“Hated”

We recently went to get gas at a local store. A carload of young black males pulled up in front of us at a diagonal. They were there to get snacks at the shop and to get gas. But how the driver parked was weird. He parked in such a way that there is no way we could pull forward to leave, and there is no way another car could have pulled through. How they parked was selfish and thoughtless and inconsiderate.

Then their music was insanely loud. I was in the car with the windows closed. Their windows were also closed, yet their music was still so loud I could clearly hear it. They did not care whether other people wanted quiet or not. Through their actions they showed that they didn’t care about other people at all. One of the passengers pulled out a roll of cash and started fanning it. There had to be at least five hundred dollars in his hands.

Then I noticed the driver’s shirt. It was black and had huge letters in a white typeface. The letters took up a fourth of the front of the shirt. They spelled out “HATED”

What a way to self-identify. My thought was if you feel like you are hated, then stop acting in a way that makes people hate you. Act in a civilized manner. Start acting as if you aren’t the only person around.

Then I remember how I’ve seen a lot of black mothers talk to their children. Not all, certainly. But I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. Maybe one in ten use calm, friendly tones with their children. If they talk to their children at all it is sharply. It is hostile. It is frustrated. They bark at their children. “Stop doing that”. “Get over here.” The tone from these mothers says “you are a waste of my time. You are an inconvenience. I didn’t want you. ”

No wonder their children grow up feeling hated. No wonder they grow up angry. Maybe their mothers spoke the same way to them. I’m just reporting what I’m seeing. I’m not saying it should be like this. I’m saying it shouldn’t. I’m saying it is time to change things.

How much of this comes from the mothers reading “urban erotic fiction” with such winning titles as “Thong On Fire” and “Pit Bull in a Skirt”? No, I’m not making these titles up. Sadly, the most popular reading genre in my library for black women is “urban erotic fiction” – where the men are gangsters and the women are whores. It is junk food for the soul. Actually, it is worse than junk food. It teaches women that they are nothing. They are meat. They are things. They are something to be used and thrown away. Women read this and they learn this script. They learn that they are less than nothing. They learn that they have no purpose in life other than to get laid by a man, who is going to leave them.

Why would anybody want to put this message into themselves? This is poison.

While I support the right of everybody to read what they want, I also reserve the right to think that what they are doing is harmful to themselves, and by extension, society. I think the same of the general American culture as well. People can refuse to exercise and eat well. They have that right. But I still have the right to point out that not only will they suffer for their bad choices, but we all suffer from having sick people. We cannot possibly move forward if we are all stuck to the couch. And it doesn’t matter if we are on the couch eating junk food, or reading junk books.