A manufactured street code for continued white supremacy. As used in common speech, could also be phrased, "keeping it submissive" or "keeping politically, socially, and economically irrelevant." African-Americans (especially men) who have evolved into greatness through traditional paths are invalidated as they have not "kept it real." The term's definition relegates and caps many potential great African Americans through peer-pressure, advertising, greater social misunderstanding, and ambiguous racial identity.The phrase is harmful in that it not only damages the collective psyche of a large portion of the American populace, it also limits (in all facets) the unlimited potential that this group could have upon the country. "Thurgood Marshall, Barack Obama, Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman, Booker T. Washington, (Sports Analyst) James Brown, and Condoleeza Rice are not keeping it real." "50 Cent and Michael Vick are keeping it real."
A black person's excuse for being ignorant or doing ignorant [things]. The person who says that they are "keepin' it real" usually claims to be denying pop culture and sticking with their own thing.Where in the world did this ridiculous and self-defeating idea come from? Keeping it real is purposefully living up to a stereotype about Black people that is usually harmful to you but makes you fit in with stereotypical Black people. If you were obese and lost weight, if you grew up poor and are now successful, if you were deathly ill and are now healthy, if you were an addict and now sober, if you were unattractive and are now beautiful what is the utility of living as though your life did not improve? Many of our ancestors were slaves but now we are free. Many of our ancestors were barred from education but now education is available. Remember the bad place you came from ONLY to make sure you never go back to that place!
In order to not go back to that bad place you will probably have to eliminate any people or situations that could drag you back down. If you have friends that push unhealthy foods on you then you need to avoid situations where they have food or find new friends. If you don't want to be in another abusive relationship then you need to stay away from men with those tendancies and women who normalize the abuse. If you were poor then you need to avoid people who threaten your wealth such as moochers, people who want you to save them, and people who insist you waste your money on extravagant things. If you have improved your looks you have to avoid people who pressure you to ignore your looks. If you want to achieve any of these successful and beneficial states then the first step may be to eliminate these influences from your life immediately! Beware of people who propose that being Black and keeping it real means doing the opposite of what respected, productive, law abiding, "average" people do!
Not keeping it real for Black women means not dating men who expect you to financially support them or men who do not respect your education or success. These men could pass down those same attitudes to your children and they may never become successful themselves. These men may never be in a position to help you the way you have helped them so this could land you both in financial ruin. Women of other ethnicities do not bother with men who are poor and unsuccessful (if they are smart) but people in the Black community will convince you that's your job to suffer and that's just keeping it real! Other women don't carry or raise their men so why should you? Stop 'othering' yourself by being so different from women who are not Black.
Not keeping it real means staying away from magazines, films, television shows, and studies that encourage embracing obesity (e.g., study saying overweight Black women have higher self-esteem than other women, depictions of "mammy types" etc.). Being obese is a health problem and any attempt to applaud the willful sabatoging of one's health is malicious! Allowing yourself to become obese or unhealthy increases your chances for heart disease or diabetes. This article clearly describes this. People in the Black community will try to convince you that Black women are genetically predisposed to carry more fat and we should embrace it. They will also try to convince you that you will fail if you try to lose weight because your body wants to be fat. Ask them this, if an obese Black woman was locked up and only given 1000 calories of food per day would she not lose weight? She would lose weight. It's calories in calories out plain and simple and the problem is that there is too much food and too many unhealthy options available to sedentary people. Stop 'othering' yourself by accepting unhealthy high weight norms (available on medical weight charts and recommended by doctors) when compared to women who are not Black.
Not keeping it real also means avoiding media and research that encourages or applauds Black women for being more independent (e.g., feminist arguments that we don't need men or marriage), stronger, or aggressive (e.g., article saying Black women are allowed to be more aggressive in the workplace) than other women. We must also avoid messages and people who encourage us to be masculine and less feminine than other women. For example people who accuse us of "acting White" if we have good manners and wear very feminine clothing. Educated women need to avoid people who accuse them of "acting White" because they speak well, go to school, read books, and refuse to use urban slang. Don't act uneducated when you are! Stop 'othering' yourself by acting like the opposite of the feminine norm accepted by non-Black people. You may not look like other women but you can still behave the way they do.
We are no longer slaves! Remember the determination and hardships your ancestors overcame but living as though you were just freed from slavery will only make you angry, suspicious, and disengaged from society. Acting as though you are a victim will actually keep you oppressed! I wrote about this in my post about victim mentality. The reality of life is that friendships end or fade and if a friend's behaviour is threatening to your progress as an individual then you may have to leave them behind. People outgrow their friends and if you do that does not make you a bad person. Friends should add to your life and not sabotage it. Entertainment should add pleasure to your life not brainwash you into ruining your progress. Treat everyone from respect because you were once in their place but you do not owe it to ANYONE to risk going back to that place.
It's time to stop looking only to Black people for role models and advice. Look for good advice and role models wherever you can find them based on what will be BENEFICIAL TO YOU not based on race. Health is health, good relationships are good relationships, femininity is femininity, intelligence is intelligence, and success is success no matter the race. Look to experts on health, success, relationships, femininity, education and every other important thing in your life regardless of race because these people are likely to know what they are talking about and can help you to achieve your goals better than someone who has no positive experiences with any of those things. It's time to broaden our minds and use the resources that are available to us no matter who they come from.