Archive - Apr 12, 2007

Sorry About Your Albedo

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Memo to The Man: YOU ARE STILL THE MAN.

And not in a good way. Look. I have ONE pet peeve when it comes to the entirety of race relations in America. Just one. So is it too much to ask that this pet peeve not be triggered by the majority of morons every single goddamned time any issue of race enters the national debate?

It happens every time. My pet peeve is this: white people who think that now that most of us have spent anywhere between 10 and 40 years believing that our society SHOULD treat everyone equally, all that wishing has essentially made it so, and we now live in a united, equal country where everyone is treated entirely equally.

This belief expresses itself in certain behaviors and common arguments. Now, I'm not going to dip more than a toe into the whole Don Imus thing, because the amount of commentary his comments have already generated have almost burst the Intertubes as it is. But just like the sun rising in the east and Microsoft overcharging for downloaded content, any discussion on race and racism is going to bring out morons like this. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"If Don Imus had been a black rapper or comedian calling the Rutgers University women's basketball players 'nappy-headed hos,' there would be no outrage from Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton." - Steve Adams, letters page, Strib.

He's right There would be no outrage. He's wrong that this is some kind of argument exculpating Imus, however. The reason the two situations would provoke different responses is because, get this, they're DIFFERENT SITUATIONS. Don Imus isn't a rapper or a comedian, black or otherwise. He's an inexplicably respected radio talk show host. One of the 2008 presidential candidate declared their candidacy on his show. When that happens on the Def Comedy Jam, then maybe you can argue they should be held to the same standard.

Also, and I'll put this as delicately as I can, but Don Imus? He's white. Black rappers and comedians? Black. And here's where we get to the crux of the pet peeve. Black people get to say things about black people that white people don't get to say about black people. AND THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. And the reason there's nothing wrong with that is that there are still a shitload of racist fucks in this country. Some are worse than others. Many in positions of power. Many with drive-time talk shows.

Fun little story. In South Georgia, there's a high school. Turner County High. Turner County High is hoping to celebrate a milestone this year. That milestone? A prom where the school's white students and the school's black students are all in the same room at the same time.

For years, the students have organized their own separate unofficial proms. White students organized a white prom, and black students organized a black prom. But lest you still struggle under the delusion that everyon's being both separate and equal here, they've tried integrated proms before. And you know who didn't show up? The white kids. Even now, attendance is down, and while nobody's coming right out and saying it, a careful reading of news stories will tell you who's to blame. The people objecting to the breaking of "tradition". And we know who they always are.

Two thousand and seven. America. Segregated proms. And you want a pass to treat black people like you claim rappers and comedians do? Fuck you. You're still The Man. And as Newsweek editor Howard Fineman embarassingly and stumblingly put it, that means something.

"I mean, you know, things have changed. And the kind of -- some of the kind of humor that you used to do you can't do anymore. And that's just the way it is."

Strip away the apparent mournful tone lamenting the loss of the good old days when you could abuse your racial power with impunity, and you've got just enough of a point to fit comfortably in the proverbial nutshell.