Brothers Back Home: Our Trip to Nigeria

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    For 11 days, September 30th through October 10th, my family took a trip back to Lagos, Nigeria. For a lot of reasons this trip was extremely important, and everyday I’m thankful that I was able to embark on such an amazing experience .My brother Cole and I both had a lot to say about our trip, so it made no sense to only allow one story. With that, I give you Cole Ezeilo’s experience Back Home.

 

   Ezeilo. That is who I am. That is what I am. That is what’s made me the young man I am today. Before my trip, I honestly didn’t know who I really was.  I knew that I was Nigerian and Igbo because of my father, but I never thought it would make a big difference, especially in the American “melting pot” society we live in today. I am a firm believer that heritage and self-knowledge is the backbone of any man. So the moment I stepped out of the plane in Lagos, Nigeria, I immediately knew what it meant to be a Nigerian. What it meant to be an Ezeilo.

    Contrary to popular belief, Lagos, Nigeria and Nigeria in general isn’t filled to the brim with slimy scam artists that are impoverished hoping to get any money they can find. Lagos also isn’t some rural city where zebras and giraffe’s roam the streets. It’s simply a city that has people everywhere like any other place. But what sets Lagos apart from any random city and the reason why people are so scared of the city is because it’s incredibly fast. And when I say fast I mean fast in every sense of the word. The cars are fast, the conversations are fast, heck, even the days seem faster! It’s simply a faster paced society and the people native to Lagos have always known this lifestyle. On the other side however, when outsiders view the Nigerian society, it makes them uncomfortable because their humans and their natural instinct is to reject change and differences. So prior to my trip, I was simply an outsider looking into my own culture but now I possess the ability to not only adjust to a fast-paced society but more importantly switch between a fast and a slow one. This is what I think makes me unique. The fact that I’m a true African-American or rather, an American-African.

    There’s a certain joy you get when you open your eyes and see family everywhere. It’s truly a humbling experience because you know for a fact, that you’re a part of something much bigger than yourself. I can remember the exact time this feeling hit me. It was during my father’s 50th birthday party on the beach of Lekki, a section of Lagos. All of the Ezeilo’s were up dancing regardless of age or gender with each and every one of our faces painted with smiles. We were able to connect on a different level and many of us had nothing in common except one thing… Ezeilo. I believe it was at this time that my life changed for the better. You see, it’s so easy to say that the people over there that were not taken from the Atlantic Slave Trade are completely separate from us. Especially as a young black man in America, the systemic racism has been set up to disconnect us from our heritage and culture and more importantly, our family. But I’m lucky and blessed to say that I’m part of the large percentage of American-Africans and know who and where I come from.

   So as I got on the plane to leave Lagos, I thought about the knowledge I’d acquired on this trip. This wasn’t information that could be taught in a classroom. This also wasn’t information that I ever could’ve learned here in the states. It was information and care from the family that loved me unconditionally upon arrival and this is of unfathomable value. This is Ezeilo.

 

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Shout out to my brother Cole Ezeilo, the boy that’s gonna rule the world one day. Pop4all.com if you didn’t know already. The following are my words. I hope you enjoy.

 

For me, I knew I was never going to forget this trip when I landed in Enugu State, where my father was born.

After my grandfather’s passing, the entire Ezeilo family was shocked to hear about the hero that was Godwin Ezeilo. He was such a strong figure, saving hundreds of lives in his own lifetime, that his death was almost unfathomable. Because of this, many elders in the family refused to believe the news of my grandfather’s death. With my father being the oldest son of his immediate family, it was his job to travel back to Enugu State to tell his family the news. I came along with him, and what I saw will stay with me for as long as I live.

As I took the brief flight from Lagos to Enugu in the middle of our trip with my parents, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I knew that the Ezeilos were a big family, but for 17 years this big family had been nothing but a concept in my head. No faces to any names, no memories between one another, and no ways of connecting on a personal level. Is this really going to be like my how dad had talked about it for all this time? Will I be able to relate to my own family?  And finally, what is the true strength of the Ezeilo name? All of this tossed and turned in my head as we finally landed at the Enugu airport. From there, I never stopped smiling, maturing, and learning.

With every step I took on Enugu soil, my family grew almost exponentially. My Uncle Paul, who was the backbone behind this entire trip, took us all around the state to introduce us to all of our family members. Everywhere we went there were more and more Ezeilos, each with an enormous smile and an even bigger heart. Something that really stuck out to me was being in the presence of a living and breathing king  who just happened to share the last name as me. Does that make me royalty? Yeah, I think it does. Following this, we moved all around the state through each  house, apartment, estate, or mansion, where Ezeilos were ready to make us feel at home. I met different  uncles, aunts, great-uncles, great aunts, and an insane amount of cousins. I met governors, engineers, and bankers to name a few. It was like a family reunion, except the entire state felt like being in your cousin’s backyard.

When we got to the village where my father and grandfather and great-grandfather was born, however, I experienced something that I had previously never felt before. To this very moment I can’t truly describe the sensation accurately. It was a mix between an out-of-body experience and a lucid dream, as crazy that sounds. I’ve been walking around and talking to people all day, but for some reason as soon as I touched down on such a significant place in my family’s history, things were different. I knew this was bigger than me, to say the least. The village traditions had so much meaning to them that you couldn’t help but stare at and study every movement the elders made. The Igbo, our language, was fluid, strong, and at some times it felt like I could understand them despite never knowing the language. And every time I shook a hand or introduced myself, I was met with such overwhelming joy.  After these traditions and speeches from my uncles and father were finished, my father and I chanted and prayed over the grave of my great-grandfather, James Ezeilo, the man who built everything I saw around me. It felt like I finally unlocked a part of myself that I had been questioning for so long: what does the name Ezeilo really mean? Well after narrowing it down to a country, a state, a village, and finally one man, I can confidently say that I know where I come from.

Now, there were many more stories and memories I had from this trip. It was amazing in every aspect of the word, and I’ll never forget it. But to me personally, the one experience that changed everything was my time in the Ezagwa village. I know EXACTLY who I am, who my people are, the strength my family has, and the power of being back home. Coming back from this trip, it felt like I had a gold suit of armor with a crown to match. The name of this outfit, you ask? E-Z-E-I-L-O. I dare you to try and stop me now.

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Thoughts on March Madness

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        When it comes to the calendar of sports, in my opinion march definitely takes the prize. You have the UEFA Champions League starting to pick up, and as well as that, the NBA Playoffs are just around the corner with teams trying to sure up their spots. But without a doubt, the biggest influence in my love for March sports is the one and only March Madness.

        To me, it’s like the purest form of basketball. The NBA playoffs are great with their game series structure, but college basketball has far too many teams to go through that. Instead, every game is win-or-go-home with both teams putting it all on the line every game. This results in amazing individual performances, as well as the beloved underdog team from Nowhere State who defeats the top seed in the nation. The buzzer-beaters, the emerging stars, even the brackets created in anticipation all play a role in this amazing tournament. It’s game 7 every night, and it always ends in a blockbuster finish

        Until recently, my opinion on March Madness hasn’t really faltered. As soon as early March hits, i’m usually on my couch, bracket in hand, ready for showtime, no questions asked. To me these guys were celebrities in the making, and what they were doing benefited not only themselves, but millions of others as well. Things changed when I got older, however, and I started to see things clearly.

        Even though there is the unparalleled fame that comes with March Madness as well as possible wealth down the road, I can’t shake the idea that at the end of the day these kids not only still have classes, but aren’t allowed to take any monetary gains from this billion dollar tournament. It’s almost as if they’re employees who are paid on the hope of possibly being in the NBA. Now I know this idea isn’t anything from new, but from my eyes I’m conflicted.

       As a young athletic basketball-loving teenager who sees college around the corner, I truly am unsure if I want to be in their shoes this month. Sure, I could definitely be having a great experience while representing my school, but I don’t want to go the NBA. So is March Madness/ big-time college basketball to kids who aren’t NBA bound a waste of time? And if so, isn’t it more harm to their grades? On top of that, college players have said that they go to bed starving from not being able to afford food at night. Is it all worth it?

        Honestly, I don’t know. I truly love the tournament and what it shows basketball is capable of, but sometimes thinking about the actual players participating makes me take a step back. If I end up playing basketball in college, I’ll make sure to give you guys an in-depth expose. Until then, I’ll be watching with intent.

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Why I Support Trump for President

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Yeah, you read it right.

 

I, Miles Ezeilo, wish Donald J Trump the best of luck in the upcoming elections. I know that this seems like something out of left field for me, considering what my usual stance is on things, but I stand by this one proudly. To many this probably sounds a little strange, even. But since I can’t vote in this upcoming  Presidential election (December birthday, sadly), I feel like I can at least voice my opinion here. And the reason isn’t very…straight-forward. Let me explain.

 

America deserves Donald Trump right now. With the current state of America, with greed and lies in the government while citizens are struggling everyday with no change, Donald Trump is the perfect President. With poverty still being a pressing problem at the same time the rich get richer, Donald Trump answers that call. With things like the Housing Market Crash still affecting people’s lives on a daily basis, while unnecessary wars are being paid for without fail, Donald Trump is the man. And with institutional racism, classism, and sexism becoming so common in society that we’ve become numb to it, that’s why Donald trump is the perfect candidate.

Everyday me and millions of people like me live with constant fear, having to err on the side of caution in order to protect our lives. Everyday women can do the same amount of work as a man, yet still get a smaller paycheck. Everyday more people are becoming unemployed, for it’s only so much Obama can do without the help of at least a few members of Congress. To me, this isn’t a place I’d like to raise a family, or even live my adult life in. America has become toxic, and the solution is Donald Trump.

 

The way I see it, America didn’t deserve Obama in 2008, and especially not for this long. President Obama has had to deal with so much after Bush, and has done a good job doing the most he can do. But even after all of this work, not only does he not get the accolades he deserves, but he’s ridiculed and assaulted daily by people who can’t see past his brown complexion. These are people who are supposed to be helping him, but sadly this is not the case. So as a result, America is a mess, but because Obama is doing all he can and making small victories, it doesn’t seem completely bad. If anything, Obama is the problem, right? No.

 

This is where Trump comes in.

 

With Donald Trump in office, all of the doors can fly open to reveal how broken this country really is. Donald Trump, the TV personality/ real-estate businessman, acts as a placeholder for the Presidential position. Because he has no political experience and obviously can’t lead the country, one simply can’t look at him to blame for America’s issues. The policies won’t be strong enough, the foreign affairs will be sloppy, and all of it will be done by the talking hairpiece known as Donald Trump. With Obama gone, all the people who hated him can finally look up and realize it wasn’t the black guys fault; it was the country he was trying to lead.  Hopefully after Trump does enough damage, politicians can wake up and try to solve some problems.

 

Now I know there’s other candidates other than Trump out there, so one could ask, why not just support someone else? I feel like while that sounds like a good idea, people will still have hate for a candidate like what Obama had to go through, and all that will do is give people another excuse for why America is bad instead of looking at America as the problem itself. America needs to do better than that. America needs a restart.

 

So yeah, if I were to vote for anybody this Presidential election, it would be Donald Trump. Not for his policies or his charisma or even his toothless smile, but simply as a strategic move to hopefully get America in a better place. As well as this, a perfect punishment  for targeting my people and trying to stop our success is having a clown as a President.

 

But hey, this is only my opinion. I do feel strongly about this, but I am more than open to be proven wrong, or simply hear a different viewpoint. Let me know by commenting below.

 

[NOTE: 4/11/16

Over the last couple of months, I’ve received many questions and concerns dealing with this post. Now although most of the points I still stand against, let me make this clear to everyone. This was a satirical piece, displaying a wild and unorthodox reason for voting for Donald Trump. If I had the chance to vote in the upcoming election, I definitely WOULDN’T vote for him. He would run this country into the ground before anything got better. I know this. So while I am happy that many people have opinions dealing with this topic, I feel like a lot of people took it in an unintended direction. Any publicity is good publicity, but I wanted to make things clear.]

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Thinking About College as a Black Kid

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As I’m coming up on the midpoint of my junior year, a lot of things have changed since I entered into highschool. I’ve gotten a little taller, I can drive now, I’ve met some really cool people,  and I’ve had more tests and quizzes than I can count. But the one thing that’s changed that is currently on my mind, is my mindset. I say this because in 9th grade I was focused on having fun, making friends, and dealing with the insane workload that I acquired. But as I move into the later part of 11th grade, I’m adding one more thing: the future. When talking about the future, I’m thinking about what I truly want to do when I leave this place, and what really makes me happy. And the magical place that helps me answer these questions, is none other than college.

Now what I just said is what’s on any other teenager’s mind right about now, for college is definitely something that needs to be contemplated when looking at the rest of your life. Does this university have this major? How’s the social life at the university? What will a diploma from this college say about me? I can’t speak for all current students in highschool, but these questions are constantly in question. And without a doubt, there are different questions and more questions when the student in question is African American. In order to avoid generalizations, I’ll just speak for myself.

To start, there always the standard questions that come with speculating a college for the first time. These things are usually based on interests, how much the college is, closeness to home, and other things. But as a black kid, I also have to think about the racial makeup of the school. Speaking from experience, when you are one of the only black kids at a super white school, things happen that you don’t want to happen. You start letting slick racism slide, you change a little every now and then to fit in, and ultimately you start to become less and less like the person you were before. It’s bad. So as a survivor of a mini PWI, I don’t think I could deal with 4 years at a place just like that. I’m pretty sure white people don’t think of that.

Following this, there’s the community outside of the school. Whether it’s Atlanta, Los Angeles, Raleigh, or anywhere, the city outside of the university really means something. Basically, I don’t think I could spend 4 years in the middle of Mississippi (which happens to be the  2nd most racist state in the world with 11 KKK organizations. I’m not bashing Mississippi, but there’s a lot of other places). I honestly don’t care if I get a super scholarship to Ole Miss for having two eyes or something, I just can’t do it.

So after hearing all of this, you think there would be an easy and clear solution, right? A predominantly black college with a cool area around it….sounds like a lot of HBCUs! Whether it’s Morehouse or Howard or Florida A&M, these are all good choices for me to go. Problem solved. Goodbye.

 

But not really.

 

HBCUs are all great, but there’s one common trait among them that is a problem : America. Now don’t get me wrong, all HBCUs looks and sound like an amazing choice. But recently I’ve decided that my problem isn’t necessarily the specific places in the U.S that hold these universities, but the U.S as a whole. Whether it’s the police, politicians, or yet another mass shooting, the United States is looking pretty shaky.  After my trip to London two summers ago, things have really opened up for me. The world is really really really big, and why should I limit myself? There’s Nigeria, Spain, London, South Africa, Singapore, and whole lot more to choose from right? From the sound of it, I should be whipping out my passport and looking all across the globe. But that’s where the dilemma comes in. With family in one place, as well as a culture that I’ve grown accustomed to, should I really take that long plane ride across an ocean? I mean, Howard is still a really cool college in the heart of D.C. , and if I go to Morehouse, I got all my family around the corner. And I’ve barely even been to the west coast!  Is it a punk move to just pack up and go when things look a little rough? Honestly, I don’t know.

So at this current moment, I’m at a little bit of a loss. There are pros and cons for both sides, and I feel like I’ll be weighing them until I make my final decision. But I do feel like I’m not alone, for there has to be more kids like me who have to make this choice: should I stay home where it’s iffy, or should i take the leap where it’s a mystery?  Hopefully I’ll choose before time runs out.

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1 Year TDL

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 The date of February 14th, 2015 had a lot more meaning that I realized, for more reasons than one. The first reason was obviously this year’s Valentines Day. The second reason was  this year’s All-Star Saturday Night for the NBA (duh), in which three point and dunk contests filled my eyes with joy.  Both of these events/holidays are ones I enjoy, for not only do I enjoy basketball, but I thoroughly enjoy  being happy with the people I love. Needless to say, both of these events this year did not disappoint in making my February 14th a great one.

      But the last reason that February 14th, 2015 had so much meaning to me, is that it marks the 1-year anniversary of the start of The Darker Lens. Wow.

       It’s hard finding words on how much this blog has done to my life over the course of this year. For starters, I got to be on a panel for the White House on how to help black boys due to one of my first posts on Jordan Davis.  As well as this I also got to go to London due to the help of all of my family and friends through this blog (with the help of Go Fund Me), which ended up being one of the bests trips of my life. But in addition to this, I also gained something from this blog that no trip or opportunity can surmount. This blog gave me a voice.

       Hopefully this blog has, and will continue to succeed in its mission of informing as many people as possible of what goes on in a black teenage boy’s mind, for we have obviously been frequently misunderstood, which leads to decisions and actions that aren’t for the best. This is what I hope for the most, for in my opinion, if these politicians and judges and policemen had an inkling of our true thoughts and intentions, then maybe these tragedies that I see all the time will start to go away.  But even with that being said, this blog is more than just a microphone.

       This blog has given me a chance to truly express myself in ways that internal thoughts can’t. As soon as I see the ” Add New Post” prompt on my laptop, something lights up in the back of my head, and I get this feeling unlike anything I can describe. Maybe it’s the same when a painter looks at a canvas, or when an entertainer looks at a microphone and an audience, but it’s definitely a feeling I love. Whenever I bring myself back to the question of what my future career will be, all I need to see is that prompt and I remember all over again: I want to be a writer. Because of this blog I’ve had the chance to voice my opinions on topics like some of my favorite music, sports, TV, as well as many stories related to the topic of the moment. It’s calmed me down in times of anger and frustration, and it’s inspired me to think about things in a different light. All of this came from a simple idea my parents and I had one year ago.

    So even though I’m technically a day late, today I want to thank everyone who has ever read my blog, all of my friends and family, and the people who have inspired me and pushed me to do this. I love you all for it,  I’m thankful, and I hope for many more anniversaries of The Darker Lens in the future.  

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My Thoughts on the Michael Brown Verdict

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I got an update from CNN at around 11 o’clock last night. Being half asleep, I glanced over to my phone, stared at it for a while, and slowly sat up in my bed. Staring into space now, all I could do was think of the current situation I’m in, and my heart sank. No outrage, no screaming, just disappointment and a hint of fear. With that I listened to some music, and went to bed soon after.

 

That was my initial reaction to hearing that Officer Darren Wilson was not indicted for the shooting of 18 year-old Michael Brown.

 

What saddens me the most is of course the fact that the legal system is indirectly calling black boys targets, and not human beings. As a black boy I am no longer safe, for now it seems like I’d be safer running away from the police than towards them for help. This has been shown multiple times. But the thing that makes me hate myself, is the fact that my response to these shootings are becoming less and less passionate. I remember when Trayvon Martin was shot, and how I was fuming for weeks on end, angry at everyone and everything. I was thirteen, and in my eyes this was something I’ve never heard of: someone who looks just like me is killed for no reason. This was heartless, sad, and unprecedented for the most part. But after two years of the same sad story with different names and faces, all I can do is stare at a wall and pray for the families of the victims.  I’m slowly being desensitized from an issue that directly affects me, and I hate that I feel this way.  This is something that needs to change.

 

In no way is it OK to normalize the shooting and killing of black boys. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing normal or regular or just about Michael Brown, Troy Davis, Trayvon Martin, and countless others. All of them were unique lives that ended too soon. But the fact that it happens so often is where the psychological issue comes into play. When you see black face after black face after black face on the news as a kid and as an adult, you start to see it as normal. This leads to the further devaluing of black boys, resulting in the process starting all over again. So when something is becoming “boring”, what does the news latch on to make a story?  In this case, its the riots.

 

I woke up at around 9:30 today, and turned on the television to see how people were responding to the verdict. Hoping to see news coverage on the Michael Brown’s family, or more on the lack of indictment itself, I was instead greeted by headlines like “Riots Fill the Streets of Ferguson”, and “Ferguson up in Flames”. This was coupled with video segments of black people looting and jumping on police cars, but nothing on the cause of this anger. I turned off the TV and finished my cereal in silence.

 

OK, this is the part that makes me mad. Not only does the news seem to not cover enough of the lack of indictment itself,  but instead MSNBC and CNN are focusing more on the looting and the rioting caused by this issue. Sure, the news still needs to cover something like this, but the main story is being missed. “Michael Brown’s Killer Set Free”. “Shooter of Innocent Boy Released”. “Darren Wilson Gone With No Charges”. These all sound like headlines that would not only bring in views, but would also tell the real story instead of the aftermath, no matter how exciting that may be.

 

To say the least, these are my feelings on the lack of indictment. I’m sad, dissapointed, but in the end I can only shake my head.  So this holiday season, I’ll have a lot to be thankful for. I have my family, my friends, my health, and especially the ability to be alive, for I know for sure that can change at any time. RIP Michael Brown.

 

Happy Holidays.

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Michael Brown, Another Black Teen Dead.

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Michael Brown

 

To be honest, I  really didn’t  want to cover this story.

 

I know I’m supposed to cover things like this, because you guys want to know what  boys like me think about these tragedies. But it makes me sick to my stomach to keep repeating the same story over and over and over and over again, and to see it countless times on the news. First it was Trayvon Martin, then Jordan Davis, and now Michael Brown , as well as countless others. And even more recently Ezell Ford, who was fatally shot by the police in south L.A 2 days after Michael Brown was shot. Another Black  Boy was shot and killed by the police.

I’m sorry, but the last time I checked, black boys don’t resemble geese, quail, or any kind of deer for that matter.  So why in the world are we being hunted by the people that are supposed to protect us.  How  am I supposed to call this country “home”, when it is obvious that the police force turn on anybody that looks like me? Is there a reason behind this violence? That’s what I’m still trying to find out. But until then, I am staying as far away from the cops as I can. Because at this point in American society, making it through the day as a black boy truly is a blessing.

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My Experience in London

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Well, I’m back.  

 

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted something, but due to my summer job, the World Cup, and preparing for London, I simply didn’t find the time for TDL. But man, do I have a story to tell you guys now! Now as some of you may know, I was given the opportunity to go to London over the summer break. And thanks to all of you guys, I raised enough money for me to go on the trip. I remember vividly how I felt when I got on the flight, being a mixture of jubilation and curiosity. The plane ride was long and tiring, but you gotta love international flights (Virgin Atlantic is insane).  After a long time in baggage claim, I finally met up with my other teammates who was on the trip, and began our journey.To be honest I didn’t know what to expect, but I was surely about to find out.

 

Now first off, let’s get the soccer out of the way (or “fútbol” for the next 10 days). As I’ve said before, I love soccer very very much, so to me it was exciting to play against players from other countries to see how they play and how we match up. At first we played well with a 4-2 win over a local club team. I scored, everyone had a good time, and we were optimistic about the upcoming games. But then we soon realized why the English Premier League is a little better than Major League Soccer, if you know what I mean. Our next game we tied 2-2, with both of our goals off of penalty kicks. It was rough, really rough,but a tie isn’t a loss, I guess. And finally came the last game against a better ranked London team,where we lost 3-0.We could barely get a shot off, and I wish I could play that game again. So with an average turnout of 1-1-1, I think that we could’ve done better, and we could’ve done worse. Not much to talk about.

 

And now, it’s time. It’s time to answer the question that I posed in the beginning of this journey. The question that will tell you all there is to know about where I came from.

 How does it feel to be a black boy in London?”

          And for my final answer, I say: it feels like nothing at all.   I know this sounds weird, but let me explain. When you’re a black person, and you live in the United States of America, you act accordingly. You try not to be too loud in public places, you stay away from the police, and you get your fair amount of side comments and interesting looks. In England, and especially in London, this simply doesn’t exist. To start, everybody is interacting with everybody. There is no racial divide anywhere that I could see, and we went to a lot of places. The interracial dating was through the roof, there were black and Indian and Chinese people doing every job a white person did, and it all seemed normal. Black people would walk around the same as white people and everybody else, and they all seemed to coexist naturally, unlike anything I’ve seen in the United States. I seriously was taken aback when I saw this, but it makes complete sense.

 

As I found out, England as a country abolished slavery almost 35 years before the U.S did, and there was no Jim Crow afterwards. Let me just say that again: there was no Jim Crow laws following the abolishment of slavery. Can you imagine that in the U.S, and the results that might have come from it? Maybe we didn’t need to get sprayed on by fire hoses. Maybe we didn’t have to go through Brown vs Board of Education. And maybe, just maybe, we didn’t have to see good people like Martin Luther King Jr. get shot.  From public schools, to restaurants, to even the U.S military, all of that would have been integrated. Now there was still prejudice in England, of course, but everything would have been equally shared. So that’s why I say that it doesn’t feel like I’m a “black teenage boy” in England. I interacted with as many people as possible, I walked into as many stores as I can, and I made sure that I never shied away from conflict of any kind. And as a result,  there was nothing remotely racist when it came to problems in England.I simply felt like a teenage boy, not a “black teenage boy” with all the negative connotations that come with that title America. Surprisingly, I had more problems because I was American.

 

It was such an amazing experience, that I will truly never forget.  I don’t know how or when, but I am getting back to London one way or another. There’s no way I’m not. We sadly had to go back a day before my school started, but everyone agreed that this was the best trip ever. And when I got back and started my first week of school, I of course came to the loud and bustling halls of Grady High School. The same school where  the teachers ask guys like me two and three times if i’m sure i’m in the right class (because i’m supposed to be in remedial classes, obviously). Yup, i’m back in America. Great. So that’s why from this day on I’m not going to give you “a black boy’s point of view in this day and age”, because that’s too broad. I’ve seen the other side, including my trip to Ghana last year, and at this moment, I want to see something other than the U.S for a while. From the sights, to the sounds, to especially the people, being out of the country sounds really good right about now. So right now, and from now on, I’m giving you “a black boy’s point of view in America”, because that’s the perspective that needs to be heard.

 

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Cat Fight: Why it’s OK for Black Girls

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When it comes to women in my family, I may not have a lot, but the ones that I do have, stand out. They stand out by providing for us, by caring for us, and leading by example of the right thing to do. They strive in all of their fields of work, showing that it is not impossible for a woman to succeed in a country mainly ruled by men.  Not only do they meet the standards put on by society, but often exceed it. And of course, all of them have the upmost respect for one another, other people, and most importantly themselves. Because of this, throughout my life I have thought of females as strong, poised people with high self-esteem. This changed when I started high school.

        In as little as the first month, I noticed things were a little strange. For one thing, I realized that not only were people obviously bigger and taller than me, but that there were a lot more harsh words thrown in the air. Sugar Honey Ice T (you know what I mean) was in every conversation, The F-bomb was dropped on a regular, and when it came to any reference toward any female of any kind, you could bet on “bitch” being the word of choice. And I know, the world isn’t pretty and nice, but I was especially surprised by the amount of language coming from the black girls in the school towards each other! Sometimes it was in a playful way, but other times (more than boys for the most part) it led to VERY loud arguments, which led to shoving, and finally, fighting. This draws a crowd of course, which cheers on their favorite girl, until someone ends up in handcuffs. To some this seems like entertainment, but to me it seems like a problem.

        I simply didn’t understand the source of all the anger, if there was even a source at all. I understand that people have conflict with one another all the time, but these girls are fighting as if it’s the only form of resolution. What was this coming from? Thinking it was a lost cause after months of seeing the same thing, I decided to go home and watch some TV.

“Sportscenter…… No.”

“Spongebob……. Not right now.”

“Key and Peele…..Maybe later.”

“Basketball Wives:…..Hmm, never seen it. Might as well give it a try.”

BOOM!!!!!!!

“……YOU CAN’T EVEN AFFORD THIS GUCCI BAG!”

“……..YOU JUST MAD CAUSE YO MAN GOT A CHICK ON THE SIDE!’

“BITCH, WHO YOU THINK YOU TALKIN TO?????”

“……AHHHHHHHBYONYOEHVNVOMCRPIHFXEFXJRGPNTNJOIUNYLH!!!!!!(flying fists, screams made, and champagne glasses broken)”

After only 10 minutes. 10 minutes. What is this?!?!?, I said to myself.  Is this supposed to help anybody? How does this even make money? With mixed emotions, I turned off the TV and sat at my desk in silence until it finally hit me. And now I’m here writing this.

        What the media is doing now is basically feeding into the minds of black girls  that in order to be famous and have money, you need to do one of two things: 1)marry a rich basketball star so you don’t necessarily have to work at anything, and; 2) get hyped for no reason and fight women with the same mindset.  Now I know that reality TV most of the time is fake, but that isn’t the problem. Because of this, we have girls that are fighting and cursing at each other, in the hopes of not only gaining respect, but to also prepare themselves for their potential “job.” This also halts their learning drive, ‘cause  who needs to learn algebra or social studies when all you need to do is pull out a girl’s weave? It would be different if these “Basketball Wives” were everyday people, but not only are they well-off, but rather paid if you ask me. Basically, the example of a black woman in the media now is a woman with nothing to her name other than her husband.

        I say all this to simply express my opinion on the matter. Watching this show has solved the question in my mind towards why some girls choose to use violence rather than to solve issues in a more productive manner.  If you don’t agree, then let me know. This is just something I saw, and I would really like to hear more viewpoints on this issue. After all, I’m just a boy looking on from the outside. Whether you’re a boy who’s been in a fight with a girl, a mother who is going through this with her  child, or a fighting girl yourself, it doesn’t matter. With more views, an accurate resolution can be made, and that’s all I’m trying to accomplish. But in the end, it was an interesting experience watching this show, and has really opened my eyes towards how black women are perceived in the media, and the outcome it creates towards black girls.

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What Made My Week: The Boondocks Return

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It was a Tuesday, around 3:45 pm. I’m riding back from school on the bus, with only maybe five other people on it. With my headphones in, looking out the window, I’m just waiting to get home. The day wasn’t the best. My math class was particularly dull today, and I pretty much fell asleep in Spanish. On top of all that, I was just recovering from a stomach virus, so I definitely wasn’t 100 percent. As the bus makes its final turn, I try to see if the Adult Swim wall is different. It’s been blank for about a week now. We make the final turn and I halfheartedly look in the direction of the sign, and I see this:

 

                         Boondocks.JPG

It takes me a couple seconds to understand what I’m looking at, and then it hits me like a pile of bricks (or aStinkmeaner Chest Kick). I pull out my headphones, turn to the first people I see and exclaim “BOONDOCKS IS COMING BACK!” I’m met with a series of strange looks, but that doesn’t matter to me anymore. I run home from my stop, do a little dance for a minute in the middle of the living room, and then collapse on the sofa in exhaustion. Finally: The Boondocks is coming back.

Now if you don’t know what The Boondocks is (really?), then let me explain. Based on a comic strip, The Boondocks is a cartoon show that involves the lives of a Black family from the south Chicago area that moves into a white suburb, and the adventures that come about. With crazy characters, hilarious writing, and clever storylines, The Boondocks was created by Aaron McGruder in 2005. Since then, three seasons have been made, followed by a VERY long wait. And now, finally, The Boondocks returns on April 21st.

 

Words cannot describe how much I like this show. Every character, every episode, and almost every scene from this cartoon has made me laugh or think in some way. Not only is the show hilarious, but it’s also brilliant. With tons of thought-provoking satire involving Hip-Hop, the Internet, and even ignorance in the Black community, The Boondocks, isn’t just a “cartoon.” It’s more of a social commentary. Some of my favorite episodes include “Return Of The King”, where Martin Luther King Jr. comes back from the dead and sees the world we’re living in. And of course, I love “Granddad’s Fight”, which focuses on the ignorance aspect of black people.

 

But there’s another reason why I’m so happy that The Boondocks is coming back, and that’s to shine a light on issues today. It’s been almost four years since season three ended, which means there are a lot of relevant subjects that would have been great material for the show. With Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Obama’s second term to name a few, it’s obvious that a lot has happened to Black people, as well as society in general. Back in 2010, The Boondocks was showing people the Black perspective of topics that were important back then. And because of this, not only were people given a chance to think about these issues, but they could also enjoy doing it! To me, at least, it was like the news with comedy. I was informed as well as entertained. It was great.

 

I made this blog to show the perspective of a Black teenage boy in this society. As much as I would like to think it, Thedarkerlens doesn’t have a worldwide audience. But I feel like I’m still helping, for I feel like my perspective and the perspective of Black people needs to be heard.  And that’s the main reason why I’m so happy for this season. The Boondocks has a worldwide audience to show the opinion of Black people. And for that, I’m ecstatic.

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