If you’ve been on Facebook within the past 24 hours, you’ve seen someone share Homeboy Sandman’s article, “Black People Are Cowards”. If you haven’t, here’s a synopsis: Homeboy Sandman thinks Black people don’t stand up enough for ourselves and have allowed White America to walk over us. We’re cowards and he doesn’t want any Black people to attend his shows anymore.
He wrote such an article for the prestigious Black-owned and operated website Gawker.
I get the point he’s trying to make, I think, that African-Americans need to take more control over the way we’re treated and start taking more stands. I agree. But Sandman fell into the trap of click bait and histrionics that shadow his point.
Basically, his article devolves into a series of self-righteous Facebook statuses that don’t offer tangible solutions. And when logic fails, shock value takes over.
“No, I’m lucky enough to spend enough time with black people to recognize that we’re not the base form of human life that we continue to support ourselves being portrayed as (though admittedly, it definitely rubs off on us. A lot. So much so that it’s very puzzling to comprehend how we could blame anyone who doesn’t get to spend much time with us for fostering a wildly skewed perception. What can people know but what they see?). No, I don’t want black people to stay away from my events because I believe them to be uncivilized, or ignorant, or anything like that.
“I don’t want black people at my events anymore, because black people are cowards.
In all the history I’ve ever studied, in all the fiction I’ve ever read, I am hard pressed to find an example of cowardice to rival the modern day black American, and nobody wants to be surrounded by cowards right?”
Of course, Sandman goes on to sort of say “naw, just kidding about you being cowards,” later but the point has been made. We’re not sacrificing our jobs or livelihoods for the cause in a manner acceptable to Homeboy Sandman. LeBron James is a coward for not sitting out basketball games until Zimmerman got convicted. I’m a coward for not quitting my job and keeping my kids at home until they get better schools. And maybe Homeboy Sandman is a coward for collecting those show checks from his newly-formed all-White audience instead of donating 100% of the proceeds to underprivileged families or schools or single-parent homes or…well…anywhere.
Homeboy Sandman also took the unfortunate position that’s easy to fall into of putting the responsibility of righting an oppressor’s wrongs on the oppressed. I’m tired of it being solely Black America’s responsibility to run to figure out how to solve the problems laid upon us by bigots. Sure, the NBA elite can make some stands, but the onus is also on the NBA commissioner and other owners to take a stand.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and any number of successful leaders didn’t become world-changers by sitting on pedestals and talking down to “cowards” and complacent people. They met us where we were. They saw our shortcomings, our strengths and our limitations then worked to maximize our ability to affect change. That takes understanding and a level of humility.
I’m just not impressed or moved by 2,000 words on how sh*tty I am as a Black person, and how I’m not doing enough to change the world – as if the solutions to all of our plight would be solved if we just read a Gawker article by Homeboy Sandman. I watched my dad and his fellow Freedom Fighters – some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met – still struggle with wondering if they made the right decisions with every sacrifice. They’ve wondered what they could have done better, how they could have avoided so much bloodshed or, if given the opportunity, could they go back and do it all again.
I’ve seen my dad second-guess some of his decisions and fight to convince himself he was always doing the right thing and did what was best in the face of lives lost along the way. Watching them live with the decisions they made and the lives they’ve led since has taught me that actual revolutionary action isn’t easy, and there is never a quick answer. And I’ve learned that the only person that should be followed is someone who knows he doesn’t have all of those answers.
Homeboy Sandman thinks he has the answers to all of our ills in 2,000 words. Plus he called us cowards. I just can’t believe in or follow a path paved with that sort of arrogance. I admire Sandman’s passion for change, and I embrace it. So consider this an invitation to productive discourse. Let’s make this a conversation instead of a lecture. Maybe at your next rap show…if I’m invited.
Now, for an effective way to approach this whole situation, I direct you to the clip below from the Dan Le Batard Show and Bomani Jones, who summed it all up better than anyone will and it’s not even close.