Any time you meet a payment.
Any time you need a friend.
Any time you’re out from under.
Not getting hastled, not getting hustled.
Keepin’ your head above water,
Making a wave when you can.
Temporary lay offs.
Easy credit rip offs.
Scratchin’ and surviving.
Hangin in a chow line
Ain’t we lucky we got ’em
Even though I don’t get any Amens on this, anyone who’s been around me recently has heard me mention that this has unofficially become the theme song for far too many African Americans in this country. We are living small paycheck to paycheck scraping together life savings to “meet a payment” and trying our best to keep from “getting hastled and hustled.” Our entire lives we’ve been trying to stay afloat, “keeping our head above water” and trying to make some noise and some “waves” as we silently drown into the sea of forgetfulness.
We have been forgotten by the larger society, those of the First America, while we ourselves operate in a Second America, one where we live our lives counter-distinctive to what we tell ourselves: we operate by LYING to ourselves. Usually who are those first to get laid-off at the plants? The line workers and the company tells the employees that its “temporary lay-offs” but that’s okay, this is still Good Times. Even though its black people who suffer the hardest from “credit rip offs” that’s okay, its still Good Times. As we stand here “scratchin and survivin’” even in this new millennium, its okay because this is still Good Times. Even though every Sunday as I drive from church down Auburn Avenue I see most black people “hangin’ in the chow lines” that’s no problem, because this is still Good Times. And dammit! “ain’t we lucky we got em? Good TIMES!”
I hope that this resounds with someone who is black on the first day of Black History Month 2008. Take some pride in what you do and be happy with who you are. Don’t allow the dominant consciousness to dictate how you want to think. So in the words of the now 20 year old cult classic School Daze I admonish you to “WAKE UP!”
Peace, power and love, keep it uppity, JLL