13 April, 2007

Moral Compass

Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are not the moral compass of the African-American community. They get media attention because people are sure to tune in to listen to them.



Is George Bush the moral compass of white america? Or is it Don Imus? Does Osama express how all Muslims feel?

It makes as much sense as thinking that all black people thought OJ was innocent?


This is why we are stuck in this tug of war still. This is how you know how far we still have to go.


11 April, 2007

I must discuss Imus

Can you imagine being on a team and working hard all season and making it to the finals? All the work, sacrifice, and sweat. All the dedication to your studies and your team. All the pride at seeing women from different backgrounds, with differing dreams come together and work hard to achieve what most people will never achieve.

And then to have some has-been, shock-jock, who makes his living by being foul and offensive demean and dismiss every bit of that phenomenal achievement by dismissing you all as 'nappy-headed hoes'.

I am sure there are many who would quickly say that this is being blown out of proportion; that people are too sensitive these days. Many people think that race relations is no longer an issue in 2007. Well, here is yet another reality check. Surely, we really have not progressed at all. The tension is there, just barely beneath the surface--on a good day.

To some, the uproar shows how far race relations have come, said John Bunzel, senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution and an expert in civil rights and race relations.

"The outrage is a sign that people ... understand that language can hurt and, as each generation passes along to another, this kind of prejudice diminishes," he said.

Bunzel cited as evidence of improved race relations the uproar which followed comedian Michael Richards use of racial slurs and the support for Sen. Obama in his bid for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

Michael Dawson, a political science professor at The University of Chicago, disputed that view of race relations. His findings show most blacks think racial equality will not be achieved in the United States during their lifetimes, while most whites think it has been achieved or will be soon.

If this weren't such a sad state of affairs it might be funny. Don't get me wrong. I do not see racism everywhere I turn. It is not how I am wired. However I feel about people, race is not apart of it. However, I am not blind, and it is impossible for me to move through this world wrapped in beautiful skin that requires no tan without knowing, in my bones, when I am facing ugliness such as Don Imus'.

What is the big deal?

Who does not understand the power of words? Long after a physical wound has healed, the pain and echo of vicious words remain.

When I look at the young lady, who I believe is the Captain of the Rutgers' team, I see a beautiful, intelligent, articulate young woman who is only limited by her own fears. I see ebony skin, full lip. I see beauty. Not some homogenized version of beauty that is nearly absent of any racial identity. I see an African-American Woman; I recognize beauty in her. I would not paint her as a whore (hoe, ho). I do not see nappy hair as being a bad thing, but her hair is relaxed (straightened of it's natural curl). (As an aside, I wear dreadlocks. I am nappy headed. My hair is now better than 3/4 of the way down my back--the longest at the small of my back. I think my locks are gorgeous and sexy. Clearly, not every one's idea of beauty, but I walk in a ray of God's light that I believe is just for me.)

This is not just a 'black' issue. It is a feminist issue as well. Why is it OK to call these young ladies 'hoes/hos'? What gives anyone the right to demean them on the basis of their looks? On the basis of their sex. Did anyone call Kobe Bryant a nappy headed ho? Magic Johnson? But something about a black woman achieving, succeeding pulls venom out of people, and immediately she is painted with the brush of a whore. Condoleeza Rice is a great example. This brilliant woman has achieved tremendous and unparalleled success. Why paint her as G.W.'s concubine? To demean and disrespect. To erode her success and her self-respect.

I hope that eventually the Rutgers' team can chalk this up as a lesson learned, and march on with their heads held high. This is not for them to carry. This is for the likes of Don Imus to carry and clean up within themselves. Too many people think that it is OK for them to say exactly what is on their minds. Too bad they fed on ignorance and intolerance.