It recalls a story from a friend of mine who was quickly slapped by a couple of "white liberals" because he dared suggest in open conversation that Sharpton, given his history, should admit his own racism, and that all racism is wrong. And, btw, do hypocrites like Sharpton have the moral authority to address issues of racism? I ask you. But anyone can say whatever they want, of course.
Back to Ebony. Upon closer examination of the examination, I came upon an especially interesting article by Adrienne P. Samuels entitled "The Culture of Disrespect." BTW, here is a quote from Ms. Samuels from an interview-article online:
If people write to me, I've usually made them uncomfortable. I'm all for that – making people uncomfortable. If I've done that, I've done my job. Mostly what I want to get across is that we have to be fair. http://220.127.116.11/common/news_detail.asp?newsid=319342&L1=9&L2=1But back to Ms. S's piece. What is striking are the images of Martin Luther King, Al Sharpton, and black civil rights marchers (featuring a smilling Sammy Davis Jr.--rather awkward esp cause Frank was absent) juxtaposed to images of Imus and the Rutgers University women's basketball team. I thought all this stuff would be old news by now, but it is referred to again and again and again throughout the magazine, as if the readers and and Ms. S can never get enough of it. Imus is the looming symbol of racist white America, the truth lurking beneath the surface, always ready to disrespect at a moment's notice.
Ms. Samuels does an admirable job of getting lots of opinions on the issues of Imus and disrespect and how it came about, but all from black Americans, only black Americans. Is this indicative of racism or simply smart politics? Are they both entertwined?
Is it fair?
Going further, and perhaps because I am not a usual reader of Ebony, I was surprised by a few viewpoints as the discussion of "disrespect" naturally fused with the black music business and quotes by black notables on this subject, e.g., Jeff Friday, founder of the American Black Film Festival, says Black America made a mistake in allowing critics to launch an assault on a Black music form:
For me, I just think that we give White people too much power.
Apparently, Jeff thinks Whites should be muzzled at appropriate times. And then we hear from Q-Tip, a "legendary" hip-hopper who "worries that the community won't heal if the music of youth continues to be attacked." So the issue isn't the hate speech of black music artists, its the attack on black youth by Whites and White-sponsored puppets like Oprah (who is noted as being divisive). Meanwhile, NPR commentator Jimi Izrael says "pooh to the culture of disrespect and other discussions he feels are egged on by Whites." According to Jimi:
Whenever they want an explanation, we stand up straight, clean our noses and try to give them an explanation. We've trained them to do that ... they feel like it's up to them to put us in check.Okay Jimi, uhhhh, and just below the above statements, at the base of the page, a blurb that reads:
Ragtime music reached its peak in popularity. It was celebrated for itsAnd there are more blurbs and more blurbs. Wow. Wow. Wow. I'm still rubbing my eyes and blinking. Where's Martin Luther King when we need him?
innovation and decried for being Negro music and too exciting.
Thanks, Ebony. Guess I'll go back to being a racist now ... Ah, and one more thing, nowhere in the disrespect article that included the above quotes is a single mention of Al Sharpton as having any responsibility for the elevation of the Imus issue or the subsequent debate that followed.
Just had to note that.