For those of you with lives that have less purpose than a condom at a Digimon-themed orgy at Charlie Sheen's house, you may not have stumbled onto the fertile soil that is 'Black People's Words For Describing Other Black People.' I can understand if the prospect of wading into the shea butter scented void of Black Twitter/Love and Hip Hop Recapping vernacular would give you pause. In an attempt to assuage a bit of anxiety, allow me to suggest an approach. Try listening to your favorite podcast that happens to feature a welcome perspective from your, admittedly, favorite negro. Get your mind in the appropriate headspace and get back to me when you've finished.
You finished yet? Cause Scandal's about to come on, and this week someone finally decided to stage an intervention for Liv considering that she drinks enough wine to sedate several fat koalas and-
Oh. You're done. Alright, then.
An entire show built around the facial expression "Fuck you, mom! I can stop when I want to!"
Allow me to begin this with a word of warning. The culture can sometimes be denser than a Herman Melville novel eating three-day-old cornbread. I won't delve into the intricacies of it all because, honestly, it's like detangling Haitian dreads. It'll take all day and three-quarters of the next if you let it.
However, even in the blackest of Webster's Dictionary side projects, there exists a word that describes a particular person that carries all the appealing qualities of an Adam Sandler movie that requires you lay flat on an unconfortably moist mattress for a duration no shorter than 90 seconds to obtain entry. That fuckshit word of the day, boys, and girls.....
Like this, but black and with waaayyy too many opinions about that bacon cheeseburger you're eating.
I imagine that the uninitiated are most likely filled with legitimate questions about what that word is, but may be hesitant to speak up not unlike reciting Biggie lyrics at a BLM open forum. It's okay. If it weren't for people asking questions, then the world would still think Iggy Azalea is a viable choice for a satisfying foray in contemporary hip hop.
Hotep, by its original context and definition, is Egyptian for 'at peace.' Which, in and of itself, is fine but it's the shrewd co-opting by way of over-zealous, afro-centric diehards that dare to put blackness on a quantifiable metric while somehow autocratically electing themselves arbiters of modern-day niggerdom that proves problematic.
Not surprisingly, I take several fuckloads of umbrage when it comes to this generic-brand, uncle who converted to Islam while serving a bid approved fuckery.
"Yeah, I callously murdered an elderly woman and illegally downloaded a major studio movie all within a 30 minute period but, person who doesn't have to reasonably expect to rape and/or be raped in the rec room, let me tell you how to live YOUR life."
Now at this time, you may be wondering, "Why, disembodied black-identifying voice, would a person who seems to totally abhor the social conditioning placed upon generations of African-Americans take it upon themselves to denigrate the identity of those very same African-Americans?" And to that so eloquently posed question, I would answer "Why am I suddenly responsible for diagnosing the motivations of stupidity and stupidity-inclined people?"
For all the misrepresentation of their actions and reframing of the pathology as if it wearing the Target-brand push-up bra of Black Empowerment, I promise you that the gravity of all its self-aggrandizement and unwarranted arrogance weighs down the saggy heaps of stark reality and lays it bare for what it really is.
Despite the objectively colorful reference above, Hoteps and hotep-like behavior is often the realm of men. And in particular, the kind of men who may empathize on a spiritual level with habitual mansplainers but unfortunately do not possess the entitlement/whiteness necessary to deliver a penis sponsored sermon from the depths of their cavernous asshole with the necessary little to no self-awareness. So, using the only card available to them, they couch their condescension in blackness and the facade of empowerment.
It's that sleight of bland that may slip by your usually sharply calibrated fuckboi radar thereby taking you more than a moment to identify it for what it is. Much like the theoretical concept of evil and genital-related diseases, this can come in many different forms and can be spread with ease. Such as but not limited to:
- Berating black women for straightening or chemically relaxing their hair.
- Shaming black people for rightfully dragging hilariously misguided beauty products primarily aimed at the black community while the offended party may consume products from white-owned businesses.
- Some kind of vague distrust bordering on dangerous nativist rhetoric aimed at Koreans in predominately black neighborhoods.
- A particular affinity towards conspiracy theories that mainly revolve around the success or lack thereof of black celebrities and the inner workings of the mythological Illuminati conglomerate. An organization with hands in every corner of the global market, orchestrator of countless assassinations, and all around specter of global totalitarianism but can somehow have its entire 3rd quarter strategy disseminated and exposed by a nigga with the screen name of 100itRackz in a 6 minute YouTube rant.
- A fascinating blend of misogynistic hyperbole intermixed with subtle undertones of colorism and blatant homophobia. Like, the kind of homophobia that leaves you in a state of awe before you can even begin to feel anything else. Like if someone told you that Soulja Boy dumped Rosario Dawson before immediately donating 3 million dollars to the Republican Congressional caucus. Like, wow.
- An almost religious-like compulsion to proselytize like Martin Luther King, except if MLK subscribed to toxic masculinity culture and exclusively wore the overly-aromatic scented oil sold outside of every MARTA station in Metro Atlanta. If you ever wanted to find out your about your likes, dislikes, faults, which way you tend to lean when you fart, and other personal information from a complete stranger than this ignorantly presumptuous hotep will be glad to tell you.
Also guaranteed to ruin every Juneteenth party and Backyard BBQ. Do you see? Do you see how dangerous this person can be?
If I'm presenting this ethos as some sort of campy quirk that some black men have then I genuinely apologize because we are squarely in the middle of DEFCON FUCK when it comes to the shit-rippling reverberations this toxic sense of respectability politics have on those who don't/can't recognize the fuckshit jambalaya for what it is. It leaves those basing their ethnic identity on who or what they associate with, even what you may wear, instead of what that identity means for them personally because blackness is not a monolith. It comes in various different forms for various different people. It turns Afro-centricity into a unit of measurement instead of a rich history and culture with indelible fingerprints throughout most of the modern world.
But worst of all, it reframes my blackness as something that, if I work really hard and attend every one of their open mic nights featuring poetry so shitty it wouldn't even make the fan mail section of a Highlights magazine with content exclusively provided by terminally sick kids, I just may level up and be a legitimate negro.
How thoughtful of you.
This publication could give a 'tragically non-responsive to the chemo treatment'-laden fuck about you and your shit poetry, bruh.
My blackness ain't an achievement to unlock, fam. I pay that mortgage every fucking day, so you had better reevaluate some shit before you school me about me.