Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Turning back the dial

File this one under "Things we can't blame on racism."

In this video, some obnoxiously ghetto girl in Atlanta is acting like a fool toward an elderly woman. I don't know what caused the incident and I'm not sure on any other developments that may have come out of this story. But what I do know is that I'm ashamed to be a black person right now. I'm also ashamed to admit that I've actually rode on the MARTA:

[Warning: Explicit Content]



When watching episodes like this, it's important to be reminded that no social or racial groups on this planet are monolithic. We don't all act like this. Still for me, it hurts to see my people showcasing themselves in this light, even when it's not done as often as people suggest.

I think about all the battles waged to open the world up for minorities; whether it's the fight for equal opportunities, combatting negative perceptions, or raising social awareness in our communities. So when I see igornant a** stuff like this, (especially in my hometown of Flint, Michigan; where it's more of a norm than an exception), I admittedly wonder to myself: "What's the use?"

What is we gon' do?

- ACL

16 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

Anonymous said...

Andre, I don't think this situation is necessarily just about black youth. I've seen white teens, latino teens, middle-eastern teens, etc. all act a fool at one point or another. The issue most central to this story is the lack of love and social development this girl has obviously been denied. This goes way beyond race.

Andre said...

Anonymous, I'm certainly not implying that this type of behavior is a phenomenon unique to black folks. I'm simply pointing out how -- as a black man myself -- I often find myself vexed by the behavior of people who look like me.

Black people consistently have an eye on us. That eye is never fixed on those who would be considered a 'credit' to the race. No. Instead, the clowns on BET, knuckleheads who keep getting pregnant, people who act like fools are the ones getting the attention; thus dictating the perceptions that fall on the rest of the race.

Like others, I'm tired of having to prove that I'm "one of the good ones" when the antics of ignorant folks take center stage.

Cynthia said...

Good call, Dre!

When all else fails, blame BET. :)

Cynthia said...

On the real, I think that's one of the problems I have living in Atlanta. There are two completely different aspects of this city, yet only one of them seems to get attention. Outsiders to Atlanta only see the ghetto-Freaknik side (Freaknik! LOL!). But the up-and-coming, college-centered, metropolitan aspect is not necessarily depicted on BET, YouTube, etc. That's a horrible and shameful way to depict a city that is doing SO MUCH for black people.

Greeneyes said...

"MY" Greeneyed Handsome Man !
Andre,

I watched the video and I do not think that race comes into it when trying to digest what the situation is ,the younger "woman" was just mentally ill . It Could be the drugs she is taking or needs to be taking or she has lost her mind ! For me I did not see it as a judgement on race issue but a woman with a really big problem.
Although I understand your point of view,and can see how it could have a stigma attached to it for those who like to stereotype .

Scary world out there (glad I am the country mouse LOL)

Greeneyes

Andre said...

@ Cyn: "There are two completely different aspects of this city, yet only one of them seems to get attention."

You can apply that idea to more than just a city's attributes. Indeed, said description can even apply to how groups of people are perceived. Like I said, black folks are not just fools who act ghetto as hell on trains. Black folks are also Ph.D's, prominent lawyers, CEO's and even legitimate presidential nominees (OK, half black. Sheesh...)

@ Greeny: I don't claim to be Freud, so I can't do any valid psychoanalysis here. All I see is some ignorant kid disrespecting an elderly woman. I can try to give her benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to an issue of mental illness, but that's being pretty nice.

Cynthia said...

I agree. This girl's actions look a lot more blantant to me. She's jsut being disrespectful. No medication can help with that.

Andre said...

Not so fast, Cyn. I can think of at least one dose of medicine that might do the trick.

Malik said...

I think the incident raises the larger issue of how we deal with mental illness in the Black community. Do we acknowledge it and turn to expert medical knowledge to treat it, or do we most often spout folk wisdom and look at people who are mentally ill with a mixture of skepticism and contempt?

Andre said...

@ Greeny/Malik: Is this really about mental illness or just a loud, sassy, disrespectful girl?

Malik said...

Dude, the poor woman has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It's a disease, not a choice.

Andre said...

Malik,

You know. I didn't know she was actually mentally ill. I thought she was just actin' a fool. It just seems like she knows exactly what she's doing.

How did you find out about this?

Malik said...

http://www.breitbart.tv/?p=93373

Andre said...

I'll be damned. I guess this opens up an entirely different conversation. Huh...

Thanks for the reference, Malik.

Anonymous said...

I've been listening to this discussion and watching this video. Regardless to what everybody is saying about mental illness, she seems to be in control of faculties. She's processing what people are saying to her and acting a fool in direct opposition to them. Meds won't help that.

Andre said...

Anonymous,

If you visited the link that Malik included, it has the girl's sister and child's father both vouching for her mental disorder. Now, I don't know them and can still question the veracity of their claims (maybe they're trying to save face). But in the absence of knowing FOR SURE, you have to at least consider the possibility that they are correct about her. If that's the case and she is in fact bipolar, it's not as if that kind of condition is exhibited by blatant insanity. She wouldn't necessarily be foaming at the mouth, walking around in her underware, and talking to dead poets from the 18th century. So while it appears that she may be "in control of her faculties", it's possibly that she was acting in response to her disorder.

Again, I can't tell for sure. But I'm not against ruling out the possibility of a mental disorder.