Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Birth of a Negro

I live in a luxury apartment complex in Houston, which, most of the time, affords me a considerable amount privacy. Last night around ten there was a knock at my door, an unusual occurence, especially at the late hour. At the time, I was relaxing in my boxer briefs and a wife beater, my evening attire of choice. My Lady was wearing one of her countless night gowns, this one pink with lighter pink stripes. It was baggy, and sometimes her boobs popped out. Neither of us were dressed for company.

Because I was on the phone with a friend discussing my reluctance to apply to law school despite mounting pressure, My Lady went to answer the door in my stead. Through the peep hole, she saw a young, probably harmless white guy who wore a beard and a baseball cap. He was most likely a college student. He mumbled on and on about something or another. After a few of My Lady's attempts to figure out what he wanted, I went to the door to see what was going on.

Just a little bit of background before I continue. I'm an easy going, laid back Negro. I hardly ever raise my voice. Only when I'm on roller coasters, driving my Honda or watching the game do I scream. (One time a white lady accused me of stealing my own car, but I kept my cool. I'm no coon. It just takes a whole lot for me to get angry. Call me Patient Negro.) I might holler when I'm home in Atlanta with my folks, but that's reflective of the strange way that we communicate, not anger or sadness or any other causes/effects of family dysfunction.

But last night, I approached the door a new man: Scary Negro. I yelled through the door, asking the kid who he was looking for. (Never open the door for strangers, especially when wearing your drawers.) He continued to mumble, so I yelled louder. Eventually he managed to communicate that he was a paper boy looking to sell subscriptions to the Houston Chronicle, a terrible paper. I told that fool to keep on moving. I turned around to see My Lady, who was then chopping her veggies on the cutting board.

"That was mean," she said. "That's the new me," I promptly replied. And I meant it. I resumed my telephone conversation about the woes of the legal profession.

My personality transition (from Patient to Scary Negro) was inspired by months and months of public humiliation at my last job at the hands of my former editor. (I'm a journalist.) She would scream at me in front of the other staff writers. She cussed me out. She made me feel as if I didn't belong in the newsroom, which I had only recently joined. I accepted her affronts without challenge, and with the bite of my lip, went on my way. I wanted so badly to gain acceptance, to fit in, to take the next step in my career. But what did it get me? Not a damn thing. I'm unemployed now, a temp worker looking for the next gig. Call me Broke, Unemployed and a Little Bit Depressed Negro.

The newspaper man didn't deserve what he got. Scary Negro flexed his muscles against a powerless kid. What kind of show of fortitude was that? But maybe it was a start. Maybe the next time a supervisor gives me bullshit, Scary Negro will be that much more ready. Back the fuck up and get out of my way. Please.


Anonymous Camille said...

To the Broke, Unemployed and a Little Bit Depressed Negro:

Hey Mos, Camille from San Diego here.

First off, you did a great job in developing the milieu of your evening. I feel like I was there, watching your lady's boob pop out of her nightie like Chappelle did in his Mitsubishi. ;)

Your Queen is right, you were kinda foul to the little mumbling white man in a baseball cap who was only trying to sell subscriptions to the wack ass Houston Chronicle. (What you should have done before you told him to kick rocks, was to speak up. Perhaps he'd get more sales that way.) --I digress-- But taking into account some of your past experiences, perhaps in our efforts to change, we end up too far on the other end of the spectrum. You'll find the balance between Scary Negro and Patient Negro, eventually....

...and oh what a glorious day that will be...

you scream in your Honda?....
maybe I should invest in a Honda.



many blessings

Unfortunately Ryan gave me your blog addy, so i'll be in regularly to indulge in your prattle...

Peace and Love

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Amy Goodman said...

First of all, I don't understnad why you are calling yourself a Negro? Didn't your forefathers, like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, fight so that you could be an African-American?

Second of all, you should never allow pressure to dictate your future. You should do whatever you want to do. There are far too many lawyers in the world already. If you want to work at Whole Foods or volunteer at the shelter for the rest of your life, you should do it!

Third of all, why do you call your domestic partner, 'MY lady?' I don't think that it is appropriate language. You as a descendant of slaves should know the impact of demeaning, possesive language. It really makes me question the validity of hip-hop and its impact on impressionable young African-American men like yourself.

Fourth of all, I do not think you need to apologize for or justify your laid back nature. I think if more African-American men in your generation acted like you, your communities would be much safer.

Fourth of all, what is a coon?

Fifth of all, I think your reaction to the man at the door was completely justified. Personally, I would say something to the complex management about the lax security.

Sixth of all, why is the race of the woman who accused you of stealing her car important? I sense a little bitterness.

Seventh of all, don't let one bad experience get you down! I think it is a noble desire to want to fit in and succeed. One of your great leaders, WEB Dubois, dreamed of a day of complete assimilation. I am humbled by your desire to please your boss. I hope you don't let this experience change your demeanor.

Lastly, I really hope that last paragraph was written sarcastically. I think there are already enough dangerous African-American men out there!

11:32 AM  
Blogger Kim Plaintive said...

Just for the record, the aforementioned "My Lady" doesn't at all mind being called that. In fact, I quite like it, and I call TQN "my man" all the time. And don't a lot of people say "my boyfriend" or "my girlfriend" or "my sweetheart"? I don't think the word "my" is a problem. When used in certain contexts like, "this is my book," it is clearly possessive in the sense that you mean, Amy Goodman. If that same object-possessiveness was connoted in "my lady" I would indeed be offended. But it's meant as a relational word, as in, "this is my apartment building" -- I don't mean that I own the building, I'm just trying to point out that it's different from other apartment buildings because I have a relation to it (namely, I live there). TQN simply means that I am the lady that is related to him (by a loving partnership). As for the word "lady," I think it's a very appropriate word for a young, respectable woman like myself. If he were saying "bitch" or "ho" it would be a different story.

12:33 PM  
Blogger fahren said...

i think the newspaper person got what he deserved. who's crazy enough to go door to door trying to sell something to strangers? nobody. he was little john wayne gacy jr. you're a hero. also, patient negro looks like mennonite negro.

4:56 PM  
Blogger sj-the-infamous said...

subscriptions...at 10pm? this would be different than say..."news at 10" right?

odd, don't ya think?!

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dirty son of a beatch nigga. back to yo hole muthafucking monkey

2:15 PM  

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