Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Genius Camp

Now, as many of you know, in my youth I was purported to be some kind of boy genius or whatever. Which is to say that people still think of me as some kind of boy genius when they figure out how old I am, but I digress. Anyway, for much of my early adolescence my enterprising mother made several efforts to find constructive uses for my time that didn't involve the shit that most of my friends were doing (ie smoking weed). To make a long story short, I ended up attending a whole lot of gifted and talented kid programs. This is when I was like 11-12, mind you, so I was either in or fresh out of middle school, what with all that entails.

As it turns out, this is more or less when I figured out that there were different economic classes of people in America. I show up, longish hair, probably some kind of t-shirt, Carharrts (sic?), and all the kids there are from like East Lansing, Haslett, Okemos, Grand Ledge and other wealthy Lansing suburbs and their parents are all MSU faculty. I figure all this out on the first day when we're introducing ourselves, and I also figure out that I'm a fucking space alien to these kids. My whole speech pattern, mannerisms, and of course my answers when they ask where I go to school, what my parents do, what I do for fun on weekends, the whole deal. It was almost like I was in the wrong room or some shit like that. This was eventually compounded by the inevitable moment in which the conversation turned to something I was interested in or the moment in which I decided against my better judgement to actually answer a question. From that point onward it was pretty much a given that I'd be kicking it with the other "weird kids." Being that we were already at a genius camp in the first place, I'm sure you can imagine how it feels to be relegated to that status. I'm not going to touch on the issues I had with the adults at these places, but needless to say it entailed a couple awkward conversations with my moms about my "home environment", "social group", "parental involvement", and all that. Basically:


And god forbid some kid would say some sideways shit to me and I'd reply in the vernacular of a young man of my stature. That's when I get a stern lecture about problem solving and communication and shit. So basically I ended up with the message at the end of the day that in our society if you're a young man from a working class background, you better not even think about being smart. And if you're smart, the only way to redeem yourself other than being the best damn gas station manager of all time is to completely remake yourself in the image of kids named Caden who reside in Whitehills Lakes and have a private tutor for mathematics. In short, there is no room for literacy, culture, or articulatedness (sic, muhfucka) in your identity. Choose one or the other.

And in a lot of ways it got to the point where these issues would actually manifest themselves physically. What I mean by that is that in come cases my detachment from the traditional student at these programs would actually, like, fuck my shit up. A clear example of this is in the case where I had to fill out a form to evaluate the program, but to ensure anonymity I could leave off my name and just put my school district. Ha. I'm probably still the only person other than my little brother to come from said district (Dansville bitchflake, act like you know), so obviously if I put that shit on there they're gonna know it's me. As if the "I often feel that my enthusiasm for No Limit Records alienates me from my peers" wouldn't already do the trick.
In short, they ain't want me there. I didn't really wanna be there either, a fact that my 6th grade math teacher repeatedly intoned to my parents when they were tryna sign me up for one program in particular, by telling them that I wouldn't feel at home, wouldn't get along with the other kids, wouldn't be sufficiently motivated to complete the tasks, etc. This is especially ironic given that most of that is exactly right, but you know my moms had to be like BITCH HE GONNA FEEL A LOT LESS AT HOME IN A MOTHERFUCKING JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER WHICH AS YOU ALWAYS BE IN MY GRILL TELLING ME IS MORE OR LESS WHERE HE'S HEADED AT THE MOMENT YADADADAMEAN?

And so, the last one that I attended (because I went to Europe the following summer and then after that I was in high school, so, heh) was down at the MSU campus, which wasn't much of a stretch given the fact that I was down there most of the time anyway. It's the third day, and we're at the MSU planetarium standing around in the lobby waiting to be let in to peep a show at said planetarium. Cliques have been formed, violins chilling with violins, chess with chess, model railroad enthusiasts beefing with the model airplanes, but mainly all the white and asian kids are standing in an amorphous suburban mass in one half of the room. I'm in the corner.

A couple dudes were themselves standing in the other corner, and I ended up kicking it with them. Once you figure out exactly why they were in the corner, you'll understand why I identify myself the way I do culturally.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Not sure who reads this anymore.

But if I'm gonna be posting retarded blogs on myspace I might as well start doing it here again as well. I'ma have to warn you though, from here on out shit's gonna be deeply personal and all I'm pretty much gonna talk about is race and class. Beginning with an excerpt from the infamous "How we both white but our son bi-racial."

"Alright white folks, it's like this. You done did it. I'm through with you. Nah nah, don't try to say you're sorry and that you can change, fuck that. It's over. You never really loved me, and now I can see that, so I'm gone. I'm serious.

I ain't saying I won't kick it with you, go to your parties, listen to your lame ass watered down versions of black music every once in a while, or that I'll start breaking into your cars and stealing your stereos or whatever, it ain't even like that. And I'm not going to stop hanging out with you if we're friends and you happen to be white (unless you show up in the comments and scream on me.) What I'm saying is, I'm not one of you anymore. I am officially, as far as I'm concerned, no longer a White Guy. Genetically I'm descended from people who got all pale and shit from hanging out in caves and somehow ended up with pigment in their eyes and hair, yeah.

But that's it. That's the extent of my White-ness.I'm tired of making excuses for you guys. Tired of being like "Well, not ALL white people are like that.", "Most white people only say shit like that because they don't know any minorities." "He has good intentions, he's just confused." "Yeah that joke about sickle cell was foul but he's not a racist." "He was just having a bad day and needed to vent some anger and a Mexican dude just happened to cut him off in traffic." FUCK THAT SHIT. Y'ALL MOTHAFUCKAS IS RACIST. And if I have to retire from White America in order to say that, so be it. You guys are all too pussy to confront each other's racism, and more importantly can't even look yourself in the face to see what you are. A beneficiary of hundreds of years of rape, murder, theft, kidnapping, torture, slavery, apartheid, genocide, and just plain ol' bullshit."

read more here, and start checking back every tuesday for some of that good good.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

I enjoy glasses of red wine, I have a nice computah.

Shouts to Noz on the heads up.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We Don't Talk Pretty For Boppers Mayne

First things first, Brother Ali's new album is on sale at Worst Buy for 7.99. So go get that shit today. I mean, that's usually the amount of money I spend on an outing to Wendy's, so even if you don't like the album it ain't like you just broke the bank. Nahmsayin.

Speaking of Muslims, BBC News has added a section dedicated entirely to documenting Muslims in Europe. Now a lot of you kramers know that's one of my favorite subjects, so expect me to jack mad shit from them in the next couple months. The most interesting thing about this whole situation, is, of course, the role of religious and cultural conflict in the context of the socio-economic situation between indigenous Europeans and Muslim immigrants. It's a chicken egg situation, but obviously if you have equal access to education, housing, and jobs, you have more resources to resolve cultural differences.

"Young Muslims growing up in the Netherlands are finding different ways of creating new identities.

Some use music to give voice to their frustrations. There's a lively Moroccan rap music scene - part of a vibrant and essentially secular youth culture. Yet when you ask young rappers if they are Muslim, they unhesitatingly reply they are."

See, ha. I told you. Rap solves everything. Read the first one too.

Sing City city council members are getting their laptop on. That's some real Michigan type shit right there. I'm going to touch on this in a latter post, but seriously. The median income of the state of Michigan is 68,337 for a family of four. I'm about to skate out for lunch, but I'll be back later with some stats to let you hoes know that:

1. We pay some taxes up here, so the problem ain't the tax base.
2. Somehow we end up with poor public education, infrastructure, et. al.
3. Ergo, the issue with Michigan is the channels by which tax money reaches public policy.

And don't get all knee jerk with me either. Dollars to donuts I'm more liberal than you.

Waltcosby@gmail.com. And "Holla at a playa when you see me on the street TRICK!" (c) Polow.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Now Suzie Screw had a patna named Sasha Thumper...

Note: I don't feel like going through and asterisking all the inappropriate words in this piece, so keep in mind that I'm quoting The Poet.
" Now suzy skrew had a partna named sasha (sasha), thumper (thumper)
I remember her number like the summer
When her and suzy yeah they threw a slumber - - party
But you can not call it that cause it was slummer
Well it was more like spend the night
Three in the morning yawnin dancin under street lights
We chillin like a villain and a nigga feelin right
In the middle of the ghetto on the curb, but in spite
All of the bullshit we on our back starin at the stars above
(aww man) talkin bout what we gonna be when we grow up
I said what you wanna be, she said, "alive" (hmm)
It made me think for a minute, then looked in her eyes
I coulda died, time went on, i got grown
Rhyme got strong, mind got blown, i came back home
To find lil sasha was gone
Her mamma said she with a nigga that be treatin her wrong
I kept on singin my song and hopin at a show
That i would one day see her standin in the front row
But two weeks later she got found in the back of a school
With a needle in her arm, baby two months due, sasha thumper"

To me, this is more or less the greatest verse in all of rap. A close second would be Common's joint on Respiration, then followed by All I Got Is You (it's one long ass verse, right?) I mean shit, look at all the topics he touches upon. Drugs, domestic violence, anxiety about success, love, low expectations of life for po' folks, all that. As it stands, you could also see Sasha as a metaphor for mad different shit. Atlanta itself, the women Dre grew up with, hip hop (especially now that everybody thinks it's dead), whatever. Just not his cat, that shit would be cornball.

Basically, the point is: you can't go home again. Especially if you grew up in the proles.

"Shit's reeeal out here."-Dilla Dawg.