I don’t mind having a conversation about race. I don’t mind it when a news story like the Zimmerman trial turns into a discussion about “racial issues.” What I mind is that — despite the millions of alleged adults who live in this country — we can not have a mature dialogue about this topic. I really mind the fact that people are allowed to say the stupidest, most inexcusably inane things, and get away with it because their lies fit the established narrative.
Case in point: A CNN panel a couple of days ago discussed the racial element of the Zimmerman case. In keeping with the balanced approach common to cable news, the anchor and both guests all agreed on everything and believed that Zimmerman is a racist and all of this happened because society has formed an entirely unfair and arbitrary prejudice toward black teenagers. They all felt that “black manhood” is really what’s on trial in Florida. One panelist, a “journalist” from The Nation had this to say: “[I don’t] believe Zimmerman’s story… because to me it reads like a very cartoonish version of what a 17-year-old black boy would say and do in this situation.”
Cartoonish? Yes, sir, I agree. But who, exactly, is painting this cartoon version of black masculinity? Go listen to a few rap songs and then come back and we’ll try to solve this riddle together. If you’re worried about “cartoonish” depictions of manhood, maybe you should grow a spine and have the guts to point your finger at the real culprits. I know these idiot rappers who glorify gangsterism, violence, materialism and failure, aren’t true representations of what it means to be a man. I know that. You know that. Now maybe you should say it louder and more often.
Not to be outdone, Rod Vereen, attorney for the prosecutions witness Rachel Jeantel, chimed in with this:
“People have a tendency to want to believe that young black men are growing up in these urban neighborhoods to be violent. And that is absolutely not the case.”
Wait. Wait. Hold on. This was actually said on a NEWS program and it went unchallenged? Wow. Well, can this guy make sure to deliver this good news to the 72 people who were shot in Chicago this past weekend? Oh, also make sure to pass this along to the 35 percent of gangs in this country made up of black kids. And can you please tell this to the black males aged 15 to 34 who comprise less than 3 percent of the population yet account for 40 percent of all murders? Not to mention the half of all murder victims who are black, the vast majority of whom are killed by someone of the same race. And, dude, can you swing by Baltimore, DC, Detroit, Camden, Oakland, New Orleans, St. Louis, Cleveland, etc, and tell them that the whole black-violence-in-the-city schtick is really just a bunch of hullabaloo? Thanks. Oh, and good luck. Seriously.
This is why we can’t talk about race. Because the conversation has to rest on a bunch of fallacious bull crap about how young black males in the city aren’t any more likely to be violent than anyone else. These delusions aren’t just cowardly — they’re dangerous. It’s like the lie we tell about how heterosexuals are just as likely to get HIV as gays. It sounds nice and it make us feel good to say it, but meanwhile people are dying because reality doesn’t care about our superficial political agenda. The cowardice in this country has reached a critical mass. Would you also pretend that middle aged white guys aren’t any more likely to be pedophiles than women? Would you throw all statistical realities and pure common sense aside and let a strange man babysit your 8 year old daughter? Or do you drop the act when push comes to shove?
I don’t know anything about Trayvon Martin. But I know a lot of black kids are born into a community full of violence and turmoil. To deny that is to deny the very ground you walk upon. I also know that most of these kids — a full 72 percent of them — grow up in fatherless homes. The rate in the inner city has gone above 80 percent. EIGHTY PERCENT. Did you get that? Eighty percent of black kids in the city don’t have a dad at home. That’s not just a high number — it’s apocalyptic. It represents a complete and total collapse. Every conversation about violence in the city should begin and end on this point. The fact that it’s rarely even brought up is an indictment on our whole society. Look at any youth statistic — crime, suicide, drop out rates, drug abuse, homelessness, poverty, imprisonment — the far, far majority of the kids in these categories are from fatherless homes. Do you think that’s a coincidence? Or is it a contributing factor? Or is it the THE factor?
I guess we’ll never know. We live in La-La Land where there is no violence problem among black kids in the city, and there is no HIV problem among gays, and there is no pedophile problem among white men, and there is no water in the ocean or blueness in the sky. Everything is fine. No conclusions can be drawn.
Go back to sleep.
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