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Posts Tagged ‘miseducation of the negro’

Misdirected Anger Strikes Again

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on February 10, 2010

UPDATE! John Mayer didn’t call black women “dark ass hoes” but Kevin Hart did. Where’s the anger about this?

UPDATE: John Mayer tearfully apologizes for his comments

See Video below

John Mayer did an interview for Playboy Magazine wherein he said, “I think the world would be better off if I stopped doing interviews.” Well, I think it’s a good thing that he did this one because it set off a hailstorm of tweets, making the words “John Mayer” so popular it became a Trending Topic on Twitter. More importantly, it showed one flaw with American society. Many are quick to read, trust, and share thoughts from other people without critically analyzing and forming their own opinion. What set this off in my opinion? The following two tweets are from Dr. Marc Lamont Hill.

John Mayer on dating Black women: “I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist.”

John Mayer cont’d “I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock.”

I have no issue with Dr. Hill; and, I have no agenda to pursue. I feel that his tweet caused the subsequent re-tweets, which resulted in the controversy. With his reputation, many people read his tweet and stopped there without reading the article to get the entire quote, trusting him to be fair and balanced. What Dr. Hill left out was an extremely vital piece of Mayer’s message:  “I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.” Dr. Hill says it was not intentionally left out, but he believes that making such a decision signifies a decision to date women unattractive to him. There are a couple of problems with this.

Problem 1: Critical reading

The quote that was sent out was incomplete and did not paint an accurate portrayal of John Mayer’s thoughts on dating Black women. One would have only to do a close (critical) reading of his statements to see his intended message: I let myself be guided by my carnal desires without listening to my heart. I’m going to start listening to my heart.

On his site, Dr. Hill responds to the interview by saying, “I can’t say John Mayer is racist. He probably thinks he was being edgy and funny because he has a “black pass.” It’s still irresponsible.” I don’t believe he was saying that at all. In the interview Mayer says that someone else asked him how it felt to have a “hood pass”. A hood pass being a figurative statement meant to indicate that he’s been given an honorary membership into the Black community. Simply because someone else asks how it feels to have one does not mean that he accepted it and feels the right to use this privilege. How did Mayer choose to speak about this?

…it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.’”

I believe Mayer meant that having a hood pass enables you to say the word “nigger” without opposition from the people who that term was used to abuse. Mayer acknowledges that he does not have one because, even before his fame, he has never been refused service based on a first impression. Meaning, the only people who have hood passes are the ones who, on first glance, would be immediately refused service upon entering a restaurant. Was his statement insensitive? Sure.

Problem 2: Misdirected anger

Mayer’s statement may have been insensitive, but what did he really do wrong? He stated an attraction towards a specific type of woman and made a comment about race relations. A lot of musicians do this and we in the Black community do not threaten to stop playing their music. In fact, women were the main people preventing radio stations from taking the following song off the air because of the volume of requests for it.

[Lil’ Wayne]
Un
I like a long haired thick red bon
Open up her legs then filet mignon that pussy
I’m a get in and on that pussy
If she let me in I’m a own that pussy
Go’n throw it back and bust it open like you ‘posed to
Girl I got that dope dick
Now come here let me dope you
You gon’ be a dope fiend
Your friends should call you dopey
Tell ’em keep my name out they mouth if they don’t know me
Huh
But you can’t come and tunecha
I’ll fuck the whole group
Baby I’m a groupie
My sex game is stupid
My head is the dumbest
I promise
I should be hooked on phonics
Haha

But anyway I think you’re bionic
And I don’t think you’re beautiful
I think you’re beyond it
And I just wanna get behind it
And watch you
(back it up and dump it back-
Back it up and dump it back)

[Chorus:]
Cause we like her
And we like her too
And we like her
And we like her too
And we like her
And we like her too
And we like herr
And she like us too

I wish I could fuck every girl in the world
I wish I could fuck every girl in the world
I wish I could fuck every girl in the world

[Drake:]
Yea
Alright
(ohh ohhh)
She be jumpin up and down
Tryna fit that ass in
Took her half an hour
Just to get that belt to fasten
All they want to talk about is partyin’ and fashion
Every single night I have a dream that I am smashin’
Them all
Young Money man this shit so timeless
And I’m in the mood to get faded so please bring your finest
And what are all your names again we drunk remind us
Are any y’all into girls like I am let’s be honest

She wants me she wants me
Cause I got it all shawty tell me what you don’t see
I will fuck with all y’all
All y’all are beautiful
I just can’t pick one so you can never say I’m choosy hoes
And Wayne say pussy pussy pussy
And weed and alcohol seem to satisfy us all
Damn
And every time I think of staying with her
She bring that friend around that make a nigga reconsider man

[Chorus]

[Jae Millz:]
I ain’t being disrespectful baby I’m just being Millz
And I don’t know how fake feels so I gotta keep it real
I just wanna fuck every girl in the world
Every model every singer every actress every diva
Every house of diddy chick every college girl every skeezer
Stripper and every desperate housewife that resemble eva
My role model was will
So married boy I’m in the milf
It don’t matter who you is miss
You can get the business
Haaaa

[Gudda Gudda:]
These hoes is gods gift like Christmas
I like ’em caramel skin long hair thick ass
And I swear I’m feelin’ all y’all
I’m scrollin’ down my call log
And I’m a call all y’all
My butter pecan Puerto Rican
She screamin’ out “papi” every time a nigga deep in
And I’m about to get my Bill Clinton on
And Hilary can Rodham too boy I gets my pimpin’ on

[Chorus]

[Mack Maine:]
And bitch I’m Mack Maine -aine -aine -aine
Sanna Lathan
Megan Good
Angelina Jolie
Hah
D Woods
For free suites I’d give Paris Hilton all-nighters
In about 3 years, holla at me Miley Cyrus
I don’t discriminate, no not at all
Kit kat a midget if that ass soft I break her off
I exchange V cards with the retards
And get behind the Christian like DR cause he are
Mack Mizzo
Baby
Cause he are Mack Mizzo
Baby

[Chorus:]
Cause we like her
And we like her too
And we like her
And we like her too
And we like her
And we like her too
And we like herr
And she like us too

I wish I could fuck every girl in the world
I wish I could fuck every girl in the world
I wish I could fuck every girl in the world

Young Mula baby

Milan Ford, the man who tried to get the song taken off the air had this to say about where “we” direct our anger,

Remember when Don Imus called the Rutgers [University] women’s basketball team a bunch of nappy-headed hos? We got CBS to remove him as a host just a few days later. Why do we limit our defense only to those who don’t look like us? As a husband and father, something in me just said we need to protect our women.

We really need to reevaluate what causes us to rise up and show our strength. The way it seems, nothing will stop Lil Wayne. Unless, of course, he raps about only wanting to *&$( every White girl in the world. Cause, you know, that would be bad.

Next: The 3rd Problem

Posted in Media Analysis | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments »

She’s so “Precious” – A Review

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on November 26, 2009

Precious, her mom, and her daughter

Upon entering the theater I felt nerves and anticipation coursing through my body. I expected to cry. I expected to feel anger and helplessness. I did, indeed, feel all of those emotions; but, I also felt more emotions than I expected inspired by the people around me and their comments. The experience of watching Precious has likely strengthened my resolve to tell my story. Not because anyone can do it if Precious did it, but, because, it will be my red scarf handed down to the little girl who feels all alone in the world.

Prior to viewing this movie, I read tweets from people who refused to see it, from those who saw it and were deeply touched, and from those who opined on the gross amount of racial stereotypes. Of those who refused to see it, many found fault based on the previous work of the people responsible for bringing the film to the big screen: Lee Daniels, Tyler Perry, and Oprah Winfrey. Words and phrases such as “coonery” and “typical black girl from the ghetto” were common in their complaints. Of those who saw it and were unimpressed, this tweet speaks volumes: “Whoeva suggest anyone too see this movie “precious” need to kill urself….dis givs black familys a bad look smh.” Please don’t listen to this person. I could cry peeling back the layers of disillusionment and incongruity present in that one allegorical onion. What came first: Precious or the Black Family?

This movie was adapted for film by Lee Daniels based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire. It is a first person narrative dictated to us by Clarice “Precious” Jones. Walking through the streets of Harlem with a scowl on her face and the weight of years of sexual, physical, and verbal abuse on her shoulders, she tells us the story of her life in such a manner that it prompted one viewer behind me to say, “This is realistic. I like it.” A concise and accurate statement, it is the reason to see the movie.

In the afore-mentioned tweet we see a common model for behavior in (Black) families. What goes on in the house, stays in the house; and, this is a thread that runs throughout the movie, as well. From the outset, we see Precious avoiding the truth and refusing to tell her story, petrified that her mom would kill her. Meanwhile, her mom continues to call her a fat ass, tells her that she’s a dummy, education won’t help her, she’s a nobody, and she should rely on a welfare check to get by in life. These are the racial stereotypes that people are afraid to see. They don’t want people to know what is said in their homes. Well, maybe what is said should change. It’s just a theory. A theory that “Precious” is attempting to make a practice.

In one form or another everyone can relate to her story. We have all either been the abuser or the one abused in some way. Other comments heard around me include: “Is that really how big she is?” “She looks like a boy. She looks like Eminem.” “Y’all ain’t right.” The second comment was directed to Mariah Carey’s performance as a social worker. Without her glamorous hair and makeup team, Mariah looked like an average woman, but it prompted someone to call her a boy. Worse, her friends laughed and made other jokes about her appearance, causing one girl (the only big girl in the group) to casually denounce their behavior. It is this casual accusatory tone that encourages the abuse. It is not seen as something that is really bad behavior. If she were to leave the theater and discontinue the friendship, she would be blamed for taking herself too seriously. “It’s just a joke” they might say. Well, Precious didn’t take it as a joke when she smacked her classmate for calling her fat.

The tagline for the movie is: “Life is hard. Life is short. Life is painful. Life is rich. Life is….Precious.” Does it have to be this way, though? We’re so busy preparing each other for the “real world” that we forget to take care of each other. We forget to love. We forget to be the models of good behavior that we actually seek in others. Life is not some made up entity that comes out of nowhere to do us harm. Life is people. We are the creators of Life. If our lives are so rich and precious, why do we choose to de-value it?

Posted in Media Analysis, RandomThoughtOftheDay | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

F.O.F. – Fear of Failure is Blocking Your Progress

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on August 1, 2009

The following are two scenes from “Family Matters”. Carl, a husband, father to two teenage children and a police officer is feeling badgered by caring family members who want him to take a test that, if he passes, will promote him to lieutenant. Afraid to take the test, he displaces his own frustration and anger with himself onto the people who try to help him, namely, his teenage neighbor, Steve.

Steve: “You don’t wanna take that test because you have F.O.F.”

Carl: “What is F.O.F?”

Steve: “F.O.F is fear of failure. Even the most confident people have moments of fofnoscity.”

Carl: “Are you calling me…a fofnoficator?”

Steve: “When you’re feeling nervous, when you’re trapped in that emotional pit of doubt and despair, that’s when you dig deep into your character; and, peel away the layers of cowardice, self-doubt and nay saying until you get down to the raw steel of yes-can-do; and, then, you hot dip that steel, and fortify yourself.”

Carl: “Go home, go home, go home!”

Carl’s mother, Estelle, is called to help by his wife, Harriette, who he also became angry with for trying to encourage him to take the test. In speaking to his mother, the audience becomes privy to the real reason why Carl is so hesitant. Other officers have taken the test and failed, implying a feeling of intellectual inferiority. He is afraid of the disappointment that, he presumes, comes with failure. His mother informs him, though, that the real disappointment comes with not even starting.

Carl: “It’s a real tough test. A lot of very smart guys have failed it. Dad was a lieutenant. If I take the test and fail, I’ll feel like I’m letting him down.”

Estelle: “The only way you could let him down is if you didn’t try at all.”

This begs the question: Is it better to fail and make the people proud of your attempt; or, is it better to never start, and make the people wonder what you could have been? Worse, make you wonder what you could have been.

I have struggled all my life with the idea of becoming somebody. I never knew if I would ever discover what it was that I wanted to do, or who I wanted to be. Many ideas passed through my mind as a child growing up, but one was continually glossed over as immaterial.  A hairdresser, I thought I’d like to become because I enjoyed (and still enjoy) styling hair. I discovered a passion for music and dance but couldn’t sing; and, picking up choreography, was not my thing. I thought I could be a web page designer, coding pages, and making blank canvases come to life. That didn’t work out so well, either, though I still love to code. Something kept gnawing at me. A purpose for my life was there but was invisible to me.

I fought myself a lot; and, I wondered why am I here? Has everything that I’ve been through led me to the point I am at now? Too often the victim wants to respond. Too seldom the victor. I contemplate my life even though I know the answers. I wonder what my purpose is when in my heart it’s clear. The philosopher speaks up and goes on some diatribe about the mind/body connection and the disconnect that is evident. No. There’s no disconnect. The mind knows it. The heart knows it. I have all my answers and, yet, I stagnate. I stare off into the distance and envision myself enshrouded in darkness, sitting on the edge of a cliff above some grand body of water. Fade out. No Mary Tyler Moore-esque beret tossing moment – just the wonder of what will be.

Have all of the great thoughts been thought? There is nothing great or of value left to say, so what significance will my point truly have? I wondered. I was afraid to write for fear of being mediocre and not being remembered for having made a difference but, rather, for having made a fool of myself. Acknowledging what it is that I am to do in this world has been my point of hardship for so long. If other people have done it and better than me, what’s the point? The best statement has already been made. The best answer has been given. It’s not that I, vainly, want the admiration for having given the best answer. If someone has offered the answer that solves the problem, why continue offering solutions inefficiently? In The Mis-education of the Negro Dr. Carter G. Woodson affirms,

Their conception is that you go to school to find out what other people have done, and then you go out in life to imitate them. What they have done can be done by others, they contend; and, they are right. They are wrong; however, in failing to realize that what others have done, we may not need to do. If we are to do identically the same thing from generation to generation, we would not make any progress…What this age needs is an enlightened youth not to undertake the tasks like theirs but to imbibe the spirit of these great men and answer the present call of duty with equal nobleness of soul.

Imitation may be the finest form of flattery, but the great writers of the past would want new writers to use their words as inspiration for work that concentrates on the needs of their own generation. The problem may be the same, but the people have changed. The mindsets have changed. Each new generation needs someone of theirs to illustrate the issues of the time. As the greatest who have done it continue to leave this life, who are the people who will take their words as inspiration to shine a light on needed solutions?

Michael Jackson served as the inspiration for many entertainers of this generation. However, Jackson was inspired by the work of entertainers before him. Had he said to himself, “Jackie Wilson is the best. Why should I try to contribute anything to the music industry,” this generation would not have his unique contributions to serve as inspiration for their passionate pursuits.

Why wonder what you could have been? Listen to your music within.

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Dear BET, Why Do You Hate Us?

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on July 28, 2009

This is a letter written to Black Entertainment Television (BET) by a fifteen year old who wants to know why BET does not promote positive images of Black people, choosing only to exploit the negative, profit-making images. I did not edit the content, spelling or grammar of this letter.

Dear Debra Lee,

I’m Janita Patrick, a 15-year-old African-American female from Cincinnati. Recently, I watched the 2009 BET Awards and felt the strongest urge to reach out to the program. My family is of the typical middle-class variety; both parents and four brothers. See, I’m a junior in high school (got skipped), so naturally EVERYBODY in my age group watches BET. I’m used to seeing the sagging pants, tattoos, lack of emphasis on reading and respecting women that makes up your videos. People in my class live this out everyday, while teachers tell us that we’re acting just like the people in your shows.

In your shows. That struck me as odd, because I would think that with your show being the primary outlet for black entertainers and musicians, and considering the context of blacks in this country, there’s a social responsibility factor to consider. I would never blame BET alone for the way a great deal of my classmates act and talk and dress. Everybody makes their own choices. However, if anybody is aware the power of television on impressionable minds, it’s the people running the television operations. If you are not aware, then perhaps you shouldn’t be running the operations.

Guess who watches your network the most? Not those who are intelligent enough to discern foolishness from substance, but those who are barely teenagers, impressionable and believing. It’s awfully cruel to plant seeds of ignorance in fertile minds. You know it’s really bad when the co-founder of BET, Sheila Johnson, said that she “really doesn’t watch it” anymore.

I am constantly fighting against the images and messages put forth on your program. What made you think that it’s okay to bring my classmates on stage to dance behind Lil Wayne and Drake to a song talking about boffing “every girl in the world”? Why does reality train wrecks have to thrown in our faces? Are you aware of the achievement gap going in inner-city African-American communities? A report from America’s Promise Alliance, a non-profit group started by Colin Powell, recently stated that 47 percent of high school students in the nation’s top 50 cities don’t graduate. (Fifty-four percent of males of color in Ingham County graduated from high school, compared to 74 percent of white males). This isn’t because of BET per se, but I don’t see any episodes on your show doing anything to counteract this disturbing trend. In fact, your show is a part of this cycle of media depicting us at our worst.

My older brother told me something about profit being the number one goal for every business. I’m not sure I understand what that means, but I do know that your shows have to be entertaining enough to generate viewers, which is how you make your money. But surely our culture is rich enough to entertain without anything extra to “boost” ratings; why the over-the-top foolery? I listen to classmates talk about Baldwin Hills like it’s the Manhattan Project. It doesn’t take much effort to produce a throng of degenerative reality shows, nor does it take much to eliminate socially conscious shows off the air. MTV isn’t much better, but since when does two wrongs ever make a right? It’s one thing for white television shows to depict us in a particular way, but for black television shows to do it is baffling.

Why do you hate us?

All of the values that my parents seek to instill in me and my brothers seems to be contradicted by a more powerful force from the media, and your show is at the forefront. Your network is the only network that features rap videos and shows exclusively to children of my color. I know that you have no control over the music that the artists put out, but you do have influence as to how you air these videos. I’m sure if a stand was taken to use the talent in your organization to actually crank out thought-provoking entertaining shows and videos, then artists will follow suit. Being that they need you as much as you need them.

There was one awkward segment in the BET Awards when Jamie Foxx singled out three black doctors-turned-authors, but the introduction was so powerless that many of the viewers had no idea who they were. Had they been introduced as Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins, three brothers who overcame major obstacles to become a success without the use of lyrics that berate women, the sell of substance that destroy communities or through raps about loose gunplay, then maybe my classmates would have come to school talking about more than Beyonce, T-Pain’s BIG ASS CHAIN and Soulja Boy Tell Em’s hopping out the bed.

But they weren’t introduced like that. It seemed like a throwaway obligatory tribute to appease some irritated fans. It missed the mark. Big time. Ask Michelle Obama if she watches BET or encourages Sasha and Malia to do so. Ask President Obama. It’s a reason he is the leader of the free world, and it isn’t because of Buffoonery Exists Today.

You’d be surprised how smart young black children can be with the absence of Blacks Embarrassing Themselves. If your goal is to deter engaged, forward-thinking articulate black minds, then consider your goal fulfilled. It’s hard-pressed to think that your shows are working to promote cultural betterment. However, it’s quite easy to conclude that the destruction of black children through the glorification of immoral behavior and rushed production is by design. Poison is being swallowed by every viewer who adores your network, and the worse thing is, these viewers – my classmates – are not even aware what they’re swallowing.

There is nothing edifying for black women on your show. I don’t judge people who do throng to your programs though; I mean, if a jet crashes in right in front of me, I’ll watch it too. That’s why I don’t flip by your channel…I don’t even want to be sucked in.

I have aspirations of acquiring a law degree and possibly entering the public sphere, so I can counteract conditions in my community perpetuated by the images on your channel. So I should thank you, because in a weird sense, your shoddy programming is the wind behind my back. And it is my hope that I can accomplish my dreams despite BET’s pictorial messages, because Lord knows it won’t be because of them.

Sincerely,

Janita Patrick

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Posted in Advice, Media Analysis | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

The Importance of Being Intelligent – Even on Twitter

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on June 19, 2009

Today I saw this tweet from @YBAC: It’s easy to know y libs hate fox news: they hate facts,abore truth,their so idealistic they run from reality,& r intimidated by intellect

Given the 140 character limit on Twitter I can understand the need to shorten words, but this tweet was simply misspelled. Wanting to help this person make his partisan message more impactful, I sent the following: umm…it’s abhor* truth…they’re* so idealistic…i’m just saying..it’s tough to make a call on intellect with misspellings.

In my opinion I was not implying that the tweeter lacked intellect. I was stating that it is difficult to suggest an entire segment of people are intimidated by intellect when this tweet was misspelled. Now, I am not perfect. I have sent a tweet or two containing a misspelled word, but I immediately tweet the correction. I would not have been so quick to suggest this correction had I not also received the following from this same person: I think your talented and want to know if you find interest in our organization. What do u think of our mission and our service?

This is clearly a repeat offender.

Let’s dive further into this story. This person contacted me after reading through my bio on LinkedIn. I let it go when they misspelled my name in the reply to me. I passed on correcting the afore-mentioned tweet. I could not let the typos continue, though, in a message that was clearly seeking support. Logging back in after work (key point), I see this: U want to question MY intellect over some typos on twitter? You couldn’t finish college & cant find a job. lets call a trus.

Now, if I were someone who hadn’t talked myself through the struggles of not being able to finish paying for school, I would have been offended and hurt by this suggestive statement. My inability to finish college had nothing to do with lack of intellect. Further, if this person had actually paid attention to my bio on LinkedIn, they would have seen that I am, indeed, presently employed.

Here’s the ground up meat of this tale. This is someone who wants to develop a support network for their political organization: Young, Black and Conservative. In the offending tweet this person stated that liberals are intimidated by intellect. I won’t go into how that generalization cannot possibly be the foundation for any useful argument. I will, however, state that one cannot underestimate the importance of being intelligent in a forum as public as Twitter. If you are tweeting your own personal thoughts that have no association with any professional organization, make as many typos as you choose. Doing so, however, makes you appear as though you do not care about your personal brand. When you make these statements in representation of your professional organization, though, you had better be as close to perfect as possible. Not only are you representing your organization, but you are representing the people who work within that organization. Further, as an organization entitled young and black, you are representing two additional segments of society; and, I, for one, am tired of the stigma of ignorance that is placed onto both young people and black people.

Someone’s character is not judged solely by their time in the spotlight, it is judged by their time in the shadows, as well. I would hope that you would want yourself and your organization to be judged as professional and worthy of support based on well-researched arguments and intellectual discourse. My correction was only to help. Your response validates a notion written about in the Miseducation of the Negro: black people refuse to be led by black people for fear of one upstaging the other. I apologize if you think that I was trying to upstage you when I was only trying to help. In the future I hope your political statements are better researched than your attempt at an attack on me.

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Posted in Advice, RandomThoughtOftheDay | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »