14 April 2007

someone has to say it.

i immediately shut down when i hear that phrase. i can't help it. get cozy, we're gonna be here a minute...

i've been thinking about this all night, after reading tua's most recent blog post. i even dreamed about it.

divide and conquer. it's the oldest trick in the book.

this is what voters were aligning themselves with when they voted for the right. you don't stay on the air unless your ratings are good, unless you have a sizey fan base that agrees with what you say. watching that video up there - i was sick to my stomach. i still am as i write this. and as much as i'd like to say that we're all equal, that we are all americans - something that i believe to my core - there are many that don't feel that way and they hold positions of great power. the reality is, we simply aren't. the cards are stacked. to quote ani, "now that lynching is frowned upon, we've moved on to the electric chair." so maybe, just maybe - it isn't all dark skinned folks getting the brunt of the capitalistic system - it is the poor in general. but the dark skinned folks among us are still being disproportionally targeted - by the media, by the cops, by well-meaning light skinned folks, you name it. it is still so embedded in the culture, that it makes my mind spin. i do battle with what i was raised with from a very young age, and with what comes from the status quo from time to time myself.

imus is the tip of the ice berg.

a couple of my own experiences spring to mind. during my last 9 year stint at the bar, "guests" would throw out a hearty, "thanks, brotha!" when my friend and co-worker would bring their food to them from the kitchen, only to follow that up with racist comments and winks/knowing nods assuming that because i had light skin i agreed with their reprehensible thinking. this happened more often than not - and mostly always from the privileged that frequented the bar.

my same above mentioned friend came in one night horribly upset. he and his brother had just stopped to help a man on the highway that had blown a tire. they parked behind him, got out, and were headed his way when the man started screaming at them to get the hell back. he called them a few names. my friend kept trying to explain that they had only stopped to help, but the man only saw their skin tone and said he would call the police if they didn't stop harassing him. my friend's brother was pissed. as they drove away, he yelled back at the man - an act i'm certain only solidified the guy's fear when that wasn't the case at all. so many misunderstandings. not enough understanding...

i also think about the numerous times i've been told of crimes being committed against people i know. when the criminal is dark skinned, the teller always, with the exception of once, points that out first, as if it is to be expected from "them." in other cases, the person has always been described as "some guy," etc.

and then there was the time i was pulled over illegally for crossing some imaginary line at the wrong hour.

all i can say is - it is never as simple as black and white - there is always a huge grey area. and as for the woman that accused the duke men of raping her - i still wonder. we will never know.

i don't know what the answer is to all of this. we live in a horribly imbalanced society in a culture that embraces that which i just don't understand. i wish i had the magic wand to fix the sexist, racist, prejudiced plague. the best that little ol me can tell, it has to begin with respect. true respect. true equality, true choice and chances and options. freedom. and i don't know how to get there as a people, try as i may.

on another level - having long been a fan of rap/hip hop music, the trend of today and the prior 20 years or so really disturbs me. referring to women as bitches and ho's, putting such an emphasis on material objects and wealth at any cost... it's something i can't get with - no matter what the source. luckily, there's a whole slew of music that isn't based on that - it just doesn't seem to get any radio play. i digress. last week, i read this article:

Imus isn't the real bad guy

Instead of wasting time on irrelevant shock jock, black leaders need to be fighting a growing gangster culture.


Thank you, Don Imus. You've given us (black people) an excuse to avoid our real problem.

You've given Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson another opportunity to pretend that the old fight, which is now the safe and lucrative fight, is still the most important fight in our push for true economic and social equality.

You've given Vivian Stringer and Rutgers the chance to hold a nationally televised recruiting celebration expertly disguised as a news conference to respond to your poor attempt at humor.

Thank you, Don Imus. You extended Black History Month to April, and we can once again wallow in victimhood, protest like it's 1965 and delude ourselves into believing that fixing your hatred is more necessary than eradicating our self-hatred.

The bigots win again.

While we're fixated on a bad joke cracked by an irrelevant, bad shock jock, I'm sure at least one of the marvelous young women on the Rutgers basketball team is somewhere snapping her fingers to the beat of 50 Cent's or Snoop Dogg's or Young Jeezy's latest ode glorifying nappy-headed pimps and hos.

I ain't saying Jesse, Al and Vivian are gold-diggas, but they don't have the heart to mount a legitimate campaign against the real black-folk killas.

It is us. At this time, we are our own worst enemies. We have allowed our youths to buy into a culture (hip hop) that has been perverted, corrupted and overtaken by prison culture. The music, attitude and behavior expressed in this culture is anti-black, anti-education, demeaning, self-destructive, pro-drug dealing and violent.

Rather than confront this heinous enemy from within, we sit back and wait for someone like Imus to have a slip of the tongue and make the mistake of repeating the things we say about ourselves.

It's embarrassing. Dave Chappelle was offered $50 million to make racially insensitive jokes about black and white people on TV. He was hailed as a genius. Black comedians routinely crack jokes about white and black people, and we all laugh out loud.

I'm no Don Imus apologist. He and his tiny companion Mike Lupica blasted me after I fell out with ESPN. Imus is a hack.

But, in my view, he didn't do anything outside the norm for shock jocks and comedians. He also offered an apology. That should've been the end of this whole affair. Instead, it's only the beginning. It's an opportunity for Stringer, Jackson and Sharpton to step on victim platforms and elevate themselves and their agenda$.

I watched the Rutgers news conference and was ashamed.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke for eight minutes in 1963 at the March on Washington. At the time, black people could be lynched and denied fundamental rights with little thought. With the comments of a talk-show host most of her players had never heard of before last week serving as her excuse, Vivian Stringer rambled on for 30 minutes about the amazing season her team had.

Somehow, we're supposed to believe that the comments of a man with virtually no connection to the sports world ruined Rutgers' wonderful season. Had a broadcaster with credibility and a platform in the sports world uttered the words Imus did, I could understand a level of outrage.

But an hourlong press conference over a man who has already apologized, already been suspended and is already insignificant is just plain intellectually dishonest. This is opportunism. This is a distraction.

In the grand scheme, Don Imus is no threat to us in general and no threat to black women in particular. If his words are so powerful and so destructive and must be rebuked so forcefully, then what should we do about the idiot rappers on BET, MTV and every black-owned radio station in the country who use words much more powerful and much more destructive?

I don't listen or watch Imus' show regularly. Has he at any point glorified selling crack cocaine to black women? Has he celebrated black men shooting each other randomly? Has he suggested in any way that it's cool to be a baby-daddy rather than a husband and a parent? Does he tell his listeners that they're suckers for pursuing education and that they're selling out their race if they do?

When Imus does any of that, call me and I'll get upset. Until then, he is what he is — a washed-up shock jock who is very easy to ignore when you're not looking to be made a victim.

No. We all know where the real battleground is. We know that the gangsta rappers and their followers in the athletic world have far bigger platforms to negatively define us than some old white man with a bad radio show. There's no money and lots of danger in that battle, so Jesse and Al are going to sit it out.

thing is, it isn't just urban dark-skinned youth buying in - its the kids out in the suburbs that have a disposable income (for now) and are being "rebellious." instead of bucking the authority that needs to be bucked... i don't know that i agree with everything that whitlock puts forth - i think the trouble runs much deeper. i mean, making a quick buck off the pain and suffering of others is the american way. these artists have most likely internalized that and are simply trying to "get theirs." its also interesting to point out the sarah jones' song/poem was banned back in '99 - it was labeled "patently offensive" by the fcc, though she really did nothing more than to pull direct quotes from several popular radio hits. i'm sure you'll recognize many of them:

Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Will not happen between these thighs
Will not happen between these thighs
The real revolution ain't about bootie size
The Versaces you buys
Or the Lexus you drives
And though we've lost Biggie Smalls
Maybe your notorious revolution
Will never allow you to lace no lyrical douche in my bush
Your revolution will not be you killing me softly with fujees
Your revolution ain't gonna knock me up without no ring
And produce little future M.C.'s
Because that revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not find me in the back seat of a jeep
With L.L. hard as hell, you know
Doing it and doing and doing it well, you know
Doing it and doing it and doing it well
Your revolution will not be you smacking it up, flipping it or rubbing it down
Nor will it take you downtown, or humping around
Because that revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not have me singing
Ain't no nigger like the one I got
Your revolution will not be you sending me for no drip drip V.D. shot
Your revolution will not involve me or feeling your nature rise
Or having you fantasize
Because that revolution will not happen between these thighs
No no not between these thighs
My Jamaican brother
Your revolution will not make you feel bombastic, and really fantastic
And have you groping in the dark for that rubber wrapped in plastic
You will not be touching your lips to my triple dip of
French vanilla, butter pecan, chocolate deluxe
Or having Akinyele's dream, um hum
A six foot blow job machine, um hum
You wanna subjugate your Queen, uh-huh
Think I'm gonna put it in my mouth just because you
Made a few bucks,
Please brother please
Your revolution will not be me tossing my weave
And making me believe I'm some caviar eating ghetto
Mafia clown
Or me giving up my behind
Just so I can get signed
And maybe have somebody else write my rhymes
I'm Sarah Jones
Not Foxy Brown
You know I'm Sarah Jones
Not Foxy Brown
Your revolution makes me wonder
Where could we go
If we could drop the empty pursuit of props and the ego
We'd revolt back to our roots
Use a little common sense on a quest to make love
De la soul, no pretense, but
Your revolution will not be you flexing your little sex and status
To express what you feel
Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Will not happen between these thighs
Will not be you shaking
And me, [sigh] faking between these thighs
Because the real revolution
That's right, I said the real revolution
You know, I'm talking about the revolution
When it comes,
It's gonna be real
It's gonna be real
It's gonna be real
When it finally comes
It's gonna be real

i do think we need a little more sarah-thinking out there in the world.

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