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



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.

3 shots and a Funeral

“It could be 0 or 100, my brothers are always with me… even in the darkest hour, even if its just one, My brothers are forever with me.”

The Funeral

-Day of-
… only described as a momentary stillness. If you listen closely you can hear the recoil, the slight tug of the gas chamber as it pushes back against the butt stock, nestled snug on your shoulder, braced only by the tension of your arm…
it goes…
-1 Day Prior-


2 PM on a Friday, this is going to be a clear weekend, no time schedule, no real motivation to do homework, and maybe the HCC Kompa party at midnight, and the phone rings… its kinda like that mission impossible moment, minus the cool eery voice on the other line, minus the lengthy dialogue, minus the theme song. its a mission, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy figuring out what Bullshit task, that the blood sucking bitch known as the Corps had in store for me…
but it hits, short handed and more volunteered for the task then asked, I was drafted for the impossible, the Funeral aka the F-Bomb… Far as I understood it, from the mere mention of the word, someone would ring us up, and in hours we’d had to have wheels rolling.
Yeah you seen it on TV, in the movies, and just about every memorial day on repeat, but this was real. Only two questions to solidify, “Lance Corporal Gonzalez, Do you have your dress blues?”, “Are they ready to go?”
Its $500.00 out of my own hard earned money so yes, I got my pair, Navy blue trousers, White Cap, Black Blazer, Red insignia, some shiny stuff and Michael Jackson gloves, yep I got them.
Nuff said, come in at 1000 hours kick off at 1200 hours be there 30 minutes prior (which meant 30 minutes prior to that just for spite). with that the phone hung up and my weekend went from easy to scramble. Got to Run beg for the express more expensive dry cleaning… Next the Haircut rushed so you might as well cancel the party as well, and that cute date, well she’ll be just that just another cute face for some lucky someone… what suck is that Heroes don’t have the time to chit chat. We only save damsels anything else requires too much of too little of our time.
-Day of-
0900 hours — looks like a race to see who can get the doors open first, half unhappily alive, at this point we’re just happy to be home, living in the land of acronyms, running in with my PTs to my HTC in hopes that my 1st Sergeant, doesn’t catch me without my shaving reg. (and yeah I was in it for 7 yrs and it still makes no sense, most of the time)
Three new guys, fresh rookies and Staff SGT Faulk appears: you couldn’t have ask for a more stressful and intense teacher. His ideal of relaxing in a pool in 16 ft, with no swim experience, was to yell at you and tell you how NOT calm you are. screaming anything from you suck!!, you are a waste!!!, you might as well drown!!!, and any demoralizing statement to show how proud he was of you. (yep that’s how we show love)
Lined up he inspects us, passed the uniformed he sees it, doubt, uncertainty, and bewilderment (obvious there has to be someone more qualified).
“What we have here is simple, I’ll teach you for ten minutes, you will learning in 15 min, you will practice for 5 min and we will be on the road in the next 15 following”
Marine Corps Problem solving 101, never state the obvious,  of course you didn’t know, but you would learned, of course you were not prepared but even if its one or 100, you will never let down your brothers even the one that lays buried on this day. You are not allowed failure. So we learned, master in minutes the impossible and we stop, final words,
“they will all be watching you, READY…. STEP There aren’t any do overs, READY…. FACE!!! you only get one crack at it” READY…. SHOOT!!!
Three guys and three shots, fires off right about 45 degrees right outside the church doors, its what we call all money, paying the ultimate respect to the family of the fallen, a brother we never really knew… intense, the crowd braced for the presentation as the trumpet sounds… in the church, its awe and pin drops, this is something you will rarely see twice… so don’t blink, you might want to catch this… each movement has to be precise, and each in unison with your two brothers. first move, breathe…
… only described as a momentary stillness. If you listen closely you can hear the recoil, the slight tug of the gas chamber as it pushes back against the butt stock, nestled snug on your shoulder, braced only by the tension of your arm…
it goes…
Three shots in near perfect unison, echoes in the pulpit and there, its as if it pierces her heart, she cries, tears braced only by the honor paid in tribute of her son. this first shot was to let Heaven know that a friend was coming.
My hand slipped missed racking the bullet, but mimicked the motion and as a shell ejects yet again, she grips as her heart, tugging on what’s left of her soul, one of the most powerful scenes you can ever experience. ** He refuses to leave her.
and there… Perfection, three shots which sound like one, cues Staff SGT Davis entrance, as he marches and kneels before her. In presentation of the flag, our final honor to the fallen, a brother, a father, a son, a friend, a Marine… Holds what’s left of her composure, as the spirit leaves church, hugs his brothers as his memories go back to that faithful night in Parris Island.
RIP Forever even if its one or 100… My Brother Forever.


Blockbuster or Straight to DVD

“Action!!” Somewhere down the road, we ended up playing characters that we didn’t want. The deadbeat, the baby mama, the bitter, the depressed, the selfish, the broke, the divorced, the sexually confused. I wonder what kinda character, will we end up being when the director calls “Cut!!” while the scene breaks to silence and the credits roll. Was this a movie worth seeing. #Netflix

“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.


Black Folks don’t Camp Out

I know it not politically correct to say it
but its true none the less,
black folks don’t camp out,
we don’t pitch tents, we don’t rock climb,
and no we don’t take long walks with the mountain lions.

so NO
Black folks don’t camp…

Maybe its because we blend into seemingly into darkness
that you won’t find us playing ultimate Frisbee, past 5 PM,
if you find us playing ultimate frisbee at all.
(kinda makes you wonder what the hell is ultimate about throwing Frisbees)

We hold no specific facination with nature,
we respect its awesomeness and stay far away from the mosquitoes.
Most black folk would rather curl up to a book, a tv,
or to a significant other way before we embrace a tent,
so we don’t camp,

closest we ever been to understanding it, was “Salute your shorts” on Nickelodeon
so take your weekend adventure else where,
take your solitude, and your peace of mind else where…

honestly half my life was already impoverished enough that i don’t have to do it part time,
I don’t want to go without cause the little I do have I consider great,
and i refuse to let go.
the little money i do have is to pay the bill on my apt and since I’m already pro rated;
why would I sleep outside.

Truth is, growing up, your three square meals was just about any meal I could get my hands on,
while some count calories, I would intake enough so at least i’m psychological full when i starve,
and while you play in the absence of light,
living in Port-Au-Prince was like living in perpetual black out.
so no light its easy for me,

People don’t camp because they have to,
they camp because they want to,
and right now some people camp because they need to.
In this world,
Black folks starve, dream, live and die.
They pitch tents, preserve homes, rebuilt hopes, and remember.
in this world,
I stand corrected because there are those just like me
who make the uncomfortable their home,
in this world,
There are Black folks who do camp out …. of necessity.


try this save about $20, buy yourself a tent and sleep outside for just one day, that’s how your people are and have been living like for 3 months.