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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Analyzing Mr. Prelutsky's article....

I wanted to allow a few days to appropriately digest Burt Prelutsky's (of Townhall.com) Black Racism piece. Essentially, Prelutsky posits that it's high time for Whites to dispel fear of reprisal (a.k.a. being labeled a racist) and address Black underclass pathology. He further states that in general Whites are not racist but they are caught in the Niggas vs Black people paradox that Chris Rock referred to in his infamous Bring The Pain standup routine. I suspect that Prelutsky wants the ability to speak as candidly about the Black condition as Bill Cosby or Juan Williams has done in the last few years. My problem with his article (and of course the accompanying Townhall comments) is the generalities relating to people of color that often arise out of such a diatribe.

In all fairness, I agree with some of the points that Prelutsky made, however specificity pertaining to which Blacks appears to be obfuscated. Black culture is the culprit, according Prelutsky and his readers. Last time I checked, Black culture was not a finite one-dimensional entity. Black Racism in some respects, acts as an artifice for Prelutsky to abdicate America's social and corporate complicity in defining Black culture as being synonymous with ghetto culture. No one confuses Southern "cracker" culture as being the essence of White culture-so why should Blacks carry a similar burden? Check out this excerpt from Black Racism:

There is such a thing as white prejudice. No doubt about it. But it has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with character, culture and values. What blacks refuse to acknowledge is that whites are intolerant of crime and the creeps who commit it, be they black thugs or white trash. The latter are those lowlifes who form Aryan gangs; tattoo themselves with skulls and swastikas; and produce, distribute and use methamphetamines. I don’t know a single white person who isn’t ashamed to be of the same race as these vicious cretins.

One thing I try to refrain from doing when I write, theorize or proselytize is speak in absolutes. Nothing is absolute. I also think it is important to use quantifiers such as "many," "some" or "a number." Here are examples-Many Blacks have had negative experiences with the US judicial system or Some Whites are racist. Again, speaking in generalities leads to inaccuracy. How does Prelutsky know that Blacks are not as discerning about crime as Whites? I will make one proclamatory statement, however. I do not believe society racializes Whites to any degree close to a person of color. I do not perceive a White person having to answer for another person that shares his same pigment.

When a high profile Black person is caught in a negative situation (or even a low profile person of color for that matter) trust me when I say that many Black people feel compelled to discuss it from a community perspective. Jeffrey Dahmer is not reflective of Whites and conversely neither is OJ to Blacks. Unfortunately, what has happened in recent years as the Prelutsky article (and the Family Guy vid in my prior entry)demonstrates, some Whites are becoming comfortable in commenting on Black culture as if it existed in vacuum. This is what happens when ghetto culture is marketed as Black culture without a counterbalance. If the media allowed for more Black varied imagery, then he would know that many people of color agree with Bill Cosby just as many do not agree with Reverend Sharpton's politics. The media determines Black representation not Black folk themselves. Perhaps Mr. Prelutsky needs to interact with Black people of various social strata-some of us are actually as articulate as Mr. Obama. Another suggestion-cut your television off and have a discussion like the clip above.

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