To the person/people who found their way to this blog by googling “is the baby a slave if the father is black and the mother white?” amongst other similar search engine terms: This one’s for you!
Today would have been Trayvon Martin’s nineteenth birthday. I wish I didn’t know that. I wish there were no reason for me to know this information. I wish Trayvon Martin was some random guy in Florida that I would probably never have the pleasure of meeting, let alone wish a happy birthday. But I do know about Trayvon Martin. And I think about Trayvon Martin. And I am grateful for Trayvon Martin. Happy Birthday Trayvon Martin.
When the verdict was read, I felt it in the gut. I’m usually not emotionally invested in trials. I believe this was a first. I didn’t even know I was invested until the “not guilty”. I was stunned and disappointed and hurt. And angry. But mostly hurt I think. Because Black men in America had just been given confirmation that their lives don’t matter. Are not valued. That’s the message I received. You are not valuable. And I guess that’s the message we’ve always received on some level. Our country has relied on this notion of inferiority being taken for granted. We don’t all believe it. But we are working a system that is held together by it.
I’ve been meaning to start a series of “White Privilege is…”posts. Both here and on the youtube. So this is gonna be the first one:
White Privilege is going to the store for skittles wearing a hoodie and not being followed. Or harassed. Or shot. To death.
Speaking of my Oakland County days, a few months ago I came across this photo on Abagond’s blog:
When I saw this photo I saw myself in it. Kind of. For me, I could have been that speck of color in a group photo of friends going to a high school dance as easily as in posing for a family reunion photo. And I suppose that’s the difference. I don’t think I look much more awkward than the typical teenager in the photo below. Not that I don’t look awkward, good lord the dress, but I’ve got nothing on the guy in the picture above.
Perhaps that’s because when (half the time) you’re the only “black” kid in your family as well, there’s less propensity to be so fraught with anxiety in similar social situations.
Maybe there’s an extra layer of ease that comes with the inner-knowing that, no matter who recognizes it or doesn’t, you belong. Given, of course that one is able to hold on to the truth that she belongs amidst the many dissentient voices.
I’d have thought this story straight out of (august)Osage County. But, nope. This story comes from the county that I come from. Oakland County, MI. Honestly though…and on second thought… that’s no surprise…
Excuse me while I get real with myself for a minute… I think I just stumbled upon some version of reality that I concocted where I, an inherently integrated person, grew up in segregated communities, and in this version of reality of mine, even though I was usually the only “black” person wherever I was, those “conditions” never mattered. Also, in this reality I like to believe that everyone was free of prejudice and just happened to live somewhere where almost everyone looked like them. As if it were a coincidence. But that is not true. Those conditions were a strategically planned. Generations before. Of course there were and are exceptions, like me, but I must admit that there is a palpable sense of “us vs. them” in Oakland County. And by “us vs. them” I mean white vs. black. The funny thing is there’s that age old adage about the savage (see entire debate here)…
Why are black people savages?
Click on an option to vote
They just are
They can’t help it
…and I gotta say when I watched The Butler and saw what the Freedom Riders went through, I thought which group played the role of savage there? Or, Emmitt Till. Did the 14 year old child behave in an undomesticated way, or was it the grown men who hunted him down? This dogma, this ideology that we just kind of accept and play by the rules of…well, it’s just so twisted. It is detrimental to all. It is not in line with the Divine. That’s really all I know to say about it right now.
Jackson Woolworth Lunch Counter Sit-in
Oh yeah, the article…I have much love for Oakland County (and many of it’s residents), btw. And I thank it for lending itself to my racial discourse. In so many ways.
A Republican county official in Michigan is in hot water after making racial comments about Detroit, including the idea that the city should be turned into a detention center for “all the Indians.”
In a recent interview for a profile by The New Yorker titled “Drop Dead, Detroit!” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson admitted, “Anytime I talk about Detroit, it will not be positive. Therefore, I’m called a Detroit basher. The truth hurts, you know? Tough sh*t.”
Patterson recalled telling his children to “get in and get out” if they needed to go to Detroit.
“And, before you go to Detroit, you get your gas out here. You do not, do not, under any circumstances, stop in Detroit at a gas station! That’s just a call for a carjacking,” he said.
Patterson also proposed a fix to Detroit’s financial problems: Turn the city into a reservation for Native Americans.
“I made a prediction a long time ago, and it’s come to pass. I said, ‘What we’re gonna do is turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it, and then throw in the blankets and the corn.’”
After Detroit officials and activists reacted with outrage, Patterson’s office released a statement accusing The New Yorker of having an “agenda.”
“It is clear Paige Williams had an agenda when she interviewed County Executive Patterson,” the statement said. “She cast him in a false light in order to fit her preconceived and outdated notions about the region.”
Activists with Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network had planned a news conference on Tuesday to call for Patterson to apologize.
National Action Network’s Michigan chapter president Rev. Charles Williams II said that the comments were “repulsive” because they were an insult to the city’s African-American population and “a direct slight to the American Indians who occupied the land before Detroit was Detroit, and Oakland County.”
In recent years, Patterson has also come under fire for comparing Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger to Hitler and for suggesting that Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano kill himself.
Drake, I totally loved that isht the other night. While I appreciated the black bar mitzvah skit immensely (it prompted this post after all), the Katt Williams! Oh my Jesus…. the Katt Williams. Great night for SNL!
Saturday, Jan. 18 was a big night for Saturday Night Live. Not only did rapper Drake host and serve as a musical guest, but it was also new cast member Sasheer Zamata‘s first time on the show….The former Canadian actor-turned-rapper talked about having a Jewish mother and a black father in the skit where SNL cast member Vanessa Bayer (who is known for her recurring role as Bar Mitzvah Boy) played his mother and Jay Pharaoh played his father. Read more
Ok. That hilariousness has been noted. Now let’s take a look back in Black SNL history. We all know there’s not much of it, so this shouldn’t take too long. I like what Bond and Morris did. I don’t like the fact that colorism is alive and well.
Julian Bond Regrets his 1977 ‘SNL’ Skit on Light Skin Vs. Dark Skin (Video)
With all of the talk surrounding “Saturday Night Live’s” new African American female cast member and writers, Julian Bond has come forward with a column in The Hollywood Reporter lamenting a skit he did during his hosting turn 37 years ago.
The civil rights leader was chairman of the NAACP board of directors from February 1998 to February 2010 and now is chairman emeritus.
Below is his column in its entirety, followed by a clip from the “SNL” sketch.
I hosted NBC’S Saturday Night Live back in April 1977, during its second season. I used to say that I was an SNL host when it was a comedy show, and people would laugh. More recently, I had taken to saying that I hosted SNL when it had black people on it. So as a former host, I was happy to read the news that an African-American woman (Sasheer Zamata) and two black female writers (LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones) were hired for the show because people of color, especially women, have been conspicuous by their absence.
I’m a professor emeritus at the University of Virginia, so I’m delighted that Zamata is a UVA grad. But I’m also a civil rights activist, so I’m appalled that the circumstances of their hiring would lessen — in some viewers’ minds — the talent and skills they bring to the program.
There are sure to be those who think that their race, not their talent, won them their jobs. The women were hired after an explosion of outrage at SNL’s shameful record of minority employment. Before Zamata was hired, in the 39 years since SNL began in 1975, the show had 137 cast members. Only 14 of those were African-Americans, and only four of those were women. The tally for Latinos is even more negligible — only three in the show’s history, all of them men.
Looking back at the episode I hosted, I felt discomfort with a skit we did. Appearing as myself on a mock television interview show about black issues, I told Garrett Morris, one of SNL’s original “Not Ready for Prime Time Players,” that light-skinned blacks are smarter than dark-skinned blacks. Morris, who is darker skinned than I am, did a perfect double take. I felt squeamish then but did the skit anyway, and I feel uneasy about this joke even today. I believed it treaded dangerously on the fine line between comedy and poor taste.
But that always has been SNL’s fine point, the line delineating comedy — and especially satire — from tastelessness. I always have believed that a skillful comedian — or comedienne — can make a joke out of anything. No subject is immune. Comedy is crucial in our lives, especially political satire. The ability to make fun of life’s vagaries helps us deal with them. That may be why there are so many black and Jewish comedians and why their presence on the air is so important.
SNL used to be on the cutting edge. Let’s hope Ms. Zamata helps restore some of its sharpness.
Every January, Martin Luther King, Jr. is universally honored as a national hero who preached a peaceful fight against racial injustice. This saintly image is quite a departure from the kind of attacks the reverend endured over his lifetime. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover famously called King “the most dangerous Negro” and “the most notorious liar in the country” while keeping him under close surveillance. Over the years, Dr. King’s more controversial edges have been smoothed over, burying his more radical teachings….
Read More of the 4 Ways Martin Luther King Was More Radical Than You Thought
I mean, that is quite an accomplishment, MLK. The most dangerous negro!? Everyone knows all negroes are dangerous, so…
Why else would it be socially acceptable to make post-game interview commentary like these comments below? Admitedly, the anger unleashed in Seattle Seahawks Richard Sherman’s post-win interview falls into the category of unsavory. But must we wonder why he might be so sensitive? I know haters gone hate and all, but you try to let comments like these roll off your back. It’s not for the faint of heart and could understandably lead to a kind of hypervigilance pertaining to perceived disrespect. I highly doubt this is the first time Mr. Sherman has been on the receiving end of jabs such as these. Even without an angry interview as catalyst. This happened yesterday. So very post-racial…note #noracismintended.
Lol don’t mess with Richard Sherman, he will go bananas. Guys a fricken jungle monkey.
— Zack Grenon (@g_g_g_grenon71) January 20, 2014
Richard Sherman’s an ignorant ape
— GC (@TropicanaCEO_15) January 20, 2014
Someone put Richard Sherman in an animal hospital because he is a fucking gorilla #noracismintented
— Michael Mortellito (@mmortellito) January 20, 2014
Richard Sherman is a nigger, fuck that.
— Rob Falotico (@Robadob561) January 20, 2014
Richard Sherman deserves to get shot in the fucking head. Disrespectful nigger.
— Adam Costello (@AdamCostello128) January 20, 2014
Richard Sherman is a straight irrogant nigger. Manning is going to rip him apart
— Christian Parafati (@C_parafati_one3) January 20, 2014
You can read many more comments like this HERE
Happy Most Dangerous Negro Day to you!