Friday, February 20, 2009

Monkey Business should not be an Issue

I really am tired of black people getting so emotionally jacked-up when someone white does something to stir our hypersensitivity. Why get upset over this foolishness when we know that they (Obama haters) really do not like/love us anyway? Why sign a worthless petition to get an editor of a sensational newspaper fired? Why not get alarmed over what really matters e.g. black men killing black men.

Not that I want to make this commentary about black on black crime. However, I am of the belief that we (African Americans) need to ‘refocus’. Focus on an issue that has plagued our community for years:


We need to channel our frustrations and anger this latest insult from a racist has caused to benefit us?
While I am disgusted by the cartoon animation, I decided years ago to intensify my efforts to help young black boys learn to love themselves instead of ranting and raving about what is believed to be a reflection of us: Monkeys.
Let's use this as an opportunity to look in the mirror:
Are we really doing enough to combat the self destructive element of self-hatred? What type of 'complaining disposition' are we in when our children refer to each other as nigger, bitch, ho, dog, and other crap? How can we be so upset over two cops shooting an ape when our children have learned to detest themselves from us (black adults)?
For every insult thrown at us, let's share a tidbit of black heritage with each other, with our children. Perhaps, this will begin and/or enhance the love we have/should have for BLACKNESS.

I will start:

The Montford Point Marines are often hailed as important figures in American history because they willingly fought to protect a nation that still did not offer them basic civil rights.
The Montford Point Marines were the first African-Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps. The black Marines were segregated at Montford Point Camp to train between 1942-1949. The men served in all-black units, mostly in the Pacific Theater, and distinguished themselves while battling racism from within and enemies from without. In 1965, the Montford Point Marine Association, a military service group, was founded following a convention of former Montford Point Marines.
The integration of the American military was a long process that started in 1941 with an executive order by President Roosevelt that was intended to create fair employment practices in the United States Armed Forces. In 1942, Montford Point Camp was established so that African-American Marine recruits could train. 20,000 men trained at the camp, but the Montford Point Marines were not allowed into neighboring all-white camps without being accompanied by a white Marine. In 1949, President Truman signed another executive order to force full integration of the United States: in the same year, the first African-American woman, Annie Graham, enlisted in the Marines.
Today, African-Americans make up approximately 20% of the United States Armed Forces. The Montford Point Marines helped to integrate the armed forces and to encourage respect for African-American men and women in the armed forces.


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

I will say this:

I have been saying for a long time (although no one has been listening to me) that I get tired of our community protesting, picketting, marching, rioting, press conferencing, and now emailing when a Black man is shot by a police officer (or a transit cop, for instance) or a shock jock says something shocking (imagine that!), or a celebrity / public figure says something when they do not know that the mic is hot but no one speaks up or shows out when hundreds of Black men and women are killed by other Black men and women in cities around the U.S. every day. Even in our motherland, African child soliders are kidnapped and raped and tortured by Africans to kill and torture other Africans but we only call for a prayer vigil or a protest when "imperialists" are involved somehow in killing African people. We are inconsistent, and quite frankly, I am certain to White folks, we look ridiculous.

I am not happy about the NYP cartoon. Obviously, it taps into a racist stereotype. And furthermore, it is a bad political cartoon. The chimp that had to be shot in CT has nothing to do with the stimulus bill and at first I didn't even realize the cartoonist was trying to refer to the CT Chimp Incident. But I already do not read the NYP because as far as journalism goes, it is trash. When needed, I have written letters to object when an incident like this occurs, but this time, I do not feel moved to respond.

Has anyone noticed that President Obama is ignoring this controversy? If he ain't letting one NYP Monkey stop his show, why should we?

So I will not be responding to any online petitions ... I will not take a bus trip sponsored by Al Sharpton and Michael Baiden to NYC to march in front of the NYP office (c'mon people, you know it's coming....remember Jena 6?). If someone calls for ANOTHER Millions More Movement, I ain't going. I plan just to let this one ride. If the cartoonist gets fired, fine. But even if he gets fired, he will get a job elsewhere (Don Imus got another job, you know).

Now that a Black man is President, we gotta change our strategy.

PS Brian, I will have to check out your tribute to our veterans of color. Good lookin.


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Responds to Muata and TJW:

To Brian & Tiffany,

While I respect your respective points, and even agree (to an extent) the spirit of where you two are coming from, I could not disagree more with some of your points.

Brian: there is plenty of outrage over black on violence in this network, and certainly from a lot of individuals who help to make up this BRU network. Do you suggest that we post every instance of it in these discussion boards so that we can talk about it and/or vent in order to prove that? It is my hope that ALL OF US are trying to do something to help combat this disease inside of our community because I think we can all agree that it is a disease, and we need to find a cure.

Unfortunately black on black crime, monkey stereotypes, media manipulation and who controls the media are all tied together - at least in my eyes - so this is a battle, or rather a WAR that HAS TO BE fought on MANY fronts. For as outraged as I am about black on black crime, there are plenty of us that do not indulge in such behavior, yet if you were to only go off of what the media shows up, you'd think that were an accident.

The media (and even us) are not there to highlight our positives.

I do appreciate the story about the African-American Marines. Thank you for that.

(and here we go again) - Tiffany:

Damn right I get upset when a police officer takes the life of one of our own carelessly. Damn right i'm 'outraged' about that, because I hope & pray the day never comes when it's ME or someone close to me that becomes victim of that. And as police/ NYPD have shown it's NOTHING to them - so yeah that concerns me.

I can only imagine if our brother & sisters had the attitude displayed in your response during the 50's & 60's where we would be today..thankfully we won't have to find out. I could give a damn what I look like to a white person. I'm not here to please, entertain, or make them comfortable.

President Obama does not need to address this controversy BECAUSE HE'S TRYING TO GET OUR COUNTRY BACK ON TRACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

None of us who feel that we need/should respond to this are sitting in a chair in the WH - which doesn't make us less important at all - but does allow us some flexibility so to speak to address nonsense like this.

and it is nonsense - but that doesn't mean it should ignored.

and while you won't respond to any online petitions, text or emails, or bus trips, you did feel the need to let us all know in this discussion how you felt...interesting.

you say we gotta change our strategy cuz a black man is in office, but offer no food for thought

I'll agree though - we can't get bent out of shape every time something comes up that could be interpreted as offensive - but THIS particular incident - I cant let slide

I have a son to raise, and he will know that NOBODY black or white, can ever get away with referring to him as a primate!


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds to LW:

In no way do I want to devalue the efforts of Rev. Al, any other black leader, or yours (signing the petition). I respect the effort - but I am tired of us beating the drum of 'please stop offending/insulting me'. I would rather spend my time doing something that ultimately makes a difference. Marching on an office to hopefully get some idiot fired is not my cup of tea.

Where is the injustice in some racist referring to President Obama as a monkey?

Perhaps, on BRU we address black on black crime. But, collectively WE do not wage a war on the crime we inflect on each other. In no way shape or form do we honor and respect each other enough to stop slapping one another.

I am just sick and tired of us complaining about what is said about is and what is depicted about us while we (too many of us) spend countless time doing nothing to eradicate the violence and disrespect we inflict on our fellow brothas and sistas.



It is sad to defend being a black American in villages in Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean because we are known to get all emotional over what does not matter. But yet, we continue with the same old method/approach.

What type of leaders are we to our African cousins? To our children if we do not stand by what really matters in the complete scope of our existence?


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader LW Responds to Muata:

If I didn't know any better, after reading your response one would think that Black/African Americans were the worst human beings to walk the face of the Earth ever.

For what reason do we need to be 'defended' to folks in Eastern Europe, Africa or the Caribbean? Because SOME of us are not on the righetous path (the cycle of black on black crime?) or because SOME of us get bent out of shape about negative depictions about us in the media?

again to me it's all tied together.

And just taking one interpertation of the cartoon (Obama as a monkey) isn't enough. We are all smart to realize (I hope) that there are several aspects of that cartoon that are just FLAT OUT WRONG: monkey sterotypes, police brutality, referring to the POTUS as such, essentially condoning a death threat vs. this man via the police.

I don't know about you but even something as 'small' as this I take very seriously.

I think it's interesting that Africa keeps being brought up in this discussion as well, so i'm going to keep it all the way real (and this might be unpopular but it is what it is):

Most of our black asses would not be in this country if it were not for some of our AFRICAN COUSINS selling us out to the 'imperialist' in the 1st place. You want to talk about black on black crime we'll lets talk about it: we can go right to the genesis of it!

While it might be sad that Black Americans have to be defended to folks around the world for whatever reason, it would seem to me that some of these folks that we are being defended too, owe some of us an apology for things that their ancestors did to our ancestors.

I don't expect one, nor do I want one. But facts are facts.


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds to LW:

I just want us to focus on addressing our problems instead of ranting about someone else's 'unharmful' hatred against us. It is a waste of time.


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

KW responds to Muata:

hear you man I do

Sadly I just feel that things like this are part of our problem as well

you can thank my HU School of C education for that (shoutout to Dr. Ron Simmons)

anything that has the potential to be seen/read by millions of people in print form or via internet I don't think is harmful if it continues to support negative stereotypes even about one of us - let alone all of us


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

For those who prefer action to griping, here's an email I got today from The attached link is an active petition to have the editor who approved the cartoon fired...

Dear EA,

Yesterday, the day after President Obama signed the stimulus bill, his first major piece of legislation, the New York Post ran a cartoon depicting the bill's author as a dead monkey, covered in blood after being shot by police.

In the face of intense criticism, The Post's editor is standing by the cartoon, claiming it has no racial undertones, that it's not about Obama, and that it was simply referencing an incident earlier this week when police shot a pet chimpanzee (an argument that pundits and analysts simply aren't buying).1

It's impossible to believe that any newspaper editor could be ignorant enough to not understand how this cartoon evokes a history of racist symbolism, or how frightening this image feels at a time when death threats against President Obama have been on the rise.

Please join us in demanding that The Post apologize publicly and fire the editor who allowed this cartoon to go to print:

The Post would have us believe that the cartoon is not about Obama. But on the page just before the cartoon appears, there's a big picture of Obama signing the stimulus bill. A reader paging through The Post would see Obama putting pen to paper, then turn the page to see this violent cartoon. The imagery is chilling.

There is a clear history in our country of racist symbolism that depicts Black people as apes or monkeys, and it came up multiple times during the presidential campaign.

We're also in a time of increased race-based violence. In the months following President Obama's election there has been a nationwide surge in hate crimes ranging from vandalism to assaults to arson on Black churches.4,5 There has been an unprecedented number of threats against President Obama since he was elected,6 with hate-based groups fantasizing about the killing of the president. Just a week ago, a man drove from Louisiana to the Capitol with a rifle, telling the police who stopped him that he had a "delivery" for the president.7

There is no excuse for The Post to have allowed this cartoon to be printed, and even less for Editor Col Allan's outright dismissal of legitimate concerns.

But let's be clear about who's behind The Post: Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch, the Post's owner, is the man behind FOX News Channel. FOX has continually attacked and denigrated Black people, politicians, and institutions at every opportunity, and we've run several campaigns to make clear how FOX poisons public debate.

We don't expect much from Murdoch. However, with enough public pressure we can set the stage for advertisers and subscribers to think long and hard before patronizing outlets like the Post that refuse to be held accountable.

You can help by making it clear that the Post's behavior is unacceptable, and by asking your friends and family to do the same. It only takes a minute:

-- James, Gabriel, Clarissa, William, Dani and the rest of the team


Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

Monkey see, monkey do

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata shares letter from John Legend:

Open Letter to the New York Post

Dear Editor:

I'm trying to understand what possible motivation you may have had for publishing that vile cartoon depicting the shooting of the chimpanzee that went crazy. I guess you thought it would be funny to suggest that whomever was responsible for writing the Economic Recovery legislation must have the intelligence and judgment of a deranged, violent chimpanzee, and should be shot to protect the larger community. Really? Did it occur to you that this suggestion would imply a connection between President Barack Obama and the deranged chimpanzee? Did it occur to you that our President has been receiving death threats since early in his candidacy? Did it occur to you that blacks have historically been compared to various apes as a way of racist insult and mockery? Did you intend to invoke these painful themes when you printed the cartoon?

If that's not what you intended, then it was stupid and willfully ignorant of you not to connect these easily connectable dots. If it is what you intended, then you obviously wanted to be grossly provocative, racist and offensive to the sensibilities of most reasonable Americans. Either way, you should not have printed this cartoon, and the fact that you did is truly reprehensible. I can't imagine what possible justification you have for this. I've read your lame statement in response to the outrage you provoked. Shame on you for dodging the real issue and then using the letter as an opportunity to attack Rev. Sharpton. This is not about Rev. Sharpton. It's about the cartoon being blatantly racist and offensive.

I believe in freedom of speech, and you have every right to print what you want. But freedom of speech still comes with responsibilities and consequences. You are responsible for printing this cartoon, and I hope you experience some real consequences for it. I'm personally boycotting your paper and won't do any interviews with any of your reporters, and I encourage all of my colleagues in the entertainment business to do so as well. I implore your advertisers to seriously reconsider their business relationships with you as well.

You should print an apology in your paper acknowledging that this cartoon was ignorant, offensive and racist and should not have been printed.

I'm well aware of our country's history of racism and violence, but I truly believe we are better than this filth. As we attempt to rise above our difficult past and look toward a better future, we don't need the New York Post to resurrect the images of Jim Crow to deride the new administration and put black folks in our place. Please feel free to criticize and honestly evaluate our new President, but do so without the incendiary images and rhetoric.

John Legend

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata comments on John Legend's letter to The New Your Post:

I know people are tired of this story - but I thought of something:

Our black celebrities and other black folk rarely speak out when we as a people are somewhat absent when black people create their own issues i.e. Black on black crime, cultural disrespect, the rise in HIV infections, poor health, etc. But, yet we get all hyper-sensitive over a cartoon. It was over the top - but come on. When are we going to stop letting people who dislike us get us all upset??? They still in control of our emotions? Ridiculous!