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



What we give and what we get…

…I already knew.

Like some sort of cosmic joke,

Another story on repeat,

A hallmark of love…

I already knew.


It has gotten to the point where I’m not mad at it;

It’s just that I didn’t peg you as typical…


You love him,

But for the life of me,

I can’t understand WHY.

He treats you to a meal filled with heart aches and disappointments,

He treats you to desserts of sweet & sour overdoses

of sugar and self-doubt;


He poisons your innocence,

Squanders your love,

Toys with your lust.

I can’t, for the life of me,

Understand why.


We aren’t owed the answer,

You ask and he doesn’t reply…

I ask and you don’t reply…


So you love him,

Even more than before;

To the point, that you have personal conversations with his ghosts.

You relive glimpses of happiness to keep the reality of pain away…


So you love him.

Give him your patience,

Adorn him in your forgiveness,

Honor him with a second, third, and fourth chance in a series of

Seconds, thirds, and fourth chances,


So you love him.

I’m not even mad. I’m not even envious.

I just find it funny that he takes and you give.


He takes and you give,

And when it’s over; he destroys only to create a new him in you.


But you love him,

So much that it hurts you,

Corrodes your dreams,

Tarnishes your joy,

Leaves you broken and afraid…


As for me, I give you…

But you only take…

From me.


When it’s over with him;

Because it always end,

You give me a shell of yourself.


You aren’t patient,

You aren’t forgiving,

You aren’t even you anymore.


It’s cosmic and funny.

I only wanted for you,

What I wanted for me…

Love …



Tell me something…

Tell me something that I already don’t know.


Story Teller

I was never that great of a story teller but I always wanted to be.

I watched my grandpa tell stories to my family. They were always at the edge of their seat, fixated on the story but then again it was simpler times. One could easily say that a black out is a bad thing but honestly, a black out was a great thing. My aunt could still cook a mean dark all natural hot cocoa from scratch on a gas stove, and the bread was already purchased and made fresh. Looking for matches were hit or miss but we always found them. And your eyes, they were forced to open and allow darkness to consume and illuminate. And someone always cried, I don’t recall if It was me but looking at my little cousins now I can only imagine that I did too, at least as a toddler. Walking up in heat and in darkness, would be disorienting.

Lack of electricity forced our diet to stay less preserved and more day to day that way. It was always more textures that way, more diverse, and each ingredient was always distinct. You could taste the flavor of each thing and you learned to separate the stuff you didn’t like. Writing that drew a smile on my face, memories of empty moments when no one was paying attention and you could run to the trash. I was notoriously tossing out beans. I’d count them, for the life of me couldn’t remember why. My little cousins, especially India and Franceleslia lived like princesses and forced us to wait for them to never finish their food. Way to go, teamwork moment which never worked out. Kim, that girl was fast asleep no matter the circumstance. No matter the day, the candles flickered as the wax ran down.

Serge and Shameeqka, those two always sat with the grownups playing dominoes. I didn’t get the game back then, well not enough to count what was missing or to cunningly set people up. The candlelight would flicker and the D cells came in handy for the radio or at least until the stars stole my attention. I never thought I should be up there. I’ve never seen an astronaut  nor did I care to be one, however I did learned about its infinity and the idea that we are one among so many. We could never be alone, unless we choose to be.

So you see, a black out was a bad thing to some but I guess if you valued all night parties, I could see that it could suck but if you valued quality time, then it was nothing more than one of the best opportunities to remember that my family were people who sat at the edge of their seats, eager to learn, eager to listen and eager to remember that these were simpler days. And maybe, I might have remembered a thing or two about storytelling, learned to eat my meals slowly, found my way out of the darkness, and even saw the infinite possibilities of worlds never travel but always visited. So I listen closely, eyes heavy, as proud as ever to words left unsaid in a quiet night under the arms of one of my aunts wondering if I’d remember any word or maybe that I would just remember him as a man.



The Old Storyteller.

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.

Willingness to be Better Men

If you want to see change in your community; I would start by asking YOU to be better MEN. Stand for what you believe in, lose friends for it, and be ready to die for it. Change is about WILLINGNESS.