Andrew Harmon



Great Ball of Confusion

by: Algernong Allen

When Urban Suburban asked me to write an article I was first honored, then befuddled as to what the topic would be. I struggled. I could write about how Basketball Wives and Love and Hip Hop are terrible portrayals of the black community, and yet admittedly entertaining television. Evelyn and Ochocinco or Stevie-J and Joseline, it is hard for me to decide which is more compelling.

I could write about the difficulties of growing up in the urban environment, one which has both political deficiencies, economic deficiencies, and social deficiencies and how that shapes an individual. Politically, the federal agenda called for suburbanization of America as far back as the New Deal. As cited in Kenneth Jackson’s Crabgrass Frontier “the result, if not the intent, of the public housing program of the United States was to segregate the races, to concentrate the disadvantaged in inner cities, and to reinforce the image of suburbia as a place of refuge for the problems of race, crime, and poverty." Maybe this is part of the reason that Evelyn and Tami have a hard time managing their anger.

I thought about a broaching the subject of the pervasiveness of drugs in society and its effect on civilization. Everyone talks about the impact of street drugs, illegal narcotics and mind altering substances.

But imagine if we added controlled drug substances such as nicotine and alcohol to the conversation. Then let’s figure in the people on prescription drugs, or addicted to over the counter medications. And what about those of us on caffeine, sugar and other stimulants. What affect does mixing all these people taking these substances together have? I made the mistake of having a beer after taking a Benadryl one time and my people were looking at me like I was David Ruffin. Can you imagine the impact of all the people interacting with various drug tinted lenses in the box of society. That’s like a drunk Stevie J trying to talk about a situation with a weeded Lil’ Scrappy conflicts are bound to occur.

Maybe I could jot, a couple thoughts about the solution to finding the right partner in a relationship. I’m married, maybe I could say that in order to find the mate you want you have to make yourself into the right product for the market. I’d say that there is a distinctly different skill set involved for “catching” the right catch, and keeping the right catch. Catching the wrong catch will have you like Stevie J and Joseline, involved with a bunch of drama. In the end, those who are the least fortunate in love, are either afraid to put the footwork required to catch the right mate, or the mental work required to keep the right mate. I would say the mirror is the best tool for both, putting the work in to look more at oneself, yields the greatest reward. I think that Crissy had to go through a lot of self analysis and hard work to get Jim Jones to finally propose. Does this mean happily every after? Probably not. A marriage has ups and downs.

I thought maybe I could talk about the difference between plans and conspiracies. People are always talking to me, about how “they” are doing this or that to them. To me, the major difference between a conspiracy and a plan is directly related to being in the room when the decisions are being made. There are many people who believe there are conspiracies. Maybe if they started looking at them as plans detrimental to their interests, those folks would have a better opportunity to make plans to better themselves. Who knows, maybe those people could have their own conspiracies to eliminate poverty and crime?

I thought about talking about how the lack of a functional two party system in Philadelphia, and most urban environments, leave the black vote taken for granted by our politicians, and our interests underserved. Party politics is similar to the cell phone company. The new customers get free iPhones, the customers who call in when their contract ends get upgrades, and the customers who just go along with the program are still using a Motorola flip phone. Even worse those who don’t vote, have no say whatsoever. So when you look at how even though Mimi was holding Stevie J down, Joseline still got all of the attention and Stevie J’s money think of this point.

As an entrepreneur, I considered focusing on the hustle and stress involved with being a boss, a leader, and a family man. I recently saw this guy walking on a tightrope across Niagara Falls. Being in business for yourself is something like that. No safety net, high drama, but as sad and sadistic as it may be, somehow very rewarding. It is a blessing to be able to coordinate the efforts of myself and others in a manner which provides a livelihood for us all. Supporting businesses that support your community is the most efficient use of your consumer dollar. Like credit card rewards, a portion of your dollar comes back to you.

One of my favorite subjects is credit. I would definitely like to write about the importance of credit. What I would say would be that pay who ever you owe back. Whether on the street, or to a banking company, paying people back is what makes them more comfortable lending you more. I prefer to borrow from banks, because all they do is send letters requesting their money. On the street, somebody might show up at your door with a baseball bat. Good credit is like insurance. A credit score is like an indicator of one’s integrity. Now more than ever companies are checking credit for a variety of reasons such as hiring, and interest rates on lending. If I wrote about credit, I would say try to use it for things that go up in value like homes, or education not clothes, food or electronics when possible. So like when Benzino bought Karly the ring, he should pay cash.

There is so much going on when you live in the city, that its hard to focus on one thing. I mean there’s Real Housewives in every city, Basketball wives I have to worry about, Single Ladies making there way in the world, and Love and Hip Hop to ascertain. In such a complex world thinking about the solutions to our failing urban public schools, how to build better lives for our families, how to maneuver through economic uncertainty, dealing with reintegration of our incarcerated population as well as the myriad of other problems unique to our community



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