Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The night was glare, the moon was yellow, and the leaves came tumbling down. Quantum banter relinquished it's liberally greased floors to silence. Like the toes of the Wicked Witch of The West - retentively coiled upon losing their ruby red glass slippers - the appendages of the black blogsphere relaxed it's pointed index fingers to a slightly paused position.

While the brakes were applied to the inner drums of gossip, sport and play, Langston Hughes spoke on The Ways of White Folks.  

"Like his most famous poems, Hughes's stories are messages from that other America, sharply etched vignettes of its daily life, cruelly accurate portrayals of black people colliding -- sometimes humorously, more ofteh tragically -- with whites".

I loved the brilliance of Langston Hughes. His artful way of showing people their evil ways - without yelling at them, or calling them enigmatic names - was a stroke of genius. And apparently someone agrees.

"Within the range of these stories there is humor, pathos, terror, and satire. I suspect that Langston Hughes is revealing here that mysterious quality that we call genius." -- Horace Gregory

I am left to wonder if the quasi polyglot-ism of the black blogspere is attacking racism and politics with the same genius of Langston Hughes? Well, I don't have a Cadillac with a sunroof top and diamond in the back, so I can't cruise the scene in my gangster lean, but I do read the musings of many.

But wait, before I bridge the gap between the ridiculous and the sub-lime, I believe it's of utmost importance that I qualify my opinion. See, I am a black cat man. In such, I had nine lives. However, as the world turned it's turbulent winds upon me, I am now down to one.  Age and bumps upside my head has forced me to  exchanged my youthfully proud ignorance, for a slight semblance of wisdom. I am not a black Aristotle, nor a chocolate pupil of Socrates, who by the way, despite his foundational place in the history of ideas, actually wrote nothing,  I am just a black man in America that has been  places - physically and mentally - that I no longer wish to return.

In reference to the black blogspere standing down, I have traveled many roads less-traveled. And in doing so, I've noticed  a few things.  Well, take for instance a misguided purse snatching thief.  When he grabs his bounty with the speed of a cheetah, forcing his victim to shouts "stop thief, get back here you slime ball,  you freakin' fool", those words do not to stop the thief. In fact, he speeds-up his escape. Even though the thief may not believe he's a slime ball, he know he's a thief, so calling him one is not going to stop his dastardly deeds. He has a job to do and he could care less about vengeful name calling. Especially those directed at him.

In walks the racist and the do-or-die bigot. It's highly predictable, and historically true, that directing the aforementioned titles  (racist, prick, bigot, etc.) at our white neighbors is not going to stop their assaults. Racist and bigot know who they are, so they don't need me or anyone else to remind them. Why should I waste my time trying to get them to defend the indefensible?

It's been my observation and experience that when a mirror is raised in front of a racist, he might blink, but he will look at the refection, cock his head, and then comb his hair. He will get ready for the next show.

Consequently, I wonder what would happen if the black blogsphere took one big collective deep breathe and agreed to stand down, for a short period, on commentary concerning the evil persona of some white people? I've heard it said that if a person talks to a fool (too long), there will soon be two fools talking.

The day the black blogsphere stands down (for a moment) will be a marvelous day. I believe there will be serendipitous reward from that journey that's seldom seen. 

I am reminded of a gentlemen that was leading a group of men on a journey across a large body of water. A storm arose which ushered in doubt and fear among some of the disciples. Mighty words were then spoken... "PEACE BE STILL!".

Since "peace" is already still, the words were not being directed at the ravaging waves and high winds, the words were telling "peace" not to interfere with the process of his followers going through a doubtful period. That period of fear, danger and a dwindling faith was needed to see what was on the other side. They needed to feel their fear, or give-in to their doubts.

The world around me is taking it's time making significant positive changes. I think it's wise to stop, look, and listen. Besides, what some people are, speaks so loudly, we don't need to hear what they say. So why bother?

Addendum: In the comment section, my young friend Mark 224, from Detroit, asked the following question: "I wonder why Richard Wright does not get the pub that Langston Hughes does, or at least is not considered among the canon of great African American writers? I don't know, I am just sayin' cause every body talks about Langston when they talk about great blacks. Richard gets a short shrift, IMO, as does Paul Robeson"

After reading his question, I believe it's a perfect time to stretch out my original post. First, Richard Wright and Langston Hughes had distinctly different writing styles, which lead me to highlight Mr. Hughes. Plus, Langston Hughes's body of work dwarfs that of Richard Wright. Hughes wrote poetry, short stories, an autobiography, song lyrics, essays, humor, and plays. The Langston Hughes Reader is a very good compilation of his work.

Yet, more importantly, although my friend believes Richard Wright is receiving a short shaft, that's not true. In many literary circles, Richard Wright receives his just dues. Again, Hughes's and Wright's writing styles were markedly different. Wright's "voice" was fiery, and he participated in communist affairs. Also, some of his pieces were considered offensive or contained too much violence and sex. On the other hand, I choose Hughes because although both men works had racial themes, Hughes's writings "showed" their oppressors in a style that didn't beg for immediate rejection. As I tried to illustrate in my post, when a racist, bigot, or any type of evildoer is vehemently attacked, they have a tendency to return that attack as apposed to listening for the real message.

If a person takes the time to read the works of Langston Hughes, they will find messages that are absent of rants and unrelenting finger pointing. And, why I tipped my hat to him.

I can't help but believe he knew certain powers could vilify the messenger and thus kill, or dismiss his writings, if he took a course similar to Richard Wright's. Richard Wright had to leave the US. He died in Paris at the young age of 52.

And, Paul Robeson was noted as an actor that DOES get his just accolades


uglyblackjohn said...


(Nothing to add tp this post - you said it all.)

Big Mark 243 said...

The was very deep my brother. I want to add my own twist, but why? I have a space of my own to do that!

I wonder why Richard Wright does not get the pub that Langston Hughes does, or at least is not considered among the canon of great African American writers? I don't know, I am just sayin' cause every body talks about Langston when they talk about great blacks. Richard gets a short shrift, IMO, as does Paul Robeson.

But that is me.

Mizrepresent said...

Very deep post Carey. And one with so much signifance. We can bury our heads in the sands or facefront our issues. Sometimes i must admit, i bury my head an i will tell you why. The wrongs of this world are so much more than i can handle, can cure, can often decipher. I believe in trusting in my faith and giving what i cannot handle to one who can handle. I have let go and let live and Let God because when i don't i am overwhelmed with evil, bitterness, and some other malform of injustice i really don't care to deal with. My own little world suffers with the same an i work my best to stay in my faith and beliefs. I really don't have much to offer with regards to bloggers and their opininons or not...of what is going on in this world or our president. But i what i do have to say is, we don't have a lotta time to get it right. And our immediate dilemna is not dependent on our president or the government. It is dependent on us. We will decide our fate. And if we keep moving in the direction we are going then we will surely be the end to the END.

CareyCarey said...

Miz, I was going to stay away from this comment section until it "breathed" a little but your comment spoke to me.

I believe you found a few diamonds in this rough-draft. Although I used bloggers as my "audience" (because bloggers read blogs)I was saying just what you said(politics is really not my thang). Having said that, "I" "we" "you" can talk about various issues but the work begins at home. Also (I believe you caught this) at the end of the piece, I mentioned a passage from a book. Your comments seemed to understand what I was trying to say.

If we keep doing what we are doing (even on a personal level) we will get what we've always got. I agree, the end is always near. Even if we are only talking about our own personal cooling board.

It's my opinion, and belief, that sometimes, we all just need to stand down and listen for the right messages.

Big Mark 243 said...

Touche CareyCarey. It is more that Langston Hughes always takes me back to high school and having to listen to oral report after oral report about Langston... then going to a HBCU and hearing only about Langston...

I know that Richard was a firebrand and the paradox of his life tortured him. It is prolly more of a personal thing, since one of the few literary works that I personally identify with (with 'The Divine Comedy' and Golgol's 'Diary of a Madman)is Wright's woebegone Cross Damon in his novel, 'The Outsider'.

And I truly wish that I didn't.

Big Mark 243 said...

Oh, and Mizrepresent could DEFINITELY represent me!! LOL!!

Really, that is an attractive picture she has there!

CareyCarey said...

Now Big Bad Mark, you can't be coming up in here hitting on the women *lol*. but I agree Miz is an attractive woman.

"takes me back to high school and having to listen to oral report after oral report about Langston... then going to a HBCU and hearing only about Langston..."

I certainly know what you mean. That's why I added my little Addendum.

Your last comment also took me to another place. When I finally heard Langston's recorded voice (I was into this driving while listening to books thang) I was somewhat taken aback. Well, his voice is not that of Berry White. It's more like Betty White.

Oh, lets not get started on HBCU's. We should probably do that behind closed doors. I mean, there's so much (can I say) "negative" ground to cover.