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Before y’all start throwing punches, I must clarify that my exposure to this topic came from within the HB user community. In a recent post about the term ‘interracial,’ one user asked us why HB wasn’t tackling some of the hard issues?

In many regards the questions posed were simply strong conversation starters, with no clear cut, unique answer. To begin with, let’s take the first question presented by the user:

“Why is it Acceptable for Young Men of Color to Emulate Prison Fashions By Exposing Their A***s to Ourselves and our Children?”

My personal interpretation is that the issue is not the prison fashions themselves, rather that any male role model other than a “rapper” is consistently put in question for all the wrong reasons.

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For example:

CRITICISM: “Is President Obama Black?”


CRITICISM: “Obama’s making so many mistakes and everyone is doubting him so he’s not the most ideal role model.”

RESPONSE: YES, HE IS. You’re children probably have no idea about fiscal policy or Sino-American relations so don’t let Fox News or any other negativity detract from the fact that a family-orientated man, who has a healthy relationship with his wife and daughters, a 4-year contract and nice White House (excuse the pun), is on television everyday reminding us how far a black man can get in this world.

CRITICISM: “Will Smith and all those other Hollywood big names are trying too hard to be white and that’s not right for my child.”

RESPONSE: The world is what it is. Asian people, Hispanics, Middle Easterners and every race on earth do (and have every right to) wear suits, go to glamorous events and sip Martinis just like Hollywood’s black stars. The fact that more white people go to these events and wear suits reflects the fact that there is a disproportionate concentration of wealth in America because of socio-economic factors and our history. In order for this to change, there needs to be less focus placed on what is “White” and more criticism placed on self-victimization, in which the people who make these criticisms of the “suited black man” stop acting like the perpetual victim, getting hated on from birth ’til death. Yes, there is discrimination in this world and you, like every other minority group that suffers from it, have the power to allow it to destroy you or, by contrast, give you the fuel to overcome adversity and prove the “haters” wrong.

‘Making it big’ doesn’t necessarily have to involve what these Hollywood stars are doing, but their drive, self respect and motivation to succeed is relevant in all aspects of life.

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Another issue that catches my attention in regard to the initial question is that “prison fashions” are some how meant to be unacceptable, when in reality we’re talking about the behaviors that accompany such fashions. Careful consideration should be placed on what music you allow your children to listen to, what movies you bring home and which television shows you watch in front of them, before getting the stage where you scratch your head and wonder why your child has his/her rear end exposed to the world.

Once again it comes down to who and what we criticize. Some of you may be aware that Lady Gaga has been causing parenting problems abroad with her ‘Monster Ball’ tour. Parents were taking their children to see the show and later complaining with a great degree of rage that their child was exposed to “things” he/she had never seen before. Well, I’m sorry but check yourself and take a look at some of her video clips to judge in advance whether it would be appropriate to take your child to that concert and expect them not to want to wrap their hair around a beer can or cover their naughty bits in police tape. The issue here is not Lady Gaga herself so please don’t start any meltdowns about a white girl being mentioned on HB. It’s about the extent to which you allow your children to be exposed to role models in the entertainment industry where these questionable trends or ‘prison fashions’ are most on display.

So I ask the inevitable question: What do you guys think?