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Racism: 2010-Style

February 22, 2010

I’ve heard many folks say that we are living in a post-racial society, especially since the election of Mr. Obama.  I’m not so sure about that statement.  Today, we live in a day and age where everything can be done online and anonymously. For example, people can make the most egregious comments online because no one can see them or find them.  Some may think that’s a bad thing but I don’t.  I think the internet allows people to be honest and share their feelings.  Be clear, people’s true thoughts can be a scary place.  Societally, we have something innate in us that really dislikes confrontation and for that reason, we tend to be overly politically correct in our public lives but quite the opposite in our personal lives.  So much so, that once something does happen in the public realm regarding race, we tend to overreact and water down the conversation.  Let’s visit some very recent examples:

Recent Example 1: JOHN MAYER

Let’s begin here.  John Mayer, who has a lot of respect as being a “soulful white-boy” recently did an interview with Playboy.  In that interview, Mayer misjudged his acceptance amongst black people and made the following comments (profanity has been edited out ):

“MAYER: It depends on what I picked up. My two biggest hits are “Your Body Is a Wonderland” and “Daughters.” If you think those songs are pandering, then you’ll think I’m a douche bag. It’s like I come on very strong. I am a very…I’m just very. V-E-R-Y. And if you can’t handle very, then I’m a douche bag. But I think the world needs a little very. That’s why black people love me.

PLAYBOY: Because you’re very?

MAYER: Someone asked me the other day, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.’”

PLAYBOY: It is true; a lot of rappers love you. You recorded with Common and Kanye West, played live with Jay-Z.

MAYER: What is being black? It’s making the most of your life, not taking a single moment for granted. Taking something that’s seen as a struggle and making it work for you, or you’ll die inside. Not to say that my struggle is like the collective struggle of black America. But maybe my struggle is similar to one black dude’s.

PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?

MAYER: I don’t think I open myself to it. My [penis]  is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a [freaking] David Duke [penis]. I’m going to start dating separately from my [penis].

-Courtesy of The Huffington Post

Yes John, a very bonehead thing to say in public, right?  But why?  If it is something that he would say at home or around peers, then why not be able to say it on record.  It’s obvious that Mayer was attempting to make an off color joke that may have gotten him more attention than he asked for.  It then led to the video below of a very tearful Mayer making an “apology”:

Personally, I think I’m more upset at the apology.

Recent Example #2: NBC’S BLACK HISTORY MONTH MENU

On Feb. 4th, NBC decided that it wanted to have a menu in honor of black history month and let’s just say it offended a few folks:

questlove-black-history.jpg

Questlove tweeted the photo on his twitter page and then it was on.  Wanda Sykes had this to say about what happened:

[redlasso id=”e23979f4-4699-4797-b97a-e257e3cd8181″]

Let’s see on a scale of 1-10, where does that rank?

Recent Example #3 TIGER FREAKIN’ WOODS

You guys know I was not going to forget this one.  By now we all know the story, we’ve heard the jokes and we’ve seen the scrutiny.  Tiger Woods cheated on his white wife with a bevy of women (many white but not all).  Tiger is in a tough spot. He’s losing support with a lot of white people because he already dated a white woman and to embarrass her the way he did will definitely have its repercussions.  His support amongst blacks has always been split (many black folks never forgave him for that whole “I’m not black, I’m Cablinasian-thingy) and we already know how a large portion of black women feel about affluent black men that only date white women.  That’s a blog all by itself.  Now let’s be clear, main stream media will never appropriately cover this issue.   This case has multiple racial implications that are more obvious than a bull in the middle of your living room.  BET may cover it but it will more than likely be some watered-down version of propaganda that just gets ignored anyway.   This event warrants some discussion around racial identity.

Oh, and just to put this whole Tiger Woods thing in perspective, his affairs could cost him upwards of $180 million and that’s without the divorce! (According to the NY Post).  How about your vices?

The saddest thing about this story is that the only media outlets that can safely touch the issue of Tiger and race is comedy.  Come on “Home of the Brave”, we have to do better than that.

Click here to see the “Adulterer’s Conference”

HERE’S THE POINT

I am not excusing any of these events.  What John Mayer said was idiotic.  He thought he was cooler than he was, but the funny thing is white folks are going harder on him than black folks.  Russell Simmons said that it was overblown, not that he speaks for black folks but he is in a way hip-hop’s unofficial spokesman.  I think a better conversation could have come about.  Conversations about “why” always yield more fruit than conversations about “if”.  It forces someone to think critically about something.

The menu, while it was really stupid, really isn’t the issue.   We should have talked about why it was so offensive.  I mean after all, that was created by a black person.  We, as black folks, tend to samba ourselves more than white folks do.  The truth of the matter is we as a people do eat unhealthy.  I make jokes about Whole Foods all the time.  They are ridiculously expensive.  So if you are poor (does not even matter if you are black) and you have a family, chances are you are shopping a Pak N Save as opposed to Whole Foods.  Chicken and grease are cheap.  Plus many of us have been eating it since we were babies and on top of that, it tastes good!  It is what it is.  Our ethnic foods are a part of our history but eating that stuff too often is killing us. Black people die from cardiac arrest at a very high rate.  I don’t know about you all, but I never saw my mother counting calories.

This “menu incident” could have led to a national conversation on the need for cheaper, healthier foods.  If  I had the ability, I would definitely invest in a supermarket catered to poorer people that sold healthy foods and explained why they were healthy-how to properly prepare it.  Every isle would inform! I’d be willing to lose money because changing eating habits definitely would not happen overnight. But to the original point, we spent so much time being angry that we didn’t make clear what the real problem was.  It wasn’t that the menu was stereotyped, its that we do not understand that to some of my people, they do not know that eating that stuff everyday is killing us.  Heart Disease is the number one killer amongst blacks (Ebony Dec. 2009).  Damn a menu!

And Tiger… Tiger, Tiger, Tiger.  Look, the fact that Tiger Woods is going through this says a lot.  What Tiger did is wrong, but it’s none of our business.  I really…honestly…and truly….DON’T CARE.  What is a much more interesting story to me is the personal identity crisis Tiger is currently experiencing.  Now let’s set the scene.  Tiger, quite possibly our generations most dominant sports figure, is adored by fans but is totally void of actually belonging.  Hmm, what does that mean?  Tiger Woods is like the smart-jock in school.  You know them, really smart but not accepted by the nerds because he’s too “jocky”.  A great athlete, but not accepted by them because he speaks too “proper”, too “white”.  “He thinks he’s better than us”.  Tiger Woods persevered through playing a “white” sport, his speaking cadence always the brunt of a comedian’s joke.  Let’s be clear, we (blacks) get upset when Tiger claims to be whatever it was he claimed to be when from the beginning, we sold him off as an Uncle Tom! Be honest with yourself.  We did not claim Tiger UNTIL he became a winner.  Now we’re proud.  Now he’s our guy.  That’s the black ridicule.  White folks, I haven’t forgotten about you.

Tiger Woods dominated a sport that where the only black that avid golf fans saw consistently were the people treating the golf course.  Even when Tiger began to excel, he was “arrogant” and “disrespectful to the game”.  (Note: I was going to cite this but just go to Google and type: TIGER WOODS ARROGANT” and you will find everything you need.)  Tiger Woods goes and plays well at the  Masters’ and Fuzzy had to go and say this:

Crazy right! Oh, then Tiger absolutely took it too far when he married his wife, who happened to be white.  God-forbid you ever cheat on your wife, but he went and cheated on his white wife.  This privileged black boy that we allowed in here.  How dare he? How much uproar would there have been had his wife been black?  Hmm, I do not see Shaq in this kind of media frenzy…And he should not be.  Those matters are private.  (I love you, Shaq. Please do not sit on me!)

Poor Tiger, where does he belong?  He has no group…that is until he rises again.  That’s because we all love a winner.  Again, a missed opportunity for some real dialogue.  Tragic!

Let’s be clear.  I don’t care…

I don’t care about John Mayer and his dumb comment.  I don’t care about NBC and its dumb menu.  And I don’t care about Tiger Woods and his personal hell at the moment.  I’m not being insensitive but we tend to fight the WRONG battles.  I care far more about the racism that happens every day; racism that has become a part of life.  I’m far more upset that the schools I work in look more like prisons than universities.  It’s no wonder that so many of us end up there.  I care far more about the fact that while Mike Vick committed a heinous crime he is demonized on a channel and in the next scene we see Sarah Palin shooting moose out of a helicopter.  I care far more about the fact that selling rock cocaine carries a much harsher sentence than selling powder cocaine!  I care far more about the fact poor schools do not offer the same types of classes that rich schools do but the system tricks minority children into thinking that Affirmative Action is wrong. Stop arguing about prayer being taken out of school.  Brother, I’ll pray wherever I please and if you let a law stop you from praising your God then that says more about you than the country you live in.  Family, let’s fight the right battles.  Let’s start having the right conversations.  Let’s create some real change.  Because right now, we are definitely losing the battle of Racism 2010-style.

-Cole Out

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2010 10:49 PM

    Excellent post. I would argue that we’re living in a hyper-racial society. Witness the virulent hatred directed at Barack Obama, who is routinely derided as an extremist Muslim. (actually this is also racist against Muslim since it implies that they are unworthy of being preesident) Obama has bent over backwords to work with them and he has been a Centrist to a fault. Imagine — trying to get health care for the uninsured. How extreme can you get!

  2. February 24, 2010 8:22 PM

    From Facebook:

    Ashanti Moore never liked him! He is a lying, cheating, unremorseful,insincere,self-hating racist! Ashamed of the black blood that runs through his veins, and obviously will neva date a sista! I have nothin else to say about that coony uncle-tom! Lol (last part inspired by hollywood shuffle)
    46 minutes ago ·

    Charles Cole WOW. Go read my blog.
    45 minutes ago ·

    Thomas Candelario Who gives a s$&*, another distraction from issues that actually matter. A more pertinent question is how are you feeling about health care right now , or how do you feel about the jobs bill that just got passed.
    45 minutes ago ·

    Charles Cole He’s also one of the greatest winners of our generation and made it ok for black folks to play golf.
    44 minutes ago ·

    Charles Cole @Thomas- Well it matters bc that’s the topic I’m covering on my radio show this Sat. Not Tiger specifically but race relations in 2010.
    42 minutes ago ·

    Erica Garcia hmmmm…..
    41 minutes ago ·

    Charles Cole @Ashanti- You should read the blog post and comment on it. I’m sure you’ll get a good conversation.
    41 minutes ago ·

    Thomas Candelario Oh , ok, Im just tired of people being informed about non-issues rather than things that can change their disposition, its unfortunate that perez hilton get more reads than Chomsky.
    40 minutes ago ·

    Charles Cole @Thomas I want a public option but we can talk about that on a different post, playa.
    40 minutes ago ·

    Thomas Candelario hahaha fo sho.
    40 minutes ago ·

    Ashanti Moore yes, but its always ok as long as we imitate the image that was created of how we ought to be! And im not tlkn bout the ignorant ones of the minstrel days! Point blank, celebrities are always feelin like the rules dont apply, and then do dumb sh*t and get caught up! Knowin there are moneygrubbers out here! And their even dumber spouses always act …
    See More
    35 minutes ago ·

    Dominic Garrett Theres not another golfer on his level! He’s the best in the world!! Yes he cheated on his wife but that’s between God, him & his wife!!! Nobody is perfect!!!
    33 minutes ago ·

    Thomas Candelario I think tiger woods, poses a very intricate case, firstly hes half black which is something that is historically confounded, never being accepted by either side (historically), add to that his other half is asian another dilemma regarding race, Secondly you have a traditionally white game being taken over by a half black man, how do you think they …
    See More
    31 minutes ago ·

    Charles Cole @Ashanti-You do realize his mother is Thai, right? I want you to go to the blog and read it and watch the videos.
    30 minutes ago ·

    Charles Cole @Dom I agree. Would this be as big an issue if his wife were black?
    29 minutes ago ·

    Dominic Garrett I don’t think so. No wait only if he cheated with a white woman. How do I get to your blog?
    27 minutes ago ·

    Charles Cole @Thomas You sound like me. First off, Tiger is shunned by both black and white in my opinion. I don’t care how proper he speaks or where he graduated from, if he ever forgot he was black he was reminded when he married his wife. Period.
    25 minutes ago ·

    Charles Cole @Dom rmgradio.wordpress.com
    23 minutes ago ·

    Thomas Candelario Absolutely, But one can make the same argument for Barack Obama, “I know Im black when I hail a TAXI in New York”
    23 minutes ago ·

    Ashanti Moore yes, i know he is thai and black! I was only referring to the black half! Lol i watched his story and heard some things, thats what formed my idea of him!
    20 minutes ago ·

    Charles Cole But Barack has to address the issue of race. He made a great speech about it that will be in Textbooks. Tiger didn’t. Tiger married a white woman (which is his business) and cheating with a bunch of other ones (for the record, there were some black girls sprinkled in there).

    But like the blog points out at the end, why should we care about …
    See More
    17 minutes ago ·

    Thomas Candelario Hes like me, hahha no race, it is a lonely place men who cheat are seeking to fill a void, Id only imagine that his void has only grown as his family, particularly his father has left him, and he realizes there arent too many real people around him, sex addiction is only a part of problem, and only maybe his real problem is farther and youre right belongs to a different class of folks beyond just race.
    11 minutes ago ·

    Ashanti Moore No i am not attracted to tiger, but race has nothing to do with it! There are certain physical attributes i like, and it doesnt matter what the skin color is! I have dated men outside of my race. And mostly mixed ppl had more opposition years ago. So he might be old enough to have experienced that era as a child, but really now the only color that matters is green! Lol
    3 minutes ago ·

    Charles Cole So what do we think about affirmative action?
    about a minute ago ·

    • Arti Sharma permalink
      February 26, 2010 6:36 PM

      I think some folks see affirmative action as unfair to them because they won’t have as many opportunities available to them as without affirmative action but access to opportunity is what it’s all about…creating as level a playing field as possible for all people to be afforded the same opportunities.

  3. Thomas Candelario permalink
    February 24, 2010 8:54 PM

    FYI The Menu is just poor judgement, it so rediculous I can only laugh at it.

  4. February 27, 2010 5:34 PM

    Jay Iparraguirre: Its overblown… yes, still a problem to some extent but certain interest groups and the media want it to be a bigger issue than it is. Not saying it should be ignored or thought of as non-existent but definitely not the issue it was 50, 40, 30 or even 20 years ago.
    33 minutes ago ·

    From Facebook:
    Adonica ‘Doni’ Boyd: It’s still a problem….especially when you walk in on a conversation and a co-worker is talking about how she is the LEAST of the bigots at the school…she also goes on to say that she hears the TEACHERS use the “N” word all the time in reference to the students….not a good conversation to hear when your school is 60% of BLACK students with 10% of black teachers…Don’t forget…I live in good ole GEORGIA!

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