embrace your Negritude. In the end, it's all you have sometimes and if you give it away, someone, somewhere will remind you that you are, what you are.