21. The Weight of being a “Hybrid” Negro

Posted: May 19, 2009 in Black Pride, Culture, Race
Tags: , , , ,
Tony, wife Tammy with Dr. Cornell West - Brilliant minds converge

Tony, wife Tammy with Dr. Cornell West - Brilliant minds converge

Those who have been following this blog know that I am a sucker for thought-provoking discourse; especially if the topic is Black people.  To be able to skillfully and tactfully articulate the dynamic perplexities of Black pride places one amongst the ranks of the intelligentsia (an intellectual elite of society).

FathersFootprints will from time-to-time feature the work and expressions of guest writers.  My best friend Tony Fleming recently articulated and penned a little something that I feel we all have pondered at some time or another.  I hope you find this as enjoyable and thought-provoking as I did…..

Hybrid [hahy – brid] noun – anything derived from heterogeneous sources, or composed of elements of different or incongruous kinds.

Ever notice that we spend too much time wringing our hands over the behavior of some of the more “unenlightened” members of our culture? Unenlightened is a relative term because I do not decide what is right or wrong for any other black man, woman or child- just for me. We have seen much progress in our quest to be taken seriously as a segment of the population, and have a ways to go. But there are a significant number of us that view many things through the same lens- sometimes comical, sometimes serious, but always interesting. Sometimes you are forced to be a “Hybrid Negro”.  This is not a gloom and doom “we must change” piece as much as it is an observation of internal pressure.

A “Hybrid Negro” expresses pride in Barack Obama’s rise to the rank of most powerful man in the world and cringes when he witnesses two young black men fighting over some dumb sh*t in a D.C. subway station the day before the historic inauguration. He beams at the sight of Mike Tomlin coaching the Steelers to victory in the Super Bowl but can only shake his head when he sees the funniest piece of merchandise ever being worn by a brother- a Pittsburgh Steelers’ Dashiki. He goes hoarse trying to explain to his white friends that while he does not like dog fighting, he thinks Michael Vick received, and continues to receive a raw deal. This is while being deafened by the silence from these same friends about the cruelty of a father helping his son stalk and torture the so called “monster” pig before eventually killing it and being celebrated for it (PETA, are you there?).

I have grown tired of the weight of being a “Hybrid Negro”. It takes too much energy and you never really publicly hear any other race having to explain the diversity of thought, action and lifestyle within their segment of society. They say what they say, do what they do, and don’t expect to be judged for the actions of others. We carry the weight of all our people. Michael Steele is a perfect example. I’m tired of being mad at him for being the loudest black voice criticizing our president; can’t we just disagree with him without kicking him out of the race? I actually asked myself, “What kind of Black man is he?” Did anyone ask what kind of white man Rush Limbaugh or Newt Gingrich was for criticizing President Clinton?

I don’t expect every Black person to agree with me and they shouldn’t. Have we gotten so used to criticizing ourselves and our people and then apologizing that we don’t even realize we do it? While a Steelers’ dashiki would not be my first choice of paraphernalia to celebrate Coach Tomlin’s historic Superbowl victory, more power to the brother that made that choice. Likewise we shouldn’t always have to reassure the rest of society that we are not all like the people we see posted weekly on “Hot Ghetto Mess”. I just want to be me. I think the immortal Negro poet Rodney King said it best- “Can we all get along?”

That felt like I just shed 10 pounds off of my “Hybrid Negro” complex. Are you tired yet?   -T. Fleming

Tony Fleming currently resides in Montgomery, Alabama with his wife and two children.  He is radio sports announcer for Alabama State University where provides play-by-play analysis and commentary for the Hornets’ football and basketball games.  Tony also works for the university’s Information Technology department.

Until next time,

Damon signature

Tony (far right) ASU vs. Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ... NIT first round '08

Tony (far right) ASU vs. Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ... NIT first round '08

  1. Candice Marie...xo says:

    EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT!!! Tony, this was more than thought provoking and enlightening. Wonderful piece. I feel tired too! LOL!! All I wanna be is just me. I’m exhausted of explaining to people outside of my race why “WE” do the things “WE” do. I don’t ask the same questions of them! This was smart, clever, and HILARIOUS! I love the PETA and pig reference. Great JOB!!! THANKS, DAMON!

    All my Love,
    Candice Marie…xo

  2. kelly says:

    I really enjoyed this piece Tony! I’m feeling you 100%…. Thanks for the hmmmmm effect. Wonderful job

  3. Angie says:

    Wow…Tony very thought provoking…how refreshing to hear a black man’s perspective on black folk. Damon this is a wonderful way to reach people great job! Never knew you like this when we were kids. 🙂 Keep up the good work

  4. Mel B says:

    Once again – on point. Thanks Tony for help me lay aside some of that weight on my shoulders.

  5. Rashad says:

    Good stuff. The fact that we can have a wide range of Negroes is progress in my eyes…

  6. Craig says:

    You brothers get deep…you blew my head back wit this one Doc…your boy got me thinking. I like that

  7. Lisa says:

    I am so happy someone else, besides me, does not feel that “weight”! You go, Tony!!

    My parents raised me as an individual! Although, they made sure I was well informed of our history and mindful of the struggles of our people, never once did I feel that I had to carry weight. We can not be held accountable for all that we see on tv, read in the paper, witness in the local Wal-mart!

    My mother would always say, if you make Jesus proud, you will never be wrong!

    ’nuff said….

  8. David Greenwood says:

    Damon, I am curious to know your thoughts as well as those of my intellectual friend Tony Fleming on the recent discord created with the arrest and subsequent release of Scholar/Harvard Professor Skip Gates & the controversial comments from President Obama with regards toward the Cambridge Police Department acting “stupidly”. Was it racial profiling? Or was this a case of arrogant professionalism on both sides of the subject? Could it be that Professor Gates was disrespectful of the officer that eventually placed cuffs on one of the most respected scholars in this free world? Could this have led to a “standoff” between two “authorities” of our society? Or was this simple and plain racial profiling as many have suggested? My history tells me that in cases like this, the “truth” lies somewhere between Skip Gates story and that of the Cambridge Police Officer’s story. Admittedly not knowing all of the “facts”, should our President offer an apology for is “…acted stupidly” remarks? Let me know what you think!

  9. Nice blog. Very interesting. Hey, in case you are interested, here is a link to my posting today on Rush on Franks and Obama, and the matter of free speech. See: http://soozah.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/rush-limbough-on-the-banking-queen-and-the-magic-negro/

  10. Robin says:

    WRITE ON TONY!!! Keep bringing it Damon.


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