Sunday, May 5, 2013

History Negates Itself

Recently there's been a rash of ludicrous and embarrassing racial faux pas that were originated by people of color- ridiculing people of color. There's really no excusing this, but alas, there is a reason- the proverbial dumbing down of America, a sad but all too true reality that ranges from the highest  pantheons of power (remember a recent president?) to the most impoverished of inner cities. Too many people in this country (black, white and brown) are woefully ignorant of even the most recent history- forget basic science, general geography, and good ol' common sense... In fact, one of the excuses most often heard is that it was never "intentional." As if no harm, no foul strictly because- it wasn't purposely "intentional." I was aiming for the apple- you gonna blame me!? Serious?

First, there was the Accidental Racist fiasco by LL Cool J, "If you forget the gold chains, I'll forget the iron chains." Really, LL? A few hundred years of beatings, killings and slavery all made good because a few folk had the bad taste to wear too much bling? That's an even trade off? Then there was the Lil Wayne debacle- talk about going well the hell outta your way to demean your own! And finally (if only), there's Tyler The Creator. For all the above- your blatant ignorance does not translate into our misinterpretation; if you do not know the baggage, weight and history of the tools you use, and the work you create- do not dare blame those that do!

Hopefully, the time will come when you gather the resolve to enlighten yourselves and act with some measure of responsibility, respect and dignity- and still challenge and break the boundaries of the powers that be (not work in their favor). Mandela, Malcolm, MLK- they weren't about the bling, they weren't about how much money they could make in their lifetime. They were about sacrifice, dedication, doing for those that couldn't- even Ali voluntarily gave it all up at the very height of his power... because it was the right thing to do. The concept of such self sacrifice would never dare enter your mind.

I know you are the product of a racist, third rate education system that had no real interest in your success. I realize the incredible odds you've overcome to get where you are. Obviously, you are people of certain talent, no one is denying that- but that doesn't give you license to spread ignorance and misogyny, all the while demeaning your own for the sake of profit, excuse me- "art."

If you can't hear what Dr. Boyce is saying, if your child sized ego can't differentiate constructive criticism from just plain "hatin'," it really shows just how long a road you have yet to travel...


John Edwin Mason said...

"...the product of a racist, third rate education system that had no real interest in your success."

That's definitely a big part of it, Stan.

Add to that an economic system that's quick to reward talent and ambition, as long as they're marketable and don't rock the boats of the powerful (although causing them to sway gently is permissibly "edgy").

But these folks are legally adults, even if the likes of Lil Wayne and this Tyler person can't be called grown-ups. They're responsible for their actions.

Stan B. said...

In the last few years of my public school teaching experience I began to feel more and more the hypocrite, constantly espousing how education was THE Answer- knowing full well that even if they got their young lives on track, so many of my students and their families could never afford the ever increasing costs of higher education. And, of course, there was also the little issue that even if they could- the jobs just weren't there!

That's why it hurts so when someone actually overcomes those gargantuan odds and fails to point the way, fails to give back, fails to share, enlighten and challenge the very system that tried so hard to undermine them.