The last two years has brought about a sock revolution. You see guys with minimal fashion sense rocking amazing colors and styles on their ankles. But don’t be confused, just because you moved beyond the blue and black men’s hosiery of the turn of the century doesn’t mean your sock kung fu is strong. With new sock brands popping up every day, there is no shortage of options for every occasion from a day on the basketball court to any formal occasion. But like every fashion trend, many of us think all we have to do is buy some new socks and it will work. No sir. So I just want to know where your sock game is, and before you match those socks with that ensemble, I want you to be clear about your level of sock knowledge.
But your sock game and how you decide to play it is as much about your level of creativity and style sense as the patterns on your suit or the color of your shirts.
Most men fit into one of the following:
1. I’M SOLID – You don’t own a stripe, polka dot of any size, animated character or even an argyle. You believe, like most men over 80, that the sock is a functional creation designed to keep everything from the ankle to the calf warm. Good luck with that.
2. SPECIAL OCCASION SUPERHERO – Someone is getting married, It’s New Year’s Eve, or you woke up on Monday in a great mood. These are the men that only own one or two pair of non-solid socks and actually get excited about the day they will wear them. But don’t think they are going to make it a habit. That would be like having too much fun. Most men in this category don’t have the tailored inseam to take full advantage of the occasion anyway. Even with the S on the sock they remain Clark Kent all night.
3. WALK THE LINE – These are the men that are making the transition from standard solids to a plethora of patterns. Normally these are men that have more colors and patterns than they can commit to wearing, but they are open to wearing some happy socks to the office without having to send a press release to warn HR.
4. IN THE LAB – These are men who are having fun perfecting the game. They have not only purchased more socks than have been gifted to them, but they have a favorite brand, know where its sold and are not afraid to rock them with regularity. These are men who either already valued a strategically placed break in their pants or are progressive enough to go just a little shorter to allow the sock fashion statement to have maximum impact.
5. SOCK SOMMELIER – This title is reserved for the connoisseur. This man knows the brands, fabrics, limited editions and designers. He doesn’t have a sock drawer…but a sock dresser. The combinations are likened to an artist, not a stylist. And he is as comfortable picking the perfect sock as he is telling you when not to wear any. We all aspire to this level of sock game.]]>
Wow…so where do I start? I am one of those institutionally trained former organizers that believe in training and strategy. You cannot look at our history and lose site of the fact that most of the “youth” and young adult focused organizations during the civil rights and black power eras (respectively) viewed training as essential to participation. From SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and then Student National Coordinating Committee) to The Black Panther Party For Self Defense, training was paramount when standing on the front lines was actually a matter of life and death. Training was crucial, as you were a representative of not just an organization, but also a movement with clear goals and an even clearer message. The training that young activist received was part of the reason their movements (while never perfect) were so impactful.
However, if we are going to be honest about history, many of the men and women responsible for the development of the organizations of the 60’s and 70’s ignored the substantive development of young leadership for the decades that followed. This disconnect is what has caused a nation of young, passionate, brilliant, committed, and untrained young people. The activist in SNCC and even BPP were beneficiaries and bi-products of a change machine that shared best practices, training mechanisms and strategies. So before we go down this road of demonizing the lack of sophisticated organizing on the part of “some” of the young people under the banner of the Black Lives Matter mantra, stop and ask who has taken the time to make themselves available to many of those young people to train them without trying to coopt their energy.
The start of any movement looks different from the glorious history written about it decades later. The launch of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and even the lunch counter sit-ins was not without trial and error, mistakes in judgment and less than stellar strategy. But they persisted. Do you think all of the parents of those young people wanted them on the front lines or approved of their attack on the system? Of course not. But those students, in the midst of their imperfect passion, pushed on.
Disruption is never about convenience. And for those that think for a moment that these students are under the same illusion about the Democratic Party as you are…think again. They recognize that both parties have been disingenuous about the needs and concerns of black and marginalized communities for decades. Sure there have been Democrats that have had some legitimate policy positions, but the party as a whole has not championed the concerns of Black people. By in large because too many black leaders were on the take, failing to develop and fight for change agendas. This generation is tired of the way the current game is played and is not willing to be quiet to make those complicate in the current state of affairs comfortable. Could these students be more sophisticated? Sure. Could their strategy and messaging be more coordinated? Yes. But that is not really the point. Any real movement has seen an unsophisticated and angry, but brilliantly committed group of young people disrupt the machine, giving those who proclaim to be sophisticated and coordinated the opportunity to negotiate some relevant and transformative demands.
DISRUPTION IS ALWAYS NEEDED FOR TRANSFORMATION. I’m amused by the number of articles I read about the power of disruptive technology and a Silicon Valley creating billionaire disrupters who have transformed how we live our lives. While there are not many hedge funds looking to make disruptive organizers billionaires, those citizen’s efforts are as essential to a transformed electorate and society as the players making your favorite app. My point? Disruption is necessary…it is the secret ingredient to change…and it is never…ever…convenient.
So here’s to the disrupters…our future needs you.]]>
Viewed as on of the most impactful leaders in all of Africa whose nation was the only in Sub-Saharan Africa to avoid colonialism.]]>