Saturday, August 14, 2010
I didn’t intend to write on the Dr. Laura comments or the Fantasia situation but I was reading articles on both tonight and I realized that the issues actually tie into each other. The problem isn’t Fantasia’s supposed adultery and honestly Dr. Laura’s ignorant comments are just a small part of a bigger problem. Race relations in this country has created this environment in which double standards are law, racists no longer have to hide behind sheets and torches, and our people prefer to sit back in peaceful ignorance versus make the changes necessary in order to fight and win against racism. CNN analyst Roland Martin, wrote a great commentary on this yesterday and his points really made me think. He said "I fundamentally believe we can get people to see their racial bigotry or insensitive views and offer them a pathway towards healing, but that can only happen when we're willing to challenge one another -- friend or foe -- and look into the mirror and confront our own deeply embedded views on race". In my opinion, that doesn't just mean pointing the finger every time someone of another race says the n-word, refers to us as monkeys, stereotypes blacks as criminals, uneducated and you know all the rest. It means pointing the finger at ourselves as well and most importantly first.
Dr. Laura and countless other bigots all say the same thing when confronted, “they call themselves niggers so why can’t I?” Unfortunately, they have a point. I mean honestly take a look, a long hard look, at the public image being put out there about our people by our public figures. Most of these male rappers and singers are walking around in one of two ways (or a mixture of both). They have their pants dragging, asses out, grills in their mouths, tattoos covering most of their bodies, or they have on skinny jeans and feminine accessories. Almost every rapper has his own liquor endorsement and clothing line, they’re getting chased by the IRS but still bragging about what they have, going to jail on a regular basis, most can not speak properly, can’t say a sentence without at least one cuss word, having babies by woman after woman but won’t get married and I could continue to go on but I’m sure you get the point. Then you have the women, who are almost all half dressed, chasing after their men, and covered in body art. Most of the women who are artists aren’t making music right now, so most of the time we’re reading about their lives not their work and most are living the type of lives that we would beat our daughters for even considering living. This is what people around the world are seeing when they look at blacks in America unless they are looking at the athletes who are doing the same thing just substitute liquor for shoe endorsement. Our working actors are few and far in between and with the exception of the President, many of our political figures (outside of good ol Rev. Al and Rev. Jesse) are invisible to the youth, which is backwards because now our children (some not all) are growing up idolizing rappers, singers and athletes vs politicians, doctors and educators. Look at the reality shows that we continue to support despite the way they make our people look (Flavor of Love anyone? For the Love of New York? Love of Ray J? Basketball Wives? Housewives of Atlanta?) We keep watching and they keep producing and creating new ones. But I won’t watch these shows because I know I have to take a stand even if I’m the only one taking it. Honestly though, how can we truly expect people to respect us when we aren’t even respecting ourselves and our communities? I know what it feels like to be called a nigger, I’ve felt that pain a few times and because of that, it’s a bad word in my house. I admit that I sometimes fall short and it slips out but I’m making an honest effort. We all need to make that same effort, we need to all stop using that word. Why? Because then the next time an ignorant person decides to use that word they won’t be able to back it up with that bs excuse anymore. We need to start carrying ourselves as a people who are proud of where we came from, proud of what we have accomplished, proud of our looks, proud of our beauty and determined to continue pushing further. We need to stop dressing and acting like animals killing each other on the streets. We need to stop degrading our women and our men. We need to start dressing for success and not look like we’re ready to go work in a circus. I’m not saying suits and ties everywhere but at least pull your pants up. We need to continue to encourage and instill education in our children. We as adults need to set good examples so that our children can be and do better.
Sitting back and only getting upset when blatant issues such as the Dr. Laura situation come up will not solve our problems nor will it end the deeply rooted racism embedded in our society. We need to start with ourselves. Respect yourself and others will respect you as well. Stand up for our people when they are attacked by the mainstream media vs kicking them while they are down and refusing to allow them to rise back up. I was so pissed off this week following the Fantasia story for the simple fact, that wrong or not, that isn’t my call and it’s not for me to judge BUT my point is, why did this become breaking news? This story is no different than probably a thousand other stories that occur every day in the United States, especially in the entertainment business. When Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt got together did the entire news media across the country label Angelina a homewrecker, blast her all over the press, put her story on a show with various analysts and discuss it as if it were a national Amber alert situation or a recent terrorist threat (if you are familiar with Nancy Grace you will know that she typically sticks to child abduction, murder and crime cases not entertainment news)? Did this occur with LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Ciprian? Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott? Anne Heche and that guy she left her husband for? NO!! They all received mention during the short entertainment sections but not to the extreme that Fantasia received by any means. What is the difference in these cases? Fantasia is a dark brown skin black woman. Kanye West was blacklisted within the industry, everyone from celebrities to the President had something to say regarding Taylor Swift-gate as if the man had just robbed a bank instead of interrupted an acceptance speech. Isaiah Washington called his coworker a faggot on set during an argument. The story was leaked out, his coworker was forced to out himself and Isaiah has not worked since. He was wrong for using the language that he used, this much is true, but fire him from his job don't end his career, while Mel Gibson hasn't even issued an apology for his latest rant in which he used the word nigger but when he went on his anti-Semitic fit, that apology was issued immediately. These are just a few examples but the point I'm trying to make is that we allow the news media and others to do this to our celebs. Every one of the black celebrities I've mentioned has received major setbacks to their career, their livelihood (or in the case of Fantasia very likely will) yet the white artists haven't received any severe repercussions. Why aren't we standing up for them? Why are the black blogs and news sites participating in the witch hunt? Why isn't anyone else asking these questions? Chris Brown's career will probably never recover, for a year he was more hated than Bush, yet Charlie Sheen has beaten how many women? We allow them to blacklist and attack our celebs, and we do nothing but sit back and watch sometimes participating. We justify it by saying well we can't do what they do, true, but that doesn't make it right. Black people will probably still support Mel Gibson when he does another movie, but Isaiah won't have that opportunity again. An apology works when coming from them, but it doesn't hold the same weight coming from one of ours but that's okay with us, right? It must be because no one is doing anything about it.
People say all the time, don't piss off the Jews, don't piss off the gay community, well when are we going to start standing up for ourselves like those groups of minorities so that people say don't piss the black community off. We need to stop shrugging things off and accepting them for the way things are. We need to stop only becoming outraged when it's a person using the n-word. We need to start boycotting companies, advertisers, stations and programs that disrespect our people just like every other group of minorities in this country does. We need to stop being so quick to forgive and start fighting back and then maybe people will think twice before they casually throw racist jabs, stereotypes, double standards and ignorance our way BUT none of this will be effective until we start examining ourselves and watching what we say, do and how we carry ourselves. Educate our children so that they know who we are as a people, how far we have come and how far we still have to go. Teach them to respect themselves and how to carry themselves so they can make something of themselves. Stop perpetuating the very stereotypes we complain about. Stop using the very word that has held us back for all these years and causes so much pain and anger whenever it is said. Then the racists will lose their biggest excuses for their behavior, they won't be able to say well they say it why can't I, then maybe they'll think twice BEFORE saying or doing something offensive, and take us seriously when we march, campaign, protest and fight for our rights. Ending racism in this country is not going to happen until WE stop pointing fingers, crying and complaining and start standing up for our people and our rights, demanding respect from them and each other, not waiting for someone else to speak up and call it an atrocity. We need to support each other and stop letting them divide us like they’ve done for hundreds of years. We need to STOP supporting them sending a strong message to these people, their advertisers and employers that we will not accept disrespect and racism in any form and we will not be appeased by a simple apology anymore. We need to hold them to the same standards that they hold us to. We need to stand together and strong or this will never change and 10 years from now we will still be having the same discussion on race.