Wednesday, August 25, 2010

From Dr. Laura to Chris Rock... Just Quit!

Ronnie Agnew of the Clarion Ledger offers this...

I was in high school when a man, a white man, stopped by to visit my parents, whom he had not seen since the years they had worked as sharecroppers. While my parents had left behind that life, he possessed a hardscrabble look, signifying he had not quite shaken tough times.

Unkempt and dirty, he reflected with great detail the backbreaking tedium of the cotton fields, where the rows stretched for miles, assuring the promise of a next day's work. He was comfortable that day, too comfortable in fact.

"You know what," he said to my parents with my brother and me sitting near, "y'all were the hardest-working niggers I have ever seen in my life." He said it without blinking an eye, without any sense of regret or shame. My brother and I sat there in shock, my parents embarrassed that a man would visit their home and use the most hateful word in the English language to describe them.

We later concluded that his ignorance was such that he didn't know any better. There have been plenty who do know better who have exercised the same ignorance - even greater because of the assumption that in their world travels, they should have learned something.

Radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger is the latest. When an African-American woman married to a white man called for advice on dealing with racist remarks by her husband's friends and family, Schlessinger gave insensitivity new meaning. Again and again she used the racial epithet to justify that since some black folks use the word nigger, why should the offending parties be held accountable.

There's a lofty doctor's degree in front of her name and a 40-year career indicating that she has reached some level of accomplishment. She proved, however, that classrooms and sheltered life experiences are incapable of conveying the hurt caused by that word. It doesn't matter who says it, black people or white. To this day, the words still sting from that day 30-plus years ago when the visitor disrespected people who would never have dishonored him.

There's the wrong-headed presumption Schlessinger and others make that black people are OK with the use of the word nigger because of its use among black rappers and comedians. It hurts just as much, in fact, when black entertainers and regular folk gratuitously use it.

Dr. Laura, who says she will end her show at the end of the year, could not be more wrong in defending her answer to the caller. If she's right, then the tears that well in my eyes when I hear the word nigger must not be real. Knowledgeable she may be on some subjects, but on this one, she knows nothing.

While most agree that there is no acceptable context in which this word should be used today, Agnew's parable demonstrates how the word has evolved from ignorance to hatred.

Thirty years ago, the term was used by a generation who inherited it from parents who simply knew no better. It was not so much a racial slur as it was an unfortunate slang term for "Negros", which is now considered offensive by many.

The "N-word" evolved into the racial epithet that it has become today from the same ignorant culture that believes that when the term is used "inter-racially", that it is acceptable... and often humorous. The "N-word" will never go away as long as we deem it "acceptable" in ANY situation... from classrooms to comedy clubs!

It is hard to believe that anyone in 2010 does not realize that this word is offensive to the majority of our civilized world, but as long as we permit its use, by any race, in any context, for humor or will not go away!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Love Him or Hate Him... Pat's Opinion


By Patrick J. Buchanan

Barack says we need to have a conversation about race in America. Fair enough. But this time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.... This time, the Silent Majority needs to have its convictions, grievances and demands heard. And among them are these:

First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known... Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.

Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ' 60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.

Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks -- with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas -- to advance black applicants over white applicants. Churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals all over America have donated their time and money to support soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks.

We hear the grievances.

Where is the gratitude??

Barack talks about new 'ladders of opportunity' for blacks... Let him go to Altoona? And Johnstown, and ask the white kids in Catholic schools how many were visited lately by Ivy League recruiters handing out scholarships for 'deserving' white kids...? Is white America really responsible for the fact that the crime and incarceration rates for African-Americans are seven times those of white America? Is it really white America’s fault that illegitimacy in the African-American community has hit 70 percent and the black dropout rate from high schools in some cities has reached 50 percent?

Is that the fault of white America or, first and foremost, a failure of the black community itself?

As for racism, its ugliest manifestation is in interracial crime, and especially interracial crimes of violence. Is Barrack Osama aware that while white criminals choose black victims 3 percent of the time, black criminals choose white victims 45 percent of the time?

Is Barack aware that black-on-white rapes are 100 times more common than the reverse, that black-on-white robberies were 139 times as common in the first three years of this decade as the reverse?

We have all heard ad nauseam from the Rev. Al about Taiwan Brawley, the Duke rape case and Jena. And all turned out to be hoaxes. But about the epidemic of black assaults on whites that are real, we hear nothing.

Sorry, Barrack, some of us have heard it all before, about 40 years and 40 trillion tax dollars ago.

Just like Dr. Laura, Pat always has an opinion! And just like Dr. Laura, he gets a lot of criticism for expressing it. President Obama does not speak for all black Americans, just as Pat Buchanan does not speak for all non-black Americans. What both are very good at is debating and it would make a great media event to see these two address this issue on live TV.

Don't race to your TV Guide to look for this show anytime soon... but you can express your views here on the "Scoop".


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"The Help" Filming in Greenwood

Going back...

Based on the beloved New York Times bestselling novel, "The Help," is the story of three extraordinary women in the deep South in 1962. Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but her mother will not be happy until Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid, Constantine, the woman who raised her, but she has disappeared, and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both hearts may be broken. Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job.

Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own. Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

Emma Stone ... Eugenia 'Skeeter' Phelan

Bryce Dallas Howard ... Hilly Holbrook

Mike Vogel ... Johnny Foote

Allison Janney ... Eugenia's Mom

Jessica Chastain ... Celia Foote

Sissy Spacek ... Missus Walters

Anna Camp ... Jolene French

Viola Davis ... Aibileen Clark

Chris Lowell ... Stuart Whitworth

Octavia Spencer ... Minny Jackson

Ahna O'Reilly ... Elizabeth Leefolt
Brian Kerwin ... Robert Phelan

Aunjanue Ellis ... Yule Mae

Cicely Tyson ... Constantine Jefferson
Leslie Jordan ... Mr. Blackly
Harriet Sansom Harris ... Grace Higginbotham

Roslyn Ruff ... Pascagoula

Wes Chatham ... Carlton Phelan

Tiffany Brouwer ... Rebecca

Tarra Riggs ... Gretchen
Ritchie Montgomery ... Bus Driver
La Chanze ... Rachel Jefferson
Carol Sutton ... Cora

If you haven't read this book, you should. There is something in it for everyone, regardless of where you were in the 1960's.

This is a major motion picture being filmed in the Delta... and we should be proud! It not only recognizes the literary achievement of Mississippians, but gives us a true snapshot of what life was like in the segregated south.

I was in Greenwood last week and met several of the cast and crew. All were quite delightful and complementary of the Delta. Aside from the 100 degree plus temperatures they were enduring in costume and make-up, they found Greenwood very "charming".

Filming will go on throughout October and the movie will be released in early 2011. This is a very positive happening for the Delta. Some good news at last!