Over the weekend the state of race relations in America came to mind…Seventy-five thousand protestors marched against President Obama’s agenda…Serena Williams had a meltdown at the U.S. Open…Kanye West went thug at the MTV Video Music Awards…And I attended my friend Kim’s Gospel Brunch in Beverly Hills. All of these events, except for my brunch, have been covered in the media as having a racial component. But interestingly enough the media seems to not understand the state of race in the twenty first century—it’s not what it used to be.
Kanye West (black) taking the microphone out of Taylor (white) Swift’s hands and proclaiming that Beyonce (black) had made one of the best video’s ever was not just rude as the media portrayed it—it was racism, black racism.
Serena Williams (black) outburst over a fault called by a line judge cost her a point on her serve and the match. Her outburst went something to the effect, “You don’t know me, I’ll take this fucking ball and shove it down your fucking throat.” She had already had one warning for unsportsmanlike conduct in the first set for smashing her racket—there was nothing subjective about what took place. She clearly violated the rules of tennis and she was treated as any player white, black or purple would have been. Yet, I sat at Starbucks 15th and Montana (SM) and listened to a woman (black) emphatically explain that, “they took the points away from Serena because they were afraid she was going to come back and kick that white girls ass.” For the record this was not a crazy woman—she works and lives in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world. Apparently the fact that Serena had lost the first set and was down match point meant nothing—because she was black she would at will rise to the occasion and vanquish the white girl. Even Serena didn’t suggest this when she didn’t exactly apologize at her press conference, this woman’s statement—black racism.
When The Factor came on and Bill O’Reilly and guests watched as the all white crowd, seventy-five thousand strong, protested the Obama agenda in Washington DC, they concluded that they weren’t racist, but that it made sense as whites do make up the majority of the population. I stared on in wonder thinking, “is there really not a single black person in America that doesn’t agree with the Obama agenda”. And then I thought of every black person I know, and I know a lot, and I couldn’t think of a single one of them that didn’t vote for Barak Obama. Then I thought about Colin Powell (black), a Republican, a military man, who didn’t vote for his friend, fellow Republican, and military man John McCain. Forty-five million black people, if they voted, all voted for the President? Forty-five million black people, apparently, all agree with his agenda—black racism?
Racism (1) a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.
(2) racial prejudice or discrimination.
According to Miriam Webster’s Definition of racism (1) or (2) it’s both fair and appropriate for anyone of color to ask if they themselves are racist. Did you vote for the President because he is black? Do you agree with the President on issues because he is black? I think if answered truthfully, millions of my fellow Americans have some deep soul searching to do. The fact that the media has chosen to ignore what is obviously racism, now bordering on lunacy, will if continued go on to be the final death nail in the public’s trust of media.
In fairness to the President, he himself has been very clear that the people protesting his policies are not racist. But he has never addressed his black constituency and said, “Don’t vote for me because I am black. Vote for me because…” If the President said words to this affect he could indeed be considered a leader of remarkable virtue—but for now we wait.
And what about Gospel Brunch? Kim (black) has been like a brother to me (white) for close to thirty years. At the time of our first meeting we were both drug dealers, from the very meanest of streets, and we both used limousine companies as our legitimate fronts. When the occasion arose and Kim needed to borrow a limousine (black) I leant it to him.
“You’re just going to hand a black guy, you barely know, the keys to your limo?” he asked.
“I think of you as green—like a Martian,” I replied.
“What?” he asked, a tone of confusion in his voice.
“I don’t care what color you are as long as you plan on giving me some money—GREEN. And you do plan on giving me some money for me letting you use my car, right?”
He smiled. “Of course I’ll give you some money.”
A couple of years later Kim saved my life by informing me of a hit that was to take place on me by two rival drug dealers (black). They, the people that planned my murder, had never considered that Kim’s loyalty could be with someone white. Good for me, bad for them. I’m alive today because my friend Kim is not a racist. And to give myself some credit I’m alive because I am not a racist. But I know racism when I see it.
My advice to people of color including the President: treat people as you want to be treated—maybe even treat them better. Remember what it was like to be discriminated against and root out any inclination to return the favor and do this to others.
It is imperative to understand:
For every force there is an opposing force, for every action a reaction. President Obama represents people of color and he represents that, in America, a person of color can rise to the highest position in the land…And if his policies are successful for all Americans he will have accomplished much. But if people of color and or the President are deemed of as practicing racism there will be an opposing force, a reaction, and because it will constitute a majority of the population it will be a crushing force that will make it impossible to govern.
Racism is ugly in all of its incarnations. It should not be ignored because it is being practiced by a minority—a powerful minority. With great power comes great responsibility. Much of white America doesn’t like what its seeing…This fact, under no circumstance, should be taken lightly or dismissed…I urge the media, the President, and all Americans to have this discussion with civility amongst each other—it needs to take place.