Is the "Lil Monkey" doll just everyday racism that we should let go?
Normally, I'm the first one out the gate telling black people to get over some silly ish, but Costco definitely needed a chin-check for selling black dolls labeled "Lil Monkey." It seems the dolls were one of a set. The black doll was wearing a hat that read "Lil Monkey" whereas the white doll was sold with cute panda bears with a hat that said "Pretty Panda" on it. That's just crazy. I'm glad someone took up the fight and got 'er done. Someone that wasn't Al or Jesse.
Ok. So, ordinarily, I'd say let it go. When Obama was compared to Curious George, I said "let it go" because, truth to tell, he does look like Curious George. There was a reasonable explaination for the jibe that didn't map back to racism, however far-fetched. But you can't let stuff like this go is because it is so clearly racist, and you never really know what's next if you let this ride. It's small thing in the bigger picture, but you have to know that the picture gets bigger: drawing comparisons and contrast like this incubates harmful ideas. Anything can, right? But some things seemed designed to covertly stoke prejudice. I could be wrong, though. After all, there are bigger fish to fry.
Is the "Lil Monkey" doll emblematic of the kind of everyday stuff black people should let ride? Why or why not?
Why haven't people of color embraced NASCAR?
When NASCAR visited the White House not long ago, I found myself wondering if the sport of race care driving is browning at all. We know there is some history there (and, as NASCAR chooses Hall of Fame inductees, seemingly intentional ommision of same) but whenever I turn it on TV, I see alot of Confederate flags and good ole boys chewing tobacco. Richard Pryor immortalized Wendel Scott, but I haven't seen many black folks patronizing or involved in the sport lately.
My son has expressed some interest in going local racing events, but I don't want to be the only black faces in the crowd. Why haven't people of color embraced NASCAR?
I'm sad to live in a world where a rapper can't rap about guns without an outcry but gun nuts can go strapped up to town hall meetings.
I'm sad to live in a world where a rapper can't rap about guns without an outcry and black men can't hold guns in movie posters but gun nuts can go strapped up to town hall meetings. There's something really wrong with that.
I'm all for the second amendment, all for "open carry." But I don't think you should be allowed to carry in situations where it the mere presence of a gun could cause a panic. There are those amoung us who are concerned that President Obama will not live out his term in light of all the hate --- do you really have to carry your gun to go see the president? Really?
How do we stop the gun nuts from causing a panic and not impede thier rights?
In a world where the bird in the hand is better than a diploma in the bush with no guarantees, how do you make education matter to poor people?
The back to school daze is upon us, so I thought it particularly timely that Michelle Obama would be out talking about education in black communities. It's a sticky wicket with a lot at stake, to be sure. The White House wants to throw money at the problem, but you can throw all the loot you want and if the community doesn't care, it's money down the drain. The diminishing quality of education in da 'hood makes successful people leave and stay gone. People like me.
While it's true that I went to school in the tony suburb of Shaker Heights half of my life, I grew up in mainly black, mainly poor East Cleveland, Ohio and ended up being based there, using my mother's Shaker address and commuting via public transit to Shaker from my grandmother's house. Truth to tell, I hated Shaker Heights and everything it stood for and had dreams of one day returning to East Cleveland to help make it the strong, vital community I grew up in. When I got older, I knew that could never happen.
When I got kids of my own and began to see how various local school districts measured up to state and federal criteria, it became increasingly clear that there was no going back. The lack of a tax base, the flight of middle-class, home-owning blacks, the impact of drugs and Reaganomics and a general sense of apathy manifests itself in East Cleveland's low scores compared to Shaker's, and this is the way it is in many black communities on the edge: people are too busy trying to eat to worry about the quality of their public schools, so eff 'em. There are no men in these communities to speak of, so da 'hood turns into an island of single moms and grandmothers working a minimum of three jobs, and the schools begin to function less like schools and more like day care and warehouse facilities for the next generation of strippers and burger techs. Everyone's got a Cadillac, but no one has a high school diploma. This isn't because of the so-called culture of anti-intellectualism in the black community, which is complete nonsense. It's about instant gratification: poor people trying to microwave their American Dream. Keeping their heads above water, making a wave when they can. Education is fine and dandy, but you can't eat it, many say.
I would like to go back to East Cleveland -- it's the place I learned my first, most important lessons. More so than Shaker, it is the place I feel the closest to. But I am a father and would like for my kids to have the best chance at living their American Dream. And good education is the only way to get it. I'm not a classist, but I want to live around people who share my values. I don't think it's a lot to ask.
So, the challenge is twofold: How do we get successful people to stay in da 'hood and fight for better education. And in a reality where a bird in the hand is better than a diploma in the bush with no guarantees, how do you make education matter to poor people?
Vick needs to man-up and face the music --- alone.
Like alot of youse, I watched NFL football quarterback and star - Michael Vick on 60 Minutes last night with Tony Dungy by his side. Me? I'm suspicious of apologies that require co-signers. He's done his time, and that's great. I think crimes against children, women and animals are crimes of the soul. If Vick is really sorry, he should man-up and stand up on his own. Look, if you messed up and someone is there to offer you support, that's one thing. But if you make a show of using their moral credentials to prop up your penitence, that's problematic for me. If you need someone else's virtue to fill in the gaps of your own, then the quality and veracity of your mea culpa is in question. Now, I'm on record: I wouldn't mind watching two roosters go at it UFC-stylee, but there is something abhorrent about compelling man's best friend into blood sport.
When any of us stand up to apologize, we look a lot better with a co-signer and better still if that person is a minister or, in Vick's case, a bible-thumper with street cred. Of course Tony Dungy is more than that -- but for these purposes, not much. I think Vick needs to man-up and face the music --- alone. It isn't that I don't think Vick is sincere: I believe he is sincerely sorry he got caught, sincerely sorry his pockets are short and sorry that he has to go through these motions just to play football again. He came across as over-rehearsed or not rehearsed enough -- I can't decide which.
Any way you find the road to redemption is fine, as long as you get there, right? I just hope Vick doesn't do a R. Kelly by getting our forgiveness and then returning to his old ways, more or less.
What did you think about Vick's 60 Minute interview?