Yesterday Homeboy Sandman, a New York Hiphop artist who of late has been penning cultural critiques for Gawker and Huffington Post, dropped a baby bomb on the Internet in the form of this post entitled "Black People are Cowards."
Though the title is incindiery, the thesis of the piece manages to dig even deeper into our collective conscious with its sting. Sandman rhetorically muses that black people have displayed awesome cowardice in light of clear instances of recent racism, i.e. David Sterling's bigoted remarks and George Zimmerman's predatory murder of Trayvon Martin. He further surmises that it is not odd that blacks are viewed disfavorably in society because everyone is constantly bombarded with wrongheaded, salacious, and demeaning representations of black people via popular media. Sadly black people are the protagonists in these Coonish depictions that pervade reality shows on BET and music on Clear Channel radio stations.
I posted the article to my Instagram and it was immediately met with some pretty fierce rebukes from my followers. They argued that Sandman is blaming the victim and that there is no universally accepted black response to racism. They also took issue with his rationalization of prejudicial views based on media depictions. In a theoretical sense these critiques make sense. At base, they seemed to question why he needed to speak so absolutely about actions and potential missed opportunities that are complex and involve many considerations. What more could the athletes in question or even us as fans and spectators do?
But if I am thinking about this correctly, I believe that Homeboy Sandman's point was precisely to attach that mind state on its face. Let's take the David Sterling situation as a point of departure. From all accounts, David Sterling is a bigoted and deeply troubled man who has no business owning a business that owes it livelihood to a group of people, namely black athletes, that he neither respects or views as valuable. The taped conversations seem only to ratify this fact, but there were likely many previous indications that the guy believed he was operating a "plantation" and did not treat black athletes, coaches, and staff as equal citizens. So why did the players not speak out more vehemently before now? And why now, in light of the disclosure, was their only response to wear warm up shirts inside out? What was that even supposed to symbolize?
How did we go from this:
It is obvious that something is awry here.
Obviously the question that this discussion raises is what is to be done. Honestly, I do not know the complete answer to this question, but like Sandman, I believe that we will never address the problem if we accept complacency as the response and fail to harness the courage to put these solutions in action.
What are your thoughts?