When Enough is Not Enough, Perception, reality, and consequences of race baiting

As everyone can tell from my last article, I was a little heated under the collar for HOW the Imus story played out and ended. As we have seen with Gibson, Richards and Washington, and hundreds before them, when a public figure messes up and is caught there is a ritual you go through. *edited since original publication 4/16/07

  1. You deeply apologize for your actions and acknowledge the mistake to the public
  2. You reach out to community leaders to express and humble your self
  3. You reach out to the offended and seek their apology
  4. You go back to the public and again vow to make amends
  5. You enter a sensitivity program or join a group or work for a charity as self imposed punishment
  6. You take a break to reflect on your mistake hopefully seeing it was what it was so it will not happen again
  7. You slowly make your way back into the public eye very humbly and softly

Would Don Imus, given his history, been the type to follow the 7 step program? Well, we can only speculate as he was cut off at the knees at step 2, thanks to Mr. AL "preach about forgiveness on Sunday and refuse to grant it on Monday" Sharpton (who has yet to issue a public or private apology, Step # 1 above) to the Duke lacrosse team or the Chapel Hill community. *Mr. Sharpton has stated he will not issue an apology, surprisingly…  I personally think Imus would have made it to step # 4, skipping # 5. He has already vowed to come back to radio, and as I pointed out some small radio station with barely any listeners who are willing to take a risk will offer him the world to boost their station’s profile (remember in the media business and politics, bad publicity is still publicity) and they may even be able to make money off of syndication on Imus to boot! Only time will tell on that one.

Here is the real reason for this follow up blog. It appears Mr. Al "All whites are secretly racist pigs and need to be fired" Sharpton is in the vast minority of what should have happened to Imus. How do I know? Well, as I cruised over to Newsweek’s section of MSNBC a non-scientific (meaning just any one going to the website) over whelming agreed the Imus firings were TOO much. Take a look…

Newsweek poll showing only 22% agree Imus should be fired

Of the 36,818 people (at the time I was there, Monday morning) 77% felt Imus should have only been suspended! What is up with that? Seems the American public is all about forgiveness and redemption (two very Christian and outstanding values in any religion… but not to Al Sharpton or back seat Jessie Jackson and the NABJ crowd). Only 22% agreed Imus should have been fired and 3.4% were on the fence… only 3.4% on the fence, heck I see more people that that on the way to and from work in the morning here in Shanghai!  *One thing I have to add, Sharpton and Jackson only added pressure to the sponsors and management to have Imus fired, it was the pulling of sponsors that really caused Imus to go.  The apparent problem with this rush to judgment, and it was a rush to judgment, was they did not believe the public opinion was contrary to their demands, like they would care anyway.  Public opinion is now against the firing, odd that a rush judgment could be so wrong.  Beware the public backlash against the instigators and facilitators for this incident, from the numbers it looks like it could get ugly.

Again I must ask, where is the apology for the Duke false rape fiasco Mr. Sharpton orchestrated? And another thing…. oh this just in…. Yes I got that. Sorry folks, my sources at Fox News just handed me this (from Sunday’s website), it appears all other web and print media’s are using a rehashed AP story for this, but I digress… Al "Its a global conspiracy I tell you, GLOBAL C-O-N… S… S… SPIRACY" Sharpton is denouncing the German Bundeswehr, Army to those non-German speaking readers, by stating, "I think this is an incredibly racist kind of insult to African-Americans and it speaks to the kind of institutional racism that people think we are hallucinating about…" Ok Al "emboldened by recent getting Imus firing" Sharpton let’s stay in your small pond of America. Germany is a country, one in Europe, one who out right defied us over the war in Iraq, one who has poo-pooed our foreign policy for years… let’s see where one radical US civil rights leader, whom most Germans know nothing about, shows up on there radar. Insert image of blank radar screen with bright green arm sweeping for 10 seconds. Yep, I think that about sums it up. Go on Al, get your visa, go to Berlin, speak about slavery and oppression and how the man is holding you down and your people aren’t going to take it any more to the German parliament (that is if they invite you to speak to them) and see how well that is received. This IS international politics Al, you are a private citizen of the US, not Germany. You can NOT champion African German rights there, you are not a citizen, you have no access to Germany or its government, media, people, etc… you have no say or platform from which to speak in any foreign country. If you do go there you may just re-enforce the image you are appalled by, think about it.

Was the comment wrong, yes. Who ever taped it was a flipping idiot, and who ever put it on the web is 10 times the idiot. Again this is a context issue and one knee-jerk responses can get one into trouble with. Let’s investigate just why this image was suggested by the trainer to the gunner (who is learning how to cut people in half with a machine gun). What does the world know about black people in the Bronx? Yes you in the orange tie. "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." Ok, good answer… but I think I will take it from here. Germans, and the rest of the world outside our shores (Yes Virginia there are hundreds of countries across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans) who’s only glimpse into America and our society is through… anyone care to guess. Yes our movies, re-runs of TV shows, and RAP VIDEOS… Yes this thug, gansta, G-money image Mr. Sharpton’s community produces and consumes, the very same one Imus was emulating and got canned for, is the one the rest of the world sees African American youths as. Most of the people across the world only see American blacks as they are in the videos and CD lyrics they translate. To them ALL blacks in America are "ho pimpin , cooler capping, biatch slappin, cronic smokin", well you get my drift. This double standard in America where it is acceptable for blacks to do/say one thing but not for whites, well… it is now global. In stead of Germany having some cleaning up to do, you Mr. "running for largest hypocrite in America contestant" Sharpton need to clean your own mess in your living room. Make CBS fire all its hip-hop and rap acts who project the ‘thug life’ image and get over the "it’s just an expression of our culture and outlook of the world (America)" because now that is how the rest of the world sees your community. Clean up your comedy, music, movies, and then if things don’t change you can gripe.

As Mr. Bill Cosby has been saying for years now, on his city to city tours, the problems with the black community is a lack of discipline, accountability, responsibility, and family values. In stead of protesting at the Duke University campus, CBS radio building, inciting riots in the Bronx getting a Jewish youth killed… you should have been protesting in front of crack houses, holding young African American youths accountable for having children and MAKING them raise the kids in A FAMILY environment, demanding stronger community groups to address the real problem with your outer image by ENGAGING the white, Latino, Asian, communities and finding out how bad your image was getting before we got this far. Cleaning up a room when there is only 1 piece of paper on the floor is much easier then trying to do it when there is so much crap on the floor you can’t see it anymore. While the German Army comment is wrong and offensive, you should be more appalled that the instructor was saying ‘shoot at those AMERICAN men’. Just because you are black does not separate you from being American. Your community wanted to be portrayed as hard, thug, killa… well congratulations, that’s the image and not only that… now it separates you from being American at the same time!

As a side note, the president of the Bronx Borough, Adolfo Carrion Jr, (Latino) is outraged by the incident, but willing to work things out by offering, "If we can get a delegation of German military officials to come or government officials, I will host them," he stated. "I’ll take them around the Bronx." This after he JUST returned from a trip to Germany to promote Bronx tourism… isn’t timing everything. See, he is reaching out and offering helpful learning through positive experience. I hope you are taking notes Sharpton and Jackson, Latinos are not the largest segment of the American minority population by undocumented immigration as the stereotype may suggest. They have a much more approachable way of dealing with diversity, not your toxic, ‘our way or high-way’ attitude.

*Some will think I have a personal grudge with Al Sharpton, well as a human being… no, as an African American who has done some good in the past for his community and America as a whole, of course not (remember he discounted Imus for his past good deeds, I am not discounting his), as a man of principle, honor, integrity… YES I have a problem with him.  I have to question his motives and logic because of the outcomes of his tremendous failures (resulting in lives ruined, property destroyed, and worst of all, a man killed).  Al Sharpton has demonstrated through this, recent past, and past actions he is a race baiter.  He is a person who jumps on any seemingly racial issue and whips up the community to fuel his personal agenda and attention receiving appetite.  He loves to go in and grandstand to ideals and preach and hem and haw until people are so worked up they will do his bidding for him.  He is good at it, too good by the accounts of the Bronx riots of the 1990’s.  Race baiting is irresponsible and racist in its own rights.  He is playing on peoples fears, prejudices, and frustrations for his own person gain of power, influence, and notoriety.  He is irresponsible and unapologetic for his mistakes. Only through sifting over all the facts, allowing the emotion to die down, and allowing the system to work can you then act.  My childhood hero lived by one motto and one motto alone, with great power comes great responsibility.  Mr. Sharpton has power, no doubting that, but he has to use it wisely and responsibly, else he is misusing it and doing a greater disservice to his people, community, and cause because it nullifies all he is trying to achieve by belittling it to the rantings and ravings of a power hungry and self centered ego maniac, and his community and people deserve better!

Negativity is a self feeding monster that is hard to control once it is lose. Oh and see how nicely this melds into the title of today’s blog… Your self perception of race, fairness, and image has manifested itself outside our borders and guess what, it seems instead of pity and shame you that you wanted, you are receiving it as the same thing you put out. You project negativity then you receive negativity. Now it is global. We all shape some form of our reality through how we interpret our world. People who think things are great usually have great things happen to them. Their perception color their reality, only see positive so they receive positive. If you feel everyone is against you, your paranoia will confirm this and your projections will come back to reinforce it. I wonder if the black community has ever stopped and wondered why the other minorities have been able to get along better in America, despite riots, oppression, and bigotry in the past? How was it they became a valued part of society, outside of the border states in the southwest? Keep on thinking its a vast right wing conspiracy against African Americans. The ugly truth of the matter is, its not your race, its the image you show the world through your popular art forms… clean that up to something respectable and the confusion here in America will begin to vanish and the rest of the world may see you as they see the rest of us… as just Americans.

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