Monday, June 2, 2008

brother (watching)...comments

so, over on the original chronicles, i've gotten a couple of comments regarding the video i posted yesterday. i thought i'd post them here because it's something i truly feel strongly about.

Richard A:
Sorry Negrita but I see this video as more of the same thing,"Look what you have done to me whitey. This is wrong. Look into the world history books and you will see the Jews were persecuted and still are because they are Jews. The Irish back in the early part of the last century when they migrated to the US in Boston were treated like dirt, skum. Yes there has been unfair treatment of Blacks through the world by whites, it has only been a handful of greedy paranoid suppressive individuals, but also take a look in your own back yard and what happened 13 years ago in Rwanda. NO, it is not the rich Jew or the Whitey who is doing anything to the Black man. Take a look at my country, USA, a black man is running for the presidency of the US, and is being supported by millions of whiteys, and I am proud to say I am one of them. No, by supporting this fool Chad and perpetuating the insanity of division of race all you are doing is keeping it alive and putting money in his pocket. I am not a racist nor do I support any type of division of race, I wasn`t RAISED that way. All behavior is learned, you are not born into this life hating another because they look differant. I married a woman from the African continent and have a beautiful daughter and am so proud of her and myself for having the guts to say no to the bigots of this world who would say I am wrong to mix race. I am honored to say I have a friend in Kigali, a different race, and skin color, but I feel the honor and privilege is mine.


thanks for your comment, Richard, but--with all due respect--your reaction is slightly knee-jerk. i take offense to you referring to this artist as a 'fool', but i attribute your reaction to the fact that you have misunderstood the message. whether you've chosen willfully to misunderstand, i don't know. perhaps it was the words 'White man' that made you think this song has anything to do with blaming anyone for...anything. but you're not listening. you've just taken the images before you and decided that you automatically know what this man is talking about.'re not listening. as with any music, you have to, before reaching a conclusion. and i'm afraid you've jumped to swiftly to a conclusion that does not at all reflect the message behind this video.

Shad mentions 'White man' only in the context of saying how he knows what it is like to grow up as an 'other' and to constantly compare oneself to the majority and attempt to emulate a life that is not actually your own. racism exists in numerous forms, sometimes incredibly subtle ones that nevertheless have a profound impact on anyone growing up as an 'other'. prejudice is not an evil that is solely perpetuated by, as you said 'a handful of greedy paranoid suppressive individuals'. it is everywhere. indeed, in our own backyards, as you noted. it is crucial that you recognize all of this as a truth, even though you were blessed to be raised in an atmosphere that condemned divisive thoughts and actions. the words of this song are words of caution to young Black people warning them not to fall into stereotypical perceptions of what they're SUPPOSED to be and encouraging us to reach as high and as far as we can. this is not about the White man holding us down. this is about the dangers of holding ourselves and each other back. this is about taking responsibility and NOT playing the blame game. the reason i tuned into this song and identified with it so much is because, like myself, Shadrach Kabango is an African--a Rwandan and Kenyan--who grew up in Canada, and therefore witnessed firsthand what it is like for young Black people to attempt to construct an identity for themselves that does not fall into what is generally expected...that does not follow a pre-conceived notion of what being Black is. i cannot make any assumptions about your personal situation--i know not how you grew up and how you were raised. but i do know what it's like to live this and how much young people--especially young Black people--need words such as these to give them the impetus to chose their own direction and to make their way in this world that is rife with obstacles. this is a song that recognizes these obstacles and weaknesses and that promotes taking action. this is a song calling on his fellow brothers and sisters to emancipate themselves from mental slavery; to fight against being pigeonholed.

as you said, i--of all people--know all too well the horrific impact of divisive propaganda and politics. and therefore, i would never post or support anything that played into that. ergo, i ask only that you listen without prejudice to hear what this song is truly about. as a Caucasian male raising a biracial daughter, this is a struggle you should recognize as being all too real. the reality is that we do still live in a world where race/ethnicity/religion do matter. this song is just part of my story, and the story of many others. and we all need to listen to each other's stories. please listen to this story, again. i hope you hear it for what it truly is.

Brother (Watching)--by Shadrach Kabango

I try to hold some hope in my heart
For these African youths
Coming up where i'm from
Many traps to elude.
Surrounded by
Mostly white and affluent dudes
And somehow, you expected to have
Mastered this smooth
Swagger and move
With the right walk, the right talk
Fashion and crews
Souls subtly attacked and abused
And what's funny's being black wasn't cool
Where i'm from til suddenly
you started hearing rap in the school
Admist this madness I grew
With knack for amusing through this little skill
For rappin at dudes
An' we all like to laugh at the truth
But when you young and same facts
Pertain to who you rappin em to
Well, I opted not to bring
That to the booth
But after a while, it sort of starts naggin at you
The crazed infatuation with blackness
That trash that gets viewed
And the fact that the tube only showed blacks
Actin the fool.
And I was watching...

(saturated with negative images and a limited range of
Possibilities is strange...)

And its sad cuz that naturally do
Sort of condition your mind and over time
That's whats attractive to you
So young blacks don't see themselves in
Scholastic pursuits
Or the more practical routes
Its makin tracks or its hoops
Or God-forbid movin packs for the loot
Even with this music we so limited - its rap or produce
And that narrow conception of whats black isn't true
Of course, still we feel forced to adapt to this view
Like theres something that youre havin to prove
Now add that to the slew
Of justification the capitalists use
For the new blaxploitation
Many actions excused
In the name of getting cash
That's adversely impactin our youth
With mental slavery, the shackles is loose
And its hard to cut chains when they attached at the roots
So what the new black activists do
For our freedom is just being them
Do what you're passionate to
Not confined by a sense that you have to disprove
Any stereotypes, so-called facts to refute
Or match any image of blackness
They've established as true
Perhaps we'll break thru the glass ceilings
Shatter the roof and emerge
From these boxes that they have us in cooped
And grow to smash the mould that they casted of you
I'll keep watching...


well i know i for one could have used this growing up.... i wouldn't have been such damaged goods!!! the yout (h) don't realize what strength and security they have in their numbers, and globalization/digitization, do they?

two kudos is hardly even enough..

does that make us African Homesteaders?.....hahahahaha.....

annie, go on in tha house and git ma gun, now......

now what'd you say yer name was, feller?......(hic)

Richard A:

Well put Negrita, after reading your comment and his lyrics all the way through it is I who am the fool. I was hasty in my conclusion as I had only listened to the first ten lines. And yes when i heard the words white I automatically assumed something, very shallow on my part, not ok. I pride myself on being a good listener, I guess I have a lot to learn. I do now apologize to you for my abrupt foolishness, and to Mr Chad for my lack of affinity for an artist. I have listened to and read the words and have now a new understanding of just what this man is trying to convey to young Blacks coming up and trying to find their own road. Thank you.