Monday, December 24, 2007

Top 5 Black News Stories of the Year

#1: Saving the world in Jena

The story in Jena, Louisiana was phenomenal for a number of reasons, one of which having a lot to do with the Internet. For the first time, the digital age reinvented Martin Luther King’s legacy, as one eblast after another led to hundreds of thousands of people coming together in a small town barely big enough to hold a large high school.

Jena, Louisiana reluctantly became the center of attention, as the eyes of the world were focused on its broken justice system. The good ol boys in the DA’s office were forced to answer to millions of angry, yet peaceful African-Americans who politely asked how a sneaker can be considered a deadly weapon.

Had this been 1997 instead of 2007, the story would never have hit the mainstream media. White folks, as we know, have the national media outlets on lock. Even the black faces that make regular appearances in these outlets have little power to persuade them that the incarceration of 6 black youths was hardly worth more than a commercial spot. But it was the Internet that saved the day. Those annoying email forwarded that always get deleted suddenly sent you something that seemed worth forwarding.

These kids were saved by our inboxes, and the media eventually got the point.

#2: Nappy Headed Hoes Unite

After playing their butts off and using their heads to get there, the Rutgers’ Womens’ basketball team suddenly found their heads to be the center of attention for reasons that they did not expect. Rather than referring to their heads as the source of brilliance, talent and motivation, their heads were only called nappy, and these esteemed, educated women were reduced to hoes. Nappy Headed Hoes to be exact.

Imus soon found out just how many African-Americans have connections to his cherished corporate sponsors and board members of CBS, the company that pays for him to attack black women. He was soon removed from the air, thus putting all questionable talk show hosts on notice: Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to assault black women on the airwaves.

This led to broader questions, like: Why are there no black women hosts on any of the major media outlets? ESPN took some notes, adding a soul train roster of black faces to their daily shows, although most of them serve as side kicks to a Caucasian. The other networks didn’t care and ABC took it a step further by signing Don Imus shortly after he was removed from air.

#3: Dog fighting: the most serious crime in America

When the feds searched Michael Vick’s house, no one paid much attention. When he was charged with dog fighting, even fewer people noticed. But when they saw the seriousness of the charges, the whole world stopped, watched and judged. Michael Vick, the man with everything, was suddenly reduced to a common criminalized black man.

Killing dogs was his crime, and he was indistinguishable from OJ Simpson for the amount of hate and scorn he received from White America. If someone had murdered Vick in his sleep, millions would have cheered.

The story captivated America for several months, with one debate after another over whether or not his crimes fit the punishment he was receiving. His team sliced him like an infected limb, the NFL told him to get lost, Nike took millions out of his hands within hours. It was over for this young man and his troubles are just beginning.

Seeing Vick go from videogame cover man to a common mug shot struck fear into athletes everywhere and is an image they will never forget.

#4: The Big Black Os come together to take Over the White House.

Obama entered the presidential race and seemed to have the ability to fight the good fight. But winning was clearly out of the question, as he had the audacity to face a woman whose face may likely end up on Mt. Rushmore. Having Obama come along and pretend that he can become the REAL first black president scared the crap out of the establishment, made people cheer and set the world on fire. And this was even BEFORE Oprah tried to help him.

With Oprah stepping in and bringing her army of loyal white women with her, she has joined Obama as a miracle maker. Matching Hillary Clinton dollar for dollar, barb for barb, and vote for vote has led to a war within the Democratic Party unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The benevolent white folks who’ve always had the black vote in their pockets are finding themselves resentful that a black man is attempting to take those votes.

How this election turns out is anyone’s guess. But with each surprise, each new celeb and each new victory, Obama is making the entire world into believers.

#5: The Superbowl becomes a black party

The Superbowl didn’t get good until black men were allowed to play. It became REALLY good when they were allowed to coach. Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith became the only two black coaches to both coach teams in the Superbowl. This was a major landmark for the NFL and also for the rest of America.

With all the contributions of black players, it’s amazing that these individuals are typically overlooked in exchange for the Tom Bradys of the world. They are not considered for the Heisman unless they are truly exceptional, serving as the supporting props for white male glory.
But the presence of Dungy and Smith on the sideline made us all proud, and served as hope that one day, America can truly create a fair playing field on the actual playing field.


Shrill, Loudmouth, Nagging B* said...

I have to comment on this issue because I care about it. I am one who is frequently frustrated when I hear black people defending those who don't seem to deserve defending. I think it cheapens the support for real victims and hurts the cause of equal justice. Now, I DON'T think the Jena 6 is exactly such a case, but it wasn't immediately obvious to me.

I think it's important, if not critical, for US start prefacing remarks in support of the Jena 6 with the following disclaimer

"all parents, African American included, MUST teach our children not to respond to this type of provocation (noose) with physical violence. We MUST act in a civilized manner, if we want to be treated that way. This behavior was not civilized from what I can see, albiet, the punishment severly UNJUST.

Having heard the whole story, I now understand WHY the community is so polarized over this issue, there is no question that the Jena 6 represent another chapter in unequal justice for poor and/or minority citizens in this country and we must continue to fight against it, but I think the lessons we teach are children are even MORE important.

Anonymous said...

It's not about what they did,it's about the punishment. It's like if your daughter doesn't clean her room and you shoot her in the head. The question is not about whether she should have cleaned her room, alot of kids don't clean their rooms. The problem is that she doesn't deserve to die because of it.

The Jena 6 case was about kids misbehaving, the way that kids do. White kids fuck up all the time and their parents would never tolerate having them sent to prison for 20 years. That's bull crap.