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When Rush Limbaugh speaks, a certain demographic listens and picks up on what he’s saying.
When Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-MN) told Chairman Michael Steele at CPAC that “You Da Man”, it sounded very disingenuous to me because it doesn’t fit, plus it’s how she said it. It’s not because of race, because I’ve heard guys who use more slang than the hardest, thuggish guy ‘in the hood’.
The New York Post publishes a controversial cartoon and some don’t understand why many Blacks were offended by it. I can guarantee that there wasn’t one Black or Latino on the editorial board. That wouldn’t have gotten out if there was.
The complaint from many Whites and a few conservative Blacks who says that everything isn’t racial is a fair complaint, but not exactly true.
Some things said are not meant to be racial, but have serious racial implications to it that the person speaking may not understand due to their lack of socialization or cultural awareness. Some people are hyper-sensitive and are unwilling to take the time to understand the context or even explain to the person why what they have said or written is offensive. You shouldn’t just immediately blame there person for their ignorance if they do not have a history of it.
Example, Don Imas knew what he was doing and saying when he commented on the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team. There are some who have a history of saying and doing offensive things and they know exactly what they’re doing and deserve the criticism.
Of course I’m being a little silly with the whole “1-800-Ask A Brother Translation Service” thing, because I’m using humor to help explain something that divides us.
We are seeing many people come out of the woodworks saying some very ignorant and mostly racially tinged things. Many of them do not understand the harm in what they’re saying, because they are culturally unaware or it’s socially accepted where they’re from. Many people suffer from what I call “My Best Friend is Black” syndrome. This spans beyond the Black & White communities and goes into other communities. I can’t say that something bad about Jews and then say, “I didn’t mean it, I’m not racist. One of my best friends is a Jew.” That would be stupid and would mean that I would need to not only apologize to the Jewish Community, but to my friend for offending him. Saying something racially ignorant doesn’t always mean that you’re a racist. It does signal a deficiency in your understanding and awareness towards the offended race or group.
We often hear Christians say some very cruel things about our fellow neighbors who are gay or lesbian. It goes directly against “Love Thy Neighbor”, but I’ll get into that another day. Many see no problem with bashing and often demonstrating hate, which if you didn’t already know this is the opposite of Love, the greatest commandment. How is being racially unaware or discourteous any different from using coded language towards homosexuality? But it’s accepted and preached in pulpits every week. BUT let me pull up on that one, because I don’t want to give away an upcoming post.
Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. says on FOX News to another guest who is Black that “he wishes he could cut Obama’s balls off” all because he believed he was talking publicly down on Black people when he gave his Fatherhood speech. Now that outrage was deserved, because he clearly understood what he was saying and the history behind that threat towards Black men. But many people outside of the Black community thought it was shameful, but didn’t understand why some people were so upset with Rev. Jackson for those comments.
It’s not just White men that say crazy things, because I can point out recently a Black man by the name of Michael Steele saying to the only Indian American Governor that he was giving his “Slum Love” to him. That was offensive, but the media says little about it because they don’t know how to approach it. Black Man, Indian-American, two Republicans, both firsts and pioneers in their own right, how to you criticize that. I guarantee that there wasn’t one person of color making the decision in the news rooms to go with that story or not. So they played it safe and let it die.
A New York City bakery store owner that made the “Drunken Negro Face” cookies said that he didn’t see the problem with selling the cookie because his brother-in-law was Cuban. He’s clueless and suffers from the “My Best Friend is Black” syndrome. If he just ‘asks a brother’ perhaps he could have saved himself some heartache.
If you do not know how something would be interpreted, just ask. Ask someone who you know has some cultural sensibilities to them and will be honest with you. Listen to them and learn from them. When I’m asked a sincere question concerning race I try to give a very fair answer. I have been offended on occasions, but I let it pass until it becomes a pattern.
That’s my best and honest advice to you. If you’re unsure just call 1-800-Ask A Brother.
References & Inspirations Politico – 03/03/09 “Blacks, Whites Hear Obama Differently”