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



A Better Narrative

Truth about me. I’ve never been a person with an agenda. Never had a great scheme or ultimate plot for my life. I like to play RPGs, strategy games, SimCity, and chess. I use those innate skills to fashion the most random life storyboard, mainly because I was challenged by an old friend to change my stars.
The old “Aladdin” theory;
the question, can I class jump?
The answer; well, maybe.
As I get closer to solving this riddle, I realized after my last trip to Miami that I have to weave a tighter narrative for my life and my direction. I have all the pieces. I know some moves. So for the month of June before the 3rd QTR; I’ll be working on pulling together what I like, where I am, and what I’m good at.
My name is Lawrence Gonzalez. I am an auditor at the Department of Treasury with oversight of over $5-7 Billion, who aspires to educate people on how to earn real wealth. I write for a financial blog. I give back to my community by helping to develop a professional appeal through photography and financial literacy. I aim to prove that I can change my stars while helping those who are willing, change their stars.
That’s the mantra that I have to remember.AiUqoCc.jpg 
What’s your mantra?

Amnesia and Everything that can make you forget…

I once contemplated suicide.

I gave it the faintest moment,

which seemed to go on for an eternity.

It was cold, rainy, and I was tired.

Dealing with the feeling of abandonment, hunger, and poverty;

(Free Lunch program can only cover so much nutrition if any)

I figured why not?


Why not just end this?

Let the darkest take hold;

and damn near give up.


Why keep up with this game.

This charade.

All the while thinking why am I here?

Where is justice, where is equality of means…


We all know how it ends.


I’m not hero. I don’t make it.

I didn’t see pass a week.

There were kids making plans for their futures.

Buzzing around me, talking about what they would do.

There were kids at parties.

Hanging out with other kids,

whose issues ranged from Mom and Dad coming home late.

Kids with families, that asked them,

“Son, what do you want to do…”


All I could think of is, “F!@#$, I didn’t have that.”

and the faint echo of my aunt, telling me to watch my language,

as her work load beat her over and over again.


I didn’t have the question. I didn’t have the voices.

I wished I could have created them.

I wished that I could separate myself for them.


Maybe have a few personalities;

one who was the responsible one,

the other the child,

and another the cool one.

I just needed advice.


I wished I could split….

But I don’t think that’s how it works.

I wished on a lot of things that didn’t come true.

I was just wishing on cold days, rainy nights,

and taxable shifts at McDonald’s since this was my life.


So I contemplated on ending it.

Maybe a sharp knife.

Even heard of people who slit their wrist.

Or free falling, because that would be easiest but I lived in Miami.

Maybe I was too catholic, maybe I was too busy, too stressed…

too everything.


So like all things…

The rain stopped. Stillness came.

Silence came.

The moment passed.


I might have been spared by the Guardian Angel

who spent most of my childhood;

Keeping me upbeat,

keeping me thinking,

keeping me hopeful…

So that day I contemplated suicide.

With the last name of the man, who never wanted me.


If that moment lasted way more than it should have,

I would of ended up missing out on becoming a Marine,

I would have missed out on learning how to dance,

I would have missed out my first girlfriend,

I would have missed all the travel that I got to do,

I would have missed all the opportunities that laid in front of me.


So when the day comes and it all goes dark with rain and thunderstorms,

Just know you will end up farther than you image,

You will end up being greater than the sum of your situation,

And most importantly you will end up inspiring loads of people,

people just like you;


People who contemplated suicide, the day before they meet you…


Notes: After my latest Miami mentoring and volunteering run; one kid came to me and asked how he could make a difference. I told him a simple way (* make a vid and post it); he said it was impossible.  I tried to convince him for another 15-20 min. I ran out of time and I couldn’t undo years of self-doubts with minutes of positive affirmation. So this piece is for the kid who gave up, never having to try.

Death and the Critic

No one ever tell you about these stories,

for most, they end on a happy note,

pat yourself on the shoulder,

hugs and kisses, the end.


its a wrap.


Like the end of a slide, you can see it, you had fun, but there aren’t any do overs.

no cut back no bonus footage post credits, no sequel planned.

just a solid movie.


I suppose the director yells “cut!!!”,

end scene,

more hugs and kisses,

champagne bottles and sail.

However its not the end,

there are acts and scenes yet to be edited,

reviews, and than only when the credits rolls can you finally say its over.


So here I am a critic,

in a hospital room, the stench of death lingers around.

I miss the happy ending,

I miss the lie,

the uptempo song that had just nothing to do with the plot,


so Fuck the guy, that says its half full,

I know its half empty and I’ve already drunk my fill so keep the cup.

optimism is the weak. hopefulness is for the delusional.


I’d even take a Morgan freeman speech,

or even get me the guy that played Mufasa.

but no one tells you the truth


It smells.

the decay of life happening right before your eyes,

as bacteria begin to contemplate where to begin,

the stories and chapter unravel and the conclusion, just as lifeless.


Pull the plug, there isn’t much fight left in this dog,

no more left to give, no more strength just weakness and vulnerability.

The curtain drop, and Death makes us all infants again.

It makes us voiceless, thoughtless, and renders us empty once more.


I’d pull the plug only to stop this endless beeping,

the slow decent in pressure,

the lapse in time in recovery,

and each pieces of the final paragraph of words never spoken.


I guess this is the part that they never tell us,

cause its never pretty, there aren’t any smiles,

remorse and resentment, hate, sadness, loss,

there isn’t time left on the script for a recovery,

let alone words that were never spoken,

there is only death,

where one fines themselves lifeless.

no money, no fan fare…


In the end, just a humbling experience where one’s past unravels to one future,

and in turn breathes life to a new.

Some where someone just died,

Some where someone just breathed for the very first time.




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.

There is more at work in …

There is more at work in the world than hate.

I sometimes hear about the idea of WHITE GUILT, that if you are Caucasian — and you give because you feel guilty about what you have vs someone else thousands of miles away. While there are many who do things for tax breaks and etc, I’m happy to have lived long enough to real see people, hear of their stories, and come to understand; There are Good People in the world. who cares for others anywhere.

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!!!