The Next 5 Q&A

The Next 5 PNGLast time out, On My Mind Today answered the five most frequently asked questions posed to this blog. This time, we take a look at the rest of the top ten questions that are frequently asked. Yes, it’s the next 5, top questions six through ten, here in this installment. Warning: Number 7 is not for the easily offended! Here we go…

6: You use “I” and “we” interchangeably sometimes. Why is that?

The voices… they speak to me… they tell me I’m not alone… and I’m not! Although I write this blog, I can only do so with the understanding of my loving and very patient wife. She is always willing to lend herself for proofreading and as a sounding board, plus she helps—greatly—in keeping distractions to a minimum so I can write. I may be driving, but she is definitely in the passenger seat with a GPS map in hand and a supportive smile on her face.

7: You’re allegedly black. Why don’t you sound like a black person?

The manner in which I communicate is an often-repeated complaint some people have against me. “I don’t sound black,” they say. Well, does Oprah Winfrey “sound black”? Does Neil deGrasse Tyson? Ben Carson? Danny Glover? Barack Obama? Herman Cain? Avery Brooks? James Earl Jones? Allen West? Robert F. Smith? Morgan Freeman? Condoleeza Rice? So, what is “sounding black” supposed to mean? Is it to speak English in the broken and often deferential manner that was demanded of powerless blacks in the antebellum south and which became widespread when over 6 million blacks later flooded north in the Great Migration? If so, then I’m happy to disappoint those who expect that of me.

It’s bad enough that our society leverages race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion as the lenses through which every human being is assessed. I won’t assist in the continuation of that unfair practice by allowing others to use a single aspect of my being to define the whole of my existence. Yes, I’m black. I’m black and I have a clean police record. I’m black and I have a college degree. I’m black and I have decades within the IT field in positions that include management. I’m black and I have no devotion to any particular political party or religion. I’m black and I had both my mother and my father in my life. I’m black and I have a solid, middle-class family background. I’m black and I have sufficient command of the English language to avoid common pitfalls. Let’s see our often judgmental society assess this black man.

Should it somehow be strange to read that I grew up in a classic nuclear family and that we had a house, a yard, and a family car? Should it be disconcerting to know that I’m free of overt political and religious affiliation, that I had a good education and decent jobs, and I have no criminal history? Unfortunately, my possession of such typical American traits is absolutely troubling to some who see the downtrodden world of Sanford and Son as a better reflection of black American existence than the upbeat presentation of My Wife and Kids, and it was particularly bothersome to a female TV executive I met years ago.

Possessed of a rosy complexion and an athletic frame, the TV executive was certainly no older than 35 years of age, with straight black hair that cascaded about her toned shoulders, deep-set blue eyes, a rail-thin nose, and a mouth that was framed more by a thick application of pastel lipstick than the presence of her actual lips. After speaking to her for a few minutes at a business function and realizing that her conversation largely consisted of validating network polling results, I saw that she was truly shocked to learn that I neither viewed nor approved of the violent “urban fare” offered by her network. What followed next was eye-opening.

The executive rattled off a damning litany of stereotype-filled “urban” sitcoms and “urban” action shows, none of which I watched. As time went on and our discussion continued, she sank deeper and deeper into a sea of confusion as I further explained my background. Bewildered, she stated that networks don’t account for “my type of black person” and she wondered why I was unlike “the rest.” I responded by telling her that the issue isn’t with any individual, but with her perception of a monolithic black society and her corresponding expectation of results in keeping with an imagined racial uniformity. That expectation of sameness is echoed by those who continue to wonder why I don’t “sound black.” Well, if the above fails to clarify why I reject substandard self-expression, then nothing will.

8: Is writing just a hobby or is it something you do for a living?

Yes and yes. Blogging is my hobby and Technical Writing is my trade. The two are entirely different forms of written communication. If anything, blogging is a welcome escape from the frequent rigidity that comes with much of technical writing. I am free to let my mind wander here in these pages, but at work, my mind can only wander as far as it takes to accomplish a given task. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to branch out into other fields at work, and those branches include a lot of design work with many opportunities for creative expression.

9: What is the posting schedule for this blog?

I try to have a new article posted no later than every Saturday night. This means that Sunday is normally a good day to check for a new blog entry. Please note that if you subscribe to this blog, you’ll receive notifications of new posts and eliminate all uncertainty. Please subscribe if you haven’t already done so. Thank you.

10: Are you ever going to monetize this blog?

I may do so in the coming weeks, though nothing is definite. No matter what I do, this blog will remain free to read. (Finally! A short answer from me!)

There you go! Another five questions up, another five answers provided! I hope I answered your questions here or in my earlier post. If not, then let me know in the comments section below.

Thanks again for your support!

-Keith V.


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