Black History Month: The Blogger/Social Media Edition

I’m doing something different this time; I’m starting with a video. Watch it, laugh, but pay attention because once it’s over I’ve got more for you:

Did you enjoy that? I enjoyed it a lot, so much so that I spent a big part of yesterday sharing it with a lot of folks for a lot of different reasons. You’re probably asking yourself why; you know I’m going to tell you. 🙂

The History teacher.
Neil Moralee via Compfight

This is Black History Month, the month where, if you’re paying attention, there are all sorts of folks in all sorts of places sharing historical information about the accomplishments of black people throughout American history. It’s a bigger deal than many people may think it is for the United States because, as you might guess, without black people most of this country wouldn’t have been built. Sure, it was slave labor and someone else did the designs, but the people who did the actual work… y’all know.

Anyway, yesterday my buddy Rasheed Hooda, of whom I’ve written about a couple of times, shared an image and quote by Morgan Freeman where he said this:

“Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man & I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man,” to which I responded “totally disagree.” He asked me if I cared to explain it and I said I offered a sound bite because the image gave a sound bite. I then said I would talk about it here. By the way, this is actually going to be a post about social media so stick with a bit of this backstory just a little longer please. lol

First, you have to see the build up to the conversation and the rest of the statement Morgan Freeman said to understand the full context:

Wallace: Black History Month you find…
Freeman: Ridiculous.
Wallace: Why?
Freeman: You’re going to relegate my history to a month?
Wallace: Oh come on.
Freeman: What do you do with yours? Which month is white history month?
Wallace: [pause] Well, I’m Jewish.
Freeman: Okay. Which month is Jewish history month?
Wallace: There isn’t one.
Freeman: Oh, Oh. Why not? Do you want one?
Wallace: No.
Freeman: Right. I don’t either. I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.
Wallace: How are you going to get rid of racism?
Freeman: Stop talking about it.I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And, I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace and you know me as Morgan Freeman. You don’t say, “Well, ahem! This white guy named Mike Wallace.” You don’t say it.

In context, his point is valid and has a totally different meaning than what it’s been given. The ridiculous of the moniker of the month isn’t because he doesn’t believe black history isn’t important, it’s that he believes it should be taught along with everyone else’s history. It pays to note that this interview was conducted in 2005 and in the years since he’s called out racism whenever he’s seen it, including last year when he spoke out against the killing of Freddie Grey & the Baltimore protests against the police. Thus, he said one thing and 10 years later was saying another thing; stuff to point out.

The Eagle has landed...
Creative Commons License Beverly & Pack via Compfight

Second, even he must realize that there’s kind of a marginalization of black people (I don’t use the term “african-american” unless I’m quoting someone else) by many people, even if they don’t know it. If you watched the video you saw when the one lady said “I’m black” and the other lady said “No you’re not”, then when another black person was pointed out she said “Well I know he’s black.” If you think that was just a joke, I can tell you that it’s the kind of conversation I used to have with people all the time.

Some of you might remember my post about wanting to be a top 50 blogger. I tend to believe the main issue isn’t that I’m not all that well known as much as the fact that I’m black, which makes me kind of unknown. That might seem paranoid until you go to a search engine, put in top 25 or top 50 bloggers or people on social media and see how many black people are represented. Most of the time there are none whatsoever. Every once in a while my buddy Ileane Smith gets a nod but there are plenty of other folks doing some pretty impressive things who are never mentioned.

I know, you’re thinking I’m paranoid, but I have more to share with you. I’ve commented on a few of these lists, asking the person who compiled the list why there weren’t any black people on it. The response I get from the writer is “I don’t know any.” The response I get from other commenters is “it’s ‘blanks’ list and they can have on it whomever they want”. I don’t dispute the second but I always question the first. Back in 2012 I ran a series for 19 weeks titled Black Web Friday where I highlighted 4 or 5 black bloggers, social media people or black owned websites. I had a larger list that wasn’t all that hard to find, which shows that there wasn’t this great void… just people not remembering who or what they might have seen. At least that’s how I saw it then… and I see it now.

One of the things I mentioned in my post last October about how I promote myself on Twitter is highlighting posts that people I know are posting there, or when I visit their blogs and I like the post I’ll share their links. What I didn’t mention is that I have another list which I call “Black Twitter”, and on that list are people who aren’t necessarily my friends but who I’m connected to and want to share their stuff because it’s good stuff.

I do that because as my Twitter presence has started to grow, I figure it gives me an opportunity to highlight more “folks” and get the word out there there’s more than me… not that any of them probably need my help but I do what I do. There are 24 people on that list; some folks like Ileane aren’t on that list because I have her on my friends list. In a way, this is my contribution to making sure that a month of black history isn’t all there is, at least when it comes to blogging and social media. To whit, I’d like to share the Twitter links of 10 black people who I think you should be checking out, only people who I haven’t shared here before (that knocks out Kim George, who I highlighted on this post about bloggers being leaders):

Steven Wilson

Elaine Perry

Martina McGowan

Sherman Smith

Kemya Scott

Nikki Woods

Vincent Wright


K. L. Register

Jesan Sorrells

The last name isn’t actually in that list. He’s a friend of mine locally who talks and writes about something called Conflict Resolution. I interviewed him last year; that interview is below… and we laughed a lot…

Here’s the thing. Twenty years from now when I’m the same age as Morgan Freeman is now, do I want there to be a Black History Month? Nope, not at all. Do I believe we’re still going to need a Black History Month? As long as there are places like the state of Texas, which removed all references to black people from their schools history books in 2015 except for mentioning slaves and indicating that they were happy (can you believe such a thing?), absolutely! If you want quotes, here’s a great one from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr:

Our lives begin to end when we stop talking about things that matter.”

I hope I made my point. I’ve love to hear your opinion (I think lol) and see if there are any questions. However, since these types of posts rarely get comments, I’m not expecting any. But if anyone says they didn’t see it… I’ll be tracking it on Google Analytics. 🙂

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Black Web Friday – 2/24/12

Yup, it’s Black Web Friday again, and we have some good sites for you today. Before I begin, I want to address the fact that I used “we” instead of “I”, when all of you know what I’m the only one writing on this blog.

Black Web Friday

In 2010, I was at my consultant’s group meeting and brought up the subject of whether sole proprietorships could legitimate use the term “we” when talking about their businesses. We all discussed it and the general consensus around the room was that all of us have the opportunity from time to time to work with someone else and thus using the term “we” is a legitimate thing.

I like that and it applies to this topic mainly because I’m thinking I’ve probably said “we” in discussing these Friday posts at some other time, and the fact of the matter is that I see myself working with the sites I mention every week to help bring black social media to the forefront and bring others into knowing that they exist. It truly does become a “we” scenario, doesn’t it? By the way, as a sidebar, “we” were included as a Blog of the Month entry on LogAllot by Sonia Winland; thanks! 😉

With that said “we” move on. 🙂 I’m starting today with a guy who actually gets a lot of love, but probably deserves more. Wayne Sutton writes Social Wayne, and this month he’s actually running what he’s calling #29 Days of Diversity, where he’s naming people of color he believes are impacting social media. He tells you up front that not everyone he mentions will necessarily be black, which is cool, but of course I’m going a different way. Whenever you hear of black tech in America his name comes up often, and he was included in a CNN story on the subject last year, which was really neat to see. He has a Disqus comment system, just so you know.

Next on the list is a blog called Happy Black Woman, written by Rosetta Thurman, someone I featured last year, but didn’t really talk about. Her goal is to bring about positive aspects of black women to counter the belief that all black women are angry, something I addressed in a previous Black Web Friday post. She talks a lot about lifestyles and behavior, and has a traditional WordPress blog commenting system. I was really impressed with her post about compassion, something I’m not sure enough people think about, let alone talk about these days, and if you’re looking for entry into what makes her tick check it out.

The final blog I’m highlighting today is a Blogpost blog, but the content is so good I just have to share. It’s called NewBlackMan and it’s written by Anthony Neal. Basically he talks about black issues, and calls out anyone who writes things that are either negative about blacks or put black people in a bad light in some fashion. I thought a post he wrote basically telling a rapper named Too Short that he was sending the wrong message to kids about objectifying women was great and it showed that he had guts and courage to do so, reminding me about a post I wrote on the courage it sometimes takes if one is going to participate in social media.

The final Black Web Friday of Black History Month; have y’all been out there learning something you didn’t already know? Remember, black history isn’t only about slaves and Martin Luther King. Have a great weekend.

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Black History Month – The Wind Down

Yeah, I know. You thought I was done with Black History Month when I wrote my post at the beginning of the month talking about differences in people. Well, I thought I was as well, but there’s always something that seems to bring one back into the fold, even if it’s only for a brief visit. I’ve got a few things to highlight, and I figured this was as good a way as any to do that.

’68 Olympics

I ended up writing about Black History month twice on my business blog. The second post was yesterday, and I’d like to share it because I added 5 videos that show others either talking about the month or black people in general. I thought they were all pretty cool videos, but y’all know I also had something to say before the videos. That post is titled As Black History Month Winds Down….

A couple of weeks ago I heard about an interesting website that does a thing during Black History Month as well. It’s called 28 Days of Diversity. The person who runs the site features a different minority blogger each of the 28 days; not everyone is black on this one, but they are definitely minority. I like the concept, and if I have an issue with it that issue would be that the creator doesn’t link back to anyone. So, the honor is there, but this person is missing out on giving backlinks to the sites. I guess it’s year two, and I went through last year’s crop of folks and it seems at least 25% of those blogs are no longer around. I have an interesting post on this topic coming out on the 2nd, so stay tuned.

I have people that contact me for the strangest stuff; too bad I don’t make any money off any of it. Anyway, there’s this site calling itself Best Colleges, and for whatever reason someone wrote a post and popped it on that site called 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Black History Month. The bad thing for them is that they didn’t know I minored in African-American Studies in college, so I knew all of their facts. The good thing for them is that I’m sharing the link in case the rest of you don’t know the history. 😉

And finally, out of the blue our friend Mitchell Allen of Morpho Designs, with whom I’m playing email chess against (and losing :-(), mentions someone to me I don’t know, named Marlee Ward. And this month she put together an interesting plethora of thoughts from 31 black bloggers on the topic of What Does It Mean To Be A Black Blogger? I think you should check it out because there are a few people there that I know you know, some who comment on this blog, and of course Mitch is also part of the group. Man, I must be waaaayyyy off the grid! lol

And that’s all I have for the month. I decided it was time to add a little video to the mix, and I’m going with You Will Know by… well, officially the artists were called Black Men United, but in reality it’s a bunch of stars who came together to sing this song for a movie, and the message is motivational for any and everyone who’s struggled to make it in this world. Enjoy.

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Black History Month – Differences In People

Wow, it’s Black History Month and I waited an entire week before mentioning it. Actually, it’s not all that surprising for this blog when I think about it. In the just over 3 years that I’ve had this blog, the only time I ever mentioned a black person by name on this blog during February was the first year of this blog when I talked about Bobo Brazil, the first black wrestler inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Bobo Brazil & Muhammad Ali

The funny thing is that I’m old enough to remember when black people were called “Negroes”, and that was the nice word. I’m obviously old enough to remember when we were first “black and proud.” I’m not quite old enough to remember when Muslims like my hero Muhammad Ali used to talk about the “so-called Negroes”, but in retrospect that was an inkling that things were really about to change.

Or were they? Sure, the names have changed. These days we’re called African American, a term I rarely use because, well, I grew up “black and proud”, and African American just has way too many syllables to be effective.

I remember when I was younger this month meant a heck of a lot to me. As a kid, I wasn’t the typical reader. One of the first books I bought for myself was a small book that gave a brief biography of Frederick Douglass. Of course that wasn’t enough for me, so over the next couple of years I would go to the library and request other books on him. I lived in Limestone, ME at the time, but I was on Loring Air Force Base, so they’d take requests and order the books to be sent up there.

It’s hard to put it in your mind in this day and age, but this man taught himself how to read and write, as a slave, when it was against the law. Then he ran away, came up north, went to England, wrote an autobiography, came back, had a lot of people come together to buy his freedom, settled in Rochester, wrote a couple of newspapers and more books, worked with President Lincoln, then later married a white woman and alienated everyone; that was in 1884. He lost the support of his family, she lost the support of hers, even though her family were staunch abolitionists. But in 1888 he actually got a vote to be his party’s representative for president of the United States at the… Republican National Convention. Yeah, it was different back then, the party of Lincoln and all.

Anyway, I was a major fan all through elementary school, high school, and college. I was a major advocate for a number of years. And every year through my early and late adulthood I thought it was still important enough to try to get the word out. After all, there’s a lot of stuff we wouldn’t have now if it weren’t for black people.

Then in 2005 I wrote this post on my other blog, Mitch’s Blog, which is my business blog, called Black History Month – Why Don’t People Care More. And I realized that the month really doesn’t carry any meaning anymore. There are no protests for equal rights anymore. There’s a black president, and lots of black people on TV and in sports and entertainment. People can stay in the same hotels now. There’s interracial marriage without mass protests. Goodness, in some communities people are actually trying to segregate schools now to save money (idiot move, North Carolina).

In other words, the differences are still there, but people just don’t really care anymore. I realized that, in some way, I can only state my piece and go with my opinion on things, but it’s probably an old opinion. I’m asked by younger people “Why can’t you just be yourself totally in public and forget what other people might say.” I say because I remember being the “only” enough times when I was younger and knew that I had to “represent”. I then say because even today I’m often the “only”, and I still have to represent. It’s important enough to me, if not them; that’s a shame. But it proves my point; if young black people don’t care, then I’m not going to force it upon them, nor upon anyone else. I’ll state my piece when I’m in the mood, and then I’ll move on.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to shake things up from time to time. It also doesn’t mean I don’t still want some things to occur. So, in that vein, I present the video below. Elon James White is funny and on the ball and calls it straight. And for once he put out an entire video without saying any bad words, although, well, you just can’t account for the shirt. So, Happy Black History Month; this is all I’ve got for now:

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