Black Versus In Love

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“We were never rivals. We were competitors. A rivalry means there is a victor and a vanquished. In this case, there was never either a victor or a vanquished, just competitors. A lot of times I’ve heard people tell what they thought they knew. Well, they don’t know (spit).”-Bill Russell

 

In Quentin Tarantino’s movie “Django Unchained”, the now infamous “Mandingo Fighting” scene that depicted two African-American men enthralled in a bare knuckle brawl to the death while their said slave masters watched on with unbridled joy and pride, was thought to be an over embellishment by the controversial director. Historians felt that slaves were way too valuable back then, so the idea of wanting to sacrifice a slave for the purpose of pure entertainment would be considered logically flawed due to the economical ramification that would soon follow. Albeit this depiction was said to have no historical bearing, I still find myself aligned with the notion that in theory this has always been a general practice as it pertains to the African-American contribution towards the world of entertainment. Often polished off with phrases of “who is better” or “who would win” or “who won the battle”, the practice of putting successful African-Americans up against one another as some sort bravado barometer has always existed and continues to thrive as some sort of additional entertainment bonus to this day. I am not naive when it comes to the world of sports in knowing that the proverbial measuring stick, which is just a fancy way of saying pissing competition, is often how ones’ greatness is truly measured. But not once do I recall hearing or seeing anyone pit Larry Bird against his white contemporaries or poll whether or not Drew Brees is more charitable than Tom Brady. It’s as if it is not enough to be just successful as an African-American, but you also have to destroy the same hued brethren or sister that is in close proximity to your success in order to define what “true success” is. My question is not only why is this a subscribed to practice, but also who is this practice designed to entertain? The crab mentality is described as meaning that “if I can’t have it, neither can you”. When the pinnacle of success is reached by anyone in the African-American culture, there always appears to be some sort of asterisk or critique maligned in accordance with those said achievements. These asterisks and critiques can only be viewed as a tool of divisiveness, as well as a mechanism of degradation at a heighten level. Continuously we see situations where a guy like Kelvin Benjamin who is willing come out and excoriate a guy he once considered a friend of his in Cam Newton, lending soundbytes of animus to the media, but for what purpose?  This only sets up a scene of confrontation with the hopes that we have another Mandingo Fighting scene evolve from it. The same applies to Lebron James and the opening of his I Promise school. The first measured action by the news outlets was to compare both his and Michael Jordan’s charitable contributions, by digging up Michael’s charitable tax returns in order to ask people to choose who was better at doing that as well.  These are the mental traps that will not allow success to be admired and celebrated within the African-American culture; but it also thwarts replication. That is the key word; replication. We lack the template to replicate because we are taught to envy and dismiss success with jealousy, rage and outright hate. So I ask, who does this benefit?  Who does this entertain?  These are the black versus in love, too bad we don’t have verses in loving one another instead of being in competition with one another. We were never rivals; people just tell what they want you to know.

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