A while ago, I was standing at a corner along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC. waiting for the light to change so I could cross the street.
I was standing behind a couple of Brothers in a rather heated discussion over what I assumed to be encryption software or programming. They were dressed in standard Governmentware, one in a shirt and tie and the other in a suit without a tie. They seemed to really know their stuff.
I just stood there halfway listening and halfway wondering what I was having for lunch. Beside me I heard some snickering and turned to see a cluster of three young black males, all were around 16 or 17 and wearing the standard white T-shirts and/or oversized jerseys and I heard one of them whispering something about, "...they're acting all white and shit." And I turned to the Brothers talking in front of me and I damn near lost my mind.
This was the same damn ignorant mentality that caused a major blowup between me and my brother years ago. He tried to subtley accuse me of "acting white" and I came close to beating the hell out of him.
I don't know where exactly it became "white" to speak intelligently and carry yourself with some dignity and self respect.
I'm not sure when reason and self-control became the sole property of white people.
I think what is going on is this - there is a belief in certain corners of our community that to be black... more specifically, to be a black MAN, you have to be rough around the edges, you have to be loud and boisterous, you have to be ready to fight, you have to have the baggy clothes and the rowdy attitude and above all you have to never try to look or sound intelligent. You have to refrain from calling your friends by their Mother given names and instead call them - Dogg, and "G" and Yo and Nigga' and Muw Fucka. You have to think only with your crotch - what the crotch wants is what you're supposed to get... STD's, HIV's and unwanted babies be-damned!
So with this belief running unchecked in parts of the community, you have young black males scoffing at the Brothers that are speaking intelligently. You have the young black males having "no love" for the Brothers that are carrying themselves like reasonable, mature and calm men. These Brothers can only gets chuckles and laughs and ridicule from the young ones. Sad.
When my brother and I had our falling out, I was accused of "trying to act white." To him, I was everything he wasn't and I was everything he seemed to despise. I had a good job, I spoke well, I was well read, I wore a shirt and tie to work, I was enrolled in college, I didn't have any kids, I could talk about more than just sports and I had never been in trouble with the law. I don't think he could say all of that about himself or any one of his friends. So I was the pariah, I was the joke, I was the outcast, I was the one to be ashamed of - I was the one that was not trying to be real... I was acting white.
So, in order for me to be "BLACK" in his eyes, and in the eyes of the assholes on the corner, I had to be louder and I had to be rowdier and I had to speak worse and I had to be less intelligent than I was. So... I was in the wrong.
Well, I've got a message for all those dumb-asses that think us intelligent Brothers that are properly handling our business are "acting white." We are as far from "white" as we can get. We are the true Ambassadors for our people, our Black people. We are the ones that truly appreciate the legacy and the sacrifice of those who came before us and risked and sometimes lost their lives so that we can have the freedom and the rights that we have today. We are the ones paying a lifetime debt of honor to the Dr. Kings', the Medgar Evers', the Emmett Tills', the Andrew Youngs', the Harriet Tubmans', the Coretta Scott Kings', the Shirely Chisholms', the Tuskeegee Airmen, the Bobby Seals', the Dorothy Heights', the Malcolm X's, and the Nikki Giovanni's', and the list goes on and on! By walking with our heads held high, our women and children respected, our minds free of drama, drugs and drink - we are the embodiement of the Black struggle, the Black achievements and the Black future.
So don't you ignorant hoodlums even THINK about saying that we're "acting white!" Instead, try saying, "Those Brothers are "acting BLACK!"