I love the phrase Black-on-black violence. In fact I love America's entire racial narrative. Like the drunk natives kicking around the reservation too lazy to get a job. (This image being useful when it comes to imposing windfall taxes on Indian casinos to make up budget short falls.)
But black-on-black violence is great. It allows me as a white person to roll my eyes at crime statistics in poor neighbourhoods and see them not as a consequence of increasing poverty in a society with a perpetually widening spread between rich and poor (with more and more falling into the poor bracket as the elites aspire to banana republic status for the US). Even better I can avoid altogether any thought as to why it is that black and brown Americans are more likely to be in poverty than nice shiny white folks.
Country built on genocide - fuggedaboudit. Legacy of slavery and racial oppression still not remedied in any sort of way that gives non-whites the same in-built advantages, on average, as whites, on average - fuggeedaboudit.
It was thinking about Jamie Foxx's sarcastic comment at the VMAs and it got me off on this tack. Kid Rock smacked Tommy Lee for comments about/at/towards Pamela Anderson. It caused a kerfuffle before Foxx took stage to give an award, and in a smart aside he made a plea to stop the white-on-white violence.
I liked the phrase. It made me laugh. Made me imagine prominent black commentators standing up and saying, "it's such a shame. Do these white artists not understand they are role models? Do they not see the opportunities they have been given and that they are squandering when so many of their community remain stuck in trailer parks never able to experience this good life as they do?"
You see, other thing that's bothered me for a while was Michael Vick keeping it real and down with the dog-fighting set. The entire way the media dealt with Vick has bothered me from day one. It goes without saying that his crime was terrible, and therefore the fact that it was constantly stated in this way throughout the coverage certainly smacked of anchors feeling they were skirting the edge of something that needed additional justification.
There's a great skit in the Chappelle show called "when keeping it real goes bad" demonstrating wittily in his usual biting satire the fallacious, self-harming ridiculous nature of this whole phrase "keeping it real". As a couple of prominent African-American commentators on NPR (don't get me started on NPR but i was listening to it) discussing the Vick thing when it happened pointed out, if Vick wanted to keep his old friends from the old neighbourhood why not bring them along - why not pay for them to get their GEDs sponsor them through college - if he wanted to have a business with them help them break out of where they are, not get dragged back in.
But instead you see there is this whole narrative that comes with black athletes failing that is interesting. There was a disgusting smugness to the reportage of Vick - a sort of "look we're not being racist because he did something bad" which allowed for a sort of coverage that was blatantly different to that which a white athlete would have received. Partly because when a white athlete fails it is always a story of redemption. We should almost pity the fallen hero. (It's such a shame such-and-such beats his wife and kids in a drunken rage after losing a baseball game - we hope he gets help.)
Forgiveness is a key part of the commentary. When a black athlete fails the story is how he blew a great opportunity WE gave HIM. Look at what he was given and how he wasted it. He was clearly undeserving of such largesse.
And of course protesters outside the courthouse talking of lynching Vick were not driven at all by racism but by the heinous nature of Vick's crime of course. The lynching imagery was an unfortunate oversight - never really thought that it could have racial overtones.
Now I do happen to believe that there IS a lack of leadership in the black community in the same way as the unfairly pillioried Bill Cosby does. I do think that there are problems within the community that go unchallenged too much. I don't think the use of the word nigger is a self-empowering thing as is argued, but instead makes it easier for whites to get away with using it with a nod and a wink. I think the acceptance that it is okay for young African-Americans to not speak English correctly and instead celebrate this independence of spirit is harmful and holds many young people back from employment opportunities. I think America's ghettoizing of the racial groups into separate bantustans within each major city perpetuates differences between cultural groups - which we are supposed to celebrate, but which in reality just re-inforce the sense of other.
But at the end of the day it's all hopeless against a national dialogue that focuses on black-on-black violence and not white-on-black institutionalization of disadvantage.
I dunno. I guess coming from the UK to the US in 1999 and living here ever since, the whole racial division in America has been so disappointing to me. It is so far out of the cultural context I grew up with, yet so casually accepted by Americans of all stripes, that every so often it just really gets to me. Like the racist relatives on my wife's side (Texans) who think that it's okay to make racist comments or tell racist jokes around me, despite all protestations to the contrary I have made for years now, because at the end of the day we're all white-folks together right?
Not really much more to say on this today - just been bugging me - that's all.
Bah... we're all going down the tubes in the next few years with economic collapse, topsoil removal, resource depletion, climate change, lack of NPK inputs to the food supply and of course the one that will trigger it all really soon, Peak Oil, so why bother eh?