Tag Archives: ‘Foolish’ Floyd: The Life and Times of an African-American Contrarian

Floyd Redefines What a Black Business Is

My friend Floyd, I guess that I can comfortably call him my friend, gingerly slid into his seat at This Is It in a manner that was so unusual that it caught my attention. Compared to his present state, Floyd had certainly seen better days; Floyd moved not like a man who was stricken with illness, rather his slow and deliberate movements resembled those of a man who found himself on the losing end of a physical altercation.

Floyd’s slow movements were so disconcerting that they distracted me from my delicious plate of Chicken and Dumplings. Although I now wished that I had noticed his condition before his sliding into the booth, I motioned toward the kitchen area and told Floyd,

It’s on me. What do you want?

Floyd, at nearly a whisper level, a clear sign that it was difficult for him to speak, communicated,

I wouldn’t be mad at you if you got me some of those chitlins’.”

Although I momentarily paused as I wanted to find out what was wrong with Floyd; I figured that issue would remain after I returned with the chitterlings. With food in tow, I made my way back to our booth and set the plate in front of Floyd.

Predictably, Floyd’s present condition did not prevent him from intentionally aggravating me. He purposely waited until I had not only sat down but also picked up my fork to resume eating before asking like a meek child,

Could I get a little Sweet Tea to go with this?

Floyd’s request, although ill-timed, would be honored, however, not before I shook my head at him and let out a prolonged sigh; in many ways the most frustrating aspect of this entire episode was that I knew Floyd well enough to know that he was going to wait until I sat down before making another request. I mumbled several words under my breath as I rose from my seat to retrieve Floyd’s ‘Sweet Tea.’

During the walk to and fro, I decided that today was not the day for me to fool with Floyd regarding what was going on in his life. Today was not a good day for Floyd to dilly-dally around.

As I sat the ‘Sweet Tea’ in front of Floyd, I jumped right to the crux of the matter.

Floyd, what in the world has happened to you?

Apparently, Floyd was in his usual mood to be coy and elusive, positions that were as aggravating as they were unnecessary. By feigning ignorance, ‘Foolish Floyd’ was raising my ire to a level that would have surprised him; as I previously mentioned, today was most certainly not the day to be fooling around, I was quite simply not in the mood for his silly banter.

What do you mean?

My response to Floyd’s attempt at being difficult was to stare straight into his beady little eyes angrily.

Okay, Okay, Okay!!!! I had a little incident about a block from my house; one that I definitely did not cause. I was on my way to the store when a mob of those Revolutionary niggas attacked me.”

Floyd knew very well that his easy use of the ‘N-word’ always sent my mind into a spiral. With a mouth full of chitterlings and coleslaw, Floyd continued.

You know that I am on a fixed income, so every penny counts. Like this place right here, I would never be able to afford eating here on the regular. It costs too much.

I jumped right in on this point as Floyd paused to deposit more food into his greasy mouth,

But Floyd, you do know that it is critical that we support Black businesses like this place, the Breakfast Klub, and Mikki’s Soul Food, because not only do they provide an awesome service, but also they reinvest their profits into the community, not to mention all of the people they employ. Those people are someone’s mother and father.”

By the time I finished my soliloquy on the virtues of circulating the Black dollar, Floyd was shoveling yet another forkful of chitterlings into his even more greasy mouth. Although I wanted to continue expounding upon the desperate need to support Black businesses, Floyd held up a coleslaw covered finger as if he were asking me to cease my diatribe.

It was after Floyd swallowed the massive amount of food he was holding in his mouth as if it were some oversized storage unit and chased it with a gulp of ‘Sweet Tea’ that he began to speak again.

Now you know, of all people, that I understand the need to support our own. Have you forgotten my experience at ‘Cookie’s Corner Store’? You remember how I acted when our people by-passed a Black business in favor of an Arab store? Remember, who was charged with a ‘hate crime’ for defending a Black business?”

I must relate to being a bit surprised, if not overly impressed, by Floyd’s response because he was correct on all accounts.

I was just informing you of my fixed income status, nothing more and nothing less. If anything, it is economic constraints and common sense that makes my supporting Black businesses difficult.”

Floyd’s use of the words ‘common sense’ was apparently today’s bait being used to usher me into a raucous discussion regarding the desperate need to support Black businesses at all costs.

Now let’s get back to why those Revolutionary niggas, your kind of people, jumped on ol’ Floyd.

I responded to Floyd’s offer to return to my earlier question with little more than a slight nod of my head.

As I said before, I am on a fixed income, so every penny counts. I have to watch my money closely, or I will run out before the month ends.”

Although I knew that I shouldn’t, I chimed in with a question.

Floyd? What in the hell does that have to do with you being beaten up?

Annoyed by my interjection, Floyd stared at me before stating,

If you would give me a minute then I could tell you! So just be quiet for a couple minutes, please.

“I have a routine that I adhere to; I purchase the same groceries from the same corner store located around the corner from where I live. I don’t have a car to make it to a real grocery store. I am not getting on the bus with no damn groceries; that would create an entirely different issue. So I bypass all of that and go to the corner store closest to my apartment, it just happens to be owned by some Arabs who are always helpful and polite to me. I don’t bother them, and they respect me.”

Floyd apparently read the skepticism on my face. I knew from prior discussions that Floyd lived in the predominantly African-American 5th Ward, in fact, he didn’t live far from where we were dining. It was difficult for me to believe that the area was devoid of opportunities for Floyd to do business with his own people.

I already know what you are thinking. And you are right. There is a Black corner store right across the street from the Arab store.”

Why not simply shop at that store and support your own people, Floyd?

“I have two good reasons that I don’t shop at the Black store. Reasons that I wished that I could have shared with those Revolutionary niggas before they attacked me for shopping at the Arab store. Number one, I am on a fixed income and the Arab store is much less expensive. Number two, I know that fool who owns the Black convenience store, he owns a gang of them, and he is most definitely not re-investing his money back into the community, he is putting it into his damn pocket as he heads to his plush pad in River Oaks; over there with the white folks.”

“You do know what made me see the light in regards to not blindly supporting Black businesses don’t you?”

I just cringed at what I knew was coming, my own words. Floyd laid out in front of me an editorial regarding this matter.

THE JORDAN RULES:

HOW MICHAEL JORDAN UNRAVELS ‘BUY BLACK’ CAMPAIGNS

            Racial uplift plans began prior to the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Most certainly since the slave era ended in 1865, African-Americans have attempted innumerable plans to improve the community by addressing its financial shortcomings. A diverse group of leaders from Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, T. Thomas Fortune, Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Martin Luther King Jr., Madame C.J. Walker, Malcolm X, and Louis Farrakhan, have all advanced slightly different formulas that promised to lift African-Americans out of the economic chains that have held them so firmly.

            Generally speaking, the vast majority of these programs are relatively simple in that they call for the rise of a Black entrepreneur class that creates businesses to serve the needs of the African-American community. The rather simple formula calls for the African-American community to support these businesses with an unbreakable loyalty. According to most Black Nationalists, the circulating of the dollar within the African-American community is the only reasonable means of economic improvement. Such thinkers are most certainly motivated by Malcolm X’s famous quote of, “You run down your own community when you give your dollar away.”

            Often ignored in such economic formulas is a final step that calls for Black businessmen to honor the African-American community’s unending loyalty by re-investing their monies in new businesses, philanthropic endeavors, depositing their money in Black banks who will then issue loans to aspiring business owners, and the hiring of community members. Failure to do such destroys the entire racial uplift campaign as it is doing little more than enriching individuals whose wealth is not ‘trickling down’ to the masses that it was built upon. One of the greatest examples of such is the basketball icon Michael Jordan.

            Although one can have a robust argument regarding who is the greatest basketball player of all-time. Innumerable names appear in that discussion: Oscar “the Big O” Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell,  Julius “Dr. J” Irving, Larry Bird, Ervin “Magic” Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and the list goes on and on. However, there is one arena that is indisputable in regards to the aforementioned basketball legends, that being, who has been the most financially successful player away from the court. Michael Jordan, a six-time NBA Champion, stands without peer in regards to off the court financial success. Jordan’s unprecedented off the court financial success is attributable to the sneaker empire he has built with the aid of Nike.

I am certain that there are many who believe that Ervin “Magic” Johnson rivals Jordan in post-athletic career earnings, those people are wrong. According to Nike Chief Executive Officer Mark Parker, the Jordan “Jumpman” brand “…transcend(s) sport and culture across gender, age and geographies…(opening up a) world of opportunity…”

            Jordan has been able to accomplish something that seems impossible by increasing endorsement dollars after retirement. In 2004, the year after Jordan retired from the National Basketball Association, the six-time NBA champion earned $28 million dollars in endorsements. Today, the Jordan brand was raking in more than $100 million in endorsements; more dollars than any active NBA player. In fact, one could combine the endorsement dollars of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant and still not equal Michael Jordan’s total.

            According to the initial theory of racial uplift, the African-American community has proven their loyalty to the Jordan Brand by spending millions, if not billions, of dollars purchasing everything produced with the infamous “Jumpman” logo on it. Unfortunately for the African-American community, Michael Jordan has proven to be a non-factor in racial matters. I am reminded of Jordan’s stance of neutrality when asked which political party he belonged to; Jordan slyly declined to answer the question before quipping, “Republicans buy shoes to.” There is no doubt that Michael Jordan is neither a Civil Rights activist nor interested in practicing socially responsible individualism. He is quite simply a Capitalist interested in earning as much money as humanly possible.

            I think that there is much to be learned from Jordan’s refusal to aid in the uplift of his people despite their loyalty to the Jordan Brand. Quite possibly the largest lesson to be gleaned is the harsh reality that current ‘buy Black’ economic programs are going to be woefully insufficient if Black business owners are absent a commitment to uplift the race that matches those who are religiously supporting them. Unless Black businessmen have a developed sense of loyalty to the race, ‘buy Black’ campaigns will never improve the economic status of the community one iota, it will simply lead to the financial prosperity of a class of Capitalists who have no desire to aid others.

James Thomas Jones III

©Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2015.

As I am certain that you know, I wanted to chastise Floyd regarding his not supporting a Black business, however, there was little that I could say. To my shock, ‘Foolish’ Floyd was correct in his assessment that any African-American establishment that does not re-invest a portion of its earnings into the community in some fashion does not qualify as a Black business. Put simply, such businesses are mere Capitalists using the fact that they are “Black owned” as a marketing tool to fleece African-Americans.

I simply sat across from Floyd, partially impressed that he had taken something I wrote, digested it and then applied it to his life. All I could muster was,

Well, well, well.”

Sensing that he had won this particular verbal joust, Floyd annoyingly stated through not only a thick Southern accent but also a mouthful of Chitlins’, “And yet another victory for Floyd.”

There was little left to do after fantastic food and great conversation than to exit This is It. However, as I rose to leave, Floyd quickly asked me.

“Bruh, let me have $50. I told you that I am on a fixed income.”

He laughed hilariously as I reached into my pocket to retrieve the funds. I simply shook my head and thanked God for blessing me with such a good friend.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2015

Chapter Excerpt from the book, Foolish Floyd: The Life and Times of an African-American Contrarian. 

Currently available at Amazon.

Floyd, Paul Mooney, and THE “N-Word”

I am absolutely certain that you recognize that although Floyd and I are from the same generation, we are distinctly different individuals with thoughts, ideas, and principles that clash with the slightest provocation. Quite possibly the single-greatest verbal demarcation line between Floyd and me revolves around our use of the English language, particularly the use of what I, and most respectful individuals, commonly refer to as the ‘N-word’ and Floyd’s determination to use the word Nigga. A term that Floyd illogically maintains is markedly different than the use of the word “Nigger”.

Now that I think about it, rare is the occasion that I have been in Floyd’s presence that he has not used the ‘N-word’. Floyd seemed to emanate from the Paul Mooney school of thought in that he says Nigga a hundred times each morning because it makes his teeth white.

Most offensive of Floyd’s habitual use of the ‘N-word’ is the reality that he knows very well that I cringe each and every time he uses it; I must admit that my embarrassment is exponentially increased when he uses it in a setting with what we term mixed company. Unfortunately for me, I think that a significant aspect of Floyd’s refusal to let what is actually the nitroglycerine of the English language was his sadistic desire to see my reaction to its appearance, regardless of the setting.

Now I would be remiss if I did not honestly relate that I have been known to use vulgar language from time-to-time, however, I have consciously attempted to rid myself of the burdensome, historically-loaded, ‘N-Word’.

Considering such an initiative I am quite certain that you are going to wonder why I would elect to take Floyd to The Improv, a staple of Houston’s comedy club circuit, to hear the aforementioned Paul Mooney as a birthday present. I had come to learn that great comedians from Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Paul Mooney, Bill Cosby, etc. were an arena that Floyd and I were kindred souls. It was one arena that I shed, without any sense of embarrassment or contradiction, my abhorrence of the word Nigga as Black comedians used it frequently and within every imaginable context.

So on Saturday Evening, I picked Floyd up from his place and made my way toward I-10 West (The Katy Freeway).

From the moment Floyd stepped out of his front door, it was obvious that this was a special night for him, not only was it hisLavendar Suit birthday, but also he was about to see Paul Mooney, his “favorite comedian this side of Richard Pryor” perform live for the first time. And trust me when I tell you that Floyd was adorned with his finest threads, he was truly open-casket sharp with what seemed like an 18-piece Lavender suit. I thought it was a bit much, but hey, it was Floyd’s day and as the saying goes, ‘If you like it, I love it.”

Floyd talked incessantly during the entire drive regarding not only Paul Mooney, but also his best friend, the unparalleled Richard Pryor. It seemed as if Floyd was a walking Wikipedia of facts regarding the comedic duo; which spurred a question from me.

“If you are so into Richard Pryor and Paul Mooney, how come you have never gone to see them live.”

“Ain’t never had the opportunity. Meaning whenever they were performing close to where I was at, I didn’t have no money. Hell, I wouldn’t be going tonight if you weren’t paying.”

Floyd then sheepishly asked,

“You are paying, right? Don’t get me down here this close to seeing my main man and then I can’t get in the building. I promise you I will act a certifiable fool if you do.”

I just laughed and related to Floyd that his acting a fool wouldn’t really matter to me because I would be inside listening to Paul Mooney.

Floyd responded as I knew he would,

“Just like a Nigga”

For some reason I didn’t cringe at his use of the “N-word”, maybe because I understood that it held no negative connotations in this context. We were two friends simply kicking it on our way to see our boy.

We arrived at The Improv, got our tickets and enjoyed the show. Having seen Mooney several times before, I must relate that he was in rare fashion as he traversed across topics such as Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, O.J. Simpson, Ben Carson, and Niggas.

Two particularly memorable moments occurred during the night.

The first was when a white couple rose from their seats and walked up the stairs to exit the venue, witnessing this, Mooney stated,

“I still got my magic. They must have thought that they were coming to see Andy Rooney, not Paul Mooney.”

The overwhelmingly Black audience burst into uproarious laughter.

The second moment was a particularly personal one that nearly led to me wetting my pants. It was when Paul Mooney looked in our direction and spotted Floyd. At that moment, Mooney displayed the quick-wittedness that makes him such a great comedian. He stated,

“Awww shit, look at this Nigga over here. What motherfucking color do you have on Nigga? Nigga, please stand up so that we all can get a good laugh.”

To my amazement, Floyd rose from his seat and did a slow 360 degree turn.

“Now I know that we are in Houston, Texas, but that Nigga right there has got to be straight out of somewhere in Mississippi.”

Floyd shouted back at Paul Mooney,

“You Goddamned right!  Greenwood, Mississippi, in the house.”

Of course Mooney would not let Floyd have the last word and told Floyd to,

“Sit your loud country ass down. I bet you that Nigga got slave-catchers still after his ass. Out here dressed in a 54-piece Lavender suit around civilized people. Lavender, Nigga? Really, Nigga?”

I must tell you that there were tears running down people’s faces by the time Paul Mooney ended his roasting of Floyd. Above and beyond everything else, this moment of attention made Floyd’s night, it was a memory that he would never relinquish, even if he were the butt of Mooney’s jokes. And as you well know, it was better that it was him and not me.

Although we wished that Mooney could have stayed on stage for several nights, the truth of the matter was that he had already given us nearly three-hours of cutting-edge comedy for which we were all eternally grateful. Mooney even added a final touch of class to his performance by meeting and greeting every person who desired to purchase a DVD he had for sale.

I have found that at opportune moments such as this one, Floyd tended to shy away from opportunity. As expected, he stood up and turned for the exit. I had to halt his progress and walk him over to where Mooney was now standing selling his DVD’s and taking photos with his fans. As we approached Mooney, he burst into laughter at Floyd and jubilantly yelled,

“My Mississippi cousin!!!!!! What do you have on? Who in the hell let you come out of the house like that? Just kidding brother, you know that I had to give it to you.”

To my amazement, Floyd fell silent as a church mouse. I explained to Mr. Mooney that it was Floyd’s birthday and this was his first time ever seeing him perform. And that Floyd was the world’s biggest Richard Pryor and Paul Mooney fan.

Mooney, the classy gentleman that he is, responded,

“Well alright!!!! Now I know a Nigga that like two shit-talking pryorNiggas like me and Richard can speak. He ain’t mute is he?”

“Fuck nah, I ain’t no motherfucking mute. I got plenty to say, Nigga.”

Mooney laughed enthusiastically and told Floyd if he keeps talking like that he was going to have to take him on the road with him. Ultimately, Mooney took a gang of photos with Floyd, he even put Floyd’s Lavender suit coat on in a few of the photos as well as giving Floyd a DVD and the hat he had worn during his comedy routine, which he autographed for the overwhelmed Floyd.

The night was truly a special one, yet it was not over. I had planned on taking Floyd to a late dinner at FOGO DE CHÃO.

I have always believed that it is much better to give than to receive, this night solidified that belief. Floyd could not stop talking about either The Improv or Paul Mooney. My plan to ensure that he had a grand birthday was turning into an absolute success. Before long, we were turning off of Westheimer and into the parking lot of FOGO DE CHÃO.

After being seated, it took Floyd a while to understand how things worked inside of this venue. He had a difficult time comprehending that they would bring rolls of meat, any type of meat he desired, and cut it tableside for him.

Once Floyd got a hang of the way things worked, he behaved as if he were an old-pro at this. Apparently Floyd became so comfortable with his environs that he had an opportunity to return to his favored past time; aggravating yours truly.

“Now you cannot tell me that you didn’t enjoy Paul Mooney, even with him using the term Nigga so much. I am telling you that with all of the problems that our people have, we are spending way too much time focused upon that one word. It is kind of ridiculous when you really think about it. There are so many other things to worry about like: drug abuse, murder, poverty, teenage pregnancy, education, domestic violence, and the list can go on and on.”

I knew that I must immediately respond to Floyd’s opening statement.

“But Floyd can’t you see how so many of those other things flow from how we term and therefore envision ourselves?”

“Nigga please. Using as you and your people like to term it, the ‘N-Word’ ain’t got a damn thing to do with no domestic violence, high school dropouts, and poverty.”

I protested his charge that all of those things were most certainly linked together.

“Floyd, you do remember the piece that I wrote about this matter in African-American News & Issues, don’t you.”

Floyd admitted that he remembered the piece that follows,

MY NIGGA:

THE POWER OF WORDS ON THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN MIND

I don’t wanna be another nigga,
Waitin’ with my hands out,
Broke in the hood, they give a damn ’bout
Braggin’ to my homie bout the hoes I fucked
Drinkin’ bottles after bottles, plus I smoke too much.
I never had a job that would pay me well,
I took what I could cause they gave me hell…
 I barely go to church but I say I will,
I bow my head right before I eat my meal
The world’s fucked up and they claimin’ I’m to blame
It’s a damn shame cause
I don’t wanna be another nigga,

Big K.R.I.T.

One of my core beliefs is that “the power of life and death is in the tongue.” Put simply, watch what you say as those words are living projectiles that not only impact the world around me, but also go a great measure towards determining my future path. My parents and mentors repeatedly told me to watch my word choice, particularly when it came to cursing, because, ‘a little bit of bad will tear down a whole lot of good.’

We all realize that America holds its African-American citizenry to a different standard. Most unfair is the reality that the antics, of one African-American have the ability to malign the entire race. Despite their best attempts to deny it, African-Americans are inextricably linked together. One’s public persona, from dress to speech, reflects not only that individual, rather it is extended to cover one’s family and race; especially if that image carries any negativity. When African-American elders are commenting upon the pride they exhibited during earlier moments, they are recalling their posture, walk, diction, and physical appearance. One abhorred being caught ‘showing one’s color’, meaning damaging the African-American image, regardless of the extenuating circumstances.

The aforementioned realities are one of many reasons why YG’s hit single, “My Nigga”, is so disturbing; particularly its impact upon the image and psyche of African-American males. Although I find it particularly difficult to believe that there is anyone on the planet who has not heard this recording by now, in the event that there is such an individual, here are a sampling of the chorus.

My nigga, my nigga
My nigga, my nigga (My motherfuckin niggas!)
My nigga, my nigga (My nigga, my nigga)
My nigga, my nigga (My motherfuckin niggas!)
My nigga, my nigga (My motherfuckin niggas!)
My nigga, my nigga (My nigga, my nigga)
My nigga, my nigga (My motherfuckin niggas!)
My nigga, my nigga (My motherfuckin niggas!)
My nigga, my nigga (My nigga, my nigga)
My nigga, my nigga?

The word ‘nigga’ is repeated a shocking thirty-one times during one chorus. Black America’s soul should be troubled by not only the verbal flurry, but also the fact that it has entered the impressionable minds of droves of African-American youth.

As someone who has been addicted to rap music from the first time that I heard Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five’s ‘The Message‘, I thought that it may be time to address YG’s recording, not with a denunciation of it, that is not only easily accomplished, but also predictable, rather I have decided to offer an artistic alternative to a listening audience that desperately seeks close association with the “N-Word”. Unfortunately, many of these individuals believe that YG’s record, and similar recordings, epitomize what rap music is. So, please consider this a desperate attempt to fight the blaze of ignorance that YG, Rich Homie Quan, and Jeezy began and Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and Meek Mill fanned with their remix, with an alternative vision. Please click on the following links for an alternative understanding of the N-Wordnigga, and nigger from several generations of African-Americans.

Maybe the aforementioned rappers will trip upon this posting and learn something regarding the power of language and come to understand that their financial wealth is insufficient to hide their intellectual and moral poverty. I am certain that time will impress upon them that no amount of cash is capable of masking such poverty. One of their own, Jay-Z, a self-proclaimed rap God, once issued an admonishment that is particularly applicable here when he related, “you can pay for school, but you can’t buy class.” A lesson that I hope the entire hip-hop community learns before the power of their words leads to more incarceration, death, and destruction of their own.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture 2015.

 

“I refuse to believe that you cannot understand how the use of that word affects how our people, especially young children, male as well as female, see themselves. It frames their entire existence.”

“No! What frames their entire existence is the home they were raised in, the school that they go to, the church that they attend. That’s where I learned who I was.”

“And who are you?”

“A strong Black man who ain’t about to take no shit off of no white man or Nigga. That’s who Floyd is. Period. Point blank.”

“But what about for our children who were not raised in a loving home? Who attend an under-funded inner-city school? Who have never attended church or had a suitable male role model? What about them? Hunh?”

“Well they had better hope that God is still in the business of taking care of fools and babies. Because they sound like they are in for a rough life. However, that has absolutely nothing to do with the word Nigga. Think about it this way. Let’s say that I, Paul Mooney, and every other Nigga that you know stopped using the ‘N-Word’. It wouldn’t make a bit of a difference. We would still be as poor, uneducated, and jailed as before.

Man, I tell you, the more education some people get, the dumber they seem to get.”

I am certain that Floyd saw my eyes tighten, a sign that I was about to tear into his ignorant ass. However, before I could launch my salvo, Floyd cleared up his comment.

“Now don’t get all mad about what I said, hey, don’t take it personal. I wasn’t even talking about you, at least not directly. What I mean is this. Did you see in the paper where the NAACP had went out and bought a casket, opened it up, wrote the word Nigger on a single white piece of paper, placed it inside of the casket, closed it up and then had a funeral for the ‘N-Word’, burial and all. Now what kind of sense does that make? That’s what I am trying to say. Some people, regardless of their education are just plain stupid.”

“Now I do understand what you are saying Floyd. However, they are well meaning in trying to point us in a new direction where we do not demean each other and stop teaching our children to do such; for many of them, it is their initial lesson. When was the last time that you listened to a group of African-Americans talking and you didn’t hear the ‘N-Word’? And don’t you dare try and tell me that it is a term of endearment.”

Floyd looked across the table as if he were exasperated with this entire conversation and related the following,

“Well that is exactly what it is, at least when I use it. Now tell me honestly, do you think that I am being disrespectful toward you when I use the term? Honestly?”

“Nah, I don’t think that at all.”

“Yet, you still believe that this one little word, Nigga, holds the power to liberate our people? That’s foolishness. What will liberate us is collectivist economics, voting, and valuing education. If we mastered all of those things, then we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. But because the problem is so damn big, you and the rest of the Negropeans choose to pick on your own. Nah, quit being a coward and address the source of our misery and suffering. Go and talk to the white man and leave us little people alone.”

All I could think was that Floyd was correct in his logic, something that was in and of itself a bit startling, yet, I knew that I would never be comfortable with the use of the word Nigga in any context; or at least in public around mixed company.

“And another damn thing. Maybe, y’all should stop using it behind clothes doors if you want everyone else to pledge to abandon it.”

“Haha, I sense yet another victory for Floyd. On my birthday nonetheless.” 

I just stared at Floyd as he bathed in one of his most lopsided victories.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

Excerpt from the book ‘Foolish Floyd’: The Life and Times of an African-American Contrarian. Available at Amazon.com

FLOYD IS ARRESTED

I must relate that although I was not surprised by the call, I was a bit startled. I, a copy editor for a national-level African-American newspaper, was sitting at my desk in the midst of conducting research for a planned story focused on the Huey P. Newton Gun Club when my phone rang.

After picking up the receiver, an automated message came across, “You have a collect call from the Harris County Jail. It is…” after a slight pause, a familiar human voice came over the line and filled in the rest of the sentence, “Floyd”. The automated voice then asked, “Will you accept the call?”

Without a second thought, I stammered, “Yes, of course I will.” In moments, Floyd, an individual who had swiftly made the cavernous jumps from stranger to acquaintance to friend, began speaking in a cadence that was unlike any I had ever heard. Through a thick Southern-drawl that seemed to hold the linguistic peculiarities of Black southerners from several Southern states, Floyd hurriedly stated the following,

“Brother, I need some help. They got me down here at the county jail! And you know that Floyd don’t belong in nobody’s jail.”

I quickly interrupted what I feared would turn into one of Floyd’s indecipherable soliloquies that only he held the key to unlocking, “What is the charge?” I inquired.

To my shock, Floyd related that he was being charged with a ‘Hate Crime’.

My mind ran through every possible scenario it could conceive that would have led Floyd to be the perpetrator of a hate-crime. I came up with no plausible scenario. If nothing else, Floyd’s present predicament piqued my interest in a manner that few things ever did. However, before I could inquire about what happened, Floyd issued the most pressing and pertinent question facing him,

“Brother, will you come and bail me out? I don’t have anyone else that I can call.”

Without hesitation, I told Floyd that I was on my way…

It was not until his entire meal, including the Sweet Potato Pie dessert, was consumed that Floyd acknowledged my presence with a hearty sigh of “Well, Well, Well!!!!”

Floyd’s sigh immediately closed the cavernous separation between us and allowed him to sarcastically remark, “I know that you want to know why I was arrested.”

I nodded my head affirmatively, yet was unwilling to speak and risk Floyd retreating behind his self-imposed wall of silence. Fortunately, my patience appeared to be paying off as Floyd began sharing his story.

“Do you remember my lady friend, Cookie?”

I nodded my head affirmatively.

“Well she, like the sister who you wrote about in your paper that started Creative Gifts by Shawna decided to start a convenience store selling stuff that we all need. You know stuff like bread, soda, sandwiches, candy, chips, etc. Although this may be difficult for a man like you to understand, however, I do volunteer my services to worthy causes. As you well know, I’m retired so I have the majority of my days open.

Well to make a long story short, I went to work at Cookie’s Corner Store and things were fine at first, however, they eventually took a turn for the worse.”

I knew that there was most definitely more to the story, however, I knew not to push Floyd out of fear that he would clam up. I simply inquired,

A turn for the worse?

“Yeah, brother, things definitely took a turn for the worse. At first things were going really well. People were coming in to the shop, all of them white I might add, a few of them bought items and Cookie was really excited about the way things were going.

I went to retrieve some lunch and it was while I was on my way back to Cookie’s Corner Store that things definitely took a turn for the worse. As I turned to walk up the block where the store is located, I stopped to tell a bunch of Black people about the store and even told a few of them that the store was FUBU, meaning ‘created For Us, By Us’.

I will be absolutely honest with you, the real trouble began when I saw our people, walk past our shop, and go buy items that they could have gotten at Cookie’s Corner Store from an Arab store. The ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ was when I saw this fool that I had ‘previous dealings’ with walk into the Arab store with his ugly wife and come out with bags and bags of stuff.”

I knew by the rising tension in his voice that Floyd was on the verge of revealing how he wound up being arrested.

“So when this fool came walking down the block, with his ugly wife, I spoke on how stupid he was to go and give that Arab his money when we now had our own store. And that’s what happened!”

It was obvious to me Floyd was telling at best a half-truth, particularly offensive to me was that he knew, that I knew, that he was lying. I refused to remain silent for another moment and called Floyd on his omissions.

“Floyd, if that was all that happened, how were you arrested? When did the police arrive on the scene? Why did they charge you with a hate crime? You are most definitely not telling the entire story.”

“That is the entire story. The police arrested me because I ripped their bags away from them and then proceeded to break my foot off in both of their asses. Hell, I feel that I deserve an apology because I wasn’t doing anything other than educating that fool and his ugly wife. The ‘hate crime’ charge came because the police heard me call them stupid ass nigga’s for giving their money away to the Arab’s. Do you believe that someone had the nerve to call the police on ol’ Floyd?”

I had nothing to say other than, “The nerve of some people.”

“Now you can’t tell me that I was wrong on this one. They should have been spending their money at Cookie’s Corner Store instead of with them damn Arabs who won’t even hire their black asses, hell, they act like they don’t even want to take our money when we approach the counter.”

Although I understood Floyd’s position, I didn’t agree with his methods of ‘educating’ people regarding Black economics.

“Floyd, I don’t dispute what you are saying, however, you can’t go around attacking people because they decided to shop elsewhere. They have every right to spend their money with whomever they choose; we can only hope that they see the logic behind spending their money with Black businesses and circulating the dollar within their community.”

As with most things, Floyd’s view and analysis was well-intentioned yet unrefined. However, I had long ago realized that I would have to learn to deal with such matters if I wanted to keep Floyd as a friend. He was just, a little off and very set in his ways.

“Man, I’ll tell you what. Some of these niggas out here need to be educated on what they need to be doing. And trust me when I tell you this. Your, Mr. Nice Guy, talk it out approach will never, never, never get these fools to do right. Some of them need to have some ‘act right’ put into their lives. And that is just what I did for that fool and his ugly ass wife.”

I could do nothing other than shake my head at Floyd because he truly believed that he had not done anything wrong.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

Excerpt from ‘Foolish Floyd’: The Life and Times of an African-American Contrarian.

‘Foolish Floyd’: The Life and Times of an African-American Contrarian is available at Select Bookstores, Amazon, and on Kindle

‘Foolish’ Floyd: The Life and Times of an African-American Contrarian

Please allow me to introduce you to ‘Foolish’ Floyd.

Now I am certain that we all know someone like Floyd, a fifty-something year old Black man, you had better not dare Floyd that he BERT WILLIAMS 1is an African-American, that that has ALL of the answers to Black America’s problems. Floyd’s biggest problem is that, and these are his words, we are just to darn stupid to listen to wise counsel. To hear Floyd tell it, we are just too darn comfortable living with oppression and since we have never done better, we most certainly do not know any better.

Floyd’s Words of Wisdom

  •  I’m Black!!!! Ain’t never been to no damn Africa! And neither have you. 
  • Let’s say that I do go and tell the police who did it. Hell, everyone in the 5th-Ward knows who did it; that ain’t no big secret…The next thing you know, Ol’ Floyd is going to be down at the police station picking these bastards out of a line-up, then I have to go to court and testify against them in public. The entire time, I am living next door to their people. No sir, I will pass on getting my head blown off. Let someone else pay the hero, I would rather be alive.
  • And I’ll tell you another thing, the entire time that I was on that Bert Williams 2campus, all I witnessed was a bunch of Black people dancing around in a circle, skipping classes, and don’t get me to talking about the fact that I didn’t see anyone, and I do mean anyone, carrying nary a book. Hell,I began to think that they had lied to me and instead of being at a place of higher-learning, I was actually at a filming of Soul Train. Shit, I was waiting on Don Cornelius to show up.
  • Why is it that everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, has to deal with race? If we simply stopped focusing so much on race and racism, it would simply go away. Would it not?
  • You’re doggone right I was praying for one of those Metro officers to
    get on the train. Hell, I would have been ecstatic if an entire platoon jumped on the train. The car that I got on was most certainly filled beyond maximum capacity with what appeared to be nothing but niggas. And yes, I am intentionally using that term, they weren’t Black, they were pure-bred niggas straight from the ghetto.Jim Crow
  • I have two good reasons that I don’t shop at the Black store. Reasons that I wished that I could have shared with those Revolutionary niggas before they attacked me for shopping at the Arab store. Number one, I am on a fixed income and the Arab store is much less expensive. Number two, I know that fool who owns the Black convenience store, he owns a gang of them, and he is most definitely not re-investing his money back into the community, he is putting it into his damn pocket as he heads to his plush pad in River Oaks;over there with the white folks.

‘Foolish’ Floyd: The Life & Times of an African-American Contrarian

Available for Purchase Now!!!!!!!!

Available at Amazon.com and wherever Black Books are sold. If your local bookstore does not carry ‘Foolish’ Floyd, please request it.

Introducing Foolish Floyd

 

AND IT IS DONE!!!!!!!

I am proud to relate, as I previously stated in a posting last week, that I have been busy working on a few other projects, and through prayer, perseverance, and patience I have finally reached the finish line and published 5 Manuscripts in a single day; I tend to work on several projects simultaneously.

If you enjoy the writings found here on Manhood,  Race and Culture, please consider supporting me by purchasing some, if not all, of my writings. They can all be purchased off Amazon.com.

Please support independent scholars and sites such as Manhood, Race and Culture.

Obruni

 

O’Bruni: An African-American Odyssey Home?

This work follows my travels through Ghana in search of a connection to my ‘ancestral homeland’.

 

Manhood Race and Culture Volume 1

Manhood, Race and Culture (Volume I) Is a compilation of all the writings that were produced on this site during its initial year of existence.

 

 

 

Manhood Race and Culture Volume 2

 

Manhood, Race and Culture (Volume II) is a compilation of all of the writings found on this blog site during its second year of existence.

 

 

FOOLISH FLOYD

‘Foolish’ Floyd: The Life and Times of an African-American Contrarian

This work follows the trials and tribulations of the ultimate contrarian, ‘Foolish’ Floyd as he seeks to navigate his way through life and solve the politico, economic, and cultural issues facing the Black community.

 

Creating Revolution as they Advance: A Narrative History of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense is a timely study of The Vanguard organization of the Black Power Era and the American Protest Scene. Considering that people are still evoking the memory of the ‘Panthers’ this work delves into who these courageous young people actually were and the myriad forces, both inside and outside, that worked to destroy not only the organization, but also the membership. This was a most personal fight for those who opposed the liberation of America’s poor.

CREATING REVOLUTION AS THEY ADVANCE