Friday, January 18, 2008

Whites, PLEASE get it Right!

To all my white readers out there, let me first say that I appreciate you sticking with me so far. Admittedly, some of my commentary regarding race relations (particularly about white privilege) may be a little uncomfortable at times. But let me just say that I commend you for taking the bumpy ride with me. But, I've got one more request that may be a little uncomfortable, but necessary: please tell your fellow white folks to stop being so damn stupid.

I was ready to put the Tiger Woods lynch joke behind me. Until I read this article:


Golfweek magazine replaced the editor responsible for illustrating the current cover with a noose and apologized Friday for its depiction of a Golf Channel anchor’s use of “lynch” in a comment about Tiger Woods.

“We apologize for creating this graphic cover that received extreme negative reaction from consumers, subscribers and advertisers across the country,” Turnstile Publishing Co. president William P. Kupper Jr. said. “We were trying to convey the controversial issues with a strong and provocative graphic image. It is now obvious that the overall reaction to our cover deeply offended many people. For that, we are deeply apologetic.” Source


So let me get this straight: the woman who made the joke in the first place only gets suspended for two weeks, but the editor who brings the issue to light while trying to address the problems of racism in golf was forced to resign fired?

Unfortunately, I know this score all too well. Too many White Americans are unwilling to accept the fact that this time-honored sport is littered with a shameful and racist history of exclusion and marginalization (I should point out that the absence of blacks in golf is not a reflection of the idea that we don't play. In fact, it's actually just the opposite). It's just a shame that as long as the sport of golf can maintain its covert system of racial inequality and segregation (with the occasional exceptions), people will never realize the impact blacks have made in the sport over the years.

Perhaps what's worse is that apparently racist stupidity from people like Tilghman (deliberate or not) is given a slap on the wrist; while trying to be disturbingly critical about it will most assuredly get you canned. Instead of using this magazine story/cover as a method of engaging in hard-hitting discussions about race, some folks would rather brush it under the rug. At the end of the day, shit like this does very little to deal with the problems. If anything, it only makes it worse.

So again to my readers, please get the rest of your folks to get a clue. Lord knows I'm not doing a good job of it.

- ACL

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

Cynthia said...

Wow. I don't know what to say. Wow covers it all I think.

nic said...

Last night I watched, on ESPN, a show where a writer for Golfweek Magazine (not the editor) told Rob Parker (a Detroit sports columnist) something to the effect of "...it's not as if Tiger's head was depicted in the noose". I couldn't believe it, but after listening to the conversation & thinking about it a bit, I think that what he said is a good portrayal of the fundamental difference in how many blacks & whites perceive race, & each other. With that said, here we go...

"So let me get this straight: the woman who made the joke in the first place only gets suspended for two weeks, but the editor who brings the issue to light while trying to address the problems of racism in golf was forced to resign fired?

And you have a problem w/ this? On one hand you have a woman who made a poor choice of words, seemingly innocent enough regardless of your perception, & whose past is clean of any racist remarks/allegations. On the other hand, you have somebody whom is exploiting a dark period in US history that to this day brings up painful memories/thoughts, not in the name of awareness, not for the sake of civilized discussion, but in an effort to sell magazines. Are you still calling for this woman's head? Let me get this straight: If I had attended your speech on the EC, & afterwards I came up to you & said "Damn Andre! That was excellent! The only way anybody could beat you in public speaking was if they beat you over the head w/ a frying pan & lynched you in that alley over there!", what would you do? I would expect you to call me out on it, but as I've said before when you first brought this up, race isn't on my mind when talking to somebody that isn't white...so why is it on yours? Would you call for me to be fired, & put my families livelihood in jeopardy? Would you beat me up? Seriously, while we don't know each other personally, I would guess that from what I've wrote here in the past, you've probably gathered that I'm not racist. So what's the difference? Is there a difference? Is the difference in the fact that she's a television correspondent, & I'm a student? What if I was a teacher, a doctor, or a nurse, which as you may already know, I will be soon?

Sorry to beat a dead-cat, but nothing I've stated has gotten through to anybody, as evidenced by the fact that when I called somebody out on their words in the previous post I was met w/ a "I stand by what I've said & have nothing more to say" response. Brilliant, yeah we'll get reeeeeeeeal far in anything w/ meaningful discussions such as that. Again, this mentality is PART OF THE PROBLEM, NOT THE SOLUTION.

"At the end of the day, shit like this does very little to deal with the problems. If anything, it only makes it worse."

Thank you, you made my point for me. The magazine cover is...wow...inexcusable to say the least. But to carry on vilifying Tilghman rings eerily similar to Mr. Sharpton & gang going after some retarded white La Crosse players (strike 623 against Sharpton, and counting...), & serves no purpose but to set us ALL back.

-n

nic said...

In addition, haven't you previously posted about how ridiculous, if not racist, it is for many white people to prefix every statement about a black friend, black co-worker, black guy/girl w/ the word "black"? If you, or any black guy for that matter, were to say something equally as stupid as Tilghman, I wouldn't see it as a black man being racist (unless that is, you/he were calling for my death/harm/etc, of course), I'd see it as a stupid man being stupid. So why the double standard? Does this better clarify my position as this entire mess being a reaction to perception?

-n

Rev. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rev. said...

Its seems to me if the andre was white and wrote a piece where he suggested black people need to "stop being so damn stupid" he might have to call for himself to resign his own blog.

I can't help but see a double standard.... as if being a minority gives poetic license to act in a hypocritical mannor.

I do feel that blacks should not be so concerned with verbal injustices from the mouths of whites and focus more on injustices blacks inflict upon themselves, verbal, cultural and physical. Time to start looking at the bigger obstacles infront of black american.-black culture.

heiresschild said...

we're all entitled to make our comments and state our opinions, whether they're agreed with or not. because someone isn't in agreement with something i've said, or not in agreement with how i feel doesn't make me part of the problem, but attacking my mentality because i'm not saying what another person thinks i should say isn't part of any solution. because i don't think the same as another person doesn't mean there's something wrong with my thoughts or opinions; i just don't think as you, that's all. i'm certainly not stupid where i can't read between the lines. that's what this whole thing is about, people saying things out of their mouths, not taking into consideration how it's being perceived or will be perceived, and the effect it will have.

we don't need to walk around on eggshells, but we certainly need to employ some wisdom when opening our mouths. if people would think a lot more before they speak, perhaps some things wouldn't be said.

these kinds of issues have taken place in the past, and as we can see, they still are taking place because it's in the hearts, and the mouth always reveals the heart. these are the kinds of things that spark bad race relations, and, in my opinion, there are just some things people of one race won't understand about people of another race. you just won't.

heiresschild said...

here's a link i was going to send you earlier this week Andre:

http://www.nbc4.com/politics/15066237/detail.html?rss=dc&psp=news

Andre said...

@ Nic: If you go back to the way I prefaced this story, I made it clear that I was prepared to let this entire situation die. Unlike the Al Sharptons of the world, I wasn’t calling for this lady’s head. Sure I was a little shocked and maybe disappointed that she wasn’t made a better example of, but I wasn’t about to waste time and energy organizing some national movement – especially when there are far greater social issues to deal with. What I am trying to bring to bear here is that another white person has made a conscious effort to point out the significance of her statement (when other whites apparently can’t seem to it); and got fired in the process.

I wouldn’t call this guy’s actions exploitative. He clearly indicated his intentions of raising some awareness of why her comments were an issue. To date, his contentions have gone uncontroverted. Besides that, I don't think that blacks in general actively get involved with golf. I suspect that most blacks are not aware of the historical presence we have in the sport; nor are they particularly interested in it. So this dude's column was likely not produced to sell copies to black folks. If that was his intention, he could've published the article in Ebony, Vibe, or Oprah magazine. Instead, he published it in a journal where whites, especially those in the golfing world, were sure to find it. I think that was brilliant.

I should point out that as I'm indicating how brilliant I think this guy was, I'll also admit that I'm a little disappointed in him. I think he let White America off the hook by only depicting a noose. If he REALLY wanted to make a powerful statement; one that would get people uncomfortable, he shouldn’t have stopped at a noose. He should’ve had a picture of a person hanging from a tree on the magazine cover. He should’ve had a picture of someone hanging lifelessly from a tree; neck snapped, eyes bulging; surrounded by hundreds of spectactors enjoying the event with their children. Images like that would show people like Tilghman and her apologists IN LIVING COLOR the very activities that she so carelessly joked about.

I should also note that I don’t people are tuning out what you have to say. I just think that black people in general are sick of being told what they need to get over and how they need to take hurtful and destructive activites (regardless of intention) and let bygones be bygones. I have no problem admitting that black folks need to get out of the habit of using race as a smoke screen for everything. But I also contend that whites need to assess their role in certain situations. Why should one group have to bend while the other group doesn’t? Now apply that line of questioning to both blacks and whites. That’s where the hard-hitting discussion takes place.

One last thing – and Rev, this response also addresses your comments, I'd like to respond to your questions with a question of my own:

If calling a white woman out for a racist comment makes me a purveyor of some sort of "double standard", then does my calling out black people (here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here; just to name a few recent posts) make me the purveyor of...I dunno...a SINGLE standard? Just curious...

Andre said...

@ Sylv: "we don't need to walk around on eggshells, but we certainly need to employ some wisdom when opening our mouths. if people would think a lot more before they speak, perhaps some things wouldn't be said."

Admittedly, I think this is where I fall short often. I often have zero tolerance for what I consider ignorance, and I often make no bones about it. I often don't deliver messages well or without exactly using the best of discretion. What usually ensues is people getting all up in arms instead of opening themselves to what I'm saying.

This is certainly a character flaw of mine. No doubt.

Thanks by the way for that article. I'm glad that this noose thing is getting some recognition; especially given that our good ole Senate had the chance to do something years ago and didn't.

Rev. said...

Andre,
Calling out white problems and black problems makes you well ballanced in your content and i applaud you for that. However it appears to me that you are guilty of the same act that you deplore -making a racist comment.

If a white person went on a tv show and said black people need to "stop being so damn stupid" everyone would be up in arms over what a racist comment it was.
INCLUDING YOU.
But for some reason, when the roles are reversed you don't feel that same sentence is racist.
This seems hypocritical.

The double standard does not ly in your topics. It lies in your text when you called whites stupid.
That is very different than calling an individual stupid, your targeting a deragatory comment at members of the white race specifically. Doesn't that fit the bill for racism?

Again i want it to be clear that your content is not what i was refering to when i said: "I ... see a double standard"

It was your dissaproval of this sportscasters racist comments and your apparent poetic license to make your own.

Andre said...

"If a white person went on a tv show and said black people need to "stop being so damn stupid" everyone would be up in arms over what a racist comment it was."

Not if that person was citing an instance where a bunch of black people REALLY were actin' a fool. I pride myself in calling a spade a spade; regardless to who said it and who it's direct toward. I expect other people to do the same. So if you made a comment about how black people gyrating, shakin' asses, and mumbling nonsense on B.E.T. need to stop being so damn stupid, I'd give you a standing ovation. Don't believe me? Try it.

heiresschild said...

my eggshells comment wasn't directed at you Andre. i understand where you're coming from. i made that comment because i was saying we as black people aren't asking anyone to tiptoe around us, but wisdom does need to be employed before words are spoken like in the cases of imus, howard stern, tilghman since they're the more recent ones.

someone sent me this "negro prayer" joke this weekend, which i found offensive and i let the person know it. the words the "negro" spoke were like they were pronounced and spelled during the slavery days, before they were educated. i let the person know who sent it to me that i didn't find it funny, that we don't use the word "negro" today, and it was kind of offensive to me. i understood the gist of the joke, but i couldn't overlook the words, spelling, and the overall tone of the "joke."

she sent back an apology and said in no way would she send anything that was racially offensive, yet the person was white who sent it to me, and while the joke was offensive to me, really when you think about it, why would it be offensive to her. i don't even have that kind of relationship with her even though we talk, so i really can't understand why she would feel comfortable enough to send me something like that. but because a african-american friend of hers sent it to her, i guess she thought it was funny enough to send it on to me because i'm black also.

this is what i mean about thinking before we do things. my relationship with her isn't even like that. i'd never send her a "white joke" just because we talk.

i know this isn't about the noose incidents, but it's still along the same lines as thinking before action is taken, whether that action is thru words, pictures, deeds, etc.

i hate racism, but it does exist. i think we can all get along, but there's still a fine line that just can't be crossed without causing controversy.

The H.C. said...

Wow Dre,
I'm not sure if your working toward racial unity or trying to further divide (I assume the former instead of the latter). While I agree with you this was off-the-charts stupidity on the part of the commentator, (I love where her male counterpart says "right" without hearing what she even said.) I wonder what the purpose is of trying to remind white people that some of us are complete idiots. As far as calling them out on it, it seems that white people are usually standing right with the people who protest against this sort of thing. I agree with Nic and the Rev that there does seem to be a bit of a double standard. Here on campus I've heard some amazingly racist comments (in my opinion) directed towards whites in open forums. The assumption seems to be it's O.K. to put all white people in one group whenever the discussion is about the atrocities (and yes I would call them that) perpetrated on blacks. There seems to be a real need to bury the fact that some white people ran underground railways or protested side by side with blacks during the Civil Rights Era. You've done a great job calling out your own, but you have to understand that when you direct it in the way that you did here, it does feel like your saying, "See, white people are still racist." As opposed to, "We still have a few idiots to deal with." All and all, my friend, you've been very fair and as one of your white fans I'll still be here because of your intent, which I think is always to do right. I would just say be careful to remember, it's not excepted by the vast majority of us either. So we don't want to be put in that camp.

Andre said...

Hippie, the problems you laid out here a multiple. I'll see if I can lucidly address them all:

(1) I don't justify blacks making "white jokes". But I will say that joking about how white people dance or how small their penises are is NOT the same as joking about lynching. Not now. Not ever. Now if a black person started joking about some atrocity that happened to a collection of whites; some horrible stain in history, that's another story.

(2) I'm so critical of whites when it comes to their involvement in race matters for the same reason why I'm critical of so many blacks: We tend to wanna give our entire races credit for what a FEW people did. Yes, there were whites instrumental in the Underground Railroad. Yes, there were whites who were lynched during Jim Crow. Yes, there were whites who marched with King. But that's what THEY did. What have you done to combat some of the social ills of today? What has the white guy next to you done? Shit, what have I done (aside from having a blog)? Just like I think black folks need to stop taking credit for what happened to a FEW people, whites do too. What are WE doing today?

Besides that, do you think that if blacks didn't make such an uproar about this story, whites would? Would the Golf Network make its move before a bunch of black people started protesting? Not likely. And truthfully, I'm not expecting them to. But once blacks make it clear that stuff like this is an issue I would AT LEAST expect whites to be more actively involved in resolutions. When I say resolutions, I'm not talking about whites delicately tip toeing around an issue by doing a press release or -- on to the opposite extreme -- telling blacks "to get over it since you people joke about whites all time (and all that other 'double standard' nonsense). As I sited before, Dr. King (appropriate to drop his name in this discussion. Happy Birthday dawg!) wasn't as critical about racist assholes like the Klan. He was more upset with the liberal media who sat back passively while racial atrocities were going on all over the place; or who decided to "join a cause" once it became trendy. So am I.

By the way, just to ease your mind(s), I wasn't calling ALL white people "so damn stupid". I trust that you already know that. At least I hope so. But just in case you didn't and my not clarifying caused hurt for you (along with Nic and Rev) I sincerely apologize. I was refering to the folks who were more harsh in their retribution for a white man trying to point out how bad this lady's statements were than they were for the lady who actually made the comments.

All the same, I stand by that premise: White America got it wrong by going after the wrong person and not being able to see the destruction behind Tilghman's comments (even if unintentional). If you're offended by THAT, that's outta my hands. I mean, that shit really WAS stupid. THAT part of the story, I make no apology for.

Andre said...

You know, I'm about to do something on this blog that I don't think I've EVER done before: I'm going to retract apart of a statement I made that I think was WRONG on my part. God, imagine how hard that is to do for somebody like me...

Anyway, I am discarding the previous comment when I said:

"(2) I'm so critical of whites when it comes to their involvement in race matters for the same reason why I'm critical of so many blacks: We tend to wanna give our entire races credit for what a FEW people did. Yes, there were whites instrumental in the Underground Railroad. Yes, there were whites who were lynched during Jim Crow. Yes, there were whites who marched with King. But that's what THEY did. What have you done to combat some of the social ills of today? What has the white guy next to you done? Shit, what have I done (aside from having a blog)? Just like I think black folks need to stop taking credit for what happened to a FEW people, whites do too. What are WE doing today?."

After thinking about it for a second, as long as we (yes, that includes ME!) can distinguish what we recognize as historical appreciation and our own personal experiences, I think we'll be OK. I, for example, was obviously never lynched nor were any of my friends, family, or ancestors (as far as I can tell). But that's not to say that joking about it is OK for me.

I could've just removed that comment from my response and been done with it. But I wanted everybody to see that even I -- the young, handsome, dashing, and intrepid hero of this blog can even make a mistake of thought once in a while.

But don't get used to it...

The H.C. said...

Hey Dre,
I guess I didn't articulate my point very well. I get why people critize stupidity like Ms. Racist uttered and I believe that the editors of Golfweek should be held accountable for making an even stupider call on the cover. I actually agree with firing the Golfweek dude as he at least had time to think about his choice and should have thought better. If I owned that rag I probably would have fired him too. It's your title and comments that lead me to believe your putting this on all whites. That's the part I disagree with. I mean, do you really think all blacks are complicite in the actions of some blacks? If they don't run out and protest they're guilty by their inaction? It's the responsibility of all people to not be tolerant of idiots, but I really think your moving the onus away from the perpitrator and on to the bystanders. Should we (whites) be more vocal about this stuff? Sure. But that hardly puts us in the same category as the person that actually did the crime. It's not "Whites" that did this, it's a stupid woman who happened to be white and a stupid magazine. I'm in no way brushing this off as a joke, I just don't like being put in their category while I'm writing pieces about the disenfranchizement of blacks in Michigan's elections and doing bits on Youtube about how unfair the system is being to Barack Obama. Could I be doing more? Maybe. But I don't think my place is being a black advocate, it's pointing out when people are wronged....whatever their color.

P.S. There is nothing that you said that offends me in any way, I'm just voicing my opinions (as always) Also, for some strange reason I feel guilty doing this side of the argument on MLK Day. RIP MLK.

Deb S. said...

Great post, Andre. No one ever said media folks were the brightest bulbs on the planet. I can say that because I've worked in the business.

Yep, folks need a clue. This post offers a step in the right direction. Hopefully, we can put this topic to rest - for now - before it takes another bizarre turn.

Andre said...

@ Hippie:

"I believe that the editors of Golfweek should be held accountable for making an even stupider call on the cover. I actually agree with firing the Golfweek dude as he at least had time to think about his choice and should have thought better. If I owned that rag I probably would have fired him too."

Again, I think that's one of the problems. I don't see the editor's antics as being the problem. He was pointing out the significance of this woman's statements. Instead of other White Americans (particularly those who tuned in and heard this lady) rallying behind him and saying "Tilghman, you were wrong and here's why...", he's getting crucified.

"It's your title and comments that lead me to believe your putting this on all whites. That's the part I disagree with."

Hippie, I'm not forcing you to draw a conclusion that White people are somehow monolithic. Even when I tried to explain that I wasn't referring to ALL whites, you're somehow interpreting it that way. I don't know what else you expect from me on this one.

"It's the responsibility of all people to not be tolerant of idiots, but I really think your moving the onus away from the perpitrator and on to the bystanders."

If a bystander sat by passively while a person was burning to death in a car, would you say "Oh well. It was the perpetrator's fault...?"

The truth of the matter is: this situation is no where NEAR as dire as saving somebody from a burning car. I'm not talking about doing some marvelous feat like saving the world. I'm talking about a White person being conscious enough to make a simple move by exposing one of their own for making a hurtful, racially insensitive comment. One guy did it and lost his job.

@ Deb: As meager as it may sound, I wouldn't be opposed to commentators and public personalities (irrespective of race, gender, etc.) to engage in some sort of sensitivity course. If people's sentiments won't change, the next best thing would be for their words to at least reflect some level of awareness. I think I can live with that.

nic said...

Christ, I wrote out a great big reply...and then I read this: "I'm talking about a White person being conscious enough to make a simple move by exposing one of their own for making a hurtful, racially insensitive comment."

"Their own"?

Do I need to say (write) anything else?

If we see each other as being on "the other side", then what's the point?

You might want to rethink that not getting "used to it" statement.

-n

Andre said...

Nic: If I have to explain that "their own" in this context suggests that whites have a better chance of communicating a message about race to each other than an angry black person, it won't be a foreign concept. That's been the point I've tried to make all along.

As much as liberals would like to make us think, we are NOT colorblind. Dogs are.

I'm not quite ready to pull out the "agree to disagree" card yet, but it doesn't appear that we're getting anywhere. But who knows? Maybe we've made more progress in this discussion than I think...

KC said...

Dre, I have to admit: I've been sitting back reading this discussion. As I predicted to myself, this talk was going to go downhill.

I understand your point: I think that momre whites should be outspoken about issues of race. If Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson address each issue that comes up, they're labeled as opportunists. If normal everyday black people do it, we're playing the "race card" or perpetrating "double standards." So I too understand how whites can accomplish this discussion with other whites way better than you or I could. Still, there is no formula for success in communicating that to others for them to understand. It almost has to happen serendipitously. White America has to make the move. You can't make it for them; certainly not by calling their counterparts "stupid."

I'm with you in spirit and principal, but your approach (and yes, this post) is all wrong.