I enjoy writing a great deal. My passion is to write on Black literary culture, both historical and contemporary. But I felt the need to deviate because that very culture is under siege by right wing talk show hosts emanating from FOX television. It is getting totally out of control and it is now time for Black men to stand up and speak out. I say men because the attacks over there have been coming from arrogant white men like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. Last week Geraldo Rivera (I’m not sure what he is, Puerto Rican, Jewish or what) decided to add his two-cents and that is why I am deviating from my favorite writing subjects and addressing this issue. For some reason these men and many others of their ilk feel that they know what is best for my culture and my people. Regardless of the fact that I have been Black for a very long time, they still feel compelled to force their un-welcomed opinions on me as well as my fellow Black Americans, by telling us what is wrong at home.
Now let me assure you, I have no intentions of making suggestions or even commenting on what is happening within the Irish community, Italian Community, or whatever community these folks belong to. It is not that I have no interest in what is happening over there. It is just that I respect them enough to allow them to take care of their problems. But for some reason these outsiders feel they have to get involved in our business. Rivera went over the top (O’Reilly has been over the top for a very long time and Hannity fell off the top) when he decided to tell the Black ballplayers what kind of warm-up shirts they should wear. He advised LeBron James to wear a warm-up shirt that reads, “Be a Better Father to Your Son,” or “Raise Your Children.” And that is why I suggested that all Black men should stand up and speak out. We do not need the likes of Rivera lecturing us on how to be fathers or telling us how to raise our sons. Here in San Antonio we have a number of organizations comprised of Black men who are working with our young, and are not seeking any help from a man who has not been a pillar of stability in his own life.
Rivera went on to suggest that, “A victimization mentality exists in our communities…it goes in keeping with everything that’s happened in the Black community and the generations preceding.” This man is delusional. I believe I can honestly say I know more Black men than he does and none of them feel they are victims. They do not teach their children they are victims and they certainly were not taught such dribble by their parents.
However, we do teach our children to understand the reality of their existence in this country. It has nothing to do with being a victim but everything to do with the fact that white policemen are gunning down young Black men because of their negative perceptions of our boys. It has to do with what MIT Linguistics Professor Noam Chomsky calls, “A very racist society.” Professor Chomsky’s observation may be extreme, but the point is that this country still suffers from the influence that racism exudes on a regular basis.
Now if white conservatives want to do some good, then they need to teach their young that slavery was abhorrent and that slave owners were not masters but oppressors; Jim Crow was legalized murder and rape, and that FOX News talk show hosts perpetuate an age old myth of Black criminalization that reached its highest pinnacle in the movie, Birth of A Nation, and these conservative spokesmen mirror the Ku Klux Klan, only now in suits and in front of a camera.