Wednesday, March 18, 2015

"Racism, the calling out for violence and the use of the N-word is wrong. You can tell me 10 ways sideways why it is OK when blacks or rap artists say it, and I will not accept it. If that makes you label me a racist, then so be it."

Is it a bad rap or the sad truth that black racism against whites is celebrated?

John Myers

If you have not heard or read about the idiots at the now-disbanded Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma, you must be coming out of a coma. The loop of their racist and childish rant of the N-word — made even more offensive as they sang, “hang from a tree” — was gut-wrenching the first time I saw it on CNN. After seeing it for the 50th time, I was annoyed not only because of the racist words, but because of the implication that the racist actions of a few frat morons represent white hatred toward blacks and the claim that such hatred is just as oppressive today as it was 50 years ago in Selma, Alabama.

Can you imagine a black American president in 1965 or a black woman being not only one of the most well-known people on the planet but also one of the richest (Oprah Winfrey)? Yet the SAE bus ride is hammered home each day on MSNBC to prove white America is racist. According to the hosts and guests on that network, if whites don’t understand this, then they are in denial.

I believe whites are racist. But I’ve got news for everyone, all peoples around the world are racist and have been since the dawn of humanity.* The myth that blacks are not racist toward whites is ludicrous.

I’ve waded through racist muck my entire adulthood, but I watched the pinnacle of stupidity last week while watching Don Lemon devote an hour to a CNN special called “The Uncensored N-Word.” It retold the story of the SAE scandal. The program included the video of the white SAE “house mom” at OU repeating the N-word lyrics from a rap song.

Thus began an argument between guests Ben Ferguson, who is white, and Marc Lamont Hill, who is black. Ferguson said the N-word “should be dead” and that people must refrain from using it in both everyday speech and in rap music. Hill became angry at that and said that when whites use it, it has a whole different connotation than when blacks use it.

“This train is never late,” Hill said. “Whenever a white person calls a black person ‘nigger,’ we find some moment to blame it on rap music or on black people.”

What Ferguson should have asked Hill is: How black is black enough to give someone the right to use the N-word with impunity? I am not knowledgeable of African-American culture, but my guess is that it would be OK for President Barack Obama to use the N-word in private because he is half black. If this is so, then what if someone is one-fourth black or one-eighth black?

As for putting some of the blame on rap, all Americans should blame some of the growing racial divide on rap, the rap culture and the violence espoused in rap. Young black and white audiences oftentimes identify not only with the lifestyle of rappers but with their lyrics. Should we accept that Kanye West’s “Monster” video, depicting the kidnapping, rape and beheading of white women, is good entertainment? It certainly never tarnished his career. According to Forbes, West made $30 million last year.

How can we have equality of all men when we rightfully condemn the SAE chant while celebrating and glorifying rappers who sing about the coming black revolution and glorify violence against gays, women and the police, which are often a euphemism for whites?

I find it astonishing that the rap group N.W.A. is still celebrated by black and white youth for their hit song, “F*** Tha Police.”

It made me sick when I looked up the lyrics and I will spare you the worst of them with this sample:

F*** tha police
Comin straight from the underground
Young n***a got it bad ’cause I’m brown
And not the other color so police think
They have the authority to kill a minority

Friday night fights

I saw firsthand the way rap culture was emulated by teenage boys when I was a high school assistant football coach in the late 1990s.

My first year, I was a coach with the junior varsity team, boys ages 14 or 15. Many were getting a ride to school and home from mom or dad. The next year, I found some of the same players now on the varsity squad were very different. Many drove themselves to school, most with CD players that blasted rap music in the parking lot.

After one practice, our head coach, a former professional quarterback, lost his patience with the language being used on the field, notably the use of the F-word and the N-word. He called a team meeting and said he refused to tolerate such language and he would cut any player who used it. There was an immediate change during the next few days, and we felt good going into the game against our crosstown rivals.

One of the best players I ever coached was born in Jamaica and adopted by a wealthy white professional couple as a newborn. When I first coached him, he was very quiet and polite. The metamorphosis in him over the next two years was unsettling. In the game following the team meeting, he stood demonstrably over a kid he had tackled and yelled: “You’re my bitch, n***a.”

I thought our head coach was going to lose his mind. He dragged the kid to the sideline, got in his face and asked him what the hell he thought he was doing. The kid seemed shocked, saying the coach couldn’t have meant him in the team meeting; he was black.

I believe that it is a lesson all Americans need to learn. If we want equal consideration by society, then we all have to be held equally accountable. Racism, the calling out for violence and the use of the N-word is wrong. You can tell me 10 ways sideways why it is OK when blacks or rap artists say it, and I will not accept it. If that makes you label me a racist, then so be it.


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