Death to the Dozens

Death to the Dozens


Fam teeth look like piano keys. All them gaps.

Piano keys huh? Your shit look like you eat rocks. Chipped ass shits.

Oh okay, piss mouth. That’s what I’ma start calling you. Teeth yellow. Breath hot.

I know you ain’t talking bout hot breath. Nigga can’t even eat an ice cream cone without meltin that bitch. Nigga don’t even know what ice cream taste like. Hot ass breath.

You’re mom ain’t complaining. I am though. Tried to pick her big ass up last night and fell through three floors in a two-story house.

Sound familiar?

Of course it does; it’s the dozens. We’ve all participated at some point in our lives, whether actively as a “contestant” or passively as a spectator, at lunch tables, on school buses, in living rooms, at playgrounds—everywhere. It’s ingrained in our culture much like rhythm, swagger, and are affinity for all things fried.  Black folk have always been compelled to laugh through their tears. To use comedy as solace – salvation. It’s necessary. And it’s part of what makes our culture unique. However, the dozens is nothing short of problematic, and without question, should be a tradition we, as a people, let go of.

I work with youth and have been for close to five years now. Youth from various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, both boy and girl.  Throughout my work with these young people, one thing has become painfully clear: little black boys tear. each other. a part. They’re constantly ragging on each other. About how black someone is, how fat someone is, how nappy someone’s hair is, how ugly someone is, how dumb someone is – and, though, the shit’s funny sometimes (not even gonna front), the shit’s mad destructive. Not just to the person being ragged on, but to everyone involved, included the spectators. Self-esteems are being absolutely ripped to shreds, love for one’s self, torn to pieces. And I hate to hear it. Hate to watch it.  And for good reason, our community is hanging on by a thread.

Black people in our country are the worst off we’ve ever been. But in the same breath, we’re the best we’ve ever been – which, unfortunately, isn’t saying much considering our growth is downright laughable (Crime Persist as a Grim Challenge for Blacks). Much of our lack of progress can be attributed to an overall lack of love within our community. I’m convinced we hate one another. There’s not one other demographic on this PLANET who speaks to each other—DISREPECTS one another, the way black people do. Not only do we have to deal with the war being waged on brown people by our fair-skinned counterparts, but we also have to deal with the war we’ve waged on each other.

Who’s fighting for us?

We definitely aren’t. Look at us. We’re in fucking shambles. Our families are broken. Our communities are broken. And though the bulk of it isn’t are fault, continuing to perpetuate division – to ostracize one another for the pettiest shit imaginable, constantly, is definitely our fault. Step on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook for two seconds, and the hate practically jumps off the page. Why?

When will the incessant joking cease to be funny? When will the pain laced within each chuckle become too much to handle? When will love prevail?

Why can’t we talk sweet to each other?

Hey black, brutha. Peace and love.

Hey sistah. Diggin’ that crop.

Oo, I love ya skin tone. All milky and chocolaty. MM mm mm.

Where’s that?

Why we gotta be bitches?




Fuck boys.

Or whatever else our ignorant asses choose to call each other.

I hate to call us ignorant, but shit.

Stop giving me a reason to.

At the end of the day, I’m just tired of hearing our youth degrade and bad mouth one another, especially during such turbulent times in their young lives. They’re grappling with their respective egos, trying to figure who they are and who they want to be, while constantly being berated by images of what beauty is supposed to be: European. And we’re just fuel to the fire

Let’s take our identity back. Let’s own it. That’s the only way we’ll ever make legitimate progress as a people.

Death to the Dozens.

Stay Woke.