Friday, May 20, 2011



I love the TV series Pawn Stars on the History Channel. 

A little disclosure, when I was a youth, I grew me up with my family in a pawn shop to be more specific Mason's Pawn Shop in Sunny Side.  On the corner of Bellfort/Cullen sits a pawn shop my family would frequent to hock items to pay bills or put food on the table.   Everything from a floor model TV to a stereo component to a Bater Max (we are talking before VCR).  While in the pawn shop with my "T Lady" aka "Granny", I would notice guns, jewelry, lawn mowers and a vast amount of other items.  The one thing that stood out to me was the security, guys that resembled cops.  The police/security is probably the only similarity in Mason's Pawn Shop I can relate to one of my favorite TV Shows.


Before I begin talking about Pawn Stars, I would like my dude Ralph Cooper of 1430 AM to dissect what I'm dropping.

I am a history buff, I love history and watching Pawn Stars is nothing more than a family of history teachers running a pawn shop.  Between Richard Harrison (grand father) and Rick Harrison (son), these guys could literally rewrite the Preamble.  

Typically a patron enters the store with the big black security dude sitting on a stool in the background.  The patron approaches the counter as Rick, Chumlee, or Big Hoss ask "What is this".  The patron tells them what the item is and the Pawn Star give you a historical bit of the item.  After the historical bit is over, the Pawn Star ask "Do you want to sell or pawn".  Upon the answer of the patron, they usually get an expert to come and evaluate the item in question.  The patron normally has a preconceive value of the item but after learning the value they re access their price and negotiate with the Pawn Star.  The deal is made.

I watched the complete first season of this show and now I am on the second season.  I do understand the show is built upon historical relevance therefore you do not see the day to day (routine) transactions but what you do see is family members bringing in items left to them or found in a relatives estate.  Anything from letters signed by 19th Century Presidents to early model refrigerators.  You name it, you will see it and the Pawn Star showcased will provide a historical account of the item.

While observing Pawn Stars, the one thing I have noticed, the majority of patrons seems to be Caucasian.  Before you think I am going to make this a "black v white" write up, I'm not.  This is more of a revelation to me.  We African Americans don't really have anything left to us of historical significance.  Real talk: as I look at this show I think to myself we should have a noose, bullwhip or hell even a mule in the family but we don't.  I look at the people coming into this shop with all types of items and I think to myself "what the hell in my family has any historical relevance".  Absolutely nothing but old stories and you can't pawn stories.  Do we as blacks have any history?  Is history defined by the stories passed down through generations?  I want to see at least one black person appear on Pawn Stars with a "Slave Point of Sell decree" that a nice master allowed us to have.  I want to see at least one black person come in with a Civil War "war jacket".  I want to see one black person come in with the "first black voter's registration card".  Come on now, we have to have some historical artifacts we can produce for Pawn Stars.

The cool part about Pawn Stars is, I seriously doubt Rick would purchase it.  I have seen patrons bring in German artifacts of the WW II era and Rick denied the purchase because he felt it harvested too many negative memories.

The truth of the matter is, if I were to ever see any of those items, it would most likely be produced by a Caucasian person.  More than likely we have sold our historical artifacts to a Caucasian for 10X below market value without realizing the value similar to British Merchants arriving on the Western Shore of Africa giving the tribesmen a mirror in exchange for five count of bodies. Feel Me?

Another observation of Pawn Stars as alluded to earlier, pawn shops and black people go deep.  Actually the connotation of pawn shops is taken negative almost 100% of the time when in conjunction with blacks.  It's simply amazing to see a successful show with the premise of a pawn shop and the majority of customers are Caucasians.

BIG UPS Pawn Stars, excellent show. I am a big fan of shows depicting multiple generations of father and son relationships. This is part of the reason I love The Godfather.  Most look at the Godfather and instantly think of the violence but I take it for family.


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