For the sake of efficiency and decades of experience with my peoples, I do not directly contact the latest and (probably) the greatest authentically black experience online right about now. Yes, I am respectfully referring to the Breaking Brown YouTube channel (currently, I am showing my support as a subscriber—and, currently, I am showing my support by writing about it to drive just a little bit more traffic toward it). As always, me here in the kinté space will play the role of minister of information using social media to alert the “Breaking Brown Family” (and others) of relevant news. So whenever you hear Yvette Carnell thank some unknown entity for a news story or a talking point, it might track back to the kinté space once or twice—or just once.
Unlike almost every previous (mostly youthful) attempt to be Black on the Internet (especially via YouTube)—according to my research—Breaking Brown addressed Black people like me directly—and, boom, dismissed us out of hand. Even though this highly informed dismissal was not flattering, I appreciate the explicit formality of it greatly instead facing the usual, fashionable complete lack recognition that has been in full effect since before Micheal Jordan switched to baseball. Yes, I am one of the last beneficiaries of the baby-boomer Black power movement(s) that led to government programs that made my economic “life” possible. What is worse, is my “exceptional” status. My mother was effectively an “elitist” activist (from a certain tricycle-riding point of view), getting the LAUSD to recognize me as a “gifted” child which gave me even more government benefits, allocated for a “minority” within a “minority.”
The state of emergency of 21st-century Black America is so dire that the extremely fragile “exceptionalist” Black bubble in which I was raised is an insignificant outlier that has nothing to do with “putting money in black people’s pockets” today. Any face-to-face meeting with Ms. Carnell would ultimately lead to this efficient, populist conclusion. I would even go further, beyond this destination, to point out two glaring situations that helped to make this 20th-century boomer movement possible: the American political need to show off in front of the Soviet Union and the general, American, Kennedyesque feeling that our country was wealthy enough to fight poverty.
So even though many, many, many outsiders (including devout racists) of the black world looking in on this would find my predicament totally insane (for all parties observed), I understand why a publicly-proclaiming pro-Black voice like Yvette Carnell’s would find brothers and sisters like me totally not worth recognizing and damn-near useless. What Yvette is (not) doing publicly is typical of my pro-Black life intimately/personally. Deeper still (and ultimately the driving force behind my behavior towards politically-active black people of the 21st century) my mother’s relatively private and indirect activities that led to a man like me would not serve as an example of how to be Black in the present and the future. My mother would not be an example for the black women of today? Yes, such an attitude/aesthetic would offend me and encourage me to keep my distance.
You see, outsiders, what makes an exceptional/outlier guy like me a laughing stock to too many self-described black people is my mother (and in large part my father) “tricking” me as a child to love learning for the sake of learning. A man like Frederick Douglass fell into this “trap” as well—while being a slave (um, er an “elite” slave?). This has had (especially through the homespun, God-fearing wisdom of my idealistic father—when he was young) an indirect economic benefit. It would not surprise me to discover that Yvette Carnell herself benefited in the same way in the private life of her family. But once we become political and public our rhetoric and logic must “evolve” to attract the largest possible audience. So we cannot talk about indirectly doing any damn thang. We need to talk about “putting money [directly] in black people’s pockets” today. Indirect talk makes you sound crazy to “normal” people. I know this from decades of experience.
So even though Yvette Carnell’s message (and Antonio Moore’s message) sounds “harsh” to many of the the millennial-ish blacks of today, my message is more harsh and apparently totally insane. I am crazy enough to not consider myself “elite” and expect all sane black people to be as Black and educated as I am. This leaves me no choice (in public) but to genuinely and sincerely appreciate what these new black voices are doing for black people today. Privately, though… I will still say do not underestimate your Pre-Columbian African heritage. Without this heritage you will not know what human beings are—you will not know what is thinking and how to live …with all that money in your pocket.
My mother would not have become a teacher for LAUSD in the 1980s when she assumed that my educational path was an “elitist” one. In many ways, I represented proof to my mother and the world that many black children can be educated to the same level as her own child. She began her teaching career with expectations to do exactly that. I inherited through her the same expectations of my people in my ’hood. It took decades of being shit on to realize that many black adults find these expectations “harsh.” Such black folks I am sure have never had childhood experience of getting their ass kicked in a game of chess by another kid with day-old crabgrass blades and tiny pieces of blanket in his afro. You bitch-made folks will never convince me that black children are born dumb-asses.
So Yvette Carnell is educated enough to understand that me and my “black nerd” ’hood-raised kind were deeply politically unpopular from a conceptual point of view during the Willie Lynch resurgence of the 1980s and the 1990s. Those gatekeepers Yvette talks about were part of that nation of millions holding us back. And, now, effectively the same thing is happening to us “outliers” again in the 21st century.