About OBF
Incarnations of OBF
Reasons to Have OBF
Ebonics 101
OBF on the Town

True Stories
Holla Holla
Shout Out to OBF

True Stories



Funny thing about human beings and tragedy: After the circumstance is over, we tend to find some humor in most problematic situations. While it wouldn't be funny to tell a story about how someone died in a car accident, it would be if we told a story of some sorority girl running late for a date, driving her daddy's Mustang while putting on her make-up, only to have a fender-bender with a parked police vehicle, who so happens to be the father of the guy she was going to have a date with. Mildly humorous, I know. Still, you get my point. These are just a collection of true stories that I have decided to share with you, just because... Hope you enjoy.

The Articulate Student:

True story. I was at an awards ceremony at a certain university in Central Florida (no names be mentioned), where a group of us in a prestigious academic organization were thanked by the President, Provosts, and a few other big names at this university, for our works internal and external to the university. Three of us, a Caucasian student, an Asian student, and yours truly, were chosen to give a speech on Leadership, Scholarship, and Service, but not necessarily those topics in that order. I'm not sure if this is true in public speaking, but it is my understanding that, if all speakers are equal, going last is most desirable because people will usually remember what you had to say the most. The director of our program arranged it so that I would give the final speech. Mind you, we all spoke very well and had excellent speeches, and were individually congratulated by the President and his staff. The comments made for each of us were very similar; the Caucasian was told many times that he should enter politics, the Asian had a way of making her speech come alive, and I had a commanding presence that gave authority and importance to the speech. All comments were very good, except for one vice-Provost (who we will call Dr. W), who only had one thing to say to me: "You're very... articulate." He had spent a good amount of time boosting my Caucasian brother and pawing at my Asian sister, but left me a, "You're very... articulate." and bolted without even shaking my hand. Initially, I thought nothing of it, but later on into the banquet, I started to think he not only disliked myself, but my skin tone as well. Dr H (a good acquaintance of mine at that time, and a close friend of the director or our program) had called me over to help him settle a debate with his other colleagues about raising the entrance scores for the SAT and ACT at the university. I had politely asked for each Dr.'s viewpoints, but Dr. H stated that they wanted to hear my opinion without fear of it being influenced. I gave my opinion about why entrance scores should be raised for ALL student classifications (note I didn't state race), and furthermore, the division between white and non-white scoring scales should be eradicated, because it only fosters the belief that non-white students are attending a university because of a lower standard of excellence. Dr. W immediately asked for both my SAT and ACT scores, to which I replied with my answers (1230 and 34 for those who do keep track). Dr H said, "Isn't that higher than your son's?" in a joking manner. Everyone laughed, except Dr. W that is. To this date, calling me "articulate" has been my pet peeve.

WWB (Walking While Black):

Working at a certain university in Central Florida ;), there came a time when my vehicle just so happen to break down because of a girlfriend driving it WAY too much (Thanks, Jamie). As you know, a college student with an on-campus job = Bling Bling, so you KNOW I was pimpin' my new ride the next day!! Matter of fact, here's a picture of it for you to envy:
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As you can clearly see, I was relying on my size 17 Nike's (16's in running shoes, 'cuz I like them a little tighter for my athletic wear) to transport me on a nine mile round trip five days a week. I've been doing this for months now, rain or shine, I'll always be there jogging to and from school/work. On occasion, I'd see the same two state troopers doing their business to stop reckless teens from driving recklessly (Much appreciated!). To do my best at destroying negative stereotypes, I'd say hello to the officers, who eventually got to know me by site. One day in winter, I knew I was working late, and had asked my roommate, Ruben (the 'OTHER' OBF), if he could drop me off at our apartment before he goes to work. He said he would, since he's on campus at that time. My girlfriend at that time, Jamie, said that her co-workers and our neighbors were going drinking at a bar close by to where we live, and that she'll be home, "... when she's done getting [messed up]." So, another night for me. No problem.. I needed to give myself a facial and a pedicure anyway... yea rite. Come time for Ruben to pick me up, and he's not at the designated spot. It was much warmer in the AM, and I was wearing shorts and a short-sleeve shirt, and had my backpack with me. After a while of very cold winds, I decided to go to the student union, call my apartment, and tell Ruben I was at the Union keeping warm. There wasn't much to do, so I sat there for a bit trying to call my other friends and see if I could get a ride and escape the cold, but I remembered a lot of them were out at the movies. I checked the bus schedules, but no more runs nearby my place were available for the night. So, at 11:47pm EST, I bought a cup of hot cocoa and decided to brave the night's cold winds. Here's where things get interesting.....

Walking to my place, I decided to stick to the main roads for safety, and I figured, "...someone might know me and give me a lift." Just after completing that thought, I saw a car slow down and veer toward my direction. I'm thinking, "...Great! Maybe it's Jamie and her friends looking for me.....", until the classic red and blue lights started flashing, which was quickly followed by the short burst of a police siren, JUST to make sure that there was no mistaking who was coming for me. Like a deer frozen by the piercing headlights, I could not move, nor speak, nor think of anything, except for two words:

Rodney King

I dropped my cup of cocoa. I saw two deputies step out of the vehicle. One approached me, the other stood by the vehicle, with his hand hovering over his holster. I would have been sweating bullets, except that the wind chill was probably putting my skin temperature at 37 degrees Farenheit. The closest officer looked up at me, and with a hint of some sort of nervousness or fear, asked me to place my hands by my sides and show him my ID. I asked him which should I do first, since I was confused with the conflicting orders. He hesitated and then said, "ID first, but go slowly.. which pocket is it in?" I told him the right one and went for it, SLOWLY. I was shaking from the cold and from the situation, but I kept my cool. He asked me in three different ways who I am, where I was going, and what I was doing walking in shorts out at this time of night. After the third time, I grew a bit frustrated with the line of questioning, so I asked him, "Under what pretense was I being detained?" Either the wind carried some of my words away from their ears, or they were shocked by my articulate self, he asked me to repeat what I said. So I said it again, word for word. Took him a second to digest it and then he fired back at me, "You fit the profile of a suspect in this area who has been wanted for auto theft. We wanted to check you out and see if you were him." I couldn't help but chuckle for a bit. Here I was, a 6'5" black man, being pulled over by two police officers at midnight on a cold night, who were probably as scared as I am, because I 'fit the profile' of some car thief. I HAD to ask them the next question!!! "If I was a car thief, wouldn't I have stolen a car for myself by now?" I explained to them quickly that I don't own a car currently, and after the run on my license completed, they let me resume my walk, unfortunately without my cocoa to keep me warm.

So, the trek continues.... I'm walking, in the cold, nice winds to rub it in, was pulled over by the police for "Walking While Black", and I lost my cup of cocoa. "What else could go wrong?" I found out half an hour later as I was cutting through a Publix parking lot... several Caucasian males, mostly with shaved heads, chains, and one with a baseball bat, were smoking next to a garbage can. As I passed by, I said, "Hello", only to be greeted with, "Shut the &*$% up, n!&&@r!!" I just kept walking as racial remarks were made at me.

"Home stretch.. I'm almost there... God, if you could keep the world from bothering me for another 10 minutes, I'd be eternally greatful....", I thought to myself as I was nearing the entrance to my apartment complex. Then, this homeless gentleman steps from behind the dumpster and approaches me first slowly, then at a frantic pace. "Here we go again.", I thought. He asked me if I had any change for him, and I said no, I do not, which was the truth. He then looked at me for about 10 seconds and then said, "Hey, dude, you look like you've had a rough night.. you wanna bum a smoke off of me?" I was shocked; not only was this guy, who seemed to have next to nothing, offering me a smoke because I looked haggard, but also because this was the one spot of kindness I have seen all day. I politely declined the cigarette, and instead, reached out to shake his hand. He seemed shocked at first toward the jesture, but then he shook my hand vigorously and took off whistling.
That's it for now, but there is more to this story.

Off-Color Remark

At work, people usually make jokes just to pass the time, or to make friends, or it's just the only thing that comes to mind at the time. One such occurrence has happened not that long ago with two co-workers of mine. To truly understand how shocking such a remark is from the perpetrator, you have to understand his demeanor. We'll call him Frederick. Fred is a very PC, straight-shooting, dot all I's and cross all T's, ultra-courteous, and careful with his choice of words type of guy. One afternoon, I was assisting him and another co-worker in dissecting a printer to swap out parts. Some black toner had spilled on the table, and I proceeded to clean it up. A bit of it spilled on my hands, and I told them that I'll have to wash this off before I do anything else. Fred replied, "Well, it's not like anyone can see it on you..." Jaws dropped. No one could believe that Fred uttered such an off-colored remark. In his defense, he is one with a very analytical mind, and really didn't mean it as a racial comment. It's still funny to pick on him about that remark every so often.