Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree
I don’t want my descendants to have to ask who was ‘Poppie,’ and what was he like. I want them to be able to see my world through my eyes. I also want them to see my reaction to it. That way they won't have to speculate about who I am. I want them to know me, warts and all, so they’ll have a better understanding of who they are. So I've decided they need more than just sterile opinions. They need a frame of reference that will give them some perspective into the well from which my opinions are drawn.
And since I’m both a musician and a poet, naturally, music and poetry are a big part of my life. So I use both mediums to define myself, just like a person with a Ph.D. uses the letters behind his or her name to define who they are. I wish I could simply put Uh.R (Unrepentant hood rat) behind my name, but it would be such an uncommon convention that no one would get my meaning.
But if I could, that’s exactly what I’d put behind my name, because that’s exactly who I am. Many take issue with my defining myself in that manner, but I wear the education that I’ve gained through surviving the adversity of the Black experience with the same kind of pride that any Harvard, Yale, or Columbia graduate place in their backgrounds. In fact, I take much more pride in it.
The degree that I managed to obtain through my “formal” education was theoretical at best. I simply received a receipt attesting to the fact that I was warming a chair in an environment where psychology was discussed. It says absolutely nothing about whether or not I absorbed any of that knowledge in a meaningful way. Otherwise, with all the receipts being handed out across this country every year we'd be in much better shape as a nation. George W. Bush managed to obtain a receipt from Yale. That alone should speak volumes regarding both their intrinsic value, and Yale. Thus, I come from a tradition where a person can't simply hand me a receipt - they have to show me that they can think.
While I didn’t get a receipt for the education I obtained on the streets of Watts, the Pueblo Del Rio projects, and various other areas in inner city Los Angeles, just the fact that I’m sitting here writing attests to the fact that I’ve been dragged through the pits of Hell and managed to come out the other side as a fully functional individual. Now, those are credentials. My education is hands-on, and I have the wounds to show that I graduated magnum cum Lawdy (sic).
My education is real, not theoretical. It’s the very same education that Obama is using to make the GOP look like idiots. Surely you didn’t think Obama learned to make Trump look like a fool at Harvard, did you? And rubbing Trump's face in his shortsighted idiocy at the correspondent’s dinner, while at the same time, coolly accomplishing what the chest-beating Bush administration was unable to do in seven years . . . that was classic hood rat. It was uncharacteristically flamboyant of our president, but I’ve never been so proud.
So the major problem in the Black community is not that there's too many hood rats - our problem is there's not enough of us left.