Super-King Returns

I saw this Boondocks episode on this past MLK day.  Sometimes black folks have to be self-critical.  I am convinced that King would say something like this if he returned.  Me thinks.

14 thoughts on “Super-King Returns

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  1. Jamie,

    Well…I think he would be more balanced in his ‘critique’ and ‘deconstruction’ of the black community. I don’t think he’d generalize like the King in this particular clip. I also think he’d be overwhelmed by the pathos and psychic fatigue of particular segments of the black community. Of course I am speculating here. I know I am often torn when dealing with this issue.

    One one side I am like Malcolm X: yes we still live in a racist society that has imbedded structural inequities…BUT we have to pick ourselves up. We need to wake up and get up!

    On the other side there is this sense that we have to look deeply into the structural realities that aide in the various negative pathologies that plague particular segments of the black community. Simply moralizing and asking people to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps isn’t going to cut it. Darwinism isn’t the answer…and many black leaders sound like Darwinist.

    So there is a needed call for both virtue and social responsibility.

  2. Anthony,

    Do you think black people just started partying? I mean I can think of the Harlem Renaissance period, when being black was in vogue. And people were partying, pimping, and getting high through the 60s and 70s, so what’s different about what we are seeing in the media today, versus a dolamite movie or blaxploitation film?

  3. No. I don’t think blacks just started partying. I think McGruder was trying to capture an instance of this generation. A generation that is dealing with stuff no other previous generation has had to deal with internally. But again…this is satire.

  4. I’m still not convinced that what I saw in this satire captures anything unique to this particular generation. Maybe you can help me see what I’m missing.

  5. Alright, the music is a slightly more explicit. But, I remember a song growing up with lyrics like “I be strokin.” Or singers like little Richard singing songs about long tall sally, or good golly miss molly, [somebody] sho’ like to ball. I wonder what tooty friuty oh ruddy was all about.

    Is it simply the music? As a historian, I don’t buy into theories of progress or decay, so to speak. I don’t buy the good ol’ days theory. People were thinnin gin, boot leggin, prostitutin, and doing cocaine back in the day, and I’m talking about the twenties and thirties.

    OR you can think about Bird, Coltrane, and Davis in the jazz scene. Chaka Khan and Patti Labelle were into some stuff as well. So, the only thing that seems different to me is the media twist. Are you writing from a black bourgesis perspective?

  6. I don’t think I made an apologetic for some pristine past. Where did I say that?

    As far as writing from a black boojy perspective that may be a possibility. Although that is not the world I live in. I live in a world where my oldest goes to a school where teachers are normally assaulted, where gang members regularly ‘initiate’ young prey in the restroom (my oldest, 13, narrowly escaped a serious beating once…of course he didn’t escape one at the bus stop last school year), where young girls where wrist bands of different colors signifying particular sexual acts that if taken off by a boy is expected to perform that particular sexual act; a world where my children maybe one of the two kids (out of 30 to 40 kids) in the classroom that have both parents at home; a world where I volunteer at an inner city after school program where 95-97% of the children do not have a father in the home. I could go on and on. I don’t live a detached life from the reality that the animator of Boondocks was trying to satirize. I work in social services for God’s sake.

    Also, I have the testimony of my grandmother (90+), who can quote Hemingway from memory, who sees how particular black communities have morphed. I’d suggest talking to older black folks or folks who have lived in particular communities if their communities have ‘always’ been like this. Everytime I go home…not the burbs…and certainly not a black middle class enclave…I see the changes…and I see the degradation. So…I’d say no. I do not think I have a black boojy perspective. It mostly comes from my life and the communities I have traversed in.

    Again…I am not giving an apologetic for some pristine edenic past. But I’d have to say things are NOT the same in comparison to decades ago.

  7. On some level, you might have a valid argument, but on another level. People in urban centers have had many of the experiences that your mentioning for decades–minus the bracelets. I don’t know if your kids attend black schools, but you could find inner city folks who could give similiar narrative from decades ago.

    One does not have to be boojy to have boojy aspirations or identify with middle-class folks. I think maybe location plays an important role in terms of your grandmother, but in 1938, the PHS discovered that black men in Alabama had a very high rate of syphilis, about 36 percent. They didn’t get the clap going to church.

    What about poor folks in Africa and other places that are enduring far more challenging situations? I wonder how this contextualizes our focus on the so-called decay in black American society.

  8. I am not really interested in defending my social location. I may have boojy aspirations (I don’t think so…how do you define that by the way). What largely motivates my interest in this subject is not some exotic interest. I live and work in this reality. I have a wife, kids, and friends in this reality.

    Again…Again?…I am not defending some edenic past. But to suggest that things are more or less the same in particular black communities is…well I don’t know what to describe that perspective.

    Look at incarceration rates, educational stats, black on black crime rates, etc. Look at the encroachment of market institutions within poor black communities. The crass materialism and consumerism. I could go on and on.

    While I’m here in the trenches I cannot afford to go on like things are more of the same…things have gotten worse from where I live and work. I ‘see’ it every single day. This is not something I have read in a book. I see it man! I am not ‘ivy’ I am concrete.

  9. As far as Africa is concerned…well. Africa has its problems as well. And I support efforts to help…and also learn from our brothers and sisters over yonder. But I don’t live in Africa. Africa is not my daily reality. So I can’t really speak for Africa. I can only speak from where I come from.

  10. My kids attend schools that are majority black. And yes there may be instances where there are similar narratives from yesterday to today. But the level of gang and drug activity has increased. My mother often tells me how gangs in her day mostly used chains and knives (with the occasional shooter). Now? My son was telling me about a kid in his school who brought a sawed-off 12 gauge to school…hiding it in his locker. Guns…and not just little p-shooters (.22 calber)…but semi-automatic.

    At my son’s school and the high school across the street…the police are hauling young black men by the dozens to the paddy wagon…at 9 o’clock in the morning…school ain’t even started yet! It’s crazy…at least where I’m at. Maybe its more of the same where you are from and live.

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