Saturday, September 29, 2007

Blacks In The News, Or Why Obama Won't Be President

These are the 3 most prominent news stories involving blacks in America right now, and in my mind it's proof that the way the media portrays us (not that we don't bring it on by acting like this), a black man will never be elected to the highest office:

1. O.J.'s Legal Woes: The Omen II. The media coverage of this has been laughable, along the lines of "Now O.J. will finally get justice dealt to him!" and "How arrogant of him to think he can cheat the legal system yet again!" This story was so hyped from the moment it broke, and I believe it was because most folks assumed O.J. was in hiding all this time, ashamed to be in public since his acquittal on charges of murdering his ex-wife and her boyfriend over a decade ago and subsequent loss of a liability suit filed by the boyfriend's family. I really think people were shocked that he was still a part of society and that this issue, comparatively small, would be the Big One they were waiting for that would lock this animal up for what he did to those two innocent people. Look, I have bad news for all of you who think this is justice: The white girl ain't coming back. She's still dead. That's not going to change, so quit making yourself feel good by staying on top of this non-story. One black guy got away with two killings. Get over it. Considering the lynchings of innocent black folks back in the good ol' days, by my count that makes the score several thousand to 2. You're still leading.

2. Speaking of race wars, Free the Jena 6. My girlfriend tried to convince me that this is nothing but a justice issue, but here's what I see when I look at it: Blacks rallying around black teens who beat a white boy unconscious. Great. Nice thing to throw support behind. Of all the black folks in America who could use support from our "leaders," let's go rally not for scientists trying to cure diseases, or philanthropists donating needed money to serious issues, but let's go to some backwater town in Louisiana to hold hands and sing for some kids who answered racial tensions and violence with more racial tension and violence. Yeah, they got charged with a higher crime than the white kids who beat a black kid previously. But they beat someone unconscious. The white guy attended a party that night, apparently, so the theory I've seen in some places is that it couldn't have been that bad. I don't care if he starred in a porno that night, he was beaten unconscious. I used to be guilty of getting caught doing something I shouldn't when I was in school, pointing to someone else and saying, "So-and-so did something bad too!" That was nothing more than trying to take the spotlight off what I did wrong. I didn't want to be responsible for my actions. By making the rallying cry "Free the Jena 6," the people in charge of things down there make it seem like they want these kids absolved of responsibility. That would be a miscarriage of justice, too. And by the way, I haven't seen much of Jesse Jackson in recent years, but he made his way out to a high school in suburban Chicago a few years ago to support some teenagers who were expelled after a gang brawl at a basketball game. And there he was along with Al Sharpton in Jena last week. Really, Jesse, you have nothing better to do? And I've seen this situation referred to as the jump-off for a "new civil rights movement." Wow. Branche, Abernathy, King, and so many others marching for equality during the '50s and '60s, and some kids committing battery and assault is on the same footing? Did I miss something??

3. The role model that is Isiah Thomas. All those years kissing Magic Johnson and cultivating an image as a sensitive young man with a quick, heartwarming smile, and because he and the New York Knicks refused to settle a harassment lawsuit with a woman, Anucha Browne Sanders, who had a laundry list of complaints against Zeke, all the sordid details are spilling out under oath in court. What a jackass. The funniest story told during the trial to me is the tale of a female intern getting drunk while hanging out with Isiah and the guys, then watching Stephon Marbury pull up and wait for her to get in his car and fuck him, as if this is the only way he can get some tail even though he makes millions of dollars and isn't totally ugly. The only way this would be slightly cool is if Starbury had the song "Bitch Get In My Car" by 50 Cent playing during this episode. At least then it could be ironic and witty. But without that, it's just sad. The only other thing I have to add to this is that I think about Isiah's backcourt teammate all those years with the Pistons, Joe Dumars. He was a class act, even when the Bad Boys were slamming my beloved Bulls into basket supports and on the floor in the name of competition, and even when Isiah and the other Pistons were tucking their tails between their legs and running off the court once the Bulls finally were able to knock them out of the playoffs in 1991. Dumars is now the Pistons' general manager, and we never seem to hear anything about him. I wish that he would get some of the press coverage Isiah is getting right now, not for doing bad things, but for doing the right things all these years. What a breath of fresh air it would be to see some media coverage about a black man that had nothing to do with a courtroom or a rally for violent teenagers or sales of a rap album. But that would mean that those in charge of media coverage would have to acknowledge blacks as deserving of such coverage, which means it won't be happening soon.

1 comment:

GrizzBabe said...

I have so many things to say I don't know where to start.

First of all, I fault the organizers of the Jena 6 protest for clouding the issue by using the phrase "Free the Jena 6". (Even though they may very well need to be freed based on the way similar crimes have been prosecuted in that state but that's another issue.) It gives the wrong impression and makes people think you want to absolve those kids from any and all responsibility for their actions when that isn't the case.

Yes, what those kids did was wrong. Way wrong. And yes, they should be punished for their actions. Where the unfairness lies in the Jena 6 situation is in the way the punishment was exacted. Just because these kids committed a crime doesn't mean that what happened to them is any less unjust.

Those kids did not deserve to be charged with attempted second-degree murder. The victim wasn't beaten within an inch of his life; he was beaten unconscious. There's a difference and the law is designed to recognize that difference. The law is also designed to recognize intent and I don't think those 6 kids intended to kill that young man. It was six against one. If they had intended to kill him he would be dead.

I challenge you to find me a white kid in Louisiana who beat up someone who was treated and released the same day who is sitting in a jail cell at this moment for attempted second-degree murder.

That's the injustice. That's the basis for a new civil rights movement, not blatant acts of racism like lynchings and segregation but subtle, more complex inequities like an unfair justice system.