it’s too bad the writer’s strike is still on – I’d love to see someone’s take on the current Tiger/Tilghman controversy with Al Roker in the place of Al Sharpton. Just cuz.
I don’t really understand why, but I’m not really thrilled with how the Rev. Sharpton [via racialicious] has become the de facto spokesperson for Black People. Especially Offended Black People. Now, I am completely against all the racist crap going on [of course!], so don’t get that twisted. But I’m still trying to figure out which day we were all supposed to have voted for Al Sharpton to speak for us – or Bill Cosby – or Tavis Smiley.
I think the fact that this is a trend that continues – that one black dude [the only lady would be Oprah – and she’s ambiguous sometimes when it comes to race (at least to me)] could speak for Black America – is more of a sign of America’s sustained racist system than the few moments when someone lets loose with ‘let’s lynch him’, the ‘n’ word, or other incidents. Sometimes, it seems as though Al is asking for a pound of flesh – other times, it seems like as long as the offender apologized to Al, the rest of us have been apologized to by proxy.
But it isn’t hard to see that the Reverend is not universally revered. I, myself, can’t really take him seriously. I don’t know if it’s some kind of latent self-hate that I have yet to deal with, or if I’m being completely rational [which is a conundrum that I deal with fairly often, and I feel really guilty about]. He seems sincere sometimes. Sometimes I agree with him. But often, I feel like he’s jumping into situations and blowing them up – maybe out of proportion? I’m not sure if it’s that I think there are more worthwhile goals that we should be focused on, or if I just don’t know how effective it is to jump on each racially-offensive incident that takes place as a method of fighting racism in this country.
Let’s take the ‘n’-word funeral as an example. I was embarrassed. They put that junk on the news! NAACP bigwigs were there. The grand gesture. But uh – what was the effect? Have people stopped saying the word? Is it illegal now? What are the consequences of use? A complete ceremony, with fanfare, and most people don’t even remember that it happened last year. I went to a funeral last year. Haven’t seen the decedent since. Seen the ‘n’-word, though. Perhaps they should have waited to bury it until after it was actually dead. Seems like what happened instead, was that it became undead, and is now devouring brains across the country, just to stay…undead.
So, what kind of power is Mr. Sharpton actually wielding? Does he speak for me? No. Just cuz I agree that the kids in Jena should be free doesn’t mean that we’re -right there- on everything else. Which brings me back to the point: when we can believe that one or two or three specific black people can speak for/fully represent the apparent monolith that is Black People, we are subscribing to racist rhetoric. I know for a 100% fact that Kelly Tilghman’s comment has not been construed as the ‘white’ view – even though there are plenty of white people who could completely understand her ‘faux pas’, cuz they were thinking the same thing.
I don’t know how to fix this, though. Other than getting more and more voices out there – voices that do represent me more fully, and voices that represent other [differing] black and brown people, I can’t offer a solution.
In the meantime, I’m still trying to figure how I feel about this Tilghman comment. Yeah – I know she’s racist. Should she be fired? Well – Imus was. But then, he had a history of saying [actually, way worse] stuff. Should that count? [the history?] I know she was the first female commentator on the Golf Channel, and considering, it’s the Golf Channel, it may be a little more difficult to find a non-racist commentator…but couldn’t they try? I bet there are some. Ladies, even. Give this girl some time to reflect – she won’t stay out of work. [Obviously, Imus didn’t]
I just wonder. Are we helping things by demanding that people do a better job of hiding how racist they are?
I wonder what Al Roker would say.