Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Masons on the level: The Don Imus flap

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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  1. Having raised children (and also having had Black friends) I know for a fact children don't know the difference until you point it out to them. It really is that simple.

    Welcome to the Reconstitution blogroll.

  2. What a bunch of bullshit. It is good that you have yourself an uninformed, unreflective black "brother" to validate what you believe. Nevermind that it was entirely apropos to nothing this blog covers. If it were I might posit a response but it wouldn't be worth the effort.

    This is so beneath you- maybe. I have been on the fence about your motives: someone who loves to whine and in FM has found ample fodder or someone who intends to be constructively critical and has yet to formulate how they also might help in a positive way. Thanks for answering that- Observe and they will expose their true nature.

  3. Cross posted from Kingdom of Concience:

    I try very hard not to be racist. Have I been guilty of it in the past, yes.

    When I was very young, two African American males made my Mother and I walk in the gutter. It was the early Seventies, and looking back on it I can understand intellectually why it happened.

    I can honestly say that these days, I make every effort to smooth my Ashlar. It isn't easy - but then nothing worthwhile ever is.

    I'd like to add though, how do you stop racism? How can you root that out of a person's personality? Also, many people talk about improving race relations, but who actually does anything about it?

    Any it isn't just Caucasians and African Americans and Hispanics, check out: http://modelminority.com/

    I think it truly is a worldwide problem. I know myself that in college, I tried to sit at the "Black Table" in the cafeteria, and people I was friendly with joined in giving me the "What the - are you doing here?" stare.

    I was refused entry into a bar in Japan because I was Caucasian. So I've been on both sides of the issue, and they both hurt.

    Now, what can be done to put an end to it?

  4. diversion from real issues
    imus has no audience, so no one really heard it...
    don't worry about iraq or iran and the mess we've caused over there..
    look at the old bigot who remained in the public spot light too long..

  5. Good work Brothers,

    I am convinced that if we (freemasons) support brethren regardless of melanin and work together in public our gentle Craft will see new growth.


  6. Brother New York Grand Lodge grumpy guy:

    If you're a Mason, then Bro. Isaiah is your brother, too.

    As to whether it's apropos or not... It's all apropos. I'm a Mason 24/7; whatever I do I can relate to Masonry. This blog covers any damn thing I want it to. My motives are my own.

    If you don't like what I write, you don't have to read it.

    Click off.

    — W.S.

  7. Mullah Cimoc say do this womens having the tattoo and look like whore? Is truth still defense in usa? ameriki society not free now. this like a stalinism. tv show make woman the power position and beat down the man him so stupid.

    this for punish ameriki for iraq war. ameriki woman to boss the man, lesbian control government, this destroy all ameriki for not having the baby but kill abortion all the child.

    now the govt force him girl child take the shot for destroy reprodution system. make mandatory law. this only for beneift pharmacutical company.

    so sad ameriki destroyed complete for be obedient slave of zionist masters in tel aviv.


  8. Honestly, Imus in not worth the attention he's getting. And when Jesse Jackson referred to New York City as "Hymie-Town", you can bet the farm that everyone was all over him.

    But in my own opinion, the attention Imus is getting is no different than the attention Anna Nicole Smith, or Sanjaya from American Idol get. It's all about the American people being unwilling, or unable, to look at serious issues: Iraq; Gonzo Gate; a move to increase domestic spying.

    We don't pay attention.

  9. But in my own opinion, the attention Imus is getting is no different than the attention Anna Nicole Smith, or Sanjaya from American Idol get.

    Bread and circuses. Except that it's not the government giving them to the people, it's the people themselves asking for them.

  10. First Tub*** please change your name, you can be removed from BL 4 using this. Just a warning.

    Brother Isaiah, So mote it be! Your view quite well minded. It is sad that the focus is on negitive factors in our country rather than the positive aspects. We are all one race, in this age of science, it is sad that we as God fearing Masons still have a ways to go in this area. I too am located in Arkansas, where not only is PH banned, but many many other grand lodges around the world. Some day, the dark age of the lodge will lift and we will be one lodge again.
    I will concider you my brother, my oath said I will not support unmasonic conduct, and reading B.Franklin, and several of the founding masonic fathers, It is my opinion that raceism is in itself unmasonic by nature. This belief was upheld by the induction of Prince Hall, over 200 years ago.

    The most disturbing event I can remember is when Goldberg and Danson did the "Black face" as a couple. Here was a man dating a woman, each a diffrent color who as a couple decided to do this for a "artistic event" both actors, I would think that Goldberg might have had a cow if he actually were racist.

    The double standard exists, we know it, some admit it, others justify it. Some refer to it as "reverse Raceism" but it is still one man with the belief that he is better than another because of race.

    What most comes to my mind is the professor who was radical in the NAACP, good man, good supporter of Black rights, decided to have a DNA test to find out hoow "Black" he really was. The result- he was White (not color) but his DNA was French, English, German,etc..no DNA from outside Europe.
    How, simple somewhere in his line, someone was black. But he had to explain to his wife, kids, etc the truth.
    He found out the truth, he found out he was simply a Human!

    Good lesson for all of us, the sooner we learn it the better our lives will be.


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