Volume 33: Life's Role Reversals...

“While we flatter ourselves that things remain the same, they are changing under our very eyes from year to year, from day to day.” -Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I’m sitting here thinking about life’s role reversals: The In-crowd V.S. The Social Outcasts. Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Growing up, I was never a part of the stereotypical In-Crowd; I was never the traditional jock, although I loved sports. And although friendly, I was never the poster boy for popularity or a social butterfly. I was somewhat of a youth who could relate to all types of other kids. I was a friend to the friendless- a confidant to a geek who would fall victim to a barrage of insults and jokes from other kids, and then someone selected for a quick game of basketball at the neighborhood courts by the stereotypical jocks.

One of the most interesting things that I’ve seen over the course of years, are the role reversals of the In-Crowd and The Social Outcasts. The in-crowd is that small group of people or organization who are fashionable, popular or powerful, but who don’t let many other people join them. They appear exclusive and influential and many others want to be a part because of their perceived prestige. Growing up, the most intelligent kids in school were usually socially awkward. Their academic prowess was usually credited to having stricter parents, who didn’t allow them to do much outside of school. Most of their families were God-fearing and their extra curricular activities may have involved things that were primarily rooted in education or things relating to church- such as the youth choir, boy scouts, or some kind of academic affiliation. The in-crowds that I knew growing up often had younger parents than mine-who probably could relate to our generation better-so they were allowed to do more things during their free time. They had the latest video games, they stayed outside later; and overall had more of a friendlier relationship with their parents. They dressed better because their parents were well dressed and knew of the latest trends. When the parents of the social outcasts cringed at the prices of $60 sneakers, the parents of the In-crowd gladly shelled out $125 for the latest Jordan brand sneakers.

As we all get older, the social outcasts do what they do best; they continue to be prolific students. They earn the grades necessary to gain admission into the best High Schools. While in high school, they still reflect some of those same socially awkward traits that they had before. The first two years of high school are hell. They survive the infamous freshman day hazing from their predecessors and the rejection from the upper classmen of the opposite sex. By their junior year, The In-crowd is at the zenith of their popularity. Jocks are peaking at this age. Many have experienced sex and the socially awkward teens are ridiculed for their lack of savvy with the opposite sex. The same awkward male that can make sense of Hamlet or can explain a Trigonometry equation in a classroom before his peers, considers it an insurmountable task to ask an attractive female to his prom.

Things begin to change after the high school years for the social outcasts. The outward appearances of the women begin to change. People begin to pay attention to them. The braces come off, and many of them now have a job; their earnings enable them to purchase nicer clothes. At a College or University, it’s no longer un-cool to be intelligent. Shit, brilliance is now a major turn on. Suddenly, a dumb jock is laughed at behind his back. People stereotype him and realize that his time is running out. They know that if he doesn’t get drafted to play some type of professional sport, he’ll likely be nothing more than someone who holding on to his past glory-a modern day Al Bundy. The female who was part of that in-crowd has now neglected the very same things that she came to college for…education. It’s all about a quick come up. Every year a new get rich quick plan. The athletes have already had her and they’ve moved on-her value worth little more than back-seat back shots. A man that has found success sees her, and then sees someone with real drive and ambition; someone who didn’t have to endure several years of promiscuity to get there. It’s a no brainer who he chooses. It becomes amazing how the roles have reversed. When they’re young, image is so important. The in-crowd looks at the social outcasts as “losers” because they lack the charisma and do not have the social prowess that they have. Years later, their intelligence has them in quite a position. Because of their intelligence, they now have the best jobs, which are producing the type of revenue, which makes them sought after individuals. And now it is themas life is kicking their ass-and it’s the former in-crowd who has now become the social outcast’s! Now the corporate exec or Businesswoman looks at them and thinks, “Wow…what a loser.” The success stories now have the world at their feet. They are now the in-crowd, and only a select few may now join them. that look at faces from the past-

As a member of a historically black fraternity, I also bear witness to the role reversals of the African American man and woman in college. It’s amazing. You have a man. He’s a broke as a $2 wristwatch. This man will also have no personality-no ambition or savvy. This man can also have below-average looks and be a total failure with the ladies. Add the fact that he is neither intelligent by most people’s standards and has a horrible attitude. Throw in the fact that he has the physical physique of a man who is the 10-year champion of a pie-eating contest and has no sense of fashion. Only in Greekdom, can a man of this stature…join a fraternity and suddenly have a bunch of people who actually want to be around him. Only in greekdom can a man like this suddenly have women willing to sleep with him and people wanting to befriend him. Only in greekdom will you have so many individuals with so little to offer prior to membership, become the best thing on campus since on-line courses. It’s amazing.

It’s no wonder that so many greeks become entangled in what I call “Perennial Peter-Pan Syndrome.” That’s when people don’t wanna grow up. Many don’t wish to leave college and those who do leave college, don’t wish to let go of their Undergraduate mentality. You’ll have greeks who pledged in the early to mid 90’s, who still actively attend and stroll at undergraduate parties in 2009. Why?only place where they still matter. Greek life is a microcosmone thing. Money. No one in Corporate America cares about “how hard” one pledged on line. Your supervisor could care less that you “were a solo”. And your colleagues are not impressed by your National Step Show Championships. You were a celebrity on your campus. Everyone wanted to know what you and your organization were doing. Everyone wanted to emulate you. Today, you’re viewed as a loser-and here…you’re just that idiot that people laugh at. Many Greeks recognize this and have an increasingly difficult time letting go. Can you think of any other outlets where someone who has nothing maintains celebrity status? Of course, all greeks are not this way. Allare. The sad thing is that when you come into these organizations looking for an identity and looking to define yourself-you will not only face the fact that greek life will not provide an identity for you…you will become more confused than you’ve ever been. You will actually begin to believe the hype. You will actually be naïve enough to think they your newfound family cares about you. You will actually be naïve enough to believe that when these women offer themselves up…that it really has anything to do with you… Because their respective alma maters are the of reality and in the real world it’s all about greeks are not people searching aimlessly to belong and yearning for an identity-but there are far too many who

In the bible, a day is described in which “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” Life is filled with role reversals. Sometimes it can come in the form of an unattractive youth, who through the years becomes a heartthrob or radiant goddess. One can have a financial conversion-a modern day rags to riches story. Sometimes those who are considered cool early on in life, end up living in their Mini-van down by the river 20 years later. Whatever outcome or role reversal that life may have in store for you, remember to always treat people right. You never know how much things can change in a matter of years.

…These Are The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray…

Note: These are simply random thoughts that I had one day on this matter. In no way, shape or form am I insinuating that popular greeks today will become tomorrow’s welfare abusers (Although we all know that some will). I am not insinuating that a popular female who terrorizes those less fortunate will end up a whore or video vixen (although I’m willing to bet that most have similar beginnings). I am simply someone who is expressing his thoughts on the matter. There are always exceptions to the rule. I am simply speaking on my experiences on the in-crowds and social outcasts from my youth and with the emergence of social networking tools, such as myspace, twitter, and facebook-where I am beginning to see the role reversals through the reconnection of old peers.

I really wanna write a book now…but I don’t know what to write about! LMAO Any suggestions?!? Futre Random Thoughts Coming very soon…


Volume 32: What Makes A Man Lie...

“It is better to be told a hurtful truth than to be told a comforting lie. In the end, the truth will make its way out and will hurt much more than it ever had to. –Unknown
Why do us men lie? Someone once told me that the bad ones lie to get in your bed, and the good ones lie to get in your heart. I think the worst thing about being lied to, is knowing that the person thought you weren’t worth the truth.
My 4th of July festivities came with some disturbing news. Sports fans all over the world learned of the death of former NFL Quarterback Steve McNair.
I was first informed of his being shot to death from one of my frat brothers. Steve McNair was also a member of my fraternity, Omega Psi Phi-and was a prominent member who was known for making our fraternity hand gestures on live television after every completed touchdown pass.
It was such a popular thing seen from him, that many people began mimicking it-not knowing that it was a gesture to his fraternity brothers.
Although I had never met Steve McNair in person, I always heard great things about him-most notably his preeminent courage on and off the field. I was shocked when I learned about the 36 year old NFL player found shot to death in a downtown Nashville Condo with a 20 year old girl found dead next to him. I immediately figured he was caught doing something wrong. It sounded like a familiar tale that we hear about; McNair was married with 4 children. The other victim, Sahel Kazemi, was a waitress working at Dave & Buster’s…where they met six months ago. When I heard about McNair found dead along with a woman so young (when he’s married) at a condo he rented along with a friend of his…I just shook my head and thought, Damn…sounds like the jump-off got him killed.

There were two initial theories that we drew from the double homicide. The first was some sort of organized robbery of McNair, which let to the killer shooting both witnesses. The other theory that we came up with was a boyfriend or ex-boyfriend of the girl killing them both in a testosterone filled rage. No man would be happy about some NFL jock laying the pipe to his woman. There were plenty of females; their initial responses to McNair’s murder were, “that’s what he gets for cheating on his wife” or comments like “He’s a Que and Ques are always cheating.” Fraternity men do in fact have a negative stigma for cheating; even members like myself have been stereotyped and profiled as a dog prior to knowledge of who I truly am. There have been reports of infidelity in the media from many prominent members of my fraternity in the Past.
Jesse Jackson had children from an affair, Michael Jordan had cheated on his wife, Shaquille O’ Neil and his wife played several rounds of the cheating game, Ahmad Rashad is best known within female circles as the man who left Felecia Rashad for another woman…all members of Omega Psi Phi. I continually explain to women that a man’s initiation into our fraternity does not grant a license to cheat on women-but rather their behavior was more than likely the end result of years of promiscuity.
My heart was with McNair’s wife and family.
They had been married since 1997 and even though all couples have their share of problems behind closed doors, McNair appeared the family man in the public eye. Somehow the media obtained information that McNair and Kazemi had met and exchanged numbers six months ago when she was 19, and working at Dave and Buster’s. For her 20th birthday, McNair bought her a black Escalade.
They said Kazemi used to drive around in his Bentley and tell family and friends about the generosity of her new boyfriend. Wow…definitely sounds like the infantile bragging of a “side jawn”. My initial theory of a killing by a boyfriend or jealous ex soon began to change when the media released even more information. Steve had been shot 4 times; twice in the chest and twice in the head. The side jawn was shot once on the side of the head and a gun was found under her-almost as if she shot him…then shot herself and fell on top of it. There was no forced entry and McNair was sitting on a couch. It sounded like a “side jawn” that possibly wanted to upgrade to “wifey” status and went crazy.

During our conversation about it, one person theorized that maybe the wife found out he was messin’ around and killed them both. I didn’t buy into that theory because I don’t think a woman would have thought to place the gun under a victim to make it look like a suicide. Usually crimes of rage and anger are left with a ton of evidence. People make the dumbest mistakes when they’re angry. There were no divorce papers filed between Steve and his wife; the only thing the media had was that the couple put their $3 million home on the market for sale-but when you’re rich…that can be normal. So…could the side chick possibly have lost her mind and killed a sports figure? To be honest…I dunno. She was described as a “Happy girl that loved to have fun and wanted to become famous.” I’m not sure if that would make much sense to kill your meal ticket. She was arrested on a DUI charge on Thursday. The vehicle was stopped and somehow the Police allowed her to take a cab home. Must be nice. The SUV was registered in McNair’s and Kazemi’s name. Wow. Now if she is in fact just the side jawn…you definitely don’t register items in both your names. (shaking my head) Friends of Kazemi said that she believed McNair was in the process of divorcing. McNair told her the whole divorce was gonna be done...two weeks from yesterday. Of course the media found out that wasn’t true. Womp Womp to all the dumb side jawns who believe that shit!
Steve met his wife while he was at Alcorn State. She ended up earning her nursing degree at Belmont University and ended up working for him. She’d wrap his ankles, knees, ribs etc. and would play nurse while at home or during the off-season. It brought a smile to my face to hear about a sista who was holding her own. A woman who had her own education and her own career path and goals-not just someone whos sole claim to fame was rationing out the ass to the highest bidder. So…what exactly is it that makes women on the side believe that they can compete with the wife? And eventually take a man from his wife? I always tell people that you can never take someone from another. On my best day, I could never take another man’s girl. She has to leave. Is it arrogance or just plain ol’ stupidity that make us believe that we are that big of a deal? Ann Landers once said, “If you marry a man who cheats on his wife, you’ll be married to a man who cheats on his wife.”
So…what makes a man cheat? In one word: WOMEN. Men cheat for the same reason dogs lick their balls…because they can! When women cheat, it’s usually to fill a void in the relationship. Perhaps the sex is bad, perhaps you’re not spending enough time with her or smothering her. Perhaps you disrespect her. Perhaps you’re physically letting yourself go. With the ladies, it seems as though cheating is usually emotional and with Men it’s physical. When a woman cheats, the man she’s cheating with is filling some type of voidphysical or emotional. A Man can have a gorgeous wife, someone who cooks like a chef, with wisdom beyond her years, and can fuck like a sex goddess…but will cheat with an uneducated, bad weave wearing, Neanderthal of a woman-simply because she has a fat ass! It’s usually carnal. There are many women who cheat for carnal reasons as well, but usually it’s because of something that we aren’t doing as men. Liars never lose your trust because they never had it. In closing, I wanted to leave the sistas will some uplifting words. This is what Oprah had to say about Men:
“If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away. If he doesn’t want you, nothing can make him stay. Stop making excuses for a man and his behavior. Allow your intuition (or spirit) to save you from heartache. Stop trying to change yourself for a relationship that’s not meant to be. Slower is better. Never live your life for a man before you find what makes you truly happy. If a relationship ends because a man was not treating you as you deserve then heck no, you can’t be “friends”. A friend wouldn’t mistreat a friend. Don’t settle. If you feel like he is stringing you along, then he probably is. Don’t stay because you think “it will get better.” You’ll be mad at yourself a year later for staying when things are not better. The only person you can control in a relationship is you. Avoid men who’ve got a bunch of children by different women He didn’t marry them when he got them pregnant, why would he treat you any differently? Always have your own set of friends separate from his. Maintain boundaries in how a guy treats you. If something bothers you, speak up. Never let a man know everything. He will use it against you later. You cannot change a man’s behavior. Change comes from within. Don’t EVER make him feel he is more important that you are…even if he has more education or a better job. Do not make him into a quasi-god. He is a man, nothing more nothing less. Never let a man define who you are. Never borrow someone else’s man. If he cheated with you, he’ll cheat on you. A man will only treat you the way you allow him to treat you. All men are not dogs. You should not be the one doing all the bending…compromise is a two way street.” -Oprah Winfrey

Now… to myself, and most of the folk reading this…that’s common sense. Sadly, it’s taken many women years of heartbreak and promiscuity to attain that bit of knowledge on life and relationships. In McNair’s case, it shows that some of us pay the ultimate sacrifice for the things that we do in and out of our relationships. (sigh) That situation is exactly why I’m constantly evaluating the people I keep around me as I continue to evolve as a person. As men, we should be very mindful of how we treat these ladies, and stay away from the emotionally unstable ones…and the hood-ass ones. It was unfortunate to hear about the tragic killing of my frat brother…but perhaps it can serve as a wake up call to many others who are in the same situation as we speak.
Be safe, ladies and gentleman…
…These Are The Random Thoughts of Ronald Gray…