Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Knowledge is Power

"My people perish for the lack of knowledge"
Hosea 4:6

I had the pleasure of spending the past week in what is commonly referred to as the Dirty South. I want to start this blog by saying in advance that I Love the Dirty Dirty. (I know I just killed myself right there. Sounds like, "Oh I love black people or some of my best friends are black). Well I'm gonna say that too. Some of my family lives in the South. Its been about a year since I've been down here, and it didn't take me too long to be reminded of what I dislike about the South. IGNORANCE. Some of it is just cultural, and I completely understand that. If I were to go to Japan, I too would have a lack of understanding about some of their customs and traditions. (But give me credit, after 30 years, I am getting better at using chopsticks. lol) However, some of it is just an out and out abomination to our education system. Here are three examples of what I had to encounter on my most recent confederate tour. I'm sure that I could have squeezed what I'm about to say on these three subjects into a "Penny for my thoughts", but I feel like I gotta charge you a little bit more for this gold.

Speaking of pennies, story number one is about change. I was in a Subway Sandwich last week just outside of Jackson, Mississippi. I'd just left Texas a few hours before, and pretty much drove straight through to Mississippi. As you see in the map above, Texas is considered a part of the Dirty South, but let me tell you that there is a major difference between Texas and Mississippi. So much so that other than paved roads, and that you can look at white women without getting lynched, I can't think there's a whole lot of difference between 2008, and 1908. But I digress.

So as I place my order at the counter, Tuna on Honey Oat, the lady working the register interrupts my "sandwich artist", and says "how much change am I supposed to give him back? I didn't know that he was paying with a twenty, I thought he had exact change. I think I'm supposed to give him back $6.89". Let me pause right here for one second. I begrudge no one the opportunity to double check their math. Especially when it comes to handling someone else's money. That being said, you will understand what I did have a problem with. My "sandwich artist" asks how much was his total. The lady at the counter responds "$8.89"! Now I'm no smarter than the average genius, but I know damn well that this chick should have ballparked my man's change at more than $6.89. I could do nothing but shake my head at that one. Oh, and just to further put her on blast, the lady had to be in her mid twenties. Old enough, as they say, to know better. Let us continue our journey.

I needed to stop and use the pay phone. (I'm tired of wasting my damn cell phone minutes calling my job. Lol). So I stop at a truck stop in Meridian, Mississippi. Meridian is basically on the border of Mississippi and Alabama. That being said, the lack of intelligence was still in effect. The truck stop I was at had phones in their dining area. So I'm basically sitting in another Subway Sandwich. While I am on hold with the job, I see the women behind the counter inspecting one of their customer's many tattoos. Asking him questions like "did it hurt and how much did it cost". Nothing major at this point. However after the man walked away, I hear one lady say to the other "I'm gonna get my tattoo". When someone says that, there's usually one of two responses "what are you getting", or where?

Well she didn't even give the lady a chance to ask, she just say "I want to get a tattoo on my foot"! My immediate thought was that's an unconventional place for a tattoo. But she wasn't done. She proceeds to tell the lady that she actually wants a tattoo on the bottom of her foot. At this point, all kinds of "what the hells" are rolling around in my head. Why the bottom of your foot? Who the hell is gonna see it? And the usual, "What the hell are you thinking"? Once again, I begrudge no one's opportunity to get a tattoo. But that one was a first to me. Bottom of the foot? The way that I thought about it, the only person who will probably see it, besides your self when you have your leg in an awkward position, is your man when you're having sex. And not to put my business out there or nothing like that, but I don't think seeing a tattoo on the bottom of my lady's foot would enhance the sexual experience .1% for me at all. Not even if it was my name! I mean, you gotta think about the fact that the rest of the time she's walking all over you, LITERALLY! Now if this tattoo thing is something cultural, I apologize to those of you whom I have offended. We just do things a different way in the rest of the civilized world.

Story number three takes place in Douglasville, Georgia, a middle class suburb of Atlanta. On Sunday I went to their friendly neighborhood Wal-mart. I'd just walked into the store to purchase something to cook for dinner. As I was walking past the produce department, a young black man of about sixteen or seventeen asked an older white woman "is this a cucumber"? The second I heard his question, I wanted to somehow grab the words out of mid-air Deion Sanders style, and keep them from entering the ears of this white woman. The reason? Well, in the second or two it took for him to get the words past his lips, my brain had already processed that this ignorant summage, as my Grandfather would call him, is holding a Goddamn zucchini! And the last thing I want this white woman to do is possibly feel more justified in her opinion of black people. Young blacks especially. Or hell, if she had a good opinion of black people, I don't want it to be ruined because this fool doesn't know his damn vegetables.

For any of you who are unsure, let's have a quick remedial lesson in vegetables.

This on the Left is a cucumber.

On the Right is Zucchini.

Now some of you may be saying, hey give him the benefit of the doubt. Its an easy mistake to make. Well I say nay nay. Making excuses for mistakes like that are the reason that these kids grow into ignorant adults.

I want to finish up by saying that not all people in the South are ignorant. There are some brilliant people from the South. Some of our finest institutions of higher learning are in the South. In spite of that however, some of our people are definitely slipping through the cracks. Everyone that I wrote about on this blog was black. And it just saddens me that in 2008, almost 2009, there are still so many of us who lack the necessary education to succeed in this world. $6.89 may seem like correct change in Jackson, Mississippi, but it'll never get you to a penthouse in Manhattan. Not knowing the difference between a cucumber and a zucchini won't get you to driving that Bentley down Michigan Avenue. We as a people dream big, but we don't comprehend that the path to all those dreams is forged by a good education. I'm not just putting the Dirty on blast, that goes for people across this country. Hopefully if no one is listening to me, maybe they'll listen to Barack. I'm done preaching for now, I have a head ake. (No offense cuzzo. Lmao!)


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