In the last several weeks I've become friends with fellow Masonic blogger Brother Isaiah Coffey, a member of a Prince Hall Affiliated Masonic lodge in Atlanta. I, by contrast, am a member of a "regular" blue lodge in rural north Georgia, working under the jurisdiction of the "whites only" Grand Lodge of Georgia. Bro. Isaiah and I consider ourselves Masonic brothers, no matter what our respective grand lodges may say.
This morning I emailed Bro. Isaiah asking him what he thought about the current media frenzy regarding radio talk show host Don Imus, who is in hot water for an off-the-cuff on-air remark calling the women of the Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy-headed ho's."
Bro. Isaiah had some great insights on the issue, and we've agreed to post our email exchange online on both his blog Kingdom of Conscience and here on the Burning Taper.
My questions are in italics.
Good day, Brother,
What's your take on the Imus flap?
I think that it is a bunch of bullshit how the media exposes a white man because of his comments and they don't expose how blacks or hispanics talk about other races. Period. I feel that it is not only common on drive-time radio, but also common within the confines of our own homes, communities, and within our life here on earth. Even to the oldest historical records that mankind has on file, race has always been an issue. At one point, a person was identified by their particular country... now it's their skin color. So, we've gone from countries binding themselves together by nationality... to countries dividing themselves by color. If it's not race, it's class, or gender. Take your pick.
Why do you think there is a double-standard on what people can say? Why can a black person say things that a white person can't? Why is it funny when Bro. Richard Pryor did his great imitation of white people, but a white comedian imitating a black person would be called offensive?
I think that psychologically and emotionally it is a form of "get-back" for blacks to be able to poke fun at whites publicly and know within their minds that whites cannot do the same or retaliate because of the backlash from the black community and also being deemed a racist for supporting discrimination through the means of media, whether that be print ads, radio, TV, etc. The reason that I believe that this is a form of "get-back" for blacks is because at one time in history, whites were able to not only poke fun at blacks but also physically abuse them in public or in private without any major repercussions to follow. Now the black community is taking as many free swings as the referee (law) would allow. Is it right? Hell no!
Do you think that it is a generational thing?
This particular question hangs on so many factors. Some would say that it could only be generational because the leading whistle blowers in the black community would be Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. If they weren't around to exploit the situations via the media, then would these instances draw as much attention?
But on the other hand, the way that it could appear not to be generational is because the spirit of the community's fore-fathers could continue to live on within the offspring of the communities. Whether this is accomplished via family teachings about race and related issues or just by associating with certain individuals within their prospective environment who harbor a certain view point on opposite races.
Will it become less offensive or more offensive for future generations as we become more of a melting pot?
I believe that it will become less and less offensive over time. For instance, when was the last time that you've heard of a Jew complaining about the captivity within Egypt? You haven't... because there is a serious separation in time for those who currently live in the present that cannot relate to or feel or hear the pain from any elders that experienced the tragedy of being held a slave. But, ... you did hear about the complaints of the mass murderers during the World Wars during the 20th Century.
There are two type of wounds. Physical wounds and spiritual wounds. The physical wound can heal itself fairly quickly, sometimes even defying the laws of time, and is based solely upon the individual. But a spiritual wound is based upon the hearts of the people and is a type of wound that heals only as quick as the people of that particular community or generation that was injured.
Why do you think that Bros. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have made a career out of being offended every time a white person makes a joke or has a slip of the tongue showing his biases?
I think it is because Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson come from an era where most of their life involved racism in some form or fashion. Growing up during the Jim Crow law era, their minds, ears, and eyes have been trained to pin-point racism, discrimination, or racist-remarks. There's a psychological term, and I can't remember the name, but it basically states that the mind sees what it wants to see.
I think that it is wrong for Race A to poke fun at Race B; and then pull the race card when Race A is at the butt of the joke. It's amazing to see how the word "semantics" not only comes into play over the course of time, but it also comes into play when it is dealing with race. It's okay for a black man to call another Nigga' or Nappy headed bastard, but then when someone from another race makes the same statement... it's a problem. Humans are not born racist. It's instilled in their minds as they are raised by their environment, whether that be by family or friends.
UPDATE of sorts, Wed., April 11: After a move to have Coretta Scott King's portrait hung in the Georgia Capitol failed in committee, state representative Roberta Abdul-Salaam told reporters, "It's just like calling Mrs. King a nappy-headed nigger. It's another example of blatant disrespect for black women in 2007. It's worse than what Don Imus did."
UPDATE Sat. April 14: Bro. Al Sharpton (he's a Prince Hall Affiliated Mason) receives death threats.
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