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DubiousThoughts: Black History 2.0

Well, kids, it is that magical time yet again. A time where elementary school teachers assign that ubiquitous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech project, McDonalds airs it slew of ‘365Black’ campaign commercials and white people everywhere are left constantly on edge, making damn sure not to disturb the cosmos with the slightest mention of anything remotely offensive.

Yep, you guessed it! It’s finally Black History Month.

But there is something different about this one, my brothers and sisters. I don’t see any Kwanzaa-inspired streamers hanging from the rafters of various campus buildings. No commemorative drum circle chats at Marion Square held by the same five, grungy, dreadlocked white kids that seem to know more about Bob Marley’s smoking habits than the Rastafarian culture that molded him.

Instead, there is a silence. A dead, eerily calm silence. This same silence, oddly enough, speaks volumes and volumes to those who take the time to listen enough: Black History Month has become a relic. An ancient, often times, mythic occurrence.

This spells both good and/or bad news depending on which side of the fence you sit.

For blacks, this can be seen as a chance to breathe a heavy sigh of relief, because you will not longer have to sit idly by and watch the same three documentaries centered around those timeless ‘turning points’ in your history: the American Slave Trade, Fredrick Douglass and anybody that had something to do with the Civil Rights Movement.

Adversely, being on the cusp of electing the first biracial president into the White House, blacks will also have the daunting task of trying to blaze a new trail, so to speak. A new generation has been given new responsibilities, so now there has to be a new set of breakthroughs, pioneers and heroes that were going to have to foster as a people.

Otherwise, there won’t be much material for the good folks over at Mickey D’s to work with now will there?

I haven’t forgotten about you, my beautiful, white brothers and sisters. You guys have a great deal of work ahead of you as well.

First and foremost, you are going to have to get rid of every pre-packaged, spoon-fed and user-friendly version of our history that you may (or may not) have stored in the nether regions of your mind. And as much as you would like to contest with us, Vanilla Ice is not, nor will he ever be, one of the top 5 rappers of our time.

Instead, take a minute or two out of your day and talk to us. Who? Us. Not the ones that you see on BET and MTV, shaking their posteriors and yelling about how their jewelry costs enough to purchase a small country, (Albeit, this is a part of our overall history, but like the drunk uncle that constantly comes to the family dinners, we choose not to talk about this part much), but the ones who you see almost everyday on your way to class: your classmates!

We are your best resource for the most up-to-date news, events and history when it comes to forming the ‘new school’ edition of our black history. We are ultimately the ones who will be left in charge when our superiors become our ancestors. So why wouldn’t you want to jump at the chance to get a first-edition copy of the ‘new, black history’?

Look, the point I’m trying to get across here is that if we as a nation are going to come to the sound agreement to set aside 29 whole days to focus on the cultural obstacles and achievements of a entire race, we might as well work together to make it, well, good!

But in order for that to happen, we must first set aside the time to sit down and actually open up a line of communication between each other because, believe it or not, there are some things about black people that listening to the entire Tupac discography or watching the movie, ‘Separate, But Not Equal’, will not teach you about us.



DubiousPolitics: Man of the Hour

As much I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, there is a certain hysteria that came along with the inauguration of the newest (and probably blackest) president in our nation’s history, there’s no doubt about that.

Here is the moment of truth, though. The moment where the streamers stop flying, the confetti is swept up and Sheppard Fairey sulks his way back into the depths of covert, political propaganda. The moment where every man, woman and child will now have to step back and watch with rampant anticipation whether the ‘Last Scion’, er, ‘Great Hope’ (or whatever other nicknames we have adopted for him), can actually pull off one of the greatest comebacks in history since ’86 Mets in the World Series.

Of course, saying that President Obama is going to have his hands full is a gross understatement and should be taken for more than just a grain of salt. Between the perpetual ‘war zone’ that is the Gaza Strip and a crumbling world economy, the new president is going to have to do a little more than shake a few hands and make music videos with Will.i.am to take us off of this seemingly one-way ticket to oblivion.

It is a tough thing to ask of one person, but I feel that Obama was well aware of his job description before he filled out the application. That is not to say this feat has never been accomplished in our ‘eventful’ past as a free nation.

Enter: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or FDR, for those partial to brevity.

Delano, somewhat of a miser in his earlier days, was instrumental in pulling this country up by its bootstraps out of the economical muck that was the ‘Great Depression’. With the First and Second New Deals, Roosevelt was able to nearly quadruple the gross national product and all but dissolve the national unemployment rate before his death in office.

In regards to his foreign policy, there is no question that he made strides to form alliances with some of the most influential countries in the world; that, coupled with his military tact during World War II, caused Roosevelt to become one of the world’s most renowned political leaders.

Now, with such an impressive resume, Roosevelt would seem to be a tough act to follow.

Quite the contrary, though.

America is now going to have the difficult task of coming to grips with the fact that no matter how many collectors’ cups, personalized t-shirts and commemorative coins we sell in effigy to the new president, there is going to be a time where the president’s meddle is going to be tested sooner than later, and I hope that Obama has everything that it takes to turn this country around. Our reputation as a country is counting on it…



DubiousEndorses: iminlikewithyou.com

As the title of the site suggests, this is a place where people young and old (but mostly young), can come together to waste time at the office/school all the while kicking each others' butts at everything from 'Blockles', a flash-inspired version of 'Tetris', to 'Tracism' (sort of like a glorified 'Pac-Man').

A great, little site that is sure to keep you entertained for hours on end, iminlikewithyou.com is the perfect escape for those trying to dodge the daily grind.



Tech Review: Street Fighter IV

The newest addition to the long line of head-to-head fighting games from the Capcom studios, Street Fighter IV has stirred up a great deal of buzz over the past few months.

With the final product having been unveiled just recently at CES 2009, SF IV has all the promise of being the premiere arcade game of the year. Capcom, known for the Mega Man series as well as a slew of crossover fighting games, has pulled out all the stops by creating a 3-D masterpiece.

With home copies available for X-Box 360, Playstation 3 and Windows PC, there should be no problem finding someone with an available copy; and much like the multi-platform release of Soul Caliber IV, the platform you choose to buy the game for will determine the list of characters you will be able to play with.

The fighting style of the game is very reminiscent of SF: 3rd Strike with the ability to perform tech blocks and combos. But it is when you perform a character's Super/Ultra combo that the difference becomes clear:

Gameplay between Akuma and Gouken.

With crisp, Anime-style graphics, responsive gameplay, and classicly recognizable controls at your fingertips, SF IV is definitely a gem you'll need to add to your collection.


DubiousRant: Obama is Black?

There is this nagging feeling that I’ve had in the back of my head for the past few days. Coincidentally enough, this feeling came about around the same time as the country elected its first president of African descent.

Amidst all the applause, laughter, tears, expletives and fist pumps, I felt like there was something brewing inside the president-elect’s head as well. I could not quite put my finger on it until the day after the election results were announced, and it was with this announcement that the floodgates suddenly opened.

It seemed as though everyone with a MySpace page or witless Facebook status raced to their keyboard, frantic with excitement, clicking and clacking away to profess their excitement (and sometimes rage) concerning America’s decision.

The comments ranged from, “OBAMA 2008! WE DID IT!” and “Obama.Obama.Obama.Obama” to “Great! Now I have to move to Canada! Smart choice, America!” and my personal favorite: “I don’t want a nigger president!”

But these comments and status changes did not bother me nearly as much as the slew of race-baiting word vomits that spewed from many members of the black community. Comments such as, “My president is BLACK! Take that!” and “Our people are now triumphant! We are not the minority anymore!” to yet another personal favorite: “Yup! I DO want a nigga president! LOL!!!”

Now, far be it from me to play devil’s advocate, because it is nearly impossible for even the most rational of human beings to truly consider the “other side,” but I felt it was a bit hasty and ill-advised to make such inflammatory claims concerning such a high-profile public official. This is mainly because with every “my-president-is-black” statement made, the cogs in the self-balancing machine turn faster and faster all the while shifting the weight in a very unbalanced way.

For example, people tend to forget that president-elect Barack Obama came from very humble beginnings and lived a very multi-faceted (and multi-racial) life. The son of a Nigerian father and white mother, Obama is considered a bi-racial individual.

All considerations aside, there is nothing conditional at all about his ethnicity. Technically, one could use the age-tested “One Drop” rule…if it was 1895 and America was still locked in the crushing grip of the Jim Crow laws.

Fortunately, for me especially, this is not 1895, and the idea of “claiming” a candidate because their African father just so happened to have relations with a white woman and conceive demonstrates the kind of ignorance that is usually reserved for those who don those fashionable white robes with the matching hoods.

It almost makes me wonder, if Barack Obama lost the election, would those same folks who were so adamant about choosing sides in the beginning still have the same political and ethnic fervor? For some reason, I feel that a lot more focus would have been placed on his “whiter” attributes if the tables were turned.

Essentially, what I’m trying to get at is the fact that it is rather counterproductive to discuss how electing a candidate like Barack Obama would be beneficial to the unification of the country on one hand, but then on the other hand attempt to explain to friends and family how you voted strictly for his “black side” at the polls.

Not only are you doing yourself a disservice by completely denying an integral portion of the president-elect’s character, political know-how and diverse life experiences that helped get him to where he is now, moreover, you run the risk of being pegged a racist. (Yes, individuals from other races can be racists, too. It’s crazy, I know).

Instead, be happy about the idea that the majority of this country’s inhabitants came together in an act of selfless social responsibility and voted. Not for a candidate that has a white mother but demonstrates dominant African traits, but more so for a candidate that is the physical embodiment of everything that our ancestors—whether white, black or in between—fought for: a united front that is concerned with the betterment of the country as a whole.