Saturday, February 17, 2007

Scattered rants

Hi all. You can call off the hounds. I'm alive and well.

Been a little busy lately. The job has been pretty demanding; mid terms are coming up; I'm presenting my research next month; and I'm headed to New Orleans next week. Lots going on; not much time to process it all.

All that being said, I'll keep this post short. I just want to drop a line or two about what's going on in the news. Actually, these are more like rants that I had to get off my chest...

Tim Hard-a-gay
NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway has been put in the hotseat by the league for his recent homophobic remarks. When interviewed about the presence of homosexuals in the NBA, Hardaway went on the record by stating that "[He] hates gay people." He later apologized.

I always get a chuckle watching people spew hate messages and spread bigotry only to later apologize once they get slapped on the wrists for their actions.

Gambling or charity?
Speaking of stupid statements made by basketball players, NBA Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley made an interesting comment that I'm not sure most people would even consider offensive. But, I did. After participating in an event for charity, Barkley commented that he was happy that they were able to raise enough for charity to play "two hands of Blackjack" (the check was made out for $50,000).

I suppose that what bothered me most is that Barkely, notorious for wasting millions of dollars on gambling, openly suggested that he recreationally squanders about as much money as he would spend to help the needy. I suppose you could make the same argument about any one of us who spends recreationally. But when you compare their million dollar paychecks to what we bring home, there's some major contrasting to consider. I like Barkley, but I'm disappointed with his lack of social consciousness and the egotistical way he lets us know about it.

Casualties of war
According to this article, a 22-year-old Marine was sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in the kidnapping and killing of an Iraqi civilian. This is a prime example of what happens when you send kids who are barely old enough to drink alcohol off to a foreign and hostile land and put guns in their hands. When war casualties are reported, we hear about the death toll (well, sometimes). We hear about the injuries. But we don't hear about the decline in human decency.

This war needs to stop. Right now.

Oops. She did it
I don't even know why I'm wasting my time mentioning this. But I just read that the ultra-surreal, infamous party girl Britney Spears completely shaved her head before entering rehab. These silly celebs don't know when to stop. I hope that all of the media whores keep this nonsense in mind while they follow these mindless celebs around (as if they died for our sins or something.)

Anna Nomore
While we're (regrettably) on the topic of idiotic celebs, if I hear one more thing about Anna Nicole Smith, her baby-daddy, or how her death 'touched' the world (Yeah. I heard someone say that.), I'm going do something bad. Who knows? Maybe I'll start watching Fox News for a change.

Seriously, is there nothing else going on in the world today besides Anna Nicole Smith? I've got an idea: how about we turn our attention to the soliders fighting and dying in this nonsensical war? If anybody's deaths are important and touching to the world, it's theirs. But, since hearing touching stories of those who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan will only make the country oppose the war even more, I wouldn't be suprised if the media's attention has deliberately been turned to a stripper; turned Playboy model; turned golddigger; apparently turned tragic hero.

Grammy heroes (*snicker*)
Can we please stop talking about how the Dixie Chicks were 'vindicated' by winning a bunch of silly awards? To be vindicated implies that they had some horrible; almost catastrophic thing happen to them, only for them to rise about it all. Let's not confuse getting bashed by right-wingers for using their concerts to spread their opinions on the war with getting persecuted. After all, maybe the right-wingers were on to something. Most people don't pay $50-60 a pop to listen to political tirades. If they wanted to hear commentary and rants, they would sign up for a Political Science class (or read my blog perhaps?)

Also, can we please stop patting Ludacris on the back for publicly blasting Bill O'Reilly and Oprah Winfrey? Just in case you're in the dark about the feud, O'Reilly and Oprah both -- at one point or another -- criticized Luda for his work in the rap industry. When Ludacris won a Grammy award, he used the platform to exact revenge on them. Granted, O'Reilly is a loser on every front and Oprah is a first-class snob who has lost touch with the black community. But it hardly lends itself to being credible in the industry to start feuds with these guys. Maybe somebody should remind each of the idiotic players in this story to use their voice for something a little more purposeful; more purposeful than just serving the interests of their respective demographic groups. Sheesh.

Racist Republicans
The GOP is at it again. Ever since Barack Obama declared himself a candidate in the 2008 Presidential race, GOP pundits have been quick to chime in with their assaults on Obama's race. Between Rush Limbaugh's racist Halfrican American comments, Glen Beck's ignorant statements about Obama being colorless and how he may as well be white, and Brian Sussman's echoed Halfrican American comments, it's clear to me that conservatives who claim to be ostensibly committed to equality and 'colorblindness' are the ones most obsessed with Obama's race. Silly Republicans.

Obama's black leadership
If the GOP are the ones obsessing about Obama's race, the rest of the world is obsessing about Obama's role as a black leader. Can we please give it a rest already? Does the black community really need more political leadership at this point in our existence? I like Obama, but I don't want him being my black political leader. We tried it with Jesse Jackson, but he had too much mess under his rug. We tried it with Al Sharpton, but it turns out he has some dirt too (I hear that he was an FBI informant). Not since the likes of Shirley Chisholm have we had a true black leader in the political system. But in today's time, do we really even need one?

Black folks make up one of the largest consumer markets in the world. Black intelligentsia is continuously rising. Home ownership is up. Salaries are on the increase (not by as much as our white brothers and sisters. But it's still something that has shown improvement). College admissions are up (no thanks to the so-called Michigan Civil Rights Initiative). Simply put, we've got our stuff together. Yes racism (both of the individual and instutional variety) still exists. But, black folks are more empowered (or, at least have the tools to be empowered) to combat racism now than ever before. To continuously rely on a 'leader' to stir the masses -- to me -- is a diss to those who fought for the progressive movements that allow us the self-determination and the opportunities to prosper today. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we won't have to rely on Obama to be our "Great Black Hope."

OK. This post wound up being a little longer than expected. They always seem to get that way when I'm ranting about random things (I mean, are you really surprised though?). Hopefully, this should keep you full until the next time.

Now I've really gotta get back to work.



17 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

Cynthia said...

Hey Dre. I was wondering where you were. Hope you're doing OK.

This post was..well..interesting. I was with you on most of what you said. But I gotta disagree with the Oprah being a first-class snob/out of touch with blacks comments. She's done more for blacks than just about anybody I know. Ludacris was out of line for disrespecting her like that, especially when he hasn't done half as much.

I could go on and on about this, but I'll sum it by saying that she she is a true asset to the race and makes the WHOLE world better by being here.

HeiressChild said...

hi andre....good rants, good points. i like how you put the links in so we can check info out. that helps me out because some stuff i don't hear about except thru the links. i still say it's some really ignorant people out there. referring to the radio people at this moment. hadn't heard the one about oprah & ludacris either. lots of food for thought.

i wish you well on your mid-terms and research presentation. safe travels.


KC said...

Most of the things you were bothered by didn't really matter that much to me (which either means that I'm too care-free or that you care too much). But I agree with Obama's role as a black leader. Each of us has the ability to make our own mark in this world. We don't need a leader in order to be proactive. Solid point.

Diane J. said...

Well, I wondered if you'd been abducted or something. ;D

As far as Obama or any political leader, the true test of how far we've come in race relations will be when we can say, "He/she is a good political representative."

Period. When race doesn't come into play at all we will have arrived.

Safe journey as you go to N'awlins, and good fortune with your school work.

I've missed you, Sir 'Dre. :-)


Joslyn said...

You already know how I feel about Oprah....You suck for that one. :)

I do, however, agree with you on the whole Black leader thing. We're the only race who has to have a "leader" like we're retarted or something. God is the leader of my life (at least I try to let Him lead....I get in His way a lot, but that's another story!), why do I need additionals?????

Will Luongo said...

You said: College admissions are up (no thanks to the so-called Michigan Civil Rights Initiative).

This is interesting to me. Is this not saying that, in effect, that some minority students were only getting into college because of Affirmative Action? And if this is not implied, then surely no thanks is owed to the MCRI, because it is immaterial, in the same way that no thanks would be owed to Affirmative Action, if minority students are getting in on their own merits?

Will Luongo said...


I am wondering how Oprah is an asset to the race? Is it because she is articulate? Is it because the rest of black people are some kind of throw-backs, that pale in comparison to Oprah's goodness?

Joslyn said...

Hey Will,

I know that you were asking Cynthia about why Oprah is an asset but I believe that she is an asset, also. Yes, she's articualte, extremly generous, etc. For me, the most important thing about Oprah is that she's a Black Women who is VERY VISIBLE who became famous WITHOUT falling into the stero-types. Unfortunately, there are many Whites who only know about Blacks from what they see on television. I know this first-hand, because I've worked places where I've been the first Black person that a White has known. They always ask me stuff like, "How come Black women are always fighting?" or "How come Black women always have an attitude?"

Oprah is not on televison smacking gum and rolling her eyes in the stero-typical "Black Chick" fashion. (I.E. That horrible character from BET)

She helps to show America that all Black women aren't the same.

*Takes a Bow*

The H.C. said...

Hey Dre,
1) I'm petitioning Myspace to ban Tim.
2)A year's wages thrown around like pennies. And yet we buy his lunchbox. Sigh.
3)Andre, please, give our soldiers more respect than to lump them with the few. Half the cities in Michigan have less than 150,000 people and at least as many hideous crimes.
4)Britney is melting down right before our eyes.
5)Please no more Anna. let her R.I.P.
6)Is there any question that this is about their stance against the war and not the worst selling album of their over-rated career?
7&8) One good thing about being white, I've never been accused of not being "white enough". That's a part of black culture I've never understood, that and the dividing by shades of black. If he says he's black then that's good enough for me I don't care anyway.

Will Luongo said...

Hi Joslyn,

My point was more that by pointing to a person who doesn't meet a stereotype, and then saying, "Look! Here is one of the few that doesn't meet the stereotype!" lends credibility to the stereotype.

I know many black women who don't fight all the time, smack gum, or have an attitude, and I also know several that do. What I don't do is say: Hello Black Woman, I am surely glad you do not meet the stereotype.

That is like saying that they are pretty good for a black woman (or person).

Joslyn said...


I think that it's great that you don't look at a person and assume that they're stereo-typical. Unfortunately, you're in the extreme minority. Like I said before, I'v been in too many situations with Whites and have been told that they're surprised that I am the way that I am (not the stereo-typical Black). I'm sure that you can ask a million other Black people who'll give you the same answer.

We can sit and pretend that Blacks on television aren't generally portrayed in a certain way. The truth is, Black actors have struggled since forever to receive quality roles, and just in recent years have breakthroughs been made.

So yes, I DO celebrate when I see a Black woman on television who isn't rolling her neck and eyes, sucking her teeth, and cussing somebody out.

Oprah hasn't compromised her standards, and because of women like her, it opens the doors for other Black women to receive quality roles on televison. The same can be said about Bill Cosby (another role model of mine) :)

Andre said...

@ Cynthia: I agree with the Luda being disrespectful thing. But you gotta admit, Oprah DID start it.

She WAS an asset to our race, back in the 80's. Since then she's about as out of touch with the black community as Condi. Yeah. I said...

@ Heirress: You're not missing anything with the Ludacris/Oprah feud. Just celebs trying to mark their territory.

Thanks for the mid-term wishes (Let's just say I really needed them) and for travelling. I'll let you know how N.O. was.

@ KC: I never said I cared about these things. I just said that they annoyed me. But I get your point.

@ Diane: I think that a lot of people can learn from you. Rather than people going around using buzzwords like "colorblindness" to justify to themselves (while reminding the world) that they don't care about race, just let their actions show it. This is one of the reasons why I could never run for office. I think I'd be inclined to dropkick some people.

@ Jos: You already know how I feel about Oprah, so I guess there's no need to elaborate.

Good call about the leadership thing. Black folks aren't mindless, helpless sheep who have to cling to a front man. We have the ability to make a major impact in the world if we can just sit back for a second and take inventory on how much power we have. Another post for another day...

@ Will: I never said that college admissions in Michigan are up for blacks (though I am curious to see how Prop 2 has affected things). But admissions, on a national scale, are up dramatically. Now, once delusionally-racist movements like the MCRI pop up, I wonder how the tune will be changed.

@ Will (again): I'm following your Oprah logic. I think that she's getting "asset to the race" credit for time she ONCE served. Give as much tax-deductible money as you want to buy African schools, hosting extravagent parties, or whatever. Using your STRONG media voice to attack rappers (who, I'm sure, bother her upper-middle class-white-female demographic) while allowing Beyonce "Bootylicious" Knowles and Jaime "Freak of the year" Fox outlets tends to lose credibility with me. I could go on and on about my issues, but I think I'm getting a nosebleed.

@ Jos: I agree; partially; with your assessment. No, she's not...uh...I think it was "Cita". No, she's not "Monique". But I just can't give her as much credit as you do. Maybe it's the whole 'black female' thing; of which I can't relate. But I think she's grossly overrated as a black 'hero'.

Andre said...

@ HC: 1) Here's a better idea: Ban Myspace altogether.

2.) Speak for yourself, champ. I don't have a Barkley lunchbox. As a kid, that would've been cool. But as an adult, you've got pictures of men. Disturbing...

3.) I never said that the other 150,000+ soliders serving are evil doers. But the government keeping them in Iraq under these pretenses isn't helping their cause much. This isn't a tribunal on the soliders. I'm calling out the government.

4.) I don't like to see others suffer, but hopefully the media will use Brit as an example of how NOT to glamorize celebs. Children are looking up to wackjobs like her.

5.) Ever since I found out that I've got a pretty good chance of being the baby-daddy, my interest for the case is starting to rise.

6.) No argument there.

7.) The only people on the planet who aren't white enough are Michael Jackson and Clarence Thomas. You pass.

@ Joslyn & Will: I'll let you guys debate away. It's fun to be a spectator for once.

KC said...

I'm placing my bets on Joslyn. No offense Will.

JOSLYN said...

LOL @ KC!!!

Joslyn said...

By the way Andre,

How do you define someone as "in touch" with Blacks?


By the way, Oprah started nothing. It kills me how people are offended because they're not invited on her show. I could see if the purpose of her show was to highlight all Black people. I could see if the purpose of her show was to highlight rich Black men, or something. It's freakin DAY-TIME TV, targeted for women ages 35 and up. The shows target isnt for the young hip-hop era, so is he went on TV, people like my Mom wouldn't know (or care) who the hell he was!

By the way, the name of the show is OPRAH. The name of the production company that produces the show is HARPO. You know what that tells me? From front to back, it's HER SHOW. She can invite whoever da hell she wants.

Before this argument of Luda and Oprah, did Luda invite her to the parties he threw? Did he invite her to be in one of his videos?

Prolly not.

Andre said...

I can't personally speak for Luda, so I don't know how offended (or not) he was. All I know is that she had the cast of a movie on there (where, I hate to admit it, but he played an important role), he was flaked, then invited, then blasted for music which was unrelated to ANYTHING; while also having equally offensive personalities like Beyonce and Jaime Foxx on.

The steps a person will take to satisfy a demographic...