As I scanned cyberspace yesterday, I came across several interesting posts about the recent death of Jesse Helms. The most fascinating post was highlighting some of the things that he said over the years concerning Black people, not a term with which he had come to grips. He rather favored terms that we have come to know as most foul, as concerns Black people. Not one to smirk at death, even when it is the death of one of the most despicable people to ever walk the face of the earth, I find it impossible to grieve in the least bit. I hated everything that he stood for. I despised the things that he did during his career that helped to hold Black people back.
Yet, with all of his bigotry, he moved us to strive even harder. It seems that the bigotry that is outwardly exhibited in some Caucasians is the very thing that gets us motivated. I’m certain that you can remember the ruckus that the bigoted Don Imus brought us. You can recall the prejudicial outbursts made by Michael Richards (aka Kramer of Seinfeld fame). Without intentionally trying to bring tears to your eyes, I remind you of the unarmed Amadou Diallo, shot forty-one (41) times by New York’s “finest”. Last, and certainly last year’s biggest thorn, the Jena Six. All of these events are historic in that they brought out the worst in American Caucasians. They also got us, Black Americana, to move to action. Letters were written, shows were protested, and marches were made. When we are outraged enough, we will get off of our a$$e$ and do something.
When we are discriminated against, or feel that we have been, we are right to move into action. We are correct in thinking that something needs to be done. The majority of the time, the wrongdoing is being done by some Caucasian or Caucasians and we are quick to act, sometimes lightning quick. Jesse Helms, Don Imus, and Michael Richards became “non-entities” in my eyes, long ago. I trust that Helms made peace with God for all that he has done. As for Imus and Richards, they have apologized for the statements they made. I accepted those apologies but those persons still remain non-entities in my eyes. I simply no longer recognize them as anything of importance to me.
What, then, do we do when the racial slurs and discrimination are being perpetrated by Black Americana itself? Do we march? Do we write letters? Do we boycott?
We process what we have heard or seen, digest it, and take a long hard swallow. We then continue along our merry way as if what was said or done was of no relevance.
When racial epithets rear their ugly head and that head is attached to Black Americana, we need to move into action just as quickly and boldly as we do when that racism comes from Caucasians. In my mind, those Black Americana that I speak of also become non-entities in my mind. I am speaking specifically about Kanye West. Having processed him into a non-entity, it pains me to even type his name on the page.
My boycott of Kanye West started when I got wind of some remarks that he made back in January 2007, remarks that he made in an issue of Essence Magazine. The article states that he said “If it wasn’t for race mixing, there’d be no video girls”. This referred to the incessant method of choosing women to star in music videos who are of mixed heritage, basically of lighter skin pigmentation. He went on to say “Me and most of our friends like mutts” and concluded with “Yeah, in the hood, we call ’em mutts”. He actually called them dogs.
Considering the fact that my brother is married to a German woman (translation: Caucasian), their three lovely daughters, who are my three lovely nieces, fall into that category. When it hits home, one tends to take things personally. My nieces are the most wonderful, sweetest young ladies to grace this green earth. They are, by no means, dogs, or as West put it, mutts. Had these statements been made by a Caucasian, we would have been up in arms. Instead, we continue to purchase his CD’s and attend his concerts, lauding him with awards out the ying yang. Michael Richards is a very humorous comedian, but, his talent does not afford him a pass. Don Imus has the uncanny power to stir up tension on his talk shows, but, again, his talents do not gain him a pass. In my book, no one gets a pass . . . not Richards, not Imus, and certainly not West. Caucasians may lead the way, but they hold no monopoly on racism. We, as a people, need to stop letting a$$holes like West get away with murder. We need to hold them accountable. We need to let them know that they cannot – Black, Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic, nor anything else – continue to degrade our people without some form of repercussion for the evil that they perpetrate.
Imus made an apology. He is, no less, back to his normal antics, but, nonetheless, has made an apology for the remarks that first got him into hot water with Black Americana. Richards has bowed down and vowed that such outbursts will never happen again. So far, so good. I have more respect for the two them than I have for West, if only for the fact that they had the sense to acknowledge their errors and ask forgiveness. In a way, I can almost forgive Jesse Helms in that he knew he was a bigot and stood by what he believed in. As for West he is nothing more than a bigoted a$$hole who needs to be blackballed by Black Americana until he finally sees fit to do the right thing.
Whether it is Fiddy, Diddy, Obama, or his mama – no one gets a pass – certainly not this a$$hole.
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