Respectable Thoughts

Respectability politics or the politics of respectability refers to attempts by marginalized groups to police their own members and show their social values as being continuous, and compatible, with mainstream values rather than challenging the mainstream for its failure to accept difference.

The concept was first articulated by Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham in her book Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880–1920. In the context of black American history, respectability politics was practiced as a way of attempting to consciously set aside and undermine cultural and moral practices thought to be disrespected by wider society, especially in the context of the family and good manners.

The development of African-American politics of responsibility has been traced to writers and activists including W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, and has been used as a way of understanding the election and political trajectory of Barack Obama. President Obama has also been criticized for his use of respectability politics during his presidency, as when he brought up issues of black criminality during his speech following the November 24 grand jury decision regarding the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. One of the most open proponents of respectability politics is former-NBA player Charles Barkley.

——> Dictionary Definition (Game)

Respect, self-re·spect

  1. pride and confidence in oneself; a feeling that one is behaving with honor and dignity. Synonyms;



    amour propre (rightful love of self);

    faith in oneself;

    pride –  a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired (fulfillment);

    dignity – the state or quality of being worthy of honor, a composed or serious manner or style, impressive stateliness;

    morale –  the confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline of a person or group at a particular time;


    —-> What I think (thus my opinion)


Respectability politics is a catch phrase for the now. It’s cool to say and cool to dislike but this is the foundation that our grandparents raised us on. The same foundation that used to breed a sense of courage, confidence, and pride in our community.

The ironic part is that those of us that benefited the greatest from going to school, respecting authority, earning a job, and live day to day – some with families, tell the others that it’s not important even though they yield daily rewards from being decent human beings.

Respect isn’t about pleasing someone else. (that’s not in the definition) 

It’s not about hanging your head low. If you read the definitions; it’s about self esteem, confidence, dignity, morale, fulfillment, and etc…

Having respect for someone else doesn’t guarantee that they will respect you. (that’s not in the definition).

Having respect for someone else doesn’t mean that they won’t kill you. (that’s not in the definition)

Having respect is something that is of you, for you, and your how to. It’s all out how you coexist in the world.

Getting well dressed, open doors for you. It really helps your appeal with the opposite sex. It garners respect but it isn’t part of the definition of respect.

Getting educated builds confidence. It helps you. It breathes new words into life.

Speaking proper English and switching to slang is OK. Other groups do it too. We are all trying to be clear and understood. It’s OK to code switch, if it can help you communicate your message.

Respecting authority is OK. What if they don’t respect you; go ahead and re-read my thoughts. I respect everyone that comes in contact with me, even when they disrespect me. I do have my tolerance level but i’m not 0 to 100 with everyone.

I choose to carry myself with honor until truly called upon.  So I ain’t fighting anyone, you have to be right kind of special and the odds have to be in your favor. I stood up against 1 vs 3. I stood up at gun point. 

I stand up because I learned to respect myself and when push comes to shove, I’d be ready. Push comes to shove, I never run from a fight.

If respectability politics = being confident in my abilities, well groomed, determined, convicted in the commandments, rational, strategic, community growth oriented; well, I’m in great company. The President is a great role model. It’s all a choice. I choose to have a career where I don’t care to express myself in my hair (it is just hair to me). I choose to respect everyone, even those that hate me. It’s a choice; a choice that doesn’t guarantee that someone (black/white/hispanic/other) wont’ kill me.

Fellas don’t let these ladies fool you; in the end, they all want a man with a job, dresses well (in context) and carry themselves with confidence. 


U.S. President Obama listens to remarks during event held to honor members of U.S. teams and delegations from the Sochi Olympics  and Paralympics at the White House in Washington

U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS SPORT OLYMPICS)



“To see 4 of the best basketball players in the world dressed impeccably and speaking up plainly and eloquently on an issue means volumes. Image matters. Growing up an impressionable sports fan like any young male, you want to emulate these guys. I like that they also broadened the platform to speak on gun violence in our own communities. Critical. ‪#‎espys‬” – Daniel Nicolas, Community Leader, Mentor and young Professional



10 yrs later

10 yrs later (need to work on it later)

…from 2 foot nothing, now she’s 5 foot 2
and she swears she’s calling the shots,
I find myself reminiscing about the only changes she ever wanted
was her diapers not her clothes,
not the makeup or the shoes,
the only lift she ever wanted was right into my arms,
to complain about barbies,
tired of walking and conveniently take a nap…

she stops now for a quick cheek kisses,
followed by the hand gesture now all too familiar…
horizontal right hand forward and palm to the sky.

For my credit card, she may as well have pointed her index,
cock back the hammer and demanded it.
for the keys, she may as well stolen my heartbeat,
as tonight threatens to be
a stay up all night kinda worried night
that i’d spend acting like i’m working but really just worrying.
(right about now, I regret not implanting the homing device —
easy GPS SaT finder but Noooo!!! I caved in to the over protective nagging wife speeches)

Back then, she only wanted my keys cuz it was shiny,
made a bit too much noise, and she could throw it in hopes that i would retrieve it,
and then would throw it some more.

as we fade through time,
she would grab the keys and impatiently wait for me to get ready
and for us to roll out…


the keys are merely a means to an ends as she anticipate driving off for a movie night,
but who’s she kidding,
the only movie tonight is deathly romantic and stars her and that boy,
(and I’m not being paranoid about her having sex, and but God forbid that she would)
I just know that she is at that age that she probably could,
so to prevent my own hypertension, I’d try not to stress it…

and finally snap out of it,
catches her by door,
call her by her full name,
as the person that steps back in, reminds me of that 2 foot nothing baby girl…

with her sarcastic, “yeah!!!”
I spare her the speech and pull out the handkerchief…

With one wipe, I’d reduce her eyeliner,
“Sorry i can’t protect you from everything, and wipe away every tear. I do this so the world can see your determined vision”
with the second wipe, I’d tone down the cheek blush,
“I do this to reduce the layer that blocks your natural radiance when you smile”
with the third wipe, I’d reduce the lip gloss…
“honestly, I wipe away the make up for the world to see how beautiful you are,
and for me, cause who you are, is who I’ve always loved from day 1
and that girl, will always be number 1 to me”

I figure that day would come
that’s why it pays to keep Hakim on the security payroll.
Hey…. Its worth a shot!!!

Black on Black by Lawrence Gonzalez


“… Because engraved in your heart are the memories,
of someone you never really known,
someone that can’t be replaced”


Black on Black

[She packs his bags
as she cries from the distance that time creates]

“This time is the last time”, she wonders
As he headed out.
Just indirect words,
So he rushes to put his shoes on with no laces.
Grapples away from his own shirt,

the person that she couldn't be

a mile in his shoes

She cannot hold him in her arms anymore,
She must have understood by now, that she wasn’t to be.
Wasn’t able to provide that of which she couldn’t be
And wrestled with the idea that she wasn’t enough.
And maybe she was selfish,
But this … wasn’t enough
wasn’t as she envisioned her storybook
so she guilt her heart.
As he rushes away.

Passed the bedroom
He chased the hope that he could keep up with reality.
He stumbles, trips over his own shoes,
Hands out.
— Only to break his fall.

He stood,
Alerted to the instant reaction that followed
And composes his emotional will.
“No tears”. he thought even if the shock never sets in,
No man ever cries from a fall,
No matter how hard, he ponders as he tilts up…

He now stands far enough to see his face.
Waits for approval, so he reaches,
Extending both arms.

This was the only sure way to see his face,
The only way to bring him closer…
that even if he was gone for one minute,
He would miss him…

Engraved in his heart are memories of someone he couldn’t replace,
The face of the man he always knew…

The pen-inked strange marking on his neck were still there,
His eyes were still there…
Set down, he would follow his shadow in awe and admiration,
As each stride grew longer, he would rush to follow…
If he closes his eyes he could here the petter patter of his steps,
Some smooth, others more deliberate,
If he’d cover his ears, he would still make out the syllables,
Even if it was just
“Sup lil’ man”
And he didn’t have to understand it,
But with a smile he would mimic what he knew as love.

No alphabet of degrees really mattered,
No PhD, No Master, no AA, no BS,
Just the reality that he could create clouds with a puff,
Inhales as his hands flickered embers that never hit the ground.

“He could make metal animals stop with red lights,
carried things two times his own weight”

on the shoulders of a giant. Ladies do the world a favor and pick the dude that is going to be a father, not absentee and you will start changing the world.

BLACK on black clothes with a smell that was unmistakable.

That he would wish every day would be just like today,
That he would tried to outrun, that he would catch him by the waist and shake him…
Throw him in the air and catch him…

And he knew just what to do at every moment,
Never grew tired, never cried,
And that every five days, he could see him again,
And every day would be just like this….

He would wish that everyday,
That he would stay,
Wake up and see his face again with her…
And that everyday would be just like today but better.

written by inspiration. Every time i pass by he walks with his son, a goon in black on black. Could of been anyone but he chose to be a father. That maybe one day, his son would grow to appreciate the man he was. Not a lot of cash but a lot of heart. For guys like me who grow up without one, maybe that’s how it would of felt to have a father.

Black Woman

She cries with no tears but turns to anger.

I can see it in the way she walks,
more deliberate less carefree.

She is lost to me,
selfish in her whims,
but I can see when she cries with no tears.

I can tell when she’s alone,
unable to share significant moments with her significant other,
sometimes she feels abandoned by love,
she is unresponsive,
even numb.

Drowning herself in her own labor.

She tries to smile,
set off like a time bomb on issues, and in the end, she cries in her anger, she lashes out with her words, she struggles with her own insecurities,
all because she feels so vulnerable.

I don’t pity her,
And don’t presumptuously call my self a good guy,
nor her hero but as a decent guy;
I can’t ignore that

She needs a hug,

long enough so she can’t and at the same time, can let go,
long enough so she can hold on to me,
long enough so she can know that strength of character still exist.
long enough so she can feel that she fits in this world,
that her purpose is fulfilled.

*Stuck in the gray, Good guys and even decent guys wrestle with the thought of loving a woman who fancies herself to be tough enough to take on the world. We all need love. We don’t live when we are numb.

Net’worth vs Network

I don’t like to hear the term, “NETWORKING”. It implies that we are only meeting people for a sole purpose. I rather get to know people, and have them get to know me in turn. Its more fun and natural that way. For those that might think I’m talking to them to network, rest assured that it’s the very least of my priorities. I like to get to know good people.
Race to the Top

“Whatever it takes”: A Caribbean Nubian Waves Article by Lawrence Gonzalez

Whatever It Takes… written in association with Melissa Phillips, Miss CSA 2008-2009, inspired by her performance at the Florida Caribbean Student Association 2008 Pageant held in the FSU Ballrooms and my loving aunt who filled in as my mother on several occasions.


If I told you who she was, you wouldn’t believe me. If I told you what she did, you wouldn’t begin to understand. It’s late when she gets home, and early when she leaves. Legs weary, swollen from the pain, time couldn’t recognize how she got there and truth be told, her legs have seen more miles than you could ever put on your car. In her job, there aren’t any days off. There are no sick days, no off switch, no benefits package, and no vacation. The only time she breaks, if she did break, was on her death bed.

Built tough from the torrid heat, she is the Caribbean. She is the breeze that tourist flock to feel on their pale faces. She is the sandy beach that caresses them with love, and she is that hurricane that ravages the flesh. She has different faces, among them, the peasant vendor.

Unknown Caribbean woman… 100 miles from and 100 more to…, she is the reason that you smile every day.

In a country where work is scarce, food is limited, she makes due. She rotates through numerous hats. Instead of complaining about the lack thereof, she nourishes her children with the milk from her breast, uncertain what the next day would bring. She is a farmer tending to her crop as soon as dawn breaks. She reaps the harvest, grows the livestock, only to walk over 100 miles to sell at the market. Competing against her sisters, she doesn’t want much, only to live another day and a long journey home. Once there, she resumes her second job, nurturing the children, teaching, and disciplining. They call her illiterate, but by no means incapable. Whatever it takes, she provides and by whatever means she lives on.

Painting of rural Caribbean women, the correction to a failed economy, the original birth control, the spirit of revolutions.

Lifted from the earth, she is pristine, clean and motivated to succeed. She lives the struggle and realizes the opportunity. In her prime, she was sought after by all the guys. Her irresistible smile eroded to her sorrow. She is the traveler.

In a time when hope was abundant, she made the ultimate sacrifice to leave home. She became the working mom, overly consumed, she has no friends. It isn’t like she doesn’t want them, she just doesn’t have the time to keep them, the only people close to her are her family. She is for the most part alone and tired.A stranger in her own home, task with supporting her home abroad. “Their idea of America is somewhat an illusion of instant riches, in trade for hard work, when the truth is that no matter how hard a person works, economic success is anything but immediate.” She is judge, jury and executioner. She played mom and dad. Her spouse is just someone to fill the quota, absent would be an understatement. She perseveres because if anything she is faithful, hopeful, and patient. She is the model citizen and the definition of a single parent. She does what she needs to.

the unknown Caribbean mom She is beautiful, not in the conventional way… she birthed of a generation, the least we can do is thank her for it.

Upon coming into woman’ hood, she knows that she is different. She eats, walks, dances, and even moves differently. She speaks with an accent that her home won’t accept as the truth, and the truth won’t accept as her own. She is an aspiring student.

She renounced her ancestors just to fit in. Because it was easy, she found her way by ridiculing her siblings. She embraced her flag only when it was cool. When she spoke, it was a fire that ran down her mother’s back. “Yeah, they’re fresh off the boat”, she’d say. In a way, she felt like an elitist, but failed to see that all her strength came from those same boats who came before her. Stilettos were her foundation, extensions were the curtains that she hid behind, and her clothes were kept up to date to attract the boys not the real men. She lost sight of family and sung to proclaim her independence, instead of progressing, she got LOW LOW LOW.

She wasn’t alone, cause she had a sister. Not following in her footsteps, the sister paved her own way. She made her culture, her own. She found ways to display its beauty, speak of its fury, and nourished her new family. Her sister sought ways to defeat all the stigmas that fell before her. She realized that she was CARIBBEAN and been Caribbean wasn’t bad. She utilized the diversity in knowing multiple languages. In her prime, she realized that she was the foundation of a new republic and remembered that when the time came, she could be the difference that millions of slaves, peasants, and aspiring women sacrificed to be. She was the pearl of the Antilles and even through the generation, she never forgot… She was past – present – and future. She was my mother, my sister, my daughter, my friend, and she was my grandmother, who rest in peace.

Picture of CSA the future, Florida state University’s own Caribbean student Association part of the broad and ever growing Black Student Union family.


Thank you for unshackling a nation.