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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Crystal Under Fire: An Exclusive Interview with Self

When I caught up with the soon-to-be infamous blogger to conduct this interview, she was in the kitchen preparing lasagna for dinner. There she stood wearing a simple pink camisole and black slacks, her hair corn rolled, her feet in socks. She stood quietly waiting for the water to boil. But tonight lasagna won’t be the only thing facing the heat. I have some tough questions to ask her as she stands stirring the lasagna in, sounding as casual as she appears. For those of you who are new to the site, last week Crystal wrote a blog entitled “Letter to The Black Man”, in which she accused African American men of murdering the black family. This particular post generated a lot of discussion on Facebook and is the inspiration of this interview.

Self: So let me start by saying that I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me today.

Crystal: It’s always a pleasure. I like spending time with you. We live in a world where most people are afraid to spend time with self. We are afraid to ask ourselves the hard questions and introspect.

Self: A lot of people reading this probably think I’m going to be easy on you.

Crystal: Well I believe that self is often our harshest critic. And I believe that I must always be true to you, even more so than I am to others, because at the end of the day I have to face you.

Self: Well said. I must say that I was with you the day that you wrote your most contentions blog to date “Letter to The Black Man.”

Crystal: (chuckles) Well I’ve only written three blogs!

Self: That may be the case, but you brought up some controversial points. In that particular post you stated that you hate black men. What’s that all about?

Crystal: Well if you are expecting an apology you won’t find one here. Nor am I here to defend myself. I just want to clarify some things. I mean black men are guilty of all those things I’ve accused them of. They are guilty of killing each other, of abandoning their women and children, and of putting down the black woman all of which amounts to genocide against the black family.

Self: Those are strong statements, but many people would argue that you can find these behaviors throughout society. They aren’t specific to just black men.

Crystal: They are when you consider the statistics. When you consider that these things don’t just exist but that they are pervasive in our community. Besides I don’t really care about what everybody else is doing. I do believe that as a society we have a long way to go and that we all need to get back to strong families, but I am not white, or Latino, or Asian. I am black and therefore [I am] most concerned first and foremost about what’s going on in our community.

Self: So are you saying that ALL black men are lecherous and indifferent and neglectful? Do you believe that ALL black men have little African self-consciousness and racial identity?

Crystal: Not at all.

Self: I’m confused.

Crystal: I acknowledge that there are some men who strive to go against their stereotype and that they aren’t all married to white women, but let’s keep it real! There are so many who insist on perpetuating these reprehensible behaviors. There are enough men not taking care of business to make me and others concerned about the future of the black family and ultimately black society as a whole. I can’t sit back and pretend these behaviors don’t exist.

Self: Is that why you wrote Letter to The Black Man? As a call to action?

Crystal: Yes. In a way. I’d also like to clear something up if you don’t mind. I didn’t write that article in the first person. I took on the persona of Everywomen talking to Everyman. I wrote it from the perspective of things I, and other women, have seen and heard and experienced. I became them and wrote it to all black men based on our collective experiences with them and the statistics on black men. So they aren’t all just my opinions or things that I have pulled out of the sky. I am acknowledging the black woman’s collective frustration with the black man. Another thing I feel inclined to mention is that I love some black men. I love my father, my brother my cousin and my family members and friends, BUT that’s not to say that I am blind to some of their questionable behaviors nor am I excusing the black woman for her part in some of our madness. I’ll speak more about her in other blogs.

Self: I have to ask this because it’s pretty well known that you are Christian and Christians are supposed to love one another. Yet you use the word “hate” about 12 times in that post. What’s that about, especially in light of that fact that the prior post was all about God’s divine purpose for our lives? There seems to be some disconnect.

Crystal: Your certainly not pulling any punches

Self: I’m just doing my job, keeping you in check.

Crystal: Well like you said I am a Christian, but I’m not blind or naive. See that’s another thing people mix up. They believe that hate is the absence of love. But I believe that love and hate are two sides of the same coin. The opposite of love is indifference. So if I were to just sit back and watch us as a people go straight to hell, than that wouldn’t be loving. Love is corrective. I love black, I love being black. I’m very proud of that. But I don’t like what I’m seeing or reading. I don’t like what’s happening. I (here’s that word again) HATE what’s going on and I want to see a change. As for my prior post, that was unrelated to this post. I write about what I feel, or experience. It’s a blog, its’ called Crystal’s random blog for crying out loud. Not everything I post is going to be related.

Self: You come down hard on interracial relationships and yet some of the people you are closest to are products of such relationships.

Crystal: Correction. I come down hard on black men intentionally SEEKING white women. If I recall that’s the word I used in the post—SEEKING. I don’t see any thing wrong with love. It doesn’t have a color. But it becomes wrong when one person puts down his own race to put another race on a pedestal. It becomes wrong to not want a black wife because you stereotype all black women.

Self: That’s fair, but many of your friends on facebook and myspace where you heavily promote your blog are white. Do you feel you are alienating them when you write post like “Letter to The Black Man”? Do you feel that you are “airing dirty laundry” or parading our community’s problems in front of white people.

Crystal: How did I know you were going to ask that? (pauses)Well first of all my blog is not just a black blog. It’s open to anybody who wants to read it, regardless of whether they agree with me—I just want people to see things from my perspective—which happens to be a black perspective. As for airing dirty laundry—haven’t we gotten passed that? That’s just a huge cop out!! I mean don’t’ we need to drop the fa├žade and be honest with each other instead of being indifferent---or pretending this garbage doesn’t exist and that black men aren’t culpable. White people are not without their share of problems—don’t get me wrong. But we as a people need to pull the masks off and address the issues.

Self: In the comment you got on your last blog, you were compared to Reverend Jesse Peterson who states in much of his writing that black people as a whole are lazy, immoral, and in need of white supervision. He even goes on to say that without such supervision we would “turn American into a ghetto in 10 years.”

Crystal: I was going to delete that comment. Especially because I don’t like anonymous posts. I’m like speak your peace, but don’t be too punk to say “yeah I said it”. I kept it up to make the point that I am open to various perspectives and that I acknowledge that many will be different than my own. In terms of Irreverent Peterson—the same man who speaks against black leaders like Jesse Jackson—I think he’s nothing more than an Uncle Tom. He’s a danger to the black community. His comments are destructive.

Self: But many would argue that yours are as well.

Crystal: (chuckling) Let them. That’s fine.

Self: Is it just black men that you have a problem with or men in general.

Crystal: Didn’t you ask me that before? I think that men have their share of problems. Men as a whole are going to have to stand before God and answer for their behavior. It’s deplorable The sexism. The misogyny. As a whole I don’t like men [’s behavior]. But I must say again that my primary concern is for the black race, at the end of the day I’m not white.

Self: Are you sure you’re not just some bitter, single black woman mad cuz you don’t have a man?

Crystal: Hardly! I’m single because I have chosen to be single. I refuse to participate in some of the madness that exist. I think as a society we need to improve our gender relations and I’m not trying to end up screwed over. So for now I like single.

Self: So what’s next for you?

Crystal: Well I intend to keep doing what I’m doing. My interest in writing has been rekindled so to speak. I’ll continue to write and speak the truth unapologetically. I also want to advertise the blog more. I hope to generate more readers and subscribers. I hope that this blog will help me to become a serious writer. Um I’m also planning in the distant future to include my very own podcast, some video footage, and some real interviews, but I’m just getting started now.

Self: What can we expect to read from you in the future?

Crystal: Well not everything I write is going be as controversial or serious or even about race—unless you mean the human race. Many things will be light-hearted and funny. I intend to infuse some of my sarcasm and brilliant cynicism in my post. I am planning a post on catcallers, the quarter life crisis, rap music, morality, some stuff on gender relations, and some poetry and short stories--just for the heck of it. A lot of stuff will be really random—a lot from just my day-to-day experience. And as always I will be writing about God and spiritual matters and how He’s inspiring me in my life.

Self: I certainly look forward to it. You know a lot of people are going to think you’ve lost your mind by even participating in this tongue-in-cheek interview with me. Some might just think you’ve gone skitzo or that this is just some perverse act of narcissism.

Crystal: (chuckling) Let them. That’s fine.

Self: Thanks for agreeing to this interview. It has been insightful It’s always a pleasure and I look forward to many more interviews in the future.

Crystal: Thank you. You never know what might happen on this random blog in the future! Love ya.

1 comment:

Katie McLenithan said...

I am always amazed and very impressed with how creative you are! I cant say enough how much i respect you for speaking your mind in all that you write about. Good for you! :-)