Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sometimes I hate being a Conscious Black Man!

Sometimes I get frustrated being a conscious Black man among so many of us who are UNconscious. Meaning, I often become frustrated at being a lover of Black people. I sometimes become frustrated at being a lover of Black women (only). I become frustrated at being a lover and a staunch advocate for young Black males. I remember when I was a young man back in college on the campus of  mybeloved Grambling State University in early 1990s. I wrote an Op-Ed column here and there for the university’s campus newspaper called “The Gramblinite.” I was not a writer for the Gramblinite or anything. The paper accepted weekly submissions from students on campus and I just submitted an opinion every week. LOL! Each week I would submit an opinion or thought about a subject that was a part of society or just an issue that was exclusive to the campus itself. Each week, people scrambled to get a copy of the issue where I was sharing my thoughts. Yes. My thoughts often created a campus-wide stir among the students as well as the faculty and administration. I was even asked by the faculty editor of paper to write  an article from time to time on various topics because I generated such a buzz throughout the university with my writing style. I guess the rumbling was too much for the administration because out of no where the faculty editor of the Gramblinite just stopped accepting my submissions to newspaper.  Hey, it was all good because I went on to create my very own campus media outlet, which was my very own campus newsletter called, “In My Opinion” by Rico Rivers.

In my newsletter, I was able to be as expressive as well as “real” as I wanted to be. However, my wanting to be free to express my thoughts without any limits came with a price. The price was the reality of being shunned by the very people whom I thought I was trying to educate about the many ills in our community, on our campus, and in the country we live in as Black people. Well, when you speak truth without a filter, there are those will not be ready for the truth. So much that they begin to plot and pray to God for your demise. I remember a many evenings walking home alone and not understanding why so many students and faculty expressed outward dislike and even hatred for me after a newsletter would drop. Yes. I reported on the messed up behaviors on students on campus. Yes. I broke a lot of stories in my newsletter that The Gramblinite just would not touch. Yes. I was very outspoken and very vocal on issues that the appointed leaders on our campus just would not touch. I was that alternative voice to that scripted mainstream voice on campus. Strangely, I was viewed by many at the university as what was wrong with the university during the four years I reigned as the much needed and desired alternative voice to the mainstream voice at the university.

You see. I thought I was delivering a much needed message to the students and those at the university who felt that they did not have a voice. However, it did not dawn on me until later that it was not ok in the minds of quite a few at the university to air out the university’s dirty laundry. I also learned the hard way that speaking the truth also meant putting some people and groups on blast. A lot of people back then did not care for me speaking the truth on campus about their favorite professor, church, fraternity, sorority, religion, and even about race. However, there were those who did appreciate what I doing back then. They often came to my defense when those who decided that they did not care for my commentary attempted to bad mouth me or my character. By the way, none of this ever swayed me from telling it like it was back in the day. Yes. My feelings were hurt often by the backlash I received often from an article I wrote that uncovered and exposed a wrong doing at the university.

Some people actually believed that I got a thrill out of exposing people who were essentially hurting the university and misleading the student body. I did not. I walked home alone often emotionally and mentally exhausted and even physically worn-out from distributing a newsletter that I knew would create a not so positive stir on the campus because of the nature of the articles written in that particular issue. I would walk home feeling like the bad guy even after I had just written an expose’ on an actual bad guy on campus. I remember sometimes walking home alone and crying and asking God, “Why did you choose me?” “Why did you choose me to be one of those people”? Then, I as would get closer to home, I would have this thought, “You know. I guess I am supposed to do this now.” When I got home, I’d wipe away my tears and just collapse on the bed and just sleep. I mean sleep until I had no more sleep left in me.

Sometimes, I feel the same way these days. In the midst of all the craziness that is currently going on in the Black community and in the world, I have often found myself not wanting to say anything about some of these issues that are going on today. I know that I will say and write something that will be the truth, but will be the truth that people are not ready to hear right now. It is not that I am afraid or anything. It just gets tiresome and repetitive. People becoming upset with me because I have the balls to point out the pink elephant in the room is that all that great. It’s not even worth pointing out the pink elephant in the room any more. My thoughts on racism, religion, interracial dating, obesity in the Black community, reparations, education, out of wedlock births, homosexuality, white supremacy, teen pregnancy, drugs and crime, etc, really don’t coincide with the current mainstreamed thoughts of most people. In this era of multiculturalism and diversity, my people, black people are still not ready for a conscious Black man’s thoughts. This still saddens me. I will continue to share my thoughts as a conscious Black man, however, what’s makes it different for me these days is that I now know why God chose me way back then and I am now ok with the price tag that comes along with being a conscious Black man.

In closing, I just want to say just in case you are wondering. My concern has never been what white people about my opinions or my positions on issues. My feelings and my heart have always been in tuned with Black people. However, it has become too much of an emotional burden for me to invest as much time and energy in speaking to my people about what “We NEED TO DO” to make things better in our communities. This is why I changed my focus over the years. Less talk conversations and more action. I have work to do. However, it does get at me a little sometimes to just sit and watch our people destroy itself out of ignorance and fear of being referred to by whites and Blacks who have really bought into the Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington, RG III, O.J. Simpson, and Tiger Woods love affair with the European mindset as prejudiced or even racist.

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