"Hey, Knock It Off!" by Alpha Unit

In the comments section of the Black People 🙁 post, Randy talks about something I’ve heard complaints about for years: Black people who won’t shut the Hell up in movie theaters. A lot of people will admit that this is true, very often. Even Black people joke about it. This sort of behavior is a feature of a certain subset of Blacks, and I’ve noticed a similarity it has with other behavior I’ve seen among such people. My observation is that unassimilated Black people seem to have a problem with boundaries. Some of the things they do suggest to me that they can’t make the distinction between their space and other people’s space. They have a problem with the notion of public space – that you have to consider other people once you are outside your own private domain. This is why you might see a Black person in his car holding up traffic to have a conversation in the street with another Black person. This is why you’ll see a Black guy blasting his car stereo with no regard for the people around him. This is why two Black people will loudly converse in public, not particularly caring how it’s perceived by other people. Or why you might see a Black mother loudly chastising her kid, or hitting her kid, in public. Are they acting this way because they’re genetically Black? Does having sub-Saharan DNA cause people to act this way? Who could make that case? I used the word “unassimilated” for a reason. Some people, many of them Black, are just not assimilated into mainstream American norms and values, probably because they have never had any incentive to be. I’m not saying it’s White people’s responsibility to give them the incentive. Not at all. So don’t anyone accuse me of blaming anyone other than these people for their behavior. But you’d be amazed at what people can do when they realize it’s in their best interest to do it. People are very good at sizing up situations and figuring out just what they can and cannot get away with. Little kids are good at this, and so are grown-ups of all races. Somebody has to say, “Look, you can’t do that.” Or “Hey, knock it off!” Preferably somebody who can give the impression it would be in your best interest to do exactly what he tells you. Who does that?

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17 thoughts on “"Hey, Knock It Off!" by Alpha Unit”

  1. Maybe its the driver in the car who is being rude for expecting people to rush away even though they are in the middle of the conversation. Why should the car take precedent over the pedestrian? I find the attitudes of people driving in cars to be atrocious, they have such a disgusting sense of entitlement and think they deserve to have more rights than people who are walking.

  2. I can’t stress enough how much of this is just culture and learned/unlearned behavior. In my opinion, what White’s refer to as “Black Culture” is really just one of two cultures in the Black community today. I refer to that culture as the “Ghetto Black Culture” (GBC). Then there is the “Civil Black Culture” (CBC) that I think most Blacks on this site clearly belong too.
    While there are some things that may overlap between the two (tendency to be louder than other cultures for example), much of the two do not overlap very much. All of the things we’ve talked about here recently I find exist almost exclusively in the GBC which is why I don’t take offense because I just don’t see that as my culture. I don’t necessarily feel the need to be rescued by or adopt another culture either because I have a pretty great one of my own in the CBC (although I do want to learn more about the White Culture so that I can fit into my neighborhood and succeed in employment). Seeing I grew up in the GBC culture though, I understand it very well but it never absorbed me because my mom had higher expectation of me and as I got older, the habits I did adopt from the GBC I filtered out of my system.
    I think there are a few things Whites should understand:
    1. Black communities are not monolithic. Both the GBC and CBC people live together partly because we have relatives in each group and generally because the CBCs feel unwelcomed in non-Black communities. The similarities between GBC and CBC are 90% skin color, sense of humor, music, dancing and food but that’s mostly it. Most other things are different. In fact, we tend to not like each other all that much. I find Whites tend to focus exclusive on the GBC thinking that only a few Blacks are civil but the reality is that there is a whole CBC culture out there much larger and sophisticated than Whites realize. They just can’t distinguish between the two easily because they are not trained to (or want to). CBCs can almost always recognize other CBCs within seconds of interacting or even just seeing each other walk down the street. It’s like how Chinese people can easily know when someone is from Hong Kong vs mainland China. Americans don’t have a clue how to tell the difference but Chinese people tend to know right away.
    2. While GBC can technically be called a culture, it is hardly “cultured”. On this point it seems we all agree. As I’ve said before, I think this is because it is very young (less than 150 years old since slavery) and has been held back by those exploiting it for capitalistic reasons. Think about it. What was modern day White culture like its first 150 years? Would Whites today find anything refined or civil about it? I doubt it very much. Let’s not even go that far back. What about the Wild West? Would that not come across a bit menacing or have an aurora of violence to it? Just think of the movie ‘Back to the Future III’ and how well it depicted a modern White trying to fit into the Wild West. In fact, let’s just stay in modern times and go to the Appalachian Mountains. What about the Whites there? Civil? Cultured? I don’t think so but everyone understands why. It is similar I believe with the GBC, just without the mountains.
    3. Those of us from the CBC just want genuine opportunities to succeed. You know, what they call the ‘America Dream’. That’s all. Not handouts. We are however lumped together with a completely different culture mostly on the basis of our skin color. We are punished for no reason whatsoever. We can’t be expected to control/change the GBC anymore than anyone else can yet we are expected to speak to it, represent it, account for it, be responsible for it while at the same time being hated by the GBC as we are consider by them to be bourgeoisie or “bougie” as they call it. Believe me, that really sucks.

    1. There are a lot of really cool Black people who don’t act that way. I didn’t experience the “loud in theaters” phenomenon until I lived in a big city, and it wasn’t because there were no Blacks around.

    2. The funny thing is, JohnUK, is that while I’ve encountered many black stereotypes in person (loud, confrontational and aggressive, poor English, impulsiveness and rowdiness, etc), I’ve rarely encountered loud blacks in movie theaters.
      There was one time a while back when my Middle Eastern friends took me to see a black movie, and at the very end of a make out scene, this one black guy at the back of the theater yelled out, “yeah, that’s my nigga!”
      But otherwise, that’s at least one place where I can say blacks have defied the stereotype.
      Now, I do have a funny story of a Hispanic friend of mine who was at a movie, and he had about 5 black kids from West Oakland standing up during the movie, being loud and obnoxious, etc.
      My friend then says, “sit your ass down!” And sure enough, those black kids turn around and say, “Nigga, I’m from West side!” (or something to that effect) and then punched him in the fact. Fortunately, that was all my friend endured.
      Generally, I have a rule with stranger black people, especially in large black areas like Oakland, where I just try to keep a low profile. Sure, many blacks probably aren’t aggressive or easily provoked, but you don’t want to take the chance. It’s just not worth the risk.
      My mom, who rides BART to work, has more stories about confrontational and aggressive blacks than I care to relate.
      Therefore, to reiterate once again, these stereotypes exist for a reason. They are not just a figment of the wicked white man’s racist imagination.

      1. And yes, I know somebody (probably Tulio) will point out that there are low life whites, white trash, white druggies and pedophiles, etc, and then go on to say that since it’s not fair to judge most whites based on them, I shouldn’t judge blacks.
        True, I have also known/observed many blacks who do not fit the stereotype. There are definitely cultured bourgeois blacks out there, in the Bay Area and elsewhere.
        With regards to white trash, living in an affluent place like the Bay Area where most whites tend to be liberal, yuppie well-educated types means that I haven’t really had much experience with low class whites.
        I’ve seen white bums, but outside of perhaps Hayward, you don’t see too many white trash people.
        Maybe I ought to visit the South or Appalachia one of these days, just to see a greater diversity of whites. Perhaps that would also disabuse me of my belief that most whites are wimps, since I’m sure non-liberal, non-yuppie types are a little tougher and edgier.
        (and who knows, in Appalachia, I might even run into Ank Mie! 😉 We’ll have a pleasant conversation indeed)
        Nah, I probably won’t visit those places, but it would be interesting.

    3. If you are basing your opinions of black people off an obvious parody on youtube, you are indeed a cretin. Never once in my life I have seen a black woman act this way in a theater.

      1. Are you addressing me or JohnUK?
        Because I recall saying that I’ve never actually encountered the movie theater stereotype.
        Not accusing you of wrongfully accusing me, I’m just wondering who you’re talking to.

  3. In my part of the world (Australia), there are hardly any black Americans, so I can’t comment from my observed experience. But I wonder if this is more than social class than race?
    Because I do see people who do most of the things mentioned here, and they are generally low class, poorly educated types. Frequently white-trash but other ethnicities too. Here, the people yelling at their kids and smacking them in public are probably lower-class whites. If I hear someone blasting their car stereo at an obscenely loud volume, it’s usually a “Guido” type guy of Mediterranean or Middle-Eastern background.
    One thing I was guess though is that many of those you call “unassimilated blacks” might not respond to being told to shut up, since a dominant aspect of that culture seems to be the non-compliance with “white” social norms. The sort of “any attention is good attention” mentality that I tend to see in a lot of kids from difficult upbringings.
    Among African migrants here, the older generation are more quiet and conservative, while many of the youngsters absorb black American culture and can start acting out in those ways. It’s not something they get from their parents.

    1. Yes, I agree with you that many such people will not respond favorably to being told to shut up or knock it off. In fact, with some of them, this is a surefire way to start a fight.
      That’s why it has to come from someone they know it would be in their best interest to submit to. I guess that’s the question, really.
      There is an old saying that all of this reminds me of: Grab them by the b*lls and their hearts and minds will follow…

  4. I think that some of it comes from never really having anything like privacy. Everything is public space. I don’t know what it’s like growing up black, but I’m assuming you’re less likely to say, have your own room, or move out of your parents into a new apartment which is all your own. Or have a car which you can get in and drive and have a bit of your own space.
    I could see where this lack of privacy and lack of ownership would make the public/private distinction less meaningful.

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