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Again and again Americans are proving that the term “melting pot” is indeed a myth. There is an ongoing struggle to keep America white. From white fear of becoming a minority in their own country to a denial that racism still exists in this country to outrage that a United States president would dare speak out on behalf of the black populace, there is an unspoken sentiment that a large percentage of white Americans are becoming more and more fearful of losing the privilege that they are reluctant to admit they have.
Racism sucks. Retrieved from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/newstaco/5635106360/in/faves-18687099@N04/

Again and again Americans are proving that the term “melting pot” is indeed a myth. There is an ongoing struggle to keep America white. From white fear of becoming a minority in their own country [1] to a denial that racism still exists in this country [2] [3] to outrage that a United States president would dare speak out on behalf of the black populace, [4] [5] there is an unspoken sentiment that a large percentage of white Americans are becoming more and more fearful of losing the privilege that they are reluctant to admit they have. [6] [7]

It is incomprehensible to white America that their president would openly identify with black people, despite the fact that he himself is black. Some of the tweets sent out after his monumental, improvised speech on the nation’s reaction to the outcome of Trayvon Martin’s murderer’s verdict show an unwillingness to see clearly or acknowledge that there are others in this country who don’t see the world through their bleached colored lenses. From The Huffington Post’s White Conservative Male Pundits To Nation: Racism Is Over, Stop Talking About It: [8]

“If you ever had any doubts, Obama is the first Racist in Chief.” Dan Riehl.

“President Obama is making this all about race. All. About. Race.” Joe Walsh

“Obama's comments today justify what I said on Hannity earlier this week. He truly is trying to tear our country apart.” Todd Starnes

Starnes, a regular contributor on FOX, went on a derogatory tweeting spree in which he referred to President Obama as the Race Baiter in Chief. [9] Bill O’Reilly, host of The O’Reilly Factor, when addressing the discerned comments of Tavis Smiley in which he used the words incontrovertible contempt to describe his view on the perception of black treatment in America, stated: [10]
American society is contemptuous of black men. That's false... [The statement by Smiley] was wrong, it was fallacious, it was irresponsible of him to say it. I think when people start to say these things, that you and me and all these other people who have responsibility to run our programs in a fair matter have to say, “Hold it. I don't see it that way.”…. My responsibility is not just as a commentator. It’s basically to stop propaganda, and that’s what I consider it to be, cold.
And that’s the way this large segment of white America views the concerns of blacks in America – as propaganda – and an opportunity to play the race card. There can be no truth or validity to the concerns blacks have in regard to their place in this country. They’ve been given the opportunity to succeed and they have failed – miserably. And it’s their own fault. Based on all the outrage over Presidents Obama’s speech, that’s what I assume white America thinks.

Whites are totally oblivious to the fact that from the perspective of black America, the concerns that President Obama expressed are real. For this segment of white America, every attempt is made to debunk every charge of racism and discredit any person who acknowledges any and all racial, prejudicial, and/or discriminatory evidence.

And what’s more disheartening is that these white Americans have such a problem with President Obama acknowledging the fact that he himself is, indeed, black. It’s as if he should renounce his blackness and ignore the fact that he can understand the plight of blacks in America for no other reason than that he is himself, black in America. It’s as if, as an American, he is supposed to recognize only the majority group of Americans and to speak only from their perspective. It is as if he should ignore blacks and their feelings as Americans and for the people themselves, it’s as if they should be happy with the limited enforcement (and intrusion) of their rights as Americans. If the president would have made an impromptu speech on how blacks need to get over racism, and that America doesn’t want to hear and is tired of their whining, he would have finally gained a very small measure of approval from his detractors (I really doubt that he would. I said that because it sounded good).

As it was, the president accepted the verdict and the process of the Trayvon Martin murder case, and he never attempted to make-believe that blacks do not have a hand in their own adverse conditions, especially when it comes to crime. However, the president conveyed the reality of racial discrimination and prejudices that blacks experience in everyday life – prejudiced experiences that whites perpetuate onto blacks. And while President Obama’s description of such treatment was shocking for whites that may or may not have ever been involved in such prejudiced incidents, blacks were overwhelmingly understanding of his words because it is their reality and it was almost unbelievable for them to actually witness the day that someone of President Obama’s stature would not only not shy away from the responsibility of bringing it up, but that he volunteered on his own to speak about it. [11]

In 1993, the late Derrick Albert Bell, Jr., professor of Law at Harvard University, in his book Faces At The Bottom Of The Well: The Permanence Of Racism, included a chapter in which he described The Five Rules of Racial Standing. In regard to the first, second, and third rule, Bell stated: [12]

No matter what their experience or expertise, blacks' statements involving race are deemed 'special pleading' and thus not entitled to serious consideration… Not only are blacks' complaints discounted, but black victims of racism are less effective witnesses than are whites, who are members of the oppressor class. This phenomenon reflects a widespread assumption that blacks, unlike whites, cannot be objective on racial issues and will favor their own no matter what… Few blacks avoid diminishment of racial standing, most of their statements about racial conditions being diluted and their recommendations of other blacks taken with a grain of salt. The usual exception to this rule is the black person who publicly disparages or criticizes other blacks who are speaking or acting in ways that upset whites. Instantly, such statements are granted 'enhanced standing' even when the speaker has no special expertise or experience in the subject he or she is criticizing.'
And this is exactly what President Obama faced when addressing the issue. In essence, whites are the only people who can define racism, even though it's not usually their experience to be discriminated against. So if the N-word isn't blatantly used, it's not racism, prejudiced, discrimination or bigotry. And they know this, because the world is how they say it it is. And so it is.

And though he was the first president to speak from such a perspective, being that he is, in fact, first and foremost, a black man, president Obama isn’t the first President to speak wholeheartedly – though to his dismay – about America’s role in the predicament of blacks. In his 1965 commencement speech to Howard University, one of the nation’s premiere HBCU’s (Historical Black Colleges and Universities), U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson made statements about America and its role in sustaining the overall impoverishment of black society that did not sit well with the majority of Americans. [13] Some of his remarks are as follows: [14]

In far too many ways American Negroes have been another nation: deprived of freedom, crippled by hatred, the doors of opportunity closed to hope.

Freedom is the right to share, share fully and equally, in American society--to vote, to hold a job, to enter a public place, to go to school. It is the right to be treated in every part of our national life as a person equal in dignity and promise to all others. But freedom is not enough. You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying: Now you are free to go where you want, and do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please. You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, "you are free to compete with all the others," and still justly believe that you have been completely fair. Thus it is not enough just to open the gates of opportunity. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates.

Men and women of all races are born with the same range of abilities. But ability is not just the product of birth. Ability is stretched or stunted by the family that you live with, and the neighborhood you live in--by the school you go to and the poverty or the richness of your surroundings. It is the product of a hundred unseen forces playing upon the little infant, the child, and finally the man.

But for the great majority of Negro Americans-the poor, the unemployed, the uprooted, and the dispossessed--there is a much grimmer story. They still, as we meet here tonight, are another nation. Despite the court orders and the laws, despite the legislative victories and the speeches, for them the walls are rising and the gulf is widening.

We have pursued it [American justice] faithfully to the edge of our imperfections, and we have failed to find it for the American Negro.


President Johnson's Commencement Speech at Howard University, "To Fulfill These Rights." June 4, 1966. [37]

These were the words of President Johnson, who by enacting the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing – Civil Rights Act of 1968, [15] did more for the black populace in America than any other president before or since, with the one exception of the enactment of the Reconstruction (13th, 14th, and 15th) Amendments by the Radical (not the GOP) Republicans of the post Civil War era. [16] Yet in 1967, when responding to questions about the political, economic, and social problems of the United States, an exasperated President Johnson replied: [17]

How is it possible that all these people could be so ungrateful to me after I had given them so much? I tried to make it possible for every child of every color to grow up in a nice house, to eat a solid breakfast, to attend a decent school, and to get a good and lasting job. I asked so little in return. Just a little thanks. Just a little appreciation. That's all.
President Obama surely must feel the same way. I’m pretty sure he feels frustrated, but we may never know. Regardless, he should be commended for his candor and courage to stand up. And we as a nation should be proud. There was nothing in his speech that did not carry weight. I personally found resonation with a particular segment of the president’s speech: [18]
[W]e need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African American boys. And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?
When I heard him say that, everything stopped. I found it that profound. It’s what I have always wanted to say, but could never find the proper words of expression for. And not just in terms of black boys, but black girls and black people in general. Too many times, black Americans are presented with negative images of themselves. As I have said before, especially in regard to black youth, almost every mainstream media outlet presents blacks as dead beat, low life, low budget, criminal, uneducated, unemployed, oversexed, irresponsible, and more importantly, deserving of their environments [19] [20] [21] and there is growing sentiment that this is being done on purpose for the sake of discrediting anyone who would stand up to confront the defense of continued black oppression. [22]

But where can blacks turn to for positive reinforcements? Many say: the parents. But where do the parents turn for their positive reinforcements? They have been influenced by the same media as their children from the time they were younger. I was raised in the 1970’s and 80’s, and I saw the changes in the media imagery of blacks, especially in the 1990’s. Because of the “artistic” freedom and leniency of the media sources (news, radio, television, movies, books, magazines, etc.) and the bombardment of negative images, and by the time of the new millennium, it seemed that all hope was lost. And while there are a few black personalities that have made a lot of money through exploitation (i.e. hip hop, sports, reality tv, news media, etc.), they have greatly damaged black America and that damage goes even deeper when white America refuses to acknowledge what’s going on.

In some ways, this type of exploitation reminds me of the story of Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry, better known as Stepin Fetchit. From the early 1900’s to the late 1940’s, the black press which included such publications as The California Eagle and The Chicago Defender [23] and black Americans like Oscar Devereaux Micheaux were doing all they could to legitimize the image of black life and black Americans through film [24] at a time when white media was pervaded with the destructive images of Sambos, coons, pickanninies, mammies, and bucks. [25] From television shows for children like Our Gang [26] to movies staring child stars like Shirley Temple [27] to blockbuster films like Birth of a Nation [24] and Gone with the Wind, [28] blacks were used as either comic relief, or as the villain to be subdued by the power of whiteness. No matter the role, they were shown to be inferior to whites. In the opening introduction of Gone with the Wind, in particular, the credits roll to beautiful triumphant orchestration, while the following words scroll slowly down the screen: [29]

There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind...
These are the images that blacks like Micheaux were trying to overcome by making what were called, race movies. Though shown to mostly black audiences, these movies gave positive reinforcements to people of color, by portraying blacks from positions of influence, ability, morality and respectability. The black press and film makers like Micheaux also dealt with racial issues, such as the assumption of black raping of white women and lynching. [24] [31] Meanwhile, the white press and Hollywood film makers continued to perpetuate the image of blacks stereotypically as idle, senseless, foolish, spineless, compliant, irresponsible, childish, violent, subhuman, and animal like. [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31]

It was in these Hollywood films that Stepin Fetchit became a star, acting out the wild fantasies about blacks that white propagandists wanted to project to the majority white audiences of America. To his credit, Fetchit became one of the few black millionaires of his day, but it came at the cost of exploiting his own people. [32] [33] The following description depicts a typical character played by Fetchit and black actors of the same mold (when not played by the whites, themselves, in blackface): [30]

In the film [Hearts in Dixie], the audience is introduced to the faithful black plantation workers, toiling hard in the fields all day and relaxing at night by singing and dancing. Stepin Fetchit typifies the lazy, but goodnatured slave, unwilling to work, but forgiven for his errant ways. When the white boss playfully" kicks Fetchit in the rear-end, Fetchit grins broadly and winks slyly at the audience. This is an example of the typical screen "darkie." Fetchit, a "black clown," is a "good nigger," lazy and shiftless, yet "all right at heart. Most importantly, he "knows his place." (Noble 1969 [1948]; 50) Fetchit's depiction of blacks is extremely degrading and demeaning. Blacks across the country were presumed to fit Fetchit's stereotype of being lazy, stupid, foolish, and yet well intentioned.

Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry, better known as Stepin Fetchit. [38]

The difference between the image of blacks in Fetchit’s time and those of blacks today is that in Fetchit’s time the negative reinforcement of his image didn’t transpire to the black populace. Blacks knew who they were and it wasn’t dependent on white acceptance. Today’s depiction and definition of blackness, though not stereotyped in the same manner as in Fetchit’s time, have become mainstream, and is seemingly accepted by not only the white community, but the black community as well. This is mainly the result of comparably little to no multiple positive forces in black media as opposed to media that seeks to reach multicultural audiences. [34] For the sake of a positive black identity, multiculturalism, as seen in many of today’s advertisements, is nothing more than the pandering of the safe presentation of the adaptable, submissive, and passive black image to whites. The few exceptions in black media are not widespread or readily attainable by the mass of American blacks.

But the positive reinforcements that President Obama spoke of involve so much more than media. It includes strong educational resources that include the history of blacks from the perspective of blacks, the rewriting of legislation that would include blacks in the fight for social justice, and employment for blacks that would permit not just the having of a job that pays minimum wages, but living wages. After all, this is how the majority of middle class white America has survived. [35] And if we can't "give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them," then how can we as a nation complain when black Americans en masse fail to become what we all hope they can be?

But that's a question that can't possibly be honestly answered today. It's a question that really doesn’t matter in the eyes of white America. It simply is not their reality and their reality is typically the only reality that counts for the whole of the “other” America. Every generation of whites, from the reconstruction era (1865- 1877) to today (2013) and every year in between, have always believed that blacks were just fine and that they were afforded the same opportunities, justices and rights and have had the same standing in America as they do. [36] When the statistical facts ring out, they are condemned as a play on numbers by sociologists who are only race baiting. And so it is.

When the President of the United States speaks for Americans it is expected that he speak from the perspective of white Americans. When he doesn’t, it is simply unacceptable. When the President of the United States is black, he can’t speak from a white perspective, because although he has European ancestry, he is in fact, black. And for many Americans, that is simply unacceptable. And... so it is.

References
1.    Roberts, Sam (2010). Births to Minorities Are Approaching Majority in U.S., New York Times March 11, 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/...
2.    Berkowitz, Bill (2010). Right-Wing Bloggers Claim Racism No Longer Exists. Next Survey Will "Prove" Wall Street Financiers Aren't Greedy, No Doubt, Buzzflash, Truthout.org August 4, 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.truth-out.org/...
3.    Holland, Joshua (2010). Dozens of Out-of-Touch White Conservatives Agree: Racism no Longer a Problem! AlterNet.org August 6, 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.alternet.org/...
4.    Bratu, Becky (2013). From scorn to gratitude, mixed reactions to Obama’s remarks on Zimmerman Verdict, NBC News July 19, 2013. Retrieved from: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/...
5.    Knickerbocker, Brad (2013). Political world reacts to Obama’s 'Trayvon' moment, The Christian Science Monitor, July 20, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.csmonitor.com/...
6.    Wise, Tim (2008). Explaining White Privilege to the Deniers and the Haters, Red Room September 18, 2008. Retrieved from: http://redroom.com/...
7.    Duke, Selwyn (2011). The Myth of White Privilege, American Thinker July 28, 2011. Retrieved from:
http://www.americanthinker.com/...
8.    The Huffington Post (2013). White Conservative Male Pundits To Nation: Racism Is Over, Stop Talking About It, The Huffington Post, July 19, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...
9.    Ellen (2013). Fox's Todd Starnes Goes On A Racial Rant Over Obama's Remarks About Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman, Newshounds, July 19, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.newshounds.us/...
10.    Shapiro, Rebecca (2013). Bill O'Reilly Tries To Scold George Stephanopoulos (VIDEO), The Huffington Post, July 18, 2013. Retrieved from:  ttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/18/bill-oreilly-george-stephanopoulos-this-week-host_n_3616633.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false
11.    Ross, Sonya (2013). Obama bares his ‘blackness’ in Trayvon speech, World & Nation, The Buffulo News, July 20, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.buffalonews.com/...
12.    Bell, Derrick, Jr., (1993). The Five Rules of Racial Standing. Retrieved from: http://mdcbowen.org/...
13.    Walsh, Kenneth (2013). Obama Compares Himself to Trayvon Martin, Ken Walsh's Washington, U.S. News & World Report, July 19, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.usnews.com/...
14.    Johnson, Lyndon (1965). President Lyndon B. Johnson's Commencement Address at Howard University: "To Fulfill These Rights," June 4, 1965. Excerpt from: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965. Volume II, entry 301, pp. 635-640. Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1966. Retrieved from: http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/...
15.    Brunner, Borgna and Haney, Elissa (2007). Milestones in the modern civil rights movement, Civil Rights Movement Timeline (14th Amendment, 1964 Act, Human Rights Law), Infoplease.com. retrieved from: http://www.infoplease.com/...
16.    Foner, Eric (N.D.). The Reconstruction Amendments: Official Documents as Social History, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Retrieved from: http://www.gilderlehrman.org/...
17.    The College Board (2007). 2007 AP United States Free-Response Questions. Document F, page 5. Retrieved from: http://msroperhistorypage.wikispaces.com/...
18.    The Huffington Post (2013). Obama Trayvon Martin Speech Transcript: President Comments On George Zimmerman Verdict, The Huffington Post July 19, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...
19.    Indiana University (2004). Mass media and the African American criminal male stereotype, Indiana University News Room, July 28, 2004. Retrieved from: http://newsinfo.iu.edu/...
20.    Jones, F., (2012). The Mass manipulation of Black people, June 21, 2012. Retrieved from: http://themassmanipulationofblackpeople.blogspot.com/
21.    Jones, Franklin G., (2013) Black people are targets of the largest media driven psychological warfare campaign in history. African Press International, February 27, 2013. Retrieved from: http://africanpress.me/...
22.    Comissiong, Solomon (2010). Corporate Hip Hop, Corporate Media & Mainstream Black “Leadership,” Before It’s News, October 4, 2010. Retrieved from: http://beforeitsnews.com/...
23.    Nelson, Stanley (1998). The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords – Transcript, PBS. Retrieved from: http://www.pbs.org/...
24.    Oscar Devereaux Micheaux, Biography (2013). Bio.com. Retrieved from: http://www.biography.com/...
25.    Padgett, Ken (N.D.). Blackface! Retrieved from: http://www.black-face.com/
26.    Petrucelli, Alan W., (2009). Our Gang remains racist. Even the Warner Bros. little rascals insist they are not suitable for kids! Arts & Entertainment, Examiner.com, September 3, 2009. Retrieved from: http://www.examiner.com/...
27.    Susana (2009). Shirley Temple, Racism And Black Americana. Retrieved from: http://susanshomespunlife.blogspot.com/...
28.    Brown, Lamonia (2009). 'Gone with the Wind' shouldn't be romanticized, the Grio, December 15, 2009. Retrieved from: http://thegrio.com/...
29.    Dirks, Tim (N.D.). Gone With The Wind (1939), Filmsite, American Movie Classics. Retrieved from: http://www.filmsite.org/...
30.    Horton, Y., Price, R., & Brown, E., (1999). Portrayal of Minorities in the Film, Media and Entertainment Industries, Stanford University, Poverty & Prejudice: Media and Race, June 1, 1999. Retrieved from: http://www.stanford.edu/...
31.    Race Movies (N.D.). African American Cinema, Film Reference. Retrieved from: http://www.filmreference.com/...
32.    Hurst, Roy (2006). Stepin Fetchit, Hollywood's First Black Film Star, NPR Books, March 06, 2006. Retrieved from: http://www.npr.org/...
33.    Hopwood, Jon, C., (N.D.). Biography of Stepin Fetchit, IMDb. Retrieved from: http://www.imdb.com/...
34.    Clancy, Michelle (2013).  Nielsen: Local TV best suited to cater to growing multicultural audiences, Rapid TV News, June 30, 2013. Retrieved from: Nielsen: Local TV best suited to cater to growing multicultural audiences | Rapid TV News http://www.rapidtvnews.com/...
35.    Wikipedia (2013). American middle class, Wikipedia 19 June 2013. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/...
Wise, Tim (2008). The Pathology of Privilege: Racism, White Denial & the Costs of Inequality: White Denial –Transcript, pages 5-8,  Media Education Foundation. Retrieved from: http://www.mediaed.org/...
36.    Wise, Tim (2008). The Pathology of Privilege: Racism, White Denial & the Costs of Inequality: White Denial –Transcript, pages 5-8,  Media Education Foundation. Retrieved from: http://www.mediaed.org/...
37.    Youtube (2013). President Johnson's Commencement Speech at Howard University, "To Fulfill These Rights." June 4, 1966. 

LBJ Library video MP 2265-66 donated by CBS. May31, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/....
38.    Youtube (2010). Black in Time: A Moment in Our History – Lincoln Perry, Youtube, uploaded on November 18, 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/...

6:11 PM PT: Video footage has been added along with updated content.


Originally posted to Will Smith on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 02:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community, Barriers and Bridges, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I've been thinking of you, Will, (7+ / 0-)

    looking in to see if you'd commented or posted a diary. No, I'm not stalking you ;) It was because twice that I know of you've said something about disappearing. That could mean a lot of things, and I remember times in my life when I've thought about  that in an irrevocable, negative way.

    So I'm awfully glad to see you here with another excellent, thoughtful diary. If only I had something excellent and thoughtful to say in response .... But I do not.

    Please do not disappear on us. The coming demographic shift should be some help, but we must Keep Up the Good Fight -- preferably together, black, white, brown -- and Never Give Up. I suspect your diary today did some consciousness raising; I know it did with me.

    I hope you will keep up your excellent work and wish you all the best.

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 03:52:46 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for a fascinating post. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Will Smith, cotterperson, kishik, oortdust

    I learned quite a bit from reading it.  

    A few thoughts:

    The background on LBJ was very interesting. He would undoubtedly be considered one of our greatest presidents if not for the Viet Nam war. Of course, part of the reason he was able to pass civil rights legislation was because America's egregious treatment of black people, especially in the South, was making it difficult for us to make a case against the Soviet Union for mistreating their citizens, but I think his heart was in the right place regarding civil rights.

    Why do you consider black athletes and hip hop stars to be exploited, and by whom?  Certainly the record companies and sports team owners make money from their efforts, but that is just how business works.

    Sadly, I think that this country is several generations from racial equality.  We are all products of what has occurred in the past and I think that, at this point, ending this grim cycle of poverty and hopelessness that so many black Americans are mired in will require lots of hard work and dedication from both the white and black people in this country.

    •  Thank you (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, 2thanks, kishik, oortdust
      Why do you consider black athletes and hip hop stars to be exploited, and by whom?  Certainly the record companies and sports team owners make money from their efforts, but that is just how business works.
      It is my contention that they aren't making the music they want to make. They're making the music they have to make. As referenced in one of my earlier post:
      Solomon Comissiong, in his article, Corporate Hip Hop, Corporate Media & Mainstream Black “Leadership,” states:
      Rich white men knew exactly what they were doing when they invested hundreds of millions of dollars into a cultural medium (hip hop) in which they did not give a damn about. They were primarily concerned with two things: money and stifling the progressive energy coming from Hip Hop music during the Golden Era of the genre (1986-1995/6). Hip Hop became another cash cow by which they could make billions from—all the while ensuring that only the most racist and deleterious images made their way to their mainstream airwaves. The last thing these white men wanted was to continue to let the radical, and much needed, political perspectives of black and brown rappers to be made popular.
      He goes on to add:
      Embracing your African and Latino roots became increasingly popular and was the antithesis of what much of white America wanted us to do. They wanted us to shed as much of our cultural identity as possible in exchange for the same European-American value system that was responsible for much of our oppression. Hip Hop music gave youth like me added energy, ideas, and confidence to combat this systematic oppression (psychological, economic, and physical) head on. Hip Hop was educating black and brown youth in a way that the flawed and Eurocentric modeled American school system was clearly not willing to do. Hip Hop music of the liberating ilk was, and still is, a natural enemy of white supremacy, capitalism, and injustice. This is why today’s most popular rappers and images of “hip hop” featured are eerily reminiscent of the minstrel shows of yesteryear. Having black men and women parade around mainstream airwaves as modern day sambos, mammies, jezebels, and social deviants, is what makes media corporations, like Viacom and Clear Channel, comfortable. These are the safe images of people of color that they wish to make most popular and therefore socially engineer how people think of black people and even how black youth think of themselves.
      Comissiong, Solomon (2010). Corporate Hip Hop, Corporate Media & Mainstream Black “Leadership,” Before It’s News, October 4, 2010. Retrieved from: http://beforeitsnews.com/...

      It's a part of the job they have, and it appears to be necessary if they choose to live in the limelight. But they're being exploited. They are being told how to present their craft and if they don't do it the way they are told to do it, they won't make it. They are selling their souls.

      •  Do you think this is true (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Will Smith, 2thanks, kishik, cotterperson

        even for black performers successful enough to run their own production companies?

        •  It depends on what they feed off of. (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ozy, 2thanks, kishik, oortdust, cotterperson, a2nite

          No matter how much money you're making, you have to know when you're being exploitative, especially stereotypically in terms of your own people. And I can't imagine that one can act like the portrayed imagery of a hip hop "thug" (sorry to be stereotypical in my example, but I think it's necessary to make the point) and be successful in the business world. So if they are acting differently in the real world and that image is not who they portray or the artists they sign portray, it's exploitative and they have to know that. And the only way the music and the personas are going to change is maybe through the force of will of those black performers, even at the risk of not becoming a superstar. If they are truly in it for the art, then that's what they'll do. Unfortunately, growing up in extreme poverty may be all the motivation you need to sell your soul to the highest bidder. I hope that made sense.

      •  That reminds me of the early '70s, (5+ / 0-)

        when Willie Nelson got sick of the corporate crap in Nashville and moved back to Texas. He toured all over and gave exposure to other Texas singer-songwriters and "a whole other" musical subculture developed outward from Austin. It was central, had the state  university, and musicians toured out from there.

        Is there a place where Black musicians who want to do their own thing could have their own subculture? St. Louis had some of that when I was there. Certainly there's no shortage of musical talent in the world, and it doesn't have to go platinum to be important. It's good to have an escape from the dreadful corporate mold, and I suspect the greater freedom makes up for the smaller money (as long as it's enough).

        I hope that happens!

        "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

        by cotterperson on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 10:01:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The article you quote is interesting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Will Smith

        but I have difficulty accepting the premise.

        It weaves an insidious conspiracy where Hip Hop performers were forced into adopting negative images in exchange for their success, but the images were part of a scheme to undermine the legimitacy of black people as a whole.  

        Unless there is concrete evidence to support this conspiracy theory, I find it much more likely that the performers chose these images for themselves, and that the record companies did not discourage it because there was money to be made (the companies may even have encouraged it because there was money to be made).

        I don't think that the biggest music producers care about politics or undermining any race of people.  I think they only care about profit.  Additionally, there are black music producers whose Hip Hop artists adopt the same images.

        •  There is evidence (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson, Will Smith

          Will Smith wrote about it in one of his recent diaries, posting the evidence.

          Here it is

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 10:48:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, Will Smith cited this reference in his reply (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Will Smith

            to my comment.  The reference makes a statement, but does not offer evidence.

            Can recorded conversations be produced, or e-mails that confirm the existence of this conspiracy?  Have any of the artists been quoted as having been told of this plot?  Are there whistleblowers from the recording industry who have records of this plan?  Additionally, what is the motivation of large multinational corporations in such a course of action, and who are they in collusion with?  

            The misogony, racist slurs, violent imagery, and obscenities in contemporary Hip Hop are offensive, but the "gangsta" image appeals to many young people, both black and white.  The recording industry is happy to jump on board to make money, but the idea that there is some sort of grand racist plan that guides the music industry is farfetched.

            Conspiracy theories are easy to invent, and as many come from the left as from the right.  People who agree with the point of view the theory supports are quick to believe.

            Ultimately however, it is counterproductive to believe in things that are not true.

            •  never forget... (0+ / 0-)
              “Doubling the conviction rate in this country would do more
              to cure crime in America than quadrupling the funds for
              [Hubert] Humphrey’s war on poverty.”
              –Richard Nixon, 38th President of the United States of America
              “[President Nixon] emphasized that you have to face the fact
              that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to
              devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.”
              –H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s Chief of Staff
              Both quotes from:
              Beckett, Katherine, & Sasson, Theodore (2004). Conservative agendas and campaigns: The rise of the modern “tough on crime” movement, the politics of injustice: Crime and punishment in America. Political Research Associates. Retrieved from: http://www.defendingjustice.org/...
              This is not a conspiracy theory. Please read this article on rapper Too Short:
              http://www.hiphopdx.com/...
              And watch these videos from hip hop veteran, record executive and former gangster rapper, Scarface:
              http://www.youtube.com/...

              http://www.youtube.com/...

      •  This is very true (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, Will Smith
        It is my contention that they aren't making the music they want to make. They're making the music they have to make.
        Many artists, hip hop, R&B, rock, pop of all races and cultures have complained of this.  The record companies decide who you are and how you should be "marketed".  If you disagree, then they will keep you on contract but not promote your music, not fund videos or tours, and you will rot away until your contract expires.  

        That is the "business", for everyone, black or white.

        Where it gets "racial" is that the powers that be have a certain image in mind that they think sells for black artists.  And unfortunately that image is not very flattering. But if you are an artist and you want to pay your rent, you play the "character" you are given, STFU and collect your check.

        I'll give you a recent example.  2 Chainz.  Hint: he is not really that character he plays in videos.

  •  interesting diary (5+ / 0-)

    thanks for making the distinction "a large percentage of white Americans "

    Rather than "White Americans" as I've seen some lately on DK.

    It is more accurate. And it refrains from painting ever White American with the same broad brush.

    •  I know, right? (6+ / 0-)

      I had to make that distinction. After all the drama with the Trayvon martin case, and the outpouring of sympathy and true sentiment by a lot of white people, I wrote my last article, An Open Letter to all the White Antiracist Activists to address that segment of White America who I know for a fact aren't racists. I will from now on try to make that distinction whenever I write, because there is a huge difference.

      •  That diary and this (3+ / 0-)

        are extremely important, to me. Grounding current manifestations of racism in its historical and institutionalized, contextual metamorphoses should allow White Americans to adjust their perceptual lenses to gauge that metamorphosis of racist ideologies/behavior, their expressions (individually or institutionally) or their impacts. Yet, allowing oneself to be exposed to the discussion does not equate with eradicated or even diminished racism or impact across large segments of the society. Overtly racist Whites today who retain and maintain their race-based fears or antagonisms will seek and find ways to express their racism if it advantages them, in ways that are not as recognizable as past, overt forms of racism, or they will be unable to fully disguise ways in which their racial animus contributes to their belief in their exceptionalism even if they wish to convey that their beliefs have evolved into some non-race-based egalitarianism. But even those of us who celebrate our enlightenment on racial issues, when such individuals react defensively (or mildly antagonistically) when a Black American expresses awareness of or concern for ongoing manifestations of racism against Blacks in America, that individual's reaction is in fact a manifestation of ongoing racist sentiment, to me--especially when that individual is claiming some kind of enlightened or atoned state for himself alongside the reaction. Denying that racism is as damaging as it once was because weekly lynchings don't get reported (in the African American press) or dogs are no longer attacking Black Civil Rights demonstrators, or trying to understate racism's existence or impact because I, personally, feel that I am a supporter of equality or simply am not racist (in my own mind) and posing my self-perception as evidence, to me, is further evidence that I don't "get it." If I am critical of any Black American's expression of thought or feeling about racism's ongoing existence and impact on individuals or communities (including impacts on the psyche of the racists, themselves) because of my "understanding" as an enlightened White American, I am, in essence, practicing a subtle form of racism. I see this kind of what I call subtle contributions to or reflections of racism often on this site. Of course, elsewhere, racists simply blatantly display their violent rhetoric and fantasies. That I have not lived as a Black American within the historical/psychological/cultural context that you help to establish here and elsewhere in your writing, that I do not frame my current reality within that context as well, requires that I listen and not necessarily provide a defense for who I am, what I feel or what I have done to remove myself from the evolution of racist ideologies or their impacts on this nation. My listening and trying to understand is a good place to start to lay a foundation for the ultimate actions (physical and verbal) that will provide proof or not as to whether I am truly enlightened as to what Black Americans who discuss racism are attempting to help me to understand.

        I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake. ― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

        by dannyboy1 on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 06:10:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry - but I have to nitpick (4+ / 0-)

      Why is it so offensive to you if a general statement is made about White Americans?

      Why can you not "turn the other cheek", agree with the overall sentiment while knowing within yourself that the speaker is not referring to you?

      If you are wondering why I'm asking, it's because this is the very thing that as a black woman I must do every day of my life.  Every time there is talk of "violent black thugs", or lazy "welfare queens", or "baby momma's", etc, etc etc.  I must do so even when the broad brush statement is one that is made to my face and not in some online discussion.

      Just sayin'.

      •  I can definitely relate to this... N/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson
      •  Wait, what? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Will Smith

        "Turning the other cheek" does NOT mean "agreeing with the overall sentiment."  I'm pretty sure that you don't agree with the 'overall sentiment' of the comments you cited as examples from your daily experience, right?

        Now, if you're saying that there are times every day that you bite your tongue and choose not to say things you'd really like to say, well, then, we're in the same boat as far as that's concerned.

        The simple question is this - do you believe that a majority of white Americans fall into the categories described in the diary?  If not, then the simple answer is that the precise phrasing makes a more precise point - and not only should that be a goal of any persuasive writer,  but it also serves to dispel criticism of 'painting with a broad brush.'

        The real question, though, is this - if this community is about eradicating stereotypes and breaking down barriers (be they barriers of gender, sexuality, race, or whatever), why should we tolerate such things in any context or against any group?

        I try to be disciplined in my commentary, and I make every effort to avoid stereotyping or generalizations; is it unreasonable to ask (or expect) others to do the same?

        The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

        by wesmorgan1 on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 06:25:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was referring to this... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          EastcoastChick
          ...knowing within yourself that the speaker is not referring to you?

          If you are wondering why I'm asking, it's because this is the very thing that as a black woman I must do every day of my life.  Every time there is talk of "violent black thugs", or lazy "welfare queens", or "baby momma's", etc, etc etc.  I must do so even when the broad brush statement is one that is made to my face and not in some online discussion.

          I should have been more specific. I was agreeing that I would hope that my readers know that for the most part, I'm not talking to them, nor am I referring to those who don't subscribe to the racism that I speak about. Do not forget that I am a black man and I too have to deal with this almost every day. It's just a reality of life for me that I have to deal with.
          Every time there is talk of "violent black thugs", or lazy "welfare queens", or "baby momma's", etc, etc etc.  I must do so even when the broad brush statement is one that is made to my face and not in some online discussion.
          I deal with this type of incident almost everyday. I don't know if you have to experience this, but because I do, "I can definitely relate to this..." which is what I said.

          And this raises the issue that President Obama is dealing with. Because he chose to speak with understanding in terms of black people, because he is black himself, he has been condemned as racist. Because I stated that I can definitely relate because I am black and I have shared the same experiences, I am condemned. See how that works? Like EastcoastChick stated, "Just sayin.'"

          •  Many of your readers aren't that familiar... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Will Smith
            I was agreeing that I would hope that my readers know that for the most part, I'm not talking to them, nor am I referring to those who don't subscribe to the racism that I speak about.
            This may have been the first of your diaries that I've read; I must admit that I pay more attention to titles and content than I do to diarists' names...

            The point is that in a online community like this, most of us probably don't know you, we don't have your previous writings as a frame of reference, and--as a result--we do take your words at face value.  Toss in the folks who reach your article via Facebook or Twitter links, and the number of readers who "don't know you" only increases.

            I wasn't planning on commenting on your use of "a large percentage of white Americans", but it did catch my eye, and it did make a favorable impression; it suggested that you weren't just engaging in stereotypes, that you had done some research, and (I may be reaching on this last one) that you were also delivering to anyone who might hold those positions a subtle hint that they are, indeed, NOT in the majority of white Americans on this point.

            (Incidentally, I have a similar appreciation for those who are careful to distinguish the Religious Right from the general Christian population.)

            Whether or not you believe it necessary, I would suggest that precise language is almost always a better service to one's readers--who may, or may not, know you welll--than are generalizations or stereotypes.

            The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

            by wesmorgan1 on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 09:26:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I will take that into consideration (0+ / 0-)

              But I implore you read An Open Letter to all the White Antiracist Activists. I've written this a few times in my comments tonight. And after reading it, please read the comments section and you'll see I continue to write the way I do. In a way, it's done on purpose the explain the extremity in the two sides of racism and prejudice, however, it is not inclusionary of all. Trust me, all white people are not predatory and all black people are not victims. Still, I cannot speak in hushed terminology to appease the masses... not when I'm talking about race. As an example, when SOME women bash SOME men, I know that their are not talking about me. On the other hand, when SOME (most) conservatives talk about people of color directly or in terms of dog whistle vernacular, I feel that they're referring to not only my people, but to me. So I get it. I try to let people know that all white people aren't included in the racism and prejudice that I speak about, and I'm aware that some people are still going to be offended. I can't change what I write so that I can be more popular or liked. I don't want to be offensive, but I do want to tell the truth. So I make "Disclaimer" statements, and I wrote a diary about it, but that's as far as I can go to explain it. Anything else, I view as a means of trying to silence me... One can have their say and they're free to oppose my view. That creates a good argument, but I do have a voice. My voice. And I won't be silenced. Then I would be offended.

              Sorry i got a little carried away. Let me make this clear. All of this wasn't directed at you, but I felt it needed to be said. I just don't want to be misunderstood. Hope you're ok.  :)

              •  Hey, it's all good! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Will Smith

                It is something of a tightrope.  When I write for public consumption, I try to present my arguments/thoughts in such a way that even someone diametrically opposed to my position will find it accessible.  I don't write to (necessarily) convert someone who feels differently; I write for those who haven't yet made up their mind or haven't given the matter serious thought.

                When you get right down to it, it really isn't about any particular issue; rather, it's my preference for precise language/argument.   Just as I dislike reading about "all gays...", "the Christians...", or "most women...", I dislike reading "the Black man", "White America" and similar phrases.  It's my pet peeve, and I'll live with it.  **laugh**

                The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

                by wesmorgan1 on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 09:44:28 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  And I would like to add... (0+ / 0-)

              In reference to:

              This may have been the first of your diaries that I've read; I must admit that I pay more attention to titles and content than I do to diarists' names...
              The point is that in a online community like this, most of us probably don't know you, we don't have your previous writings as a frame of reference, and--as a result--we do take your words at face value.  Toss in the folks who reach your article via Facebook or Twitter links, and the number of readers who "don't know you" only increases.

              I'm pretty sure that you're an educated person, and if indeed it is true that you pay more attention to the titles than anything else, then I have to wonder, at some point, didn't you realize that this was a series? If it's a series (which the title indicates) wouldn't you think that there was more to this story than just the immediate content from which your reading? In a series, one issue builds on the next, and so on, all under the same theme. There is a lot more to what I'm saying about race and prejudice overall than what I'm saying here...

              By the way, if you're ever interested in reading more from a particular diarist, click on their name (which will be in orange lettering) and you'll be able to read their other works, if interested - that's for those who aren't familiar...

      •  it is not "so offensive" and I did not say it was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Will Smith

        I explained myself adequately. I can turn the other cheek if I want to, but i am not the only one reading it.

        I feel a visceral turn off momentarily when I hear implied that all White Americans or ALL of any group...which is conveyed when every the NAME of any group is used to characterize Some people in the group...IS a certain way. It is labeling. And it is wrong.

        "Jews think" "Gay people are". "Christians do this or that". Whenever I hear such sentiments I am mo

        Now people parse word choice to varying degrees of fineness. I do parse all words on the fine side, myself--I do that with all uses of English--but I know people who do so  more than I do and less than I do. And I accept and can understand their opinions and experiences, though I've learned that some people on DK cannot and often label others as "nitpicking" or whatever.

        I get where you are coming from. I'd never say "Black people are" or anything like that. I get that being WHite I am in the majority so when a label is used on my, majority member, it is less hurtful.

        Still, I think two wrongs, even if they are different degrees of wrong ness, are right.

        I'm a member of a minority religion in this country. So when someone says ""(my religion) are xxxx" it feels shitty. It implies we ALL are that way. I imagine that, since Christians are the majority religion in this country, saying "Christians are xxx" would feel less bad to the majority religion's members (Christians) than minority members. IT is not the SAME intensity, I do understand, as racial minorities and particularly African Americans in our culture vis a vis White people...but I think it's the same dynamic. I've spoken with Gay friends and they find "Gay people are xxx" offensive. Now, the term "Straight people xxx" is also irritating and is less offensive or threatening only because straight people are in the power majority. But saying "Straight people are xxx" is still not right.

        My mother always said "two wrongs don't make a right". Even the it "wrongs" do not have a comparable intensity. ALso when we are  meticulous with how we label groups of people we are leading others...perhaps majority group members...to not do it to us. But when we say, for example "White people are..." we are doing what we hate having done to us (sorry, to Black people).

        That's the best explanation I could give. I did anticipate a reaction somewhat like yours so I am sure you are not alone. I expected to be judged as a bristly White person who doesn't get it about how Blacks are much more labled than Whites and how Blacks are much more hurt by it. But it does not make my point not valid. I think it is best for minority group members (gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc) to not paint the majority group with a wide brush because they themselves don't want to be painted that way.

        Many of those majority group members (White people, here) that are on the fence about race, the same people Obama tried to reach in his speech last week, will tune out if you say "White people are...".

      •  my response to you was long but I hope (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Will Smith

        you check it out. I am aware of it being much worse for Black people....when someone odiously says "Black people are..." I feel so bad for the crap Black people have had to put up with in general but also the disgusting racism that has been shown during and after Trayvon Martin's killing and the trial of his killer.

        It comes down to, saying "White people are..." alienates the people who you might be trying to reach, it is not what you'd want done to yourself, and two wrongs don't make a right. I feel alienated momentarily have done to me what I'd not do to others and have to quickly catch myself and reopen my mind. It is almost subconscious and happens quickly. So, to White people who are less accepting about there still being racism in this country, or who are not understanding of the African American experience in this country, I think saying "White people are..." would turn them off completely. I don't think that's your/our goal.

        •  I understand exactly where you're coming from... (0+ / 0-)

          That's why I wrote An Open Letter to all the White Antiracist Activists. If you haven't done so, please read it. I wrote it specifically for times like this. I am not trying to alienate anyone, but that's kind of hard to not do when talking about race. It's uncomfortable and hard to express primarily because it has more than 2 sides. Race is a multidimensional phenomenon and it permeates throughout our nation. I get it. I see your side and EastcoastChick's side. I guess that comes from being objective :)

          •  I'll check it out, thanks. And (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Will Smith

            I don't really see Eastcoastchick and I having sides. She doesn't see why I should not like something that's done, so I'm explaining.

            My point is that it sucks they have to deal with it but best not do it to others even if they are in the majority (white) group who are often perpetrators of stereotyping of Black people.

            The more one crawls into the shoes of what Black people must be experiencing now the more one wants to weep for our country, and for them. It's like having the first Black President unleashed much of the subconscious as well as conscious racism of many White people. It is more overt that I ever have seen in my middle aged lifetime.

            It's cool you respond to everyone! have a good night..it was a thought provoking diary.

  •  I've been critical of Obama (4+ / 0-)

    as well as the entire damn plutocracy.

    But when he made his remarks about Trayvon, I found tears welling up in my eyes. My significant other walked in and I told her what happened. She cried too. We knew what it meant to a lot of people, and we knew it was an important moment, and we were very moved that he said what he did.

    It was necessary, to say the least.

    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

    by ZhenRen on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 09:19:57 PM PDT

  •  I live on the streets (5+ / 0-)

    where people don't footnote.

    They live and love and hang out with whomever they feel comfortable with.

    bless those who choose the intellectual style.

    it takes all of us

    namaste.

  •  Dear Will Smith, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Will Smith, kishik, oortdust, cotterperson

    Thank you for your contributions to DK!

    Do you know how DK groups work?

    I see you are a member of Black Kos Community. If you became an Editor of that group, you could directly publish your diaries from that group or republish to the group. Anyone Following that group would have your diaries automatically delivered to their queue. (Do you know how to send a kosmail to one of the Admins? If not, let me know.

    IMHO your work is a DK gem waiting to be discovered by many.

    It is also okay for you to invite people to your diaries from any Open Thread diary, and since Ian Raifowitz mentions his diaries in the 2 masthead Black Kos diaries (Tuesday: Tuesday's Chile; and Friday, Week in Review), I am guessing that would be okay for you to do too. You might ask the editors of those long-running features (Denise Velez Oliver and Dopper) if that is okay. I suspect it will be.

    I find your work refreshing, informative, and well researched, and you engage really well with commenters.

    If you were an Editor of Black Kos, you would be privy to the kos groupmail system, but be forewarned, you have to check your kosmail page for groupmail, because there is no "You have mail" signal for groupmail. Known DK4 bug.

    Thank you, Rescue Rangers!

  •  The last line.... (4+ / 0-)
    When the President of the United States speaks for Americans it is expected that he speak from the perspective of white Americans. When he doesn’t, it is simply unacceptable. When the President of the United States is black, he can’t speak from a white perspective, because although he has European ancestry, he is in fact, black. And for many Americans, that is simply unacceptable. And... so it is.
    Someone i used to work with, well, we're still both working in the same building, but we don't work in the same job anymore, but we do still converse frequently, we met oh, probably about 25 years ago or so.  His father is black, his mother British and white.  We got along from the start, so he's someone I'd always be hanging out with talking  while at work when we had down time.

    Anyway, after i went and was reassigned elsewhere, i remember overhearing a conversation some of his supervisors and managers that involved him as a topic to ridicule.  One of them said, so here Steve comes up to me and says- Well, what are you going to do about this since I am complaining to you as a white man!

    The other manager laughs.

    Then the person recounting the conversation says, I wanted to tell him has he looked in the mirror recently?!

    This was like a big joke with them.

    Later I did speak with one of the people involved in that conversation (the person telling the story was a top manager and my boss, so instead I spoke with one of the supervisors who I felt more comfortable with), i said, you do realize Steve is half white? His mom is white?

    The supervisor tells me, well, No. i didn't know that, but Steve is still black.

    I was at that point just disgusted.  But i soon realized this was just an example of their ignorance.

    I did ask Steve when I saw him next what it was that he was talking about when he spoke to that manager.  He told me that since they were ignoring him as a black man, he thought he'd pose the same question as a white man.  To which he still hadn't gotten a reasonable response.

    As always, thanks for a thought provoking diary.  Took me a few sit downs to read through (and reread) and it was well worth the time.

    All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

    by kishik on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 04:16:56 AM PDT

    •  Thank you! (4+ / 0-)

      In this country, the one drop rule is still in play
      And if half your drops of blood are black, well.... You're definitely black. In America, it's not who you are, it's who other people's perceptions of you define who you are. Unless I'm white in this country with a European ancestry, it doesn't matter what your ethnicity is. You're either Latin, Asian, etc., or black. No one looks at me and recognizes that, hey, I'm of Algerian, Moroccan and Trinidadian ethnicity! Wow! No, I'm just black. That all they see and that's all I am.

      It should be noted that most white people can tell you what part of Europe they hail from ancestrally, be it French, German, British, Spanish, Irish, Scottish, Norwegian, etc. and it's perfectly fine for them to be proud of that and recognized. But why not hold the same respect for people of color?

  •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Will Smith, cotterperson

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 05:48:33 AM PDT

  •  Can we please stop (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Will Smith, wesmorgan1

    With the blanket statements about "white America"?  A large part of dailykos are part of white America too and i don't see a lot of people having the attitudes you describe.  Thanks.

    Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

    by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 07:08:57 AM PDT

    •  But I will add (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Will Smith, DSPS owl

      This is a very cool diary overall.  The role of media in particular in changing attitudes and associations is critical.  The stories we tells ourselves shapes our perceptions powerfully and those perceptions change how we treat people.   People love to mock political correctness but that and the post modernism it comes from had one thing right: language shapes attitudes.  

      A seemingly little remarked upon note.  The first black President that a lot of people saw on TV wasn't Barack Obama, it was David Palmer.  I think also that we see progress in the roles played by Will Smith, Denzell Washington, and Halle Berry marked for me a period of change when black actors started playing a full range.  To me this means that Americans younger than me have had a much richer media environment that those older (I'm in my mid forties).  I watche this change happen.  I think some writers and casting directors maybe deserve a little more credit for their subversiveness.  I have know idea who they are though.

      Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

      by Mindful Nature on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 07:34:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  On media: I will never understand Reggie Hudlin (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Will Smith

    I really enjoyed your discussion of media images. I'm really upset about the way hip hop and rap were coopted by media to create some of the worst images of black people, but as you point out, not to confirm white people's images, but to get young black people to adopt them.

    Reggie Hudlin is one of the biggest media executives in the business. He was iirc the head of BET for a while. He was executive producer of the horrible Django Unchained and defended it in preposterous terms.

    Yet Hudlin started out as a progressive filmmaker, then went commercial with the early hip hop film, House Party, which was pretty harmless. He's gotten worse and worse over the years. What happened the principles of people like that? It can't be just money, because in the past, people made money with positive or at least neutral images (eg Spike Lee).

  •  Be aware of the conservative lie (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Will Smith, cotterperson, DSPS owl

    We must not believe self-appointed conservative spokesmen. Their chief habit is to claim to speak for "everyone."
    1. John Boehner's "American people tell me": This verbal habit and variants on it are used in dozens of press conferences and speeches. The rhetoric is, "The only inputs I have had agree with me."
    2. W. Bush's "Some people say, but": W. Bush would pretend that 52% of America was a person or two -- some outlier who had a crazy point of view. In his use of strawman, the point of view would be crazy.
    3. Limbaugh's "My friends" "folks": His verbal tic is to claim that "we" agree with him and are a community, while "they" are out to get us.

    You know that "white America" does not think as the bigots and braggarts and bullies of right wing media think. They can be led that way, if they don't hear the President's speech. However, the populace that re-elected President Obama does not think like the failing right wing broadcasters, and surely "white America" does not think that way.

    Remember how it is with racists:
    "All seems infected that the infected spy
    As all seems yellow to the jaundic'd eye" (Pope).

    Everyone's innocent of some crime.

    by The Geogre on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 08:24:15 AM PDT

  •  'They have failed - miserably' is a good (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Will Smith, cotterperson

    paraphrase of what the racists are saying.  Well, tell that to us musicians!  Stevie Wonder is the greatest American musician since Thelonious Monk who was the great American musician since Duke Ellington...see any white folks in there?  
    Don't forget there is a component of envy in all this white racism...it's not the successful beautiful white people saying these things, they have no reason for envy.  It's the daft old coots like Ted Nugent and Bill O'Reilly.  Part of their hatred is that they think black people are having a better time than they are, and they're probably right ;)

  •  That's what my daddy tried to explain to me. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Will Smith
    In far too many ways American Negroes have been another nation: deprived of freedom, crippled by hatred, the doors of opportunity closed to hope.  [LBJ]
    When I was in 4th grade we lived in a federal housing project for poor people, maybe 50/50 white and black or so.  I wasn't very race conscious.  My best friend Betty was a Negro.  (Sorry, I can't use the word Black; it was an insult in that era, before LBJ even.)  She and I had the honor of cleaning the classroom aquarium every Friday; strange, the things one remembers for decades.

    So - I noticed something and asked my father about it.  This was in the day that everyone could see if you had a TV or not by the aerials on the roofs.  Why do all the Negroes have a TV; we don't and lots of other white people don't have a TV.

    And he tried to explain to me what LBJ was saying in the quote above.  If we can save enough money, we can buy a nice house, with grass instead of mud in the front yard and coal dust in the back.  Many Negroes are not allowed to buy nice houses, so they can use their spare money to buy TVs and nice cars.  This was difficult for him to explain and almost impossible for me to understand.

    By 6th grade we were in a house with grass all around on what Daddy called the Chevrolet side of Cadillac hill.  All white.

    Racism is contagious, and I hope I've avoided it for the most part!

    The Republicans are defunding, not defending, America.

    by DSPS owl on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 08:30:51 AM PDT

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