Volume 45: Light Skin vs Dark Skin

“Don’t forget, you must pitch the OLD BLACK MALE vs. THE YOUNG BLACK MALE. You must use the Dark Skin Slaves vs. the Light Skin Slaves. You must use the Female vs. the Male. You must also have your white servants and overseers Distrust all Blacks, but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us. They must love and respect only us. Gentleman, these kits are your keys to control. Use them. Have your wives and children use them, never miss an opportunity. If used intensively for one year, the slaves themselves will remain perpetually distrustful. Thank you, gentleman.”  –Speech delivered by white slave owner Willie Lynch, on the banks of the James River in 1712

            I was talking to one of my frat brothers recently about settling down. He expressed an interest in finally relinquishing the life of a free-swinging bachelor, in exchange for a rare opportunity at a serious relationship with the right woman. Now… I’ve heard this song a thousand times before, and within days male friends have gone back on promises of monogamy-but everyone is in fact getting older and perhaps there was some sincerity to his revelation. I became intrigued by his newfound change of heart and asked him to describe his ideal women-perhaps in the naive hope that I could help him find her. He then began to describe his ideal woman as a “light-skinned dime-piece, with light eyes, long hair and a body.”

My face bore a look of disappointment as I was suddenly reminded of how big an idiot he is at times. My inner nerd recalled an Abraham Lincoln quote: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool then to speak out and remove all doubt.”
I sensed that I already knew the answer that would follow my next question, but I proceeded to ask it anyway. I asked him why he would only entertain dating a light-skinned woman. He looked at me and said, “I can’t mess with anyone darker than me.”

            My face stood twisted in discomfort, as I felt the souls of Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Rosa Parks simultaneously turn in their graves and call him an idiot. Disappointed, however not totally shocked at his Neanderthal statement, I proceeded to inquire about his latest verbal blurting. Although he actively has sex with sistas of all shades of black, he was making an attempt to explain his preference. He explained that although he could sleep with a multiplicity of shades, the woman that he eventually settles down with must be a perfect ten…in order to keep him faithful. He felt as though sistas who are light-skinned presented the highest levels of outer beauty that he had witnessed in Philadelphia, and therefore were his choice for relationships. He wanted a girl with what he classified as “nice hair” because of the lack of real hair found on sistas in Philadelphia. Real hair is rare here, so therefore sistas with long silky hair captured his interest. His philosophies on dating made about as much sense as the insane homeless men in the park who talk to the pigeons.

            I was saddened to see that an educated man in his late twenties could still be color struck. I can’t front…I too used to chase after the light-skinned, long hair sistas…when I was about 15 years old! I came to college-and an HBCU at that, and discovered the plethora of sistas who existed outside of Philadelphia. They came in all shapes and sizes, complexions and hair types. Some cultured, some moronic. Some prudish, and some promiscuous. Hearing some of his statements made me realize much of the post-slavery brainwashing that permeates many African American minds to this very day. The infamous Willie Lynch Letter that I was shown during my college years guaranteed a full proof method for controlling black slaves for another three hundred years if used correctly. Outlined in the letter were a number of differences among the slaves for white slave owners to exploit in order to keep them distrustful and envious of each other. Differences in class (House Negro VS Field Negro), Hair (good hair VS bad hair), Sex, Age, and Skin Tone were used for control purposes. Willie Lynch believed in the controlling tactic: KEEP THE BODY…TAKE THE MIND.

            To be perfectly honest, I know lots of educated idiots. There are many people out there who are educated, however are not intelligent. Intelligence is having the capacities to reason, plan, solve problem or think abstractly- the ability to understand and profit from experience. Education merely is the end result of a series of tasks or tests, whereas there is knowledge acquired by learning and instruction. A man who passes all exams with a D has met the minimum passing requirement for education, however cannot be taken seriously as an intelligent man. And such is life. Today we still have black people, some who are fearful of attending historically black institutions of higher learning. Instead they opt to go to predominately white colleges and are brainwashed into believing that they will get the good jobs first, over their peers who attend an HBCU. It’s almost laughable, as I’ve had these debates countless times with close friends who attended nearby West Chester University and Temple University-friends who made a mockery of my HBCU education…to find themselves in the same training classes with the HBCU alum upon graduation. Could a post slavery mode of thinking be to blame for this? It’s quite possible.
            Maurice Freehill once asked, “Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark, or the man afraid of the light?”

            Someone sent me a link on facebook a few weeks ago http://afieldnegro.com/photos.html and when I opened it, I was directed to a site that was written under the moniker A Field Negro. The entry had numerous pictures of black male celebrities that were currently dating or were married to white women. Many of the interracial relationships featuring black male celebs I had already known about, but some were somewhat surprising to hear of. I had no idea that Michael Jordan after his breakup with his African American wife for years, was currently engaged to a white woman…not that I gave a shit either way! (laughs) But the writer pointed to a growing trend of African American men’s desires to do away with sistas and cling to white, Asian or European women-the theory being that men have grown tired of the ensuing drama that comes with dating women of color. Listening to the style of writing, I figured, here’s another angry black sista…expressing her displeasure with the increasing number of interracial relationships featuring successful men of color. But upon reading the About The Author section, I was surprised to find that the writer was a man. He appeared upset at the current state of black women in America and explained that successful cultured men would rather be with a white woman who could appreciate what they have to offer…minus the drama. I was shocked.

            My eyes surveyed the long list of pictures of black celebrities, photographed next to their white wife’s, and girlfriends: Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Eric Lasalle, Tim Duncas, Taye Diggs, Tiger Woods, Dennis Rodman, Wesley Snipes and many others. I never saw anything wrong with interracial relationships-the issue in my eyes not worth creating a site to vent one’s anger and frustration. Me personally…I date the sistas. I love the sistas…drama and all. (laughs) It takes a special type of person to deal with any person of color, but there’s nothing greater than the love between two people who share a genuine interest in each other. The only issue I have is when you have a person who has a ridiculous reason for refusing to date a particular race…specifically their own. I remember being a huge fan of Dennis Rodman, one of the NBA’s greatest rebounders in the history of the sport. Dennis Rodman lived an extremely controversial life-he said what he wanted to say…he did what he wanted to do. In the 90’s, he published a book called Bad As I Wanna Be. As a huge Basketball fan, I purchased the book, hoping to take a peek inside the mind of the NBA’s biggest enigma. Beyond the crazy hairdos, tattoos and piercings, Dennis Rodman was someone who grew up a very awkward child. He was fatherless and lacked direction. I recall him explaining why he chose not to date black women as a multi-millionaire celebrity. He stated that black women called him ugly as a child and made fun of him. He discussed losing his virginity at 22 years old to a prostitute in the Oklahoma projects where he was raised because no one wanted him. Awwww…(pulling out my violin to play him a tune) Black celebs really need to get over that shit. To refuse to date black women because a few made fun of you as a child is in fact childish! Who wasn’t teased as a child?!? It’s one of the worst cop-outs a man can ever use to justify foolish, infantile actions.

            Wesley Snipes is another color struck African American male celebrity, who refused to date black women because he said that they made fun of his dark complexion as a youth. He currently is married to an Asian woman and they have several children. If a man or woman happens to find love from another race…great. It’s never easy finding your soul mate and one’s soul mate doesn’t have to be of the same race. Love is love and love is a beautiful thing. But I personally can’t stand when people discredit their own race (or any other for that matter) and run to the arms of another, simply because they have the right complexion to get the connection.
            I laugh every day at Tiger Wood’s stupid ass. Woods is one hell of a golfer, but in my eyes, he epitomizes the modern day Uncle Tom. I watched an old CNN interview of Tiger Woods when he was about 21 or 22 years old. The interviewer marveled at his accolades in golf and asked him how it felt to be an African American golfer fighting for respect in a sport dominated by older white men. He spoke on his hard work and mental preparation, but even in his early twenties, something seemed strange about Woods. He appeared highly intelligent, but seemed hesitant to speak on his African American and Asian ancestry. He still seemed to have no problems with being referred to as “African American” or a “minority.”

Once Woods won the prestigious Master’s tournament, his popularity was sky high. African Americans began to watch intently when he played. It was shortly after that he requested not to be called African-American. He referred to himself as Cablasian. I was done with that fool. We all know the story from there- torrid affairs with various white women. To his credit, I will say that his Swedish model wife is beautiful! (laughs) Fuck Tiger Woods. Another example of someone who refused to accept what he is-someone who looks in the mirror and sees something different that we do. I just find it very ironic that the very same people who he wanted to assimilate with…the people he choose to identify with…are taking away his money and destroying his reputation. Perhaps now he is beginning to realize that no one is above reproach, and at the end of the day, millions of dollars and a posh, lavish life will not buy you respect among your race or the races of those who choose to oppose, embrace or expose you.
            To the women of the world (specifically the sistas) who feel pressured to fit a certain stigma that television force feeds down our throats, understand that no matter the shade of your skin, the length of your hair, or the proportion of your bodies…African American women are beautiful and to be celebrated. I love a sista with locks just as much as the sistas who may choose to get a perm. Unfortunately, the brainwashing is not just in the hands of MTV and BET. If you ever stop and watch the news, every news anchor is an attractive woman with light or white skin and long hair. What the hell is that about?!?
Sistas…we love y’all and I apologize for the idiotic ramblings of some of us brothas out here and our warped perceptions and expectations. Hopefully in this world where many are still color struck, you can still continue to mesmerize and turn the heads of those who can appreciate you for who you are, and the Queens can find their Kings…no matter the age, race, or class.

“We reversed nature by burning and pulling a civilized nigger apart and bull whipping the other to the point of death, all in her presence. By her being left alone, unprotected, with the MALE IMAGE DESTROYED, the ordeal caused her to move from her psychological dependent state to a frozen independent state. In this frozen psychological state of independence, she will raise her MALE and female offspring in reversed roles. For FEAR of the young males life she will psychologically train him to be MENTALLY WEAK and DEPENDENT, but PHYSICALLY STRONG. Because she has become psychologically independent, she will train her FEMALE off springs to be psychological independent. What have you got? You've got the Nigger WOMAN OUT FRONT AND THE Nigger MAN BEHIND AND SCARED.”  –The Willie Lynch Letter and The Making Of A Slave: The Breaking Process Of The African Woman

“Take all the fools out of this world and there wouldn't be any fun living in it, or profit. “ –Josh Billings

…These Are The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray


Volume 44: When Jealousy Strikes

“Love may exist without jealousy, although this is rare; but jealousy may exist without love, and this is common.” –Unknown

            If you were to look up the word love, you’d be likely to see a plethora of definitions and opinions of what it is. Some would say it’s a strong positive emotion of regard and affection, like a man’s love for his work. Others will say it’s a profound, passionate affection for another person, a sexual passion or desire.

As beautiful as love is, love is never present without jealousy. Francois de la Rochefoucauld once said, “Jealousy is bred in doubts. When those doubts change into certainties, then the passion either ceases or turns into absolute madness.”
(Yes…I have an “inner nerd” that often retains tons of useless information like that)
            So what causes jealous love? The truth is, there are many things that can be credited to a jealous counterpart. One of the most common reasons for jealously is the assumption of infidelity and the perceived notion that one could be intertwined in a love triangle. In virtually every love triangle, the arrangement is unsuitable to one or more of those involved. One person usually winds up getting hurt-sometimes literally. A common love triangle involves one person, torn between two other suitors of vastly contrasting personalities. One of them could be a nice guy type that treats you good, and the other a physically attractive bad boy that is potentially dangerous. Eventually, choices must be made and the nice guy is often perceived as “too good to be true” and the bad boy winds up becoming the more desirable partner. Unrequited love and jealousy go hand in hand with love triangles, and although rare, some love triangles have ended in murder, suicide or long lasting aftereffects from the rejected lover.

            The only thing worse than a love triangle, is being accused of being in a love triangle by a jealous mate. Yes…it’s true. I too have been accused of creeping with someone else’s girl. Think I’m bullshitting? Well, here’s my story:

“The ear of jealousy heareth all things.” –The Holy Bible

            I wasn’t always a Photographer. Those who follow my Random Thoughts or know me personally know that I was quite the fashion design student at Cheyney University. It was the summer of 2000, and I was a 20 year-old looking for work during the summer break from college, aspiring to be a fashion designer. I was given a retail sales position in the Men’s Department at the Lord & Taylor department store on City Line Avenue in Philadelphia. I had gotten my first car just days ago- a metallic purple Honda Accord SE. A college student with a $16,000 car and a five-year payment plan would likely think, “How the hell am I gonna pay for this?” but I was on top of the world. I was getting screwed with my menial retail job, paying a mere $6.50 an hour, but I was also working as a Photographer’s Assistant (and 2 years later became a photographer myself) and that money more than made up for Lord & Taylor’s slave wages.

            To be honest, Lord & Taylor was a pretty cool job. I got a great employee discount on clothes (When you go to an HBCU, it’s imperative to stay fresh), a consistent check every week, and the company of friendly employees. The majority of employees in the Men’s Department were young, and helped me transition quickly, without making me feel like “the new guy.” The women who worked there were no Halle Berry’s, but they were cool and their likeable personalities helped the time fly by during long shifts. At the time, I was the only one of the younger employees with a reliable means of transportation. Everyone else relied on the Bus. Most of my coworkers lived in nearby West Philadelphia and if they missed their bus after a long shift, it wasn’t uncommon for them to ask for a ride home. I would take the 4 of them (often three females and one male) on a 5-8 minute ride and drop them off at their homes-it was never an inconvenience. It’s just one of those things that nice guys do, Right?

            One day during my hour-long lunch break, one of the females in my department asked to get dropped off at the Shop n Bag grocery store, which happened to be in the same complex as Lord & Taylor, just on the opposite end end-about 150 yards away. It was common for her to walk over there during a lunch break on payday to cash her check at a local bank, which was located inside of the grocery store. Her asking to be dropped off didn’t inconvenience me much, because the distance was only a minute’s drive. She explained that it was raining outside and she didn’t want to walk down and back. Minutes later, here I amMr. Nice Guy…giving a ride to a co-worker in need. She got out of my car at the main doors and said, “Can you wait for me? I’m gonna cash this check and be right back out.”
I’m thinking to myself, Here we go… Give a Nigga an inch, and they take a yard. But after all, I was still on my lunch break and had only spent about 3 minutes of it so far. This wouldn’t take long at all.
            Fifteen minutes later…here I am…double-parked outside the Shop n Bag grocery store with my face is a scowl, suddenly reminded of why they say that Nice Guys Finish Last. She comes out after about 20 minutes and before she could enter the car, she pauses and then walked over to an older model Subaru that was double-parked on the opposing side of traffic, about twelve feet in front of me. A slender guy walks over to her and they begin to exchange words. I happened to have the music up and couldn’t hear a word of what they were saying, but it didn’t look good. Their arms were flailing in the air like they were arguing and on one occasion he motioned over in the direction of my car. I smirked to myself and continued to listen to my music- impatiently waiting for this dumb girl to get back in the car so I could enjoy what was left of my lunch. Moments later, he got back into his car and she returned to mine. “Jealous Mutha-fucka,” she mumbled under her breath …as I drove off to return to work.

            I finished out my lunch break in the break room with my co-worker. An awkward silence loomed in the room, due to the parking lot confrontation witnessed just a few minutes ago. When my lunch break was over, I returned to the sales floor to earn my slave wages. As I partook in the monotonous duties of a retail worker- cleaning displays and refolding Ralph Lauren shirts-I began to ring up a few customers who had finally settled on their purchases. While scanning away and ringing up their items, I hear a voice say, “Ayo fam…lemme holla at you for a second.”
I look up, and stepping out from behind a mirrored pillar next to the waiting customers…was the very same guy that my coworker was arguing with in the parking lot while getting a ride from me. This mutha-fucka…is at my mutha-fuckin’ job! Are you serious?!? I had a thousand questions racing through my head. Is this guy some kind of jealous boyfriend? Is he here to fight? What the hell is this fool doin’ at my job?!?
So, I finished up my sales transaction and walked right over to him. After all, I didn’t do anything wrong. He stood about 5’9 and was even slimmer than I was. He looked as though he had been crying and seemed uneasy. I’m thinking to myself, Worst case scenario…he tries some dumb shit in here…Imma kick his ass up and down this sales floor easily…with my suit and shoes on! (laughing)
            He appeared nervous talking to me as I listened intently. “Look, I ain’t even here to fuck with you,” he said. “I just wanna ask you one question.”
My right hand remained clinched in a tight fist…just in case this idiot dared to try me. “Have you ever been to the house, or around our daughter?” I was standing close enough to smell the beer on his breath. I wasn’t even sure at this point if there would even be any reasoning with him. He appeared to be alone, though he was with a few others when I initially saw him in the parking lot. My patience was already wearing thin with this dumb situation. I had never been accused of messing around with someone else’s girl. I said, “Look…it’s not like that. I just work here and she asked me for a ride to cash a check. I don’t mess with any of these co-workers, don’t come to anyone’s house, and don’t deal with anyone else’s women.” He still didn’t seem convinced. Frankly, I didn’t give a shit. There were more customers that needed my assistance and I had no intention on swearing on bibles and taking polygraph tests. I told him that he could wait until I was done with my customers and we could rap-even bring her over to explain if need be. He sits on a fixture nearby, on top of some shirts that I had recently folded. Ignorant Bastard.
            You know, God works in mysterious ways. On that particular day at that particular time, our department is usually very slow and boring. Because I had some insecure moron at my job…today, business was insane. I had a line of people to deal with, and he just had to wait. He began to pace back and forth, which made me extremely nervous as I fought to hold back my laughter. My coworker was miraculously nowhere to be found. Eventually I get rid of all of the frenzied customers and looked for this mystery character. He was gone. I explained the story to one of the other employees amid all of her laughter at my unfortunate luck. I decided that I would express a few choice words to my coworker about her psychotic boyfriend coming to my job, confronting me about nonsense. Strangely, I didn’t see her for the duration of the evening. The next day I came to work, and she didn’t show up. Our manager asked if anyone had spoken to her to seen her that day. None of us knew her whereabouts. It was as though she vanished.

            The following day, I stood on the Men’s floor, bored out of my mind. As a began to ring up a sale for a customer, my register phone rang. In the event that someone calls the department store and has a question for our department, the dispatcher will transfer them to any one of the registers on the sales floor. I took the call. “Men’s department…Ron speaking.” There was heavy breathing on the other end. “Hello?” I repeated. The breathing became louder. I hung up the phone and continued working. Two minutes later, my register phone rang again. A familiar voice spoke out on the other end, almost in a whisper. “Ayo…remember me?” I began to shake my head in annoyance, because I realized it was the same moron from the other day. “How can I help you?” I asked, in my most sarcastic of tones. This game was beginning to become very annoying. The next words that followed I still remember crystal clear to this very day: “Yo…my girl… is gonna be coming back to work eventually. I’m telling you…If I ever catch you anywhere near her or with her again…I swear to God…I’m going to kill you.”

Now I was pissed. I never had my life threatened, and I wasn’t about to be threatened by some skinny ass nut-job who could barely make eye contact with me when he was standing two feet away from me two days ago.

            Now I’m from Philadelphia, and I refuse to underestimate anyone. Personally, I think he was just a dog without teeth, however those very same guys are the first ones to go running for a gun to solve their perceived problems. I knew not to take this threat lightly, so I actually did what most people in my situation would have done. I reported it. I ended up in the security office, filing a report with the officers on site, in the event that this moron would actually attempt to make good on his promise. They checked the tapes from the day that he showed up on the sales floor and they even had outside surveillance from the car that he arrived in. There was only one last thing that I had to do…inform my hood ass friends of this potential death threat. I figured if something were to happen to me…all hell was gonna break loose! (laughing) If I was gonna end up caught up in some nonsense for giving someone I wasn’t even attracted to a ride…then we would see if he was as crazy as the lunatics that I grew up with from the block. (lauging)

            My coworker never returned to work that day, and never returned to work at all. I had never seen or heard from the psychotic boyfriend either. Five weeks after the incident, it was time for me to return to college and turn the page to another chapter of my life. I never realized how quickly something as innocent as a ride for a coworker could trigger the jealousy of a jaded lover. Erica Jones once said, “Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.” I had learned to be very careful of the company that I keep. You read about love triangles and people who pay the ultimate sacrifice for a few minutes of pleasure with another person’s lover. You really hafta be careful…
“While intelligent people can often simplify the complex, a fool is more likely to complicate the simple.” –Gerald W. Grumet

…These Are The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray…
To preview the archive of previous random thoughts, visit http://www.thegrayareas.com/



Volume 43: That Good Ol' RACE CARD

 “What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this is (chuckle) –this is working very well for them.”  -Former First Lady Barbara Bush, on the hurricane evacuees at the Astrodome in Houston, September 5th 2005

            There are few things that annoy the Educated Negro more than those who display ignorance during interviews to demean a race of people, or publicly display their abilities to be out of touch with the realities that plague the less fortunate. But today, I had something else on my mind. No one ever touches on the issue of those who play… the Race Card. For those unfamiliar with that term, Race Card is a metaphorical reference to a Trump Card, which is used to gain advantages in card games. The race card is the act of bringing race or racism into a debate-oftentimes being used to negate the real issue at hand.

            Many people say the biggest example of The Race Card came in the form of the O.J Simpson trial. Critics say that O.J’s defense team played the race card to help him avoid conviction for murder. They brought up Mark Furman’s racist past and informed the jury that he was once caught on police surveillance using the word “nigger.” His past accusations of tampering with murder evidence in prior cases also came into play. In the end, O.J was found Not Guilty- but his public displays of stupidity that resulted in the following years left many to wonder if he in fact was guilty and saved by the Race Card. In any case, it really didn’t matter because OJ- being the typical former celebrity turned Public Coon, wound up in prison anyway serving a nine-year sentence for an armed confrontation with sports memorabilia dealers in 2007. OJ was forcefully taking back items that originally belonged to him, and the same goons that were hired to assist him with his dirty work, made deals with prosecutors in exchange for testimonies against O.J’s Dumb ass.

            If O.J Simpson’s defense used the race card to acquit him of murder charges, then former NBA player, Jayson Williams has a Platinum Race Card and has no problem using it. This 6’10 moron played basketball for St. John’s University and was selected in the 1st round of the NBA draft. He played for the Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets. He’s also known for killing his limousine driver in 2002. Costas Christofi was hired to drive Jayson Williams and his NBA charity team from a basketball event to his mansion. Williams, setting black people back 25 years, was playing with a shotgun while giving a tour of his 30,000 square-foot Mansion- when the shotgun went off and killed the limo driver. Somehow a jury was deadlocked on reckless manslaughter charges, and the family settled a wrongful death civil lawsuit for $2.75 million.
            Jayson Williams currently faces a retrial on the manslaughter charges, but was also slapped upside the head with four counts of trying to cover up the shooting. Just when you figure he can’t shame black folk further, he makes News Headlines…again, giving white folks plenty to laugh at. The New York Police Department had to stun him with a taser in a New York Hotel in April 2009, after they reported that he had become suicidal and violent. Just like the night he killed his driver, Williams was once again visibly intoxicated, with pills found in his possession. He was again arrested, but the modern day minstrel show didn’t stop there.

            Williams was arrested a month later in Raleigh, North Carolina for punching a man in the face in a bar. He was charged with assault, with the charges being later dropped by the victim. Now…all these random acts of niggerosity were bound to make him look guilty with his murder retrial date approaching, and Jayson Williams needed something big. He needed something that would help the jury sympathize with him and keep his dumb ass from going to prison. His defense team wanted to review the records surrounding a former Hunterdon County Investigator who they said described Williams with a racial slur in a meeting sometime before the 2004 trial. Ahhh…that trusty Race Card. Today, after 7 years of police work, Williams remains free on bail after slapping white people in the face with his Platinum Race Card and has yet to be sentenced on the four cover-up convictions. If only there were convictions given for being an idiot.

“Racism is not an excuse to not do the best you can.” –Arthur Ashe

            Today, we have many people who use the race card, as if it negates the dumb shit that they do. Every day, I read about some bank in Philadelphia being robbed at gunpoint-virtually all of them being robbed by our people. Each man that gets caught gives prosecutors and judges the same song and dance about how hard life is for the black man and how their kid needed money, or needed food and they had to do what they had to do- each one reaching for that good ol’ Race Card. The Race Card doesn’t change the fact that many people prove to be the very same negative stereotypes that we can’t stand. Question… What kind of moron still robs banks in 2009?!? Seems every day in The Philadelphia Daily News, I see some new idiot in a Phillies baseball cap and a pair of sunglasses captured by bank surveillance cameras. Do you really think that no one knows who you are? And even if you evade escape for a while…you’ve stolen…what? Two…three thousand dollars?!? That won’t go very far with a moron. After the daily purchase of their drug of choice, things for the kid, past-due daycare fees and back rent, one will barely have enough to cover dinner at Sizzler and a box of condoms.

            Upon their inevitable capture, it’s always amazing to hear people pull the race card and blame their environment. Now some who read this say, “No, Ron…people from the hood have it rough and oftentimes make mistakes.”
…As if Ronald Gray was raised in the suburbs…

            Yes, I will agree with that statement. Residents of the hood do have it rough. But there’s a difference between those who make silly mistakes in perilous times and those who are simply taking the easy way out. My family hails from Jamaica. Those who’ve seen movies such as Belly or Shottas, get a minor glimpse of how bad things can be in Third World Countries where there’s real poverty. It’s almost laughable when some stick-up kid is expressing to a judge that he had to “do what he had to do” because his baby needed money, diapers or food. I have family that just a few years ago got electricity in their homes for the first time. I have cousins that have never had new clothes purchased for them. They don’t know what it’s like to have a Birthday Party thrown for them. Americans rent out clubs to show off for Birthdays that no one really cares about- then come home late on the rent and figure they gotta do what they gotta do for their kid, by robbing other poor people?
            The other day I walked by a City Blue clothing store. I haven’t been in City Blue in years! I no longer see the need, because I’ve long put away the Timberland Boots and sneakers in exchange for shoes. I’m often seen in ties, but don’t get it twisted. I’m not Mr. Wall Street. I’ve just grown up, my style of dress has evolved, and I’m attempting to inspire many others to do the same. Something just compelled me to look over at the glass windows, where a female store worker was doing some merchandising. My eyes widened as I noticed a stroller in the window, accessorizing a male and female mannequin dressed in the latest fall fashions. But that wasn’t just any stroller. It was a Rocawear stroller, retailing for $150…marked as a Sale item. Now, in these tough economic times…who finds it necessary to buy a Rocawear stroller? Sadly, far too many black folk do. Yet, oftentimes many will complain about the economy and blame a racist society for their inability to get ahead.           

            With 2010 approaching fast, it’s time for our people to put away their race cards and own our shortcomings. The biggest problem with the race card is that s many people abuse it; then the day comes when some real racists shit happens that requires everyone’s attention…and no one’s listening. There are Jena 6-type situations that happen all the time, but instead people try and get Americans to sympathize for Michael Vick’s dumb ass. We have a President that needs a nation’s support, patience and trust…but instead we have families of convicted felons complaining that Lil’ Pookie couldn’t find a good job when he came home from prison, so he had to go back to the streets. Well…to the supporters of morons I say this: Lil’ Pookie shoulda took his ass to Wendy’s and got a job making Spicy Chicken sandwiches. It’s safer and much more warm that standing on the corner with $20 worth of crack rock in his pocket! We gotta stop blaming other people for the dumb shit…and make things happen. You guys agree?

You can be up to your boobies in white satin, with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane for miles, but you can still be working on a plantation.
-- Billie Holiday

…These Are The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray…
You simply get chills every time you see these poor individuals...many of these people, almost all of them that we see are so poor and they are so black, and this is going to raise lots of questions for people who are watching this story unfold." –CNN's Wolf Blitzer, on New Orleans' hurricane evacuees, Sept. 1, 2005


Volume 42: What Kind Of Man Are You Dating?

“Men are like a fine wine. They start out like grapes, and it’s our job to stomp all over them and keep them in the dark, until they mature into something you’d like to have dinner with.”  -Kathleen Mifsud

         After one of my most recent random thoughts, one of my avid readers told me that I once again “went hard on the ladies.” Apparently there are those who feel as though I’m biased and write things from the man’s perspective. Well…maybe that’s because I’m a Man. I date women and in my thirty years on this earth, I’ve dated the sistas. Now, while I’ll admit that it takes a special kind of person to put up with a sista, I will also admit that it takes a special kind of woman to put up with us men-specifically us brothas.
I wouldn’t have it any other way; I love my sistas and write my random thoughts based on my experiences and my observations. I’m not a spokesman for the fellas and I’m in no way, shape or form a woman basher. I write real shit. I write the truth. The best and worst thing about writing the truth is this: The truth will set you free, but first…It’s gonna piss you off.
         The things that I say are no more damaging to the rep of sistas that the things that are said about men in Essence, Jet, Ebony and Cosmo. It’s always Why Do Men Cheat? Are they all really Dead or in Jail? Wassup with the Brothas on the Down Low? Why is a Good Brotha So Hard To Find?
I simply write things from the male perspective-the man’s version of Sex and The City. But today…this one is dedicated to the ladies. In volume 20, I once touched on the types of women that I come across in Philadelphia-and the advantages and disadvantages to dating them
A demand started for me to reverse things a bit…
Ladies, allow me to systematically break down the fellas that perhaps many of you meet on a continual basis. Men who many would like to see disappear at the end of 2009:

MR GIGALO- he’s the egotistical pretty boy that looks and dresses like a million bucks, who’s actually broke as a Canal St. Rolex. He has unmatched swagger and looks, but often has the I.Q of a Circus Chimp.
a.    You will always have someone who looks great accompanying you to your events.
b.    He’s always on point with the latest styles and trends- he knows his fashion.
c.    He has a superficial beauty and a demeanor that can make any ex jealous
a.    He’s broke as MC Hammer in the late 90’s and oftentimes dumb as toast-conversations are limited to fashion, sex and facts about him self.
b.    In the event of some drama, you’re on your own.
c.    You think all eyes are on you, but they’re really on him-he’ll fill you with a false sense of confidence and happiness.

MR.  SIDE JAWN- In Philly, we call them “side jawns.” They’re the people you have relations with outside of your real relationship-but you wouldn’t want your main companion to know anything about.
a.    He’s great in bed. The word “freak” is an understatement.
b.    He has no fears of sexual exploration. He’ll do all the nasty, filthy stuff that the person you’re in a relationship with won’t.
c.    Discretion is key. He lives across town. He doesn’t know your man or his friends. It’s virtually impossible to get caught-and he doesn’t care.
a.    He eventually catches feelings and is no longer content with his role as the side jawn. He wants to be the main guy now.
b.    You start to catch feelings for the side jawn and become torn on which person you want. You eventually become dickmatized and drop your main guy for the side jawn, and are soon reminded why he was only the side jawn. Your ex becomes the one that got away.

           MR. OVERACHIEVER- is the man who achieves success over and         above the standard or expected level, especially at an early age. He has his        shit together
a.    If you’re into money…he’s got it. If you like nice things…you’re into him.
b.    He’s the deadly combination of intellect and charm. The initial approach and conversation is unlike anything you’ve heard.

c.    His mission is to please you- you learn new things from him and are exposed to new places and cultures.
a.    He constantly wants to remind you of how fortunate you are to have him in your life-his arrogance is stifling.
b.    You will always be 2nd to his success. You feel like an accessory to his status, rather than a companion.
c.    The chances of him cheating of you are increased by his success-the random chicken-head & gold digger become your nemesis.

MR. METROSEXUAL-is the usually urban heterosexual male given to enhancing his personal appearance by fastidious grooming, beauty treatments, and fashionable clothing.
a.    He’s a pretty-boy and fine as they come-Has a high disposable income.
b.    He has a chiseled physique and is always neat in appearance
c.    He’s well cultured, loves to buy you nice things and has all the right moves-his dancing elicits dirty thoughts, and he smells great.
a.    His concern for appearance displays attributes stereotypically related to homosexual men-he knows things about female fashion that a straight man shouldn’t.
b.    Your ex took one look at him and called him a “fag.” Everyone asks you if he’s gay.

c.    Every now and then, he picks out an outfit that really makes you question his sexuality. He appears at ease around openly gay men and watches shows like Will and Grace and Everybody Loves Raymond.

MR. GENTLEMAN- Lana Turner once said, “A gentleman is simply a patient wolf.” I tell sistas that 90% of their male friends aren’t plutonic-they’re comprised of ex boyfriends-reduced to friends after the breakup, unattractive hopefuls that were thrown in the friend zone, and the guy you’re attracted to-who is in a relationship-but remains “a friend” until the right opportunity (or drunken scenario) surfaces. Every now and then, sistas comes across the Gentleman.
a.    Well groomed and kind; the gentleman displays chivalry and treats you like a lady.
b.    He doesn’t get caught staring at your breasts, ass or other women. He asks what makes you smile and not your favorite sexual position.
c.    He always takes you to the right places. He treats you like The One and not just The Next One.
a.    If you decide that he’s a nice guy, but not really your type, he’s likely to give you 1,000 reasons why you’re making the biggest mistake of your life. Shows extreme desperation to find The One and marry her.
b.    He likely has been hurt numerous times from sistas who never had a gentleman before and can be harnessing recent heartache and attachment issues.
c.    He tells you he’s not like other guys…but as soon as you have sex…he becomes JUST like all the others guys and drops the gentleman façade.

MR. GHETTO- although the word “ghetto” is Italian, and comes from the Island near Venice where Jews were made to live in the 16th century, today’s ghetto individual is one who is not cultured, rarely educated, small minded and a magnet for drama. The ghetto man is the most common find in sistas from Philadelphia and has ruined the lives of many women.
a.    He can fight. He is the ultimate protector.
b.    There’s never a dull moment. Get ready for fun.
c.    Perhaps the sex is good. (I’ll be damned if I know what sistas see in ghetto men)
d.    No one is better at making something outta nothing. Dating him is low maintenance and he’s easy to impress.
a.    He oftentimes will not have a job, can’t seem to keep a job, or is a drug dealer; even if he seeks employment, usually has a dumb ass profiling name that makes a supervisor toss his resume in the trash without hesitation.
b.    You may awaken from a good night’s sleep to receive a phone call about his death, his arrest, or threats from a Baby Mama.
c.    He has no idea how to act in public and will embarrass you tremendously if you ever even entertain the notion of taking him somewhere nice.
d.    Your friends and family can’t stand him-they call him a thug.
e.    No drive-he either wants to be a rapper or make beats and promote parties.
f.     His diction annoys the shit out of you. His constant use of words like irregardless… conversate and more better set black people back 50 years.

MR. STALKERTo follow or observe a person persistently, especially out of obsession or derangement, is sad. What’s even worse is virtually every sista has encountered one of these. And every man out there has a male friend who’s guilty of stalking.
a.    Initially comes off as a very nice guy. Has no problem giving you undivided attention and making time to see you.
b.    Is usually a great listener, wants to know everything there is to know about you.
c.    Displays excellent chivalry, is very protective of you
d.    Will be very creative; flowers sent to the job, letters, poems, etc.
a.    He sends dozens of roses and candy to your job…even though you never told him where you work.
b.    After an argument will pop up at your place and stand outside your window, hollering your name in the rain until police arrive.
c.    His ex’s will tell you about his stalking tendencies after you’ve already dated him.
d.    Never seems to get the hint; Will block numbers, call from friend’s cells, dress up as the pizza delivery boy, anything to see or talk to you one last time.
e.    Has a high probability of one day killing you and wearing your face around the house like Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

MR. OFF THE MARKET-Bill Maher once said, “A Man is only as loyal as his options.” Married brothas are no exception.
a.    Mr. Off The Market is mature, well cultured and says the right things. He speaks well and is accomplished in every facet of life.

b.    He understands woman. He acknowledges their needs vs. their wants and makes you laugh.
c.    He believes in discretion and doesn’t smother you. He believes in giving you your own space and stress titles.
a.    He believes in discretion and doesn’t smother you because he’s Off The Market.
b.    No matter what he says or what he promises you, he will never leaves you for his wife/girlfriend.
c.    The allure of a man you can’t have is intoxicating-you will fall for him and fall hard.

MR. HOLY ROLLER- this is the brotha who was raised in the church. Every woman wants a man with a spiritual foundation, who loves the Lord and can be a man of peace, as well as a protector and head of the household. Don’t they?
a.    He’s faithful and dedicated to his woman-the only thing more important is God.
b.    He is the ideal father figure; he puts family first and never fails to provide.
c.    He is not afraid to show his emotions and love with everything he’s got. The family absolutely adores you.
a.    His kindness will often earn him a lifetime membership to the friend zone.
b.    He’s dying to find a wife, so things move far too fast-ruining the potential for a love connection.
c.    The Holy Roller can often be exposed as a hypocrite! During service, he’s catching the Holy Ghost…after service he’s womanizing.

MR. BIG SPENDER-This is the man who seems to have it all. He’s the constant big spender of the bunch and the man who’s never scared to share the wealth. Sistas want a man with money and here he is.
a.    He’s got money to blow. You will be in the nicest restaurants, receive the best gifts and be really spoiled for the first time.
b.    He’s generous and doesn’t mind being your personal ATM.
c.    Your girlfriends will be jealous as hell.
a.    No one really knows where all this money comes from and what he does for it. Is Mr. Big Spender a corporate exec? Or drug kingpin?
b.    You’ve accepted his gifts and have spent his money. Now he has a sense of entitlement and no longer understands the word “no.”
c.    Whenever there’s an issue…he simply throws money at it. You grow frustrated with it. He pisses you off, and then shows up with some expensive gift. After a while, it lacks the same effect.

MR. NICE GUY- Women always want a kindhearted man with a pleasant disposition, but what happens when they date a man who they view as “too nice?”
a.    He’s genuinely nice; there are no ulterior motives. This guy is the real deal-a kind, caring brother who wants to show you a great time.
b.    His chivalry is consistent and his charm is unmatched.
c.    He listens intently and is non-threatening.
a.    Mr. Nice Guy is oftentimes physically not your type. He doesn’t give off any type of sexual vibe. He’s the kind of guy that you invite over for hot cocoa and a chick flick.
b.    He appears too nice-sistas are turned off by a man with no backbone who’s easy to take advantage of.

c.    Mr. Nice Guy doesn’t have the greatest reputation in bed. Chances are he may not get the libido going like the previous assholes from the past.

MR. ASSHOLE- I was once told that God made women beautiful and foolish; beautiful that man might love her; and foolish that she might love him. The Asshole represents the type of man that a woman should never love, but everyone falls for…his sole mission is to be a dick to any and everyone around.
a.    Mr. Asshole is often physically attractive with the body of a Spartan Warrior. He represents your ideal man.

b.    He is very confident in himself-borderline arrogant. His narcissism makes women love him all the more.
c.    He is very upfront about what he wants- often painfully honest.
a.    He’s an asshole!
b.    A woman scorned can never outdo him when it comes to spiteful behavior. Women may be able to fake orgasms, but men can fake whole relationships. Do not get tricked into a one up contest.
c.    It’s never healthy to date the Asshole. Naïve Women will try to change him, but he will still be an asshole. It’s a no win situation.

MR. UNDERACHIEVER aka Mr. Loser-It was Laura Swenson who once said, “Men are like a deck of cards. You’ll find the occasional king, but most are jacks.” A loser is defined at a person or thing that loses, is destined to be taken advantage of, or fail- or is bad in quality. Educated sistas will often tell you that there is an abundance of them in their respective cities. So why do the Underachievers still continue to get opportunities with the sistas?
a.    Losers will often display instant attraction, instant commitment and instant promises of things that you both will do in the future-he appears very serious about you.
b.    He seems too good to be true-he convinces you that he’s the best thing that is happening to you
c.    You will meet his friends and family rather quickly and feel very important through those acts
d.    He is confident in his pursuit of you-most noticeable in his initial approach and conversation.
a.    He’s an underachiever! He does not have lofty goals and expectations and once you realize this, he will attempt to neutralize it by killing your self-confidence and goals.
b.    The loser will usually have a frightening temper and is likely to go upside your head because of his shallow emotions and connections with others.
c.    He will attempt to cut your support system off-a true loser controls his mate by cutting off their supportive friends and family. They’ll instill things in your head about them and become your only friend. It makes it that much harder to leave them.
d.    The loser can be deadly because of his tendencies of Breakup Panic, which is pleading and crying, promising to change, even the offering of marriage-when you threaten to end the relationship. Then comes the showering of calls every 3 minutes. Calls to friends, family, even work! Losers create so much mental and social pressure that the stupid victim agrees to go back…usually just to end the harassment.
e.    The loser has no money and doesn’t seem affected by it. At a restaurant, when the check is dropped off in front of him, he’ll promptly slide it right back over in your direction. He’s a loser…and damn proud of it.
f.     Women need a reason to have sex…Mr. Loser just needs a place.

MR. GROW THE FUCK UP- Ladies, have you ever dated the 29 year old man who can’t seem to get off the Playstation long enough for a romantic evening on the town? You become turned off by his assortment of comic books and Japan Anime DVD’s? Maybe you should tell him to grow the fuck up!
a.    He has a great sense of humor. His ability to joke around and child-like innocence initially appeal to you
b.    This man is very close with his Mother and his inner circle of friends. You see firsthand that he has lots of love to give
c.    He has very little past relationship drama
a.    He’s a man, but still acts very much like a child. He works very little, if at all.
b.    He’s a Mama’s Boy and tells his details of the relationship-as a result you notice her penchant for meddling.
c.    His idea of a date is to challenge you in an Xbox game of his choice while ordering pizza.

MR. DAMAGED GOODS- if you date long enough, you’ll come across a great man who is damaged goods. It is the stage after a relationship when a person has been impaired, corrupted or deviled and has some emotional wear and tear that is often beyond repair. I write often about these kinds of women in my blogs, however have failed to acknowledge that men often show the same symptoms after a bad breakup.
a.    A true gentleman. He treats you the way you deserve to be treated.
b.    He is unselfish and knows all of the things that you need.
c.    He is family oriented and has a great heart.
d.    He is an effective communicator and a great listener

a.    He can often be apprehensive about titles and transitioning from dating to a new relationship because of his past hurt
b.    He may emerge from his previous bad breakup as a player, and will have multiple women in rotation
c.    This man can generally be afraid to love wit everything he has like he did before and you may end up with only a fraction of his heart.
d.    He may just decide to selfishly treat every woman he meets like shit until he feels better. Oftentimes they never find satisfaction, so he will eventually transition into Mr. Loser.

MR. RIGHT-Every woman needs one man in her life who is strong and responsible. Given this security, she can proceed to do what she really wants to do-fall in love with men who are weak and irresponsible. –Richard J. Needham
a.    He is the answer to your prayers; he is everything you’ve wanted; the perfect combination of looks, brains, wit, style and humility.
b.    He is God-fearing and consistent and being consistent
c.    Many women want him, but he’s only got eyes for you
d.    He supports you and your goals, helps you work towards them, but can provide like no other and hold it down
e.    He not only makes you feel like the luckiest woman on earth, yet believes he is equally as luck to have found such an alluring soul mate.
a. Sadly, many women are programmed and brainwashed to believe that there are no Good Men out there in the world. Often, good men are described as men with movie star looks and an NBA athlete’s salary. College degrees, money, beautiful homes and many other accolades have nothing to do with the heart and a man’s ability to love someone. Once people (men and women) stop falling in love with the fantasy of what a Mr. or Mrs. Right is and focus on what’s important, I have faith that most of us can and will find true love. Until then, many will continue to waste years chasing the aforementioned fools above. Are there any that I missed?

“There's a difference between beauty and charm.  A beautiful woman is one I notice.  A charming woman is one who notices me.”  ~John Erskine

…These Are The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray…