Respectability Politics BS

Forest Whitaker in Lee Daniels’ “The Butler”

Please note that there’s nothing I can add to the subject highlighted in this article that hasn’t been already stated. But, I feel I need to speak on the latest issue of “black men are thugs” diatribe against the black community.

Respectability Politics (RP) is an argument made by some people, white and people of color (POC), that states that racism against POC is actually insignificant and “respect” for POC would be earned if, and only if, POC change their dysfunctional habits as defined often by a white supremacist mindframe. In other words, the problems faced by black folks are caused by black folks, and only black folks can solve those problems if only black folks get their shit together.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen two stories that the mainstream news media deemed worthy of being considered as ‘news’. First, we hear about a video about a black toddler in Omaha Nebraska, cursing up a storm being egged on by people hidden from the footage. Those not seen in the video have been identified as members of a street gang. All of which has prompted the Omaha police to post the video and used it similarly in a way that republicans used Willie Horton in 1988, as a PSA to fear black male criminals.

The second comes out of the fallout from Seattle Seahawk’s football star Richard Sherman’s jovial interview after defeating the San Francisco 49ers which granted his team to compete in the Super Bowl. By now, you’ve heard how that turned out as far as responses are concerned with the use of words like ‘nigger’ and ‘thug’ spoken ad nauseum.

Richard Sherman

What does either have to do with news? More to the point, what does either have to do with RP? If you’re answer is along the lines of believing that if black people would just “behave”, then maybe, they wouldn’t be labeled as thugs, if they didn’t act like them, then congratulations! You’ve proved the whole point of this article!

When it comes to black people, being “respectable” is a tall order, so tall it’s practically unattainable. The problem is that black people are never respected no matter we do! In fact, the only way we can be considered almost “respectable” is if we’re subservient, docile, nice as hell and unflinchingly obedient. And even then, that doesn’t work. Hell, even asking to be respected is seen as disrespectful! I’ll go even further. Writing about it is seen as a sign of disrespect!

I bet Sherman was seen as a great athlete to many white football fans, especially in Seattle after his victory on the field that night. But the instant he went on camera expressing his triumph, he became a nigger on sight. Sometimes it doesn’t take much for white people to lose what microscopic respect they have for black people. And Sherman’s interview was the straw that broke the old, weak camel’s back.

As far as the video of the cursing toddler goes, it’s a different story of the same plot line. White cops in Omaha have already have violent racist opinions regarding the black community. White people in the news already have an incredible biased view of the black community. And white viewers of the news already hate and fear the black community. All the video did was ease any hint of conscience for hating. So, disrespecting black people is justified, once again. Why? Cause we – all 35 millions of us – be thuggin’.

A frame from the infamous video of the Omaha toddler encouraged to swear by people off-camera.

No matter what you do, you are always, at some point in your life and after death, disrespected for being black in the company of white people! If you’re part of the poor working class, you’re seen as lazy and unmotivated! If you’re in a high position or in an ivy league school, you’re assumed to have gotten there due to affirmative action! If you don’t have a criminal record, it’s assumed that you just haven’t been caught yet! And if you’ve been killed, particularly at the hands of a cop, by the process of racial thinking, your death is deserved! No matter what, you’re black and something’s wrong with you, never society!

So, this is why RP doesn’t fly with me. In one second, we can have young black males pull up their pants, but they are still seen as potential threats. We can be as nice and polite to cops as humanly possible. We’ll still get our asses whooped, or worse.

We can have videos of little kids doing grown folks shit like cursing. In the case of this topic, that’s enough for cops to label those kids as part of the future thugs of America and consider poor black communities moral disaster areas that beg for more prisons to be build, not as places that need economic strength and development, let alone any consideration that most black families take care of their youth and would condemn such videos, as opposed to celebrating it as the racist assumption goes.

And apparently, there’s some decorum for how to react after winning a game if you’re black. You’re supposed to be calm, humble and soft-spoken. You can’t turn into a pro wrestler and trash talk in front of a camera, especially not in front of a white female reporter. That would be rude and unbecoming of a football player. That means that you’re just a nigger and that you deserve way less respect than you did when racists sports fans hardly respected you to begin with.

You can’t act human around white folks because they don’t see you human beings. The only kind of respect you would earn from them is when you disrespect your sense of pride and self-esteem. And throwing your own people under the bus is a definite guarantee into the “Respect the White Man” club.


28 thoughts on “Respectability Politics BS

  1. In short:

    Stay off social media. If it ain’t official business or networking it ain’t working.

    Any issues w/us are to be discussed only w/us. No interviews crime scene, MH-P or otherwise. When these jackasses comment don’t respond.

    We do have work to do as does all tribes. Our solutions & resolve should remain in house.

  2. It’s true the Omaha police are asshole of the highest degree. They want to see something like that innocent baby cursing and have a reason to label an innocent child a thug. Shame on them. With that being said Wolf, that baby is in a bad environment, his mother is just a child herself. I was following the story and the young girl’s mother had been arrested for what i’m not sure. There are no responsible adults in the home. If this baby and young mother aren’t removed from dysfunctional environment, he will become a tragic product of his environment. With this video gone viral the authorities need to step in and place the mother and her young child in a safe environment. Let’s not kid ourselves about this.

  3. You can’t act human around white folks because they don’t see you human beings.

    Why bother catering to their need to feel superior and ‘good’ about themselves? I cuss, caterwaul, morning, noon and night if the mood takes me. They can kiss my motherfucking ass. No matter what you do they will disdain you. If you act ‘correctly'(whatever that is), you are uppity. If you shuck and jive you are a good ‘negroe'(never veer off this course of behaviour else shit will hit the fan). If you cuss, show a temper, cry, laugh, in other words, act as any human being would according to the situation at hand, you are a trouble-making stereotypical negro of some sort(take your pick). They will pick out modes of behaviour that will confirm their racist biases. You can’t win for losing so don’t bother trying. Be yourself, they can go fuck themselves with a wire brush.

  4. Love this post, Brothawolf! This cannot be said enough that POC no matter how they behave (either 1 way or another), will always be seen as “less than”, or degraded for simply speaking uP for what is right, heck even for havin’ the nerve to simply leave and breathe “their” good, clean air! lbvs Until ALL groups of POC realize this fact, the system of “Supremecy” will remain unbroken and intact..

    1. I’d like to think that white supremacy, it’s system especially, can’t last forever, but as a POC living in such a system that has been around for centuries, pessimism becomes second nature.

  5. ..Pessimism becomes second nature.. Wow, Brothawolf! That is so profound, that not only has this made me smile (because it shows me that you are totally in tune with how I feel about this particular (and a lot of other) subject(s), but at the same time it has caused me to pause and reflect upon how the truthfulness of statement makes me wonder just how many other folks need to consider just how much the Injustice of so-called “Supremacy” means, and its’ long standing effects.

  6. “When it comes to black people, being “respectable” is a tall order, so tall it’s practically unattainable. The problem is that black people are never respected no matter we do! In fact, the only way we can be considered almost “respectable” is if we’re subservient, docile, nice as hell and unflinchingly obedient. And even then, that doesn’t work. Hell, even asking to be respected is seen as disrespectful! I’ll go even further. Writing about it is seen as a sign of disrespect!”

    This is so true. We’re only deemed respectable if we kowtow to white supremacy. It’s so crazy.

  7. Hey Brothawolf, it’s knight4444, good article and the FUX NEWS culture since 2008 has made race relations WORSE!! FUX NEWS is the KLU KLUX KLAN network. This nation was built on racism and slavery! things started to turn around “SOMEWHAT” with MLK and the civil rights movement but leave it to the GOP and FUX NEWS and it’s 1960 all over again!!

      1. Hey Brothawolf if you want proof of racism being alive and well checkout a website called it makes STORMFRONT seem tame!! with the election of our first A.A. president this country has been EXPOSED!! the GOP’s dog whistle racism has turned into OVERT racism! I strongly strongly suggest people watch two documentaries, OUTFOXED and The Right Feeling Wronged. It clearly shows the sick twist mindset of the caucasian republican!!!

  8. is running my friend, maybe it started out as a black forum but it’s been OVER RUN by the KKK!! theres ignorant WHITE individuals with names like MARCUS posing as A.A . but posting WHITE SUPREMACY propaganda, checkout the political section!! I expose these FOOLS in my type KNIGHT4444 fashion! LOL and it’s Right America Feeling Wronged please check it out on YOU TUBE!

  9. OH!! my bad!! I meant sorry about the typo, BTW have you seen the absolute NONSENSE! from caucasian republican world on Hank Aaron saying the GOP has become the KLU KLUX KLAN?? caucasian republicans are calling him every name up under the sun, WHITE republican america is hopelessly in DEEP denial!!! HOPELESSLY!!

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