Don’t let the title fool you, this article is not going to be a walk down the familiar path of racist stereotypes and bigoted nicknames, in actuality, I am actually going to be bigging up the white man.
I was born in December of 79, so I inherited a lot of the vibe of the 70′s. I am convinced I had weed in my system at the time of my birth and the music, methodology, and mentality of the 70′s infused into my bones and soul. I was however, “raised,” in the 80′s, which meant I grew up in the anger and frustration of Reaganomics, Crack Cocaine and Bloods and Crips. So needless to say, even as a young man I grew up with a since of “Black Rage.” I grew up watching Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor crack jokes about how all a brother had to do was raise his voice and the result would send most white people running for the hills. Naturally, I accepted this notion and lived my life convinced that White people were afraid of Black people.
…and for a time…life was good.
Then something changed, sometime around the turn of the century the Black man’s bark lost its luster. Maybe it’s because in the 80′s and 90′s Black men stopped fist fighting and started busting shots, which meant a generation of brothers grew up without learning how to actually fight. It could be the result of the absentee Fathers, lost to drugs or jail, who weren’t around to teach their boys how to bob and weave. It could have been the result of the emergence of Eminem, who empowered young White America to live and flourish in Black America. Who knows, but one thing is certain, these new white folks don’t scare quite as easy as they used to anymore.
Rewind two years. The setting: Hollywood California.
I’m riding shotgun in my buddies Navigator cruising through the streets of Hollywood, CA. I’m drunk, but I’m not alone, the SUV is filled with the inebriated ramblings of 4 twenty something men on the prowl for excitement and vagina. The car is reflective of the times as one of foursome is not Black but is a brother nevertheless, a brother affectionately known as “White Bryan.”
So while parked at a red light one of the members of the car tossed an empty plastic bottle on the curb. We all thought nothing of it as it landed a few feet from the short, timid, frail-looking white man standing on the corner. Suddenly, without prompting and without saying a word the white man grabbed the bottle and tossed it back into the car.
Oh Hell Nah!!
Maybe dude was a Green Freak, maybe he was OCD when it came to litter, maybe he had lost his mind, but one thing was for certain, he was NOT afraid of 3 Big Black Men and their token White friend.
My buddy Reno, displaying the type of instincts that only the hood can teach immediately unlatched his seatbelt and bolted from the car. Clearly my private school upbringing and relocation to the suburbs had not eclipsed my time in the hood, because before I knew it I was outside the vehicle too.
“What the fuck man,” Reno yelled as he approached Green Peace.
Green Peace, unmoved and clearly un-intimidated stood his ground, even as Mrs. Green Peace pleaded for him to walk away. For a block and half we stalked and traded verbal barbs with this man, we baited him, we insulted him, we tested him. White Bryan pleaded with us to return to the car but we were having none of it, we had White Men to intimidate, we had Black rage to exhibit. By the episode’s end nothing had happened, Mr. and Mrs. Green Peace disappeared in the darkness, we then urinated in a dark alley and the four of us laughed like Biff’s homies from Back to the Future.
It wasn’t until the next day that I sobered up and realized that Green Peace would have probably whipped our ass. I hadn’t been in any type of physical tussle since my sophomore year in College and can count the number of fist fights I had been in on one hand, why was I out in the streets pretending to be a Big Black Ass Badass.
Green Peace could have been Delta Force. He could have learned how to remove both my cubic zirconia earrings simultaneously and in the same movement blind me in both eyes. He could have been a master of Krav Maga and the owner of several enemy kills in the Gaza strip or some shit. Green Peace could have been on his way to an underground fight club where he was scheduled to face Raiden, Johnny Cage, Dhalism and Ryu. He could have been abused as a child with plastic bottles and just seeing plastic could make him lose it. The whole point being that just because dude was White and little did NOT mean he was weak, and just because I was big and Black did NOT mean I was Gangsta.
Watch any extended episode of UFC and you will find some of the biggest and most hardcore White boys on the planet. White boys that are certain to whip my Black Ass.
Kimbo Slice was introduced to me via Youtube and in the age of viral videos, Kimbo was the meanest, biggest, and scariest brother I had every seen. Kimbo was whipping ass in Florida backyards, boatyards, rural fields, it seemed like the man was the Black Hulk who got stronger every time an opponent breathed. Then he entered UFC where a White man with flesh-bubble on his ear damn near knocked him out, then a couple months later a White man with red highlights in his hair dropped Kimbo on his ass on national television.
At that point I was convinced…the gig was up…automatically getting a physical pass because you are Black was out the door.
Maybe this legion of fake ass gangsta rappers convinced them, maybe we had become a generation that had become all talk with no results, maybe Bush sent a memo to White America saying, “They aren’t that scary anymore.”
Or maybe…just maybe…the Black Rage tactic had gotten old. Maybe everyone, Black and White people alike had stop falling for the “I’ll whip somebody’s ass in here rhetoric.” Maybe the tactic became soooo 1978 or soooo 1988 or soooo 1998 that it lost it’s sting by the time 2008 came around. Maybe a new type of calculated, sophisticated, intelligent Black rage had emerged, where a brother demanded respect by the clearness of his tone and not the volume, where the firmness of his posture sent a far more menacing message than the animation of his limbs, or maybe Americans as a whole have stopped being afraid of each other simply based on skin color.
I would like to end this weeks entry all philosophical and shit, but who am I kidding, as long as women are impressed by bravado, there will be some brother getting loud in a movie theater, or cursing someone out at Best Buy, and until somebody knocks his ass out, he will never learn. So my White brothers, you are hereby authorized to extinguish any public Black rage incident.
Just as long as you have a video camera recording it and a pledge to place the results on YouTube.
Tony Price is a writer and producer of online content and the creator of the UrbanSpin network. He produces a weekly podcast and executive produces an entire network of blogs, audio and video media. His resume includes producing content for Planet Hollywood, Bodog, and the official podcasts for the Sony Pictures films, “Little Man, Stomp the Yard, and This Christmas.”