I waited awhile to write on this.
Kelly Tilghman the first full-time female anchor on the golf channel. Respected in the white male dominated world-er' oh yeah- of broadcast news, shot off one of the most nonchalant, lighthearted references to a hate crime ever recorded.
I had to let her words marinate. I had to spend a few days listening to talk radio(while talkin shit' and typing of course).
I promise not to plug a pundit .
It is safe to assume the host's and caller's opinions represent a segment of society that watches ample television and will sit on hold for maybe an hour or more to put in their two cents while, of course, watching T.V.. I'm sure they might also wait in line at midnight for movie tickets.
For Harry Potter or Rambo IV.
The overwhelming consensus was- 'hey... she made a mistake'- and then they would launch the trademark attack on Al Sharpton. It always included veiled references to shortcomings of the black community. Actually the term 'inner city' is not so veiled. Never the less Al was always a villian for 'causin a ruckus'.
Why do people always blame Al for stepping up?
I was tapping my feet waiting for someone, anyone, to say something.
Tiger did the right thing. He resides in his own Palace of human excellence.
He brushed it off.
He is cuddly, kinda funny and lately, I must admit- right.
Despite all his shortcomings we cannot afford to let the 'no child left behind' mentality minimize and casually dismiss a set of historical circumstances that have retarded the social and economic development of a significant segment of our society for a long time. Which has resulted, to this day, in two very seperate and distinct American experiences.
Black people really do not care much for Al Sharpton most people I know are indifferent. We have abandoned the idea he is helpful and adopted the notion he is relevant; but white people either hate him or think he is funny as hell. If you are one of those people my assessment is not meant as an insult or an affront of any kind. I also know I cannot speak for anyone but myself so take my sweeping generalizations in stride. So, if allowed, I will ammend the previous statement :
Black people I talk to do not care much for Al Sharpton.
It is what it is.
Sharpton is the guy at the accident scene on the evening news. The well meaning- we would hope- white anchor always manages to find and ask-
"Excuse me sir,What happened"?
We would shrug our shoulders- damn why they have to ask him?
They shove the mic in the wino's face and let the laughs begin.
The black news anchor always manages to find a black doctor or paramedic to explain what happened. This is my urban news experience.
I know a lot of households, black households, that collectively cringed whenever the mike was shoved in Sharpton's face.
Tawana Brawley really fucked with his credibility.
It demonized the whole notion of righting a heinous wrong. It undermined all future efforts to minimize the daily inequities that many people are victims of.
People caught in the system.
In the back of everyone's mind(at least some of the white guys I know) lies the assumption that a race card, in fact, exists and each black person can whip it out and play it, to their benefit, any time they choose.
It ushered in the pre-Cochran era of the 'race card'.
They never ask people like my mother or any other black, well spoken, college grads gathered around. They never asked people who were humbly making their way on both sides of the fence not just the black side.
They never ask those type of people about anything.
Instead they ask Al what he thinks. They ask Ike Turner(RIP). They ask Reggie White(RIP) to address Congress.
We, with bookcases, cringe.
They invite him on to their shows (wingnuts) and try to set him up. That is where I give Al credit he is not afraid of an ambush. He has sharpened his articulate knife. He easily could have taken the Don King route and kept in the hood but he stuck to his guns and learned the art of rhetoric and thought before he spoke and continues to think before he speaks now.
The best part is he is usually defending a righteous position.
I am perplexed how he got the job- spokesman for black America.
The things people do just fuck with my head.
I had to also examine other unprecedented events surrounding race, identity and what it means to be black in America.
Our current race for the Oval Office has managed to lessen my cynicism in regards to race.
Black folks might just get a clean legal slate as well- Rockefeller repeals and other refreshing events show America just might be removing the boot from thy neck.
Like- for real.
While speaking on Kelly Tilghman one of the pundits said 'I better watch it... I don't want to offend Pookie Ray-Ray or Lucretia'
The Government is one thing people are another.
It is what it is.