The Sign of True Freedom (The Mad Preacher Rants about the Bed Intruder Song and Precious) aka Man in the Mirror aka Stop the Hate

So I tried to write a response to this NPR Article as a comment on someone’s Facebook page. But it got too long. So I will do it here, as I continue to ignore my worship prep work. (I’ll get back to it right after this I promise!)

This article truly makes me sick. Oh wait maybe it’s not the article. I’m doing what I’m about to say black people do all the time, which is blame the media for taking the type of black people who we cannot stand seriously. It’s not the tv station’s fault that Antoine Dodson was was “angry, defiant and flamboyant” as much as it’s not NPR’s fault that 80 years later the “New Negro” is still running around trying to rid the world of the “Old Negro” they don’t want to see. (It’s a Harlem Renaisance reference look it up.)

It’s the Precious debate all over again. Black folks too often blame the media for showing the side of black life that self-hatred and internalized racism tells them shouldn’t be viewed “in public”. “I don’t want to see a black man with a red rag on his head on TV because white people might see him and judge me. And I don’t even wear a rag!” “I don’t want the story of a plus size poor black girl being told because that same white person might judge me.”

I wonder, instead of asking authors and filmmakers and tv stations to censor every black person that doesn’t reach our New Negro standards, if we could begin to say to ourselves all of the people in our community are fully human and fully free and have a right to exist and be seen in spite our our personal (internalized)racist discomfort. I wonder if we could write into stations and not say things like “don’t air Antoine’s story”. I wonder if we could separate our calls for justice from our own internalizes self hatred.

Instead we could write to networks and movie studios and maybe to the NAACP and to ourselves and say something like:

We as African Americans long for true freedom. We long for the freedom that each white citizen has, not to be judged monolithicly (I know it’s not a word but work with me) by the behaviors of any individual white person. We want the freedom that white Americans have to tell their stories and be all of who they are no matter how rich or poor or racist or funny-looking they are, without it reflecting poorly on the whole white race. We as African Americans long for that true freedom. And we think you, tv producer, writer, (blah blah blah) can help by telling all stories from all perspectives for all kinds of black people. In a medium where both Tea Party members and Alex Trebek can exist, I think there is also room for both Antoine Dodson and Dominique Atchison.

Oh and by the way, just in case anyone cares… while we are lost in our embarrassment about Precious’ potential Mammy-dom or Antoine’ red rag… yet another story about a black women being sexually abused and/or assaulted got passed over and ignored… I just thought I’d throw that in there NP(freakin’)R! I know you want to talk about the rag some more… so run and tell that homeboy… homeboy… home homeboy!


1 Comment

  1. Tell. The. Truth.

    I think, as you point out, that the media could do a helluva better job of attending to black folks generally, and if that was happening, it might’ve diminished some of the discomfort over Brother Antoine’s coverage. As it stands, it’s kind of like the police – can’t find a reporter when you need one, but…


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