Friday, November 09, 2007

My Thoughts on Dog the Bounty Hunter and Race in America

Duane "Dog" Chapman was caught on tape saying the "N-word" and they suspended his show. I really did not plan to write about this, but I guess I have to. I'm tired. I'm tired of celebrities saying the "N" word and then apologizing while bringing out an African-American person as if to say, "Hey, I'm not racist, and here's my Black friend!" That's a lame excuse. I am also tired of hate groups that want to see me dead because of my skin color. I am tired of it all. To be fair, I am also tired of African-American people (myself included) who use the word and honestly believe the whole "It's okay if African-American people use the word, but no one else can" rule. News flash, people: That rule has never worked. I am also tired of people thinking that I'm overreacting when I see racist stuff on TV and in film. I've even been told that "Oh, it's nothing, it's a PC backlash". Why does my race seem to bear the brunt of the backlash? I see Caucasian kids referring to themselves as the N-word with reckless abandon. I see African-Americans on shows like Flavor of Love, I Love New York, and Charm School that behave in ways that reinforce African-American stereotypes. Of course, when I talk about how this bothers me in a crowd full of Caucasian people who claim they love these shows, my views are dismissed.
I find myself longing for the "good old days" when people were a little more fearful of African-Americans. I try hard to appear "safe" because I am a tall, large African-American man. Maybe I try too hard. Maybe African-Americans are considered too safe now. People definitely seem to have no problem throwing around the "N-word" like confetti these days.
I have joked about not wanting to be African-American anymore, I say that I am now Honduran or Nicaraguan. These remarks are born out of the frustration and embarrassment when I see African-American pop icons such as Flavor Flave and these ignorant, materialistic rappers all over TV. The frustration also comes from our self-appointed "spokespeople" Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. I don't really care for their approach to things.
In the end, I guess that all that I can do is try not to say the "N-word" anymore in my personal life and continue to try to treat everyone with respect, regardless or race, religion, or orientation. Also, I will continue to NOT watch most reality shows with African-Americans in them because, in case you haven't got my point yet, I am REALLY tired of minstrel shows and having all manner of African-American stereotypes carted out for the world to see. Be easy, readers.


At 7:45 PM, Blogger Smarty Jones said...

I don't know if I long for the days when people were scared of us. I definitely long for the time when we were a little more cautious about the way we acted while out in public.
I don't think it is trying to act a certain way around other races as much as it is hometraining.
Somewhere along the way, we stopped caring what white folks thought about us, and that's fine,but we also stopped caring whether or not we acted like we had some sense, that's where the problem is.
And as far as saying "nigger" or any of its derivatives, I applaud you for trying to stop it. It really is not as hard as you think.
I don't use it and I police the folks around me, so much so that they are now starting to police themselves.
It really is a beautiful thing when you realize that you are in a situation where nobody uses it and you still convey your point.
There are so many beautiful nouns and adjectives in the English language and I think it is up to those of us who know those words to use them so that they become natural.


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