What does a white person “act like?” I’ve got an idea; let’s go to a trailer park somewhere in south Mississippi and spend some time with the white people there. Then, let’s head to midtown Manhattan [where people pay $15 million for an apartment] and spend some time with the white people there. Then you tell me what exactly does a “white person act like”?
I personally find little in life more amusing than people who believe themselves to be issuing an insult when in fact they are doing the exact opposite. As a black conservative examples of such ignorant lunacy populate my inbox on a regular basis but a few weeks ago I received an email which simply must be exploited. A foolish individual thought he was insulting me by calling me “Carlton.” What the fool doesn’t realize is : We need MORE Carltons
At the end of his hate-filled rant about “selling out my people” and other such themes the emailer -in snide fashion- called me “Carlton”; a reference to the fictional cousin to Will Smith played brilliantly by Alfonso Ribeiro on the 1990’s situation comedy, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Along with many others this emailer viewed Carlton as somehow ‘not being black’ because he does not ‘act black.’ There are many things such people do not realize.
First of all it is patently racist to have expectations of behavior from people based solely upon skin color. I am black, Carlton Banks is black, thugs in prison are black, Denzel Washington is black, there are black homosexuals, Harley gang members, Army Rangers, chefs, flight attendants, drug sellers, realtors, and priests. The belief that a person who is black is supposed to act a certain way or more accurately, not act a certain way, is pre-judging which makes a person prejudiced, (that’s why they call it that.) Carlton, Allen West, Mia Love, Ben Carson, James Golden, Star Parker and I do not have to behave in a certain way, speak with a certain dialect, live in a specific neighborhood or do any of the things racists like this emailer believes we ought to in order to “prove” our blackness. As Carlton’s character once told a “real brutha” on an episode, “Black isn’t something I have to try to be; it’s what I am.”
I wish to heaven that far MORE young black men more closely resembled Carlton Banks. He was a role model we all should strive for and seek to mold our young black males after; much more so than Kanye, Snoop Dog, 50Cent or any of the other vulgarity-spewing media cretins whom many seem to assume we should act like. Carlton Banks was a straight-A student at a very challenging (though, of course, fictitious) private school (Bel-Air Academy). He was involved in student government, various clubs and activities and ultimately was accepted to study law at Princeton University. He was the product of a loving household. The son of a two-parent family–parents who married and stayed together at least until his adulthood. This fact alone placed him light-years ahead of millions of other young black men in this nation.
Carlton’s parents were able to afford to send him, his siblings and Will to an exclusive private school, (not unlike Sidwell Friends School, the exclusive private school the Obamas send their children to and to which many poor black families in the D.C. area were able to send their children–right up until President Obama ended the program which granted them that ability). They then were able to send Carlton on to Princeton because they were both educated, articulate, hard-working, successful professionals. His father was a lawyer and partner in a thriving law firm when he ran for public office and won a judgeship. His positions which not only provided his family a healthy income but elevated him to the status of one of the most respected members of his community. Carlton’s mother was likewise an educated professional having been a professor who earned her Ph.D.
The family lived in a million-dollar home in a million-dollar neighborhood, were able to take family vacations the world over, dine in fine restaurants, drive luxury European sedans. Apparently they’d done a good job of managing money, preparing for their futures and raising a family of five children into whom they placed principles, values, moral compasses and whom they instructed with love and necessary discipline.
To many this is not “acting black.” Well, that’s the problem, …it should be “acting black!” To the best of our knowledge Carlton did not do drugs, shop lift, drink alcohol, whore around, smoke cigarettes nor run with a crowd that did. Outside of a few instances of expressing poor teenage judgment, as we all did, Carlton was an upstanding member of his school and community. The chances of Carlton having to check in with his parole officer while in-and-out of prison on a regular basis; impregnating multiple women then not sticking around to raise his children; wiling away in menial minimum-wage jobs well into his middle-age years are virtually non-existent.
So while Carlton may not have roamed the streets at all hours of the night with his hood rat buddies, dropped out of school, sold weed and ran afoul of the law the way (mostly liberals) seem to think a “real” black kid ought to, that doesn’t make him “less black.” The problem here isn’t Carlton or me, the problem is this emailer’s thinking. Not me and mine. Without realizing it, he’s placing shackles on blacks. Calling successful blacks names — black-Americans who are able to obtain an education, achieve financial freedom, travel, to live the lives we choose to live is saying to other aspiring blacks, “Don’t become like that.” Excuse me?
Don’t become like Phillip and Carlton Banks? Wrong. Become like them, as fast as you can. If you ask me, we need about five million more Carltons in the black community.