Maybe We Should Take Him Out Back…

Barry Max

journalism.jpgI waited awhile to write on this.
I write all day. I just not have not had much time to really get down. You know right about the shit I hear on the airwaves while doing meaningful stuff (chuckle).
Fuck it.
Kelly Tilghman the first full-time female anchor on the golf channel. Respected in the white male dominated world of golf- er’ oh yeah – of broadcast news, shot off one of the most nonchalant, lighthearted references to a hate crime ever recorded.
I had to let her words marinate.
I had to spend a few days listening to talk radio (while talkin shit’ and typing of course).

I promise not to plug a pundit .

It is safe to assume the host’s and caller’s opinions represent a segment of society that watches ample television and will sit on hold for maybe an hour or more to put in their two cents while, of course, watching T.V.. I’m sure they might also wait in line at midnight for movie tickets.

For Harry Potter or Rambo IV.

The overwhelming consensus was- ‘hey… she made a mistake’- and then they would launch the trademark attack on Al Sharpton. It always included veiled references to shortcomings of the black community. Actually the term ‘inner city’ is not so veiled. Never the less Al was always a villian for ‘causin a ruckus’.

Why do people always blame Al for stepping up?

I was tapping my feet waiting for someone, anyone, to say something.

Tiger did the right thing by taking the ‘high road’. He resides in his own Palace of human excellence.

He brushed it off.

He can afford to- it motivates him.

But Al?

He is cuddly, kinda funny and lately, I must admit- right.

Despite all his shortcomings we cannot afford to let the ‘no child left behind’ mentality minimize and casually dismiss a set of historical circumstances that have retarded the social and economic development of a significant segment of our society for a long time. Which has resulted, to this day, in two very separate and distinct American experiences.

Black people really do not care much for Al Sharpton most people I know are indifferent. We have abandoned the idea he is helpful and adopted the notion he is relevant; but white people either hate him or think he is funny as hell. If you are one of those people my assessment is not meant as an insult or an affront of any kind. I also know I cannot speak for anyone but myself so take my sweeping generalizations in stride. So, if allowed, I will amend the previous statement :

Black people I talk to do not care much for Al Sharpton.

It is what it is.
Sharpton is the guy at the accident scene on the evening news. The well meaning- we would hope- white anchor always manages to find and ask-“Excuse me sir,What happened”?

We would shrug our shoulders- damn why they have to ask him?

They shove the mic in the wino’s face and let the laughs begin.

The black news anchor always manages to find a black doctor or paramedic, any one who can talk to explain what happened. This is my urban news experience.

I know a lot of households, black households, that collectively cringed whenever the mike was shoved in Sharpton’s face.

Tawana Brawley really fucked with his credibility. Which ultimately fucked with ours.

It demonized the whole notion of righting a heinous wrong. It undermined all future efforts to minimize the daily inequities that many people are victims of.

People caught in the system.

In the back of everyone’s mind(at least some of the white guys I know) lies the assumption that a race card, in fact, exists and each black person can whip it out and play it, to their benefit, any time they choose.

It ushered in the pre-Cochran era of the ‘race card’.

The media and pollsters rarely ask people like my mother or any other black, well spoken, college grads what they think about anything. They never ask people who are humbly making their way on both sides of the fence. Not just the black side.

They never ask those type of people about anything.


Instead they ask Al what he thinks. They ask Ike Turner(RIP). They ask Reggie White(RIP) to address Congress.

We, with bookcases, cringe.

The idea of a black spokesman makes it easy to define us as a community. The diversity and broad range of opinions within the black community actually make these shallow efforts to define our stance obsolete

.The black vote is as varied and unpredictable as ocean currents during el nino.

Back to Imus, I mean Kelly and Al.

They invite him on to their shows (wingnuts) and try to set him up. That is where I give Al credit he is not afraid of an ambush. He has sharpened his articulate knife. He easily could have taken the Don King route and kept in the hood but he stuck to his guns and learned the art of rhetoric and thought before he spoke and continues to think before he speaks now.

The best part is he is usually defending a righteous position. A position all races can benefit from defending.

I am perplexed how he got the job- spokesman for black America.

The things people do just fuck with my head.

I also had time to examine other unprecedented events surrounding race, identity and what it means to be black in America.

Our current race for the Oval Office has managed to lessen my cynicism in regards to race.

If the campaigns remain classy and don’t inevitably descend into a finger wagging ‘ism’ contest I might really start paying attention.

Black folks might just get a clean legal slate as well- Rockefeller repeals and other refreshing events show America just might be removing the boot from thy neck.

I can go back to selling crack.

Like- for real.

While speaking on Kelly Tilghman one of the pundits said ‘I better watch it… I don’t want to offend Pookie Ray-Ray or Lucretia’

The Government is one thing, people are another.

It is what it is.


~ by barrymax on January 17, 2008.

9 Responses to “Maybe We Should Take Him Out Back…”

  1. I was reading this at first thinking I know what you are talking about, but now after reading the whole thing, I realize I am missing something.

    Can’t we all just get along?

    I am in the belief that all men (women) are equal.

  2. The media needs to utilize the ‘minority’ angle from time to time, and it’s convenient to have that angle set up for them, like a computer program you just click to open. If the majority of Americans were to ever realize that blacks or latinos or poles or aussies or germans or whomever, regardless of socioeconomic status, has a nice cross-section of opinion and were full of groovy fuckers and giant assholes just like white America, that would upset the carefully massaged corporate worldview. Thus, Al. Every non-white bloc must remain monolithic. Only we can have variety. Just one whitey’s opinion.

  3. Wyld- I am with you but like Randal said there exist a carefully massaged corporate worldview. And sometimes it appears everyone is on board.
    Tilghman should not have said what she said and no one should have taken it lightly at least let the tragedy collect some historical dust before you joke about it in public. Had she referenced the inqusition “put the ol thumbscrews on em’ I would not have batted an eye.
    I may have mentioned on previous posts my intimate understanding of the peculiar practice of lynching. Believe me there are lot people who know a lot more about it than I do. Some were offended beyond belief but others laughed.

  4. I think people try to laugh off things like Tighman’s remarks because taking it seriously would disrupt their belief in the myth of a post-racial America. That’s also why the Jena incident was ignored by the MSM for so long and why Sharpton is so often dismissed as just some attention needy crank with crazy hair. I was perusing an online news source recently and saw two headlines side by side: “Obama win evidence of color-blind America” and next to that, the headline “Study shows minorities face longer waits in ER.” At the risk of being very unpopular and inviting some angry comments, I think many white people who claim to like Obama do so because it eases their white guilt without them actually having to do anything substantial about facing the realities of racism in this country. I don’t think that’s true of all white Obama supporters, but this opinion is based on my knowledge of several white moderate conservatives who say they will be voting for him.

  5. I look at the white people they parade across the TV screen. Ann Coulter? Do you think she makes any halfway intelligent white people proud? And worse yet, she is a WOMAN. Every time something happens in Missouri, they go find the illiterate guy with half a full set of teeth and ask what he thinks. It’s embarrassing to those of us who are somewhat educated and not wearing wife-beater T-shirts and molester mustaches and mullets. American news media and much of what’s on television makes me embarrassed to be female, white, a Missourian, and, actually, a human.

    Gotta go. Netflix disc of Sopranos,just arrived!

  6. Thank you Scarlet we all really do have more in common than we are taught to think.

  7. BarryMax & SuziRiot:

    Have you been reading my mail or was a little bugging device planted in my ear at JFK the night I left for Panama?

    My posts and comments are too long anyway, so instead of my usual shtick, commenting on every turn of phrase, I’ll try to go for the big picture.

    I loved every word of your post except we may have a small disagreement about Sharpton. With him, I agree that he has a buffoonish personality in certain ways (geez, doesn’t Chavez?) so he’s a convenient figure for all race card players to use. But it’s all about ego, really. Should Sharpton ONCE say, “I’ve done some fucked-up things in my life: I shouldn’t have ratted, I should have smelled a rat in the Tawany Brawley situation, I should never have had anything to do with D’Amato. I’ve learned from my mistakes though as my recent political efforts have shown, and I really don’t DESERVE to be THE RACE GUY in America. I’m a politician and a community man and I think I have a lot to offer on those fronts”…shit, can you imagine how much intra-community respect he’d get?

    Sure, the MSM would tear him apart but Whites with brains and a conscience would get it. And as I’ve posted everywhere, whites with brains and a conscience have money and power. And a lot of that money and power is related to your “crack” reference. It came from bringing Canadian whiskey into the US during Volstead and killing a few competitors in the process. But that’s a history lesson for another day.

    Very good point about bookshelves which is why I really don’t see the need for Cornel West to do a number when his scholarship speaks for itself. Of the partnership, give me Skip Gates every time.

    Suzi’s point about Obama is very well-taken. Trust me I felt the same way about Joe Lieberman when they sold him to Whites but couldn’t sell him to me because I knew he was the very opposite of a RELIGION/CULTURALLY BLIND America. And I knew that “villain” Michael Milken had more integrity in a toenail than Lieberman had in his whole body. That, too, is a history lesson for another day.

  8. Kelso I went to A Christian Brother’s School my Pricipal, the only guy on campus I actually had a little unease about, used to walk around campus with a snifter of Brandy and lit Marlboro. His bloodshot eyes had no emotion. The Christian Brothers were kinda proud about the prohibition history and how rich they got. Jesuits….

  9. They used to say in New York City that if you had a Jesuit father and Jewish mother you had a license to print money. Gee, now why would people say a thing like that? Canadian Club, Crown Royal, Schenley Reserve, Segram’s 7 Crowns…nah…couldn’t be that, could it?

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