By- DeoVonte “Deo” Means
At this point, I’m sure everyone has seen the horrifically appalling videos of the senseless violence that took place in Atlanta during their 2016 Pride celebration. I’m also almost positive that as more people make it home and recuperate from the festivities, perhaps a few more clips will become public. Shockingly, I don’t blame Atlanta at all! I place the blame squarely at the foot of us as a community. I have a very Malcom X opinion of the situation. The is just the “chickens coming home to roost.” See, as a whole, we have transitioned from a community known and built on the fundamentals of adults being sophisticated, polished, upwardly mobile and sexy; to a community that places prime value on men whom can most effectively emulate and portray what most of the world identify as “hood nigga” “ghetto” or “ratchet.” In fact, we somehow manipulate this portrayal into being a distorted definition of the perfect example of masculinity or realness. If you analyze your local night clubs, house/family meetings, social media or even dating apps; these are the exact men that are most sought after or glamorized in our community. Meanwhile, men with a mind, intelligence, goals, ambition and life accomplishments are viewed as third or fourth choices, if that at all. Considering we all want to be desired and reach the highest pinnacle of admiration in our community, this factor alone teaches the younger generation at an early age that in this quest it’s more profitable to take the “hood nigga-ratchet” route than the sophisticated/classy route. In 2016, a man can be broke, unable to afford minor luxuries such as a pack of cigarettes, unemployed, no bus-fare and unable to construct ONE full sentence without at least TWO misspelled words; yet if he projects the image of a hood nigga, put on a fitted hat and show a lil booty, he will QUICKLY become one of the most desirables within his local community while accumulating a massive following of others that lust after and idolize him.
Well see, you can’t endorse the image of a hood nigga but expect this same man to act classy or grown & sexy in challenging situations. That’s not how this works! Hood niggaz tend to be the product of extreme poverty, low education, limited opportunity and no exposure to the real world. Therefore, they are volatile, aggressive, conniving, thieves, bullies and take pleasure in causing damage and inflicting pain at others expense. They have no concept of conflict resolution. In fact, they lust after conflicts so they can terrorize their victims in situations whereas most time the victim is outnumbered or over powered. Then they run back to their circles and social media and gloat about it. Ratchets have no understanding of appropriateness. In fact they operate on a mindset of “anytime, anyplace, we can get it cracking!” Hood niggaz have nothing to live for and nothing to lose, so they don’t ponder future repercussions of their present actions. Seriously and permanently injuring someone or going to jail never crosses their mind. Hood niggaz fundamentally feel as if they were dealt a bad hand and society as a whole has conspired to hold them down, so they operate on a mentality of “it’s all about me”. They don’t think about how their actions can affect those around them and the community at large. The innocent gas station attendant that was punched in the neck could be a future vote that the community needs to pass legislation to benefit our causes. The night club in which the two young men were dragged across the parking lot by the hair could very well have their licenses suspended if lawsuits are pursued. The hotel room that was destroyed in another altercation could’ve served as a host lodging spot for future festivities. More importantly, in ANY of the many violent incidents that occurred, someone could’ve been seriously injured! But ratchets don’t take things like that into consideration. Sadly, as we gain more acceptance and civil rights as a community, we are becoming more divided as a community. The ratchets are like a pack wild of Tasmanian devils. Once that fuse is lit, they spin off brazenly and uncontrollably causing unspeakable and horrific damage which they gloat about. The grown and sexy- regardless of socio or economic standing- just don’t wanna deal with that or take that risk. So they party in their small circles or stay at home and wait the next day for the latest report on the ratchet induced antics that caused the community to collective gag the previous night.
To be fair, each generation has it’s “stain”. My generation will always have to deal with the scourge of “crafting”, but those kids didn’t craft to be ratchet and ghetto. They took that risk out of a desire to be fab and live a sophisticated lifestyle which the world at that time refused to grant them access to. My point is, just because you were born in the hood doesn’t mean you were preordained to stay in the hood and embrace that mindset. The game was always played to GET OUT of the hood! We gotta stop associating ratchet behavior with masculinity and begin to seek those men and women in our community that are carrying themselves as upwardly mobile adults. In 2016, it’s too much opportunity out here for a man to choose ratchetness as a lifestyle. The world is watching us. Celebrities are watching us for the latest trends. Our lingo and culture is being studied and disseminated into pop culture as the next big thing; yet we decided to glamorize dragging people across parking lots, tearing up hotel room and assaulting innocent people? And for what? If something don’t change, there will be no Pride or clubs in the next five years. It’s utterly preposterous that there are people within our circles that finally have the disposable income to actively support our events and take them to the next level, yet they’ve decided to withdraw from the scene because they don’t wanna deal with the ratchedness! It’s even more embarrassing that promoters are increasingly finding it impossible to rent venues because owners find it MORE of a risk and liability to rent to an urban LGBT crowd than an urban straight black crowd! Point blank, yall are becoming known for tearing shit up and acting a fool! Nothing is going to change until the friends, dates, mothers/fathers, mentors, sex partners and social media followers begin to be vocal and let these hoodlums know not only is it not cute but you will no longer associate with them until their behavior and mindset change. Many of you changed your profile pic and bewailed “We stand with Orlando” during the tragedy. But I read comments in the videos posted and some of these same people not only glorifying, but flirting with those responsible for the violence this past weekend. That’s sick! It’s nothing cute or attractive about a grown man running around bashing people. Some of you may not agree with my views, but we all have to agree it’s a sad day when you can’t go to a urban gay club without seriously contemplating the risk of returning home battered, broken, bloody and bruised…..Now that’s a fool!… Best Regards…Deo