The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is shocked at Newsweek columnist and CNN contributor Fareed Zakaria for returning the award the ADL gave him. He said that the mission of the ADL was compromised by its position on the proposed Mosque near the 9-11 Memorial. I happen to agree with him.
I sorta understand the need for the position of the ADL. But I also agree completely with Zakaria saying that their stance on the mosque goes against what the ADL has long stood for. To me their discrimination against Muslims is anti-American and they are feeding into prejudice against Muslims and Islam in this country.
While the prize money was 'modest' compared to a major sports salary, it would be like a basketball star giving back an MVP award because he believe the NBA's mandatory age limit is discriminatory (which I feel it is). I think about Michael Jordan and his deafening silence during the Rodney King trials and his bullshit compromise he made in not endorsing Harvey Gantt as he ran against Jesse Helms by saying, "Republicans by shoes, too." Ol' Harvey was a brother who was once Mayor of Charlotte. I am not saying that Harvey would have unseated ol' Jesse, but it let me know as much as I needed to know about Mike.
When it comes to commentary about social conditions in this country, I use ethnic identifiers because it seems as if it makes references a lot easier. What I am noticing is that I am among a few cats (or kittens) doing so. Part of that is because minority people do not have the kind of impact in the lives of the majority that the majority has in minority lives, from day to day living. Not to mention the all the 'free stuff' that y'all give one another when we are not around!!
African-Americans believe that there exists the same kind of unity and brotherhood in their ethnic group that is found in others. I far as I can tell, it does not and has never been the kind of driving force for unity that can be seen collectively in other groups. It is hard to say how long this false premise has existed but I do think that it has done great harm African-Americans and their self-image in general.
This is not to say that I am one of those 'oreo brothers', disliking his own skin. In fact it is because I like my skin and others within my own ethnic group have problems with my skin and its shade, that I began to objectively look at the problem we had within our group.
WE seem to hate ourselves and this schism grows to a split in the psyche of those African Americans who move upward in the ranks of society. Some are torn and unable to move their thinking beyond the environment that they emerged from (Michael Vick comes to mind as an example) and somehow feel either a guilt or a debt to the world they leave behind. Others, a small amount, feel that a violent overthrow of the social order is necessary, but revolution by its very nature is short, impulsive and violent. The courage necessary to commit to such process is is sorely lacking. The same kind of drug provided to the most of the people of the first world has made the likely hood of the level of organization needed to move mass amounts of people to uprising, will not happen.
Meeting the true enemy is easy to do but difficult to realize. All one has to do to find the reason for any malcondition that they believe is going on in their world, is to look in a mirror. Once they do that and accept the answer that they find, then they will have armed themselves with the information they need to act upon making the life they envision for themselves.
The debate between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B DuBois over what African Americans should do to advance themselves collectively hinged on being able to take responsibility and act upon their own belief. Booker T. was under the idea that we should simply work hard and 'pay our dues' and earn our way through our effort alone. W.E.B saw the issue as one as fighting for basic human rights and becoming educated. The problem was that no one has ever addressed the massive sagging middle between the two ends.
WHAT DOES ANY OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH YOU, MARK?
There has been this enduring philosophical difference within the community and it has left us vulnerable. If rural white Americans clings to their guns and bible, what is it that urban African-Americans cling to? In places like the Atl, D.C. and the Metro, I wonder how long it would be before the election of a white or non-black mayor occurs? I have no evidence that would entice me to believe that African-Americans are as broad minded enough to vote on principle rather than 'a loyalty'.
A loyalty that they would begrudge their 'brother' in any other area. Dignity, justice, or morality. Part of what made me get steamed at P.Diddy and his allegation that the questions he was asked by Martin Bashir were loaded, is that he is one of the people who objectifies and markets an image to African-Americans that is pejorative and profiteering. But that is okay, because we are getting exploited by a brother. I have to question a brother on what he thinks of 'his people' when the reason that made Bashir's comment racist, exemplifies why he is not a part of 'his people'.
He compared himself with Steve Jobs... I am not sure how much money you need to be in that kind of company, but that is now 'his kind of people'. And one of the problems that exists for African-Americans is the kind of social leadership and responsibility that is driven by the supposed social and moral agencies that are said to exist in the community and is said to be a large part of the communities back bone.
We identify with people who no longer identify with us. I mentioned Ice Cube movie 'The Lottery Ticket' as a sample of media poison in our culture. I will add Tyler Perry with him as the purveyors of expletive crap. Lessons? If a scoop of ice cream falls off my cone in dog shit, it is still ice cream... in dog shit. So how good to you think that is going to taste now? You do it. You eat it.
My thing is, there has to be another way that is not taking advantage of 'our people' for these now detached folks to make money. But in the new social group they are in, we are seen more as 'a market' for them to profit from.
Because there is no one enduring image to tie African-Americans together, several different false images exists. And they bottle and sell them form the false positive ideals in movies to the true negatives in rap/pop music.
And what is the point of all this? Everything and nothing at the same time.