By Deon Cole & Darryl Littleton
An important thing for black people to do is manage their blackness. As noted scholar, W E B Dubois wrote in 1903, where he explores the conflict of being black and being an American. “One ever feels his two-ness, – an American, a Negro: two souls, two thoughts, two strivings, two warring ideals in one dark body. . . ” meaning black people are a bit schizo. We can only be one person at a time so you have to manage that Sybil mess. You have one you for other black folks; the other you for everybody else. Most black people know this like Mitt Romney knows the function of an Etch-A-Sketch. So we’re just her as a reminder for those of you who forget. You’ll get helpful tips, guidelines and examples on how to manage your blackness under any circumstance.
Today we want to talk about a touchy subject – religion. Yesterday I didn’t go to church. I’ve been going since I was a kid so I figure I’ve put in my time. Besides, God knows me. He’s with me all the time. That’s what they teach you in church. He talks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am his own. In that case why do God and I have to walk to another building to talk when we’re perfectly comfortable right here?
Now I know my Madear would’ve considered what I just wrote blasphemy and had sent me out to get a thick switch from a switch bearing tree if she were still alive. I dreaded those trips to the switch tree since she was a sizable woman who made Jessica Simpson look petite and her backswing was reminiscent of a Serena Williams complete with grunt and Crip walk. She’d have said (while whooping me) “ The Lord wants you in his house, not yours.” Well, the way I see it every house is the Lord’s house and he’s letting me live in this one.
You might wonder what all this has to do with managing one’s blackness. Plenty. From the time missionaries figured out enough of the native’s language to push religion black families have gone to church. You went every Sunday unless you were dying and even then you’d ask if somebody could pick you up and take you. Women wore big hats and men had handkerchiefs in their jacket pockets. Everybody smelled flowery. It was a black thing. The preacher sweated and moaned while the deacons gave folks the evil eye for dozing off. The choir sang way more than they need to, but time had to be filled. How else were you going to keep folks around for two hours and pass the plate several times? One time I went to church and they asked me about my tax returns. You know who you are.
That’s another black thing about church. They have building funds, no buildings ever get built and nobody says anything. At least no buildings connected to the church get built. I can’t say what new add-on the preacher might have at his mini-estate. This leads us to the point of this blog. Why do people of God drive expensive cars named after people who sound like sinners? Mercedes, Bentley, Ferrari – those don’t sound like holy names. Ferrari sounds like she’ll give you something that can put some holies in you.
Preachers say we should all be more like Jesus. We agree and suggest they practice what they preach starting with the car they drive. The Pope has a Pope mobile. Every pope gets one. We’re advocating a standard issue vehicle for all holy people – the Jesus Solariums 2012AD. It runs on solar power just like Jesus did. If the sun’s not out walk, you have to walk to church preacher man. It would be a nice reliable car that may not always get you there on time, but it’s never late. No air conditioning, because Jesus didn’t have any. No radio either, preacher. They didn’t have stations back then. You can sing or hum if you choose. The horn should sound like a burro and there will be no power steering. Jesus used his own power to maneuver those asses. Well, maneuver your ass and stop asking for money you don’t need.
So I managed my blackness yesterday by not succumbing to the peer pressure and going to church where I would’ve surely blurted out such a notion. I went against decades of family tradition and ingrained thinking to stay at home with my God, keep my mouth shut and watch the game. I got the feeling God favors the Steelers. How else can you account for that win? Anyway, that’s what I did.
Now we’re not suggesting this for you. Most of you work regular jobs. We’re in entertainment. We’re expected to be irreverent. Your best bet in managing your blackness is to go along with whatever policy is set forth in your office. Remember, you’re eating for two and it’s hard to keep both of those identities fed if you’re unemployed. Your co-workers assume you go to church; and not some new wave non-denominational situation. They figure you’re Baptist. Aren’t all black people? You’ve probably got a Bible in your glove compartment or purse. You read scripture first thing in the morning and before you go to bed at night, right? I bet you might not be able to spell atheist, but you sure know how to rebuke them. Speak in tongues?! You were doing that before you learned to crawl.
So if the boss goes to church twice a week – you go three times. You let those people at work know that going to church is your hobby. Act like you have no idea what’s going on in the NFL. You were too busy listening to the word from Pastor You-Know-Who-I’m-Talking-About. Manage your blackness by managing to keep your job.
This is Deon & Darryl – talk at you next time.