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Author Topic: Racism Hurts  (Read 22268 times)

fortified bread

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Re: Racism Hurts
« Reply #100 on: May 06, 2008, 05:51:52 PM »

There's no doubt a lack of motivation among many black students to work hard at school. Many black youth do not have the motivation to stay in school and study. One of the most important factors in how motivated a student is is his parents. There has been shown to be a correlation between how much parents care about their child's education and how well the student performs in school.When students' parents care about their education enough to pay attention to the grades they get and make sure that they do their homework, students will at least care about what grades they get and will probably be motivated to do some of the work. It is also quite likely that such parents can instill in their children an understanding of the value of a good education. Unfortunately, many students' parents do not pay enough attention to their children's education, either because they do not think it is important, or because they are so busy with other problems.

An important part of this is how their parents perceive the educational system. Due to the fact that over the years schooling for black students has often been inferior to that of white students, many blacks do not trust the educational system to have any interest in preparing their students for desirable jobs. As a result, they often do not cooperate with the schools by making their students do their homework and by teaching their students how important it is for them to get an education. A main reason that black youth are not motivated to learn in school is due to inequality in society. The problem of black motivation originates with black people's awareness of a bias against blacks in the job market and in the educational system. A system of castelike stratification is in place, one in accordance with which many blacks are prevented from getting good jobs due to racist hiring practices. This is different from class stratification, which is the division of people by education and ability instead of race. In fact, class stratification has not completely replaced caste stratification.


Interesting, labeta!

STATA

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Re: Key To Success
« Reply #101 on: May 31, 2008, 03:57:35 PM »

Oprah should shut the @ # ! * up -- were she not black she would have never been who she's today. A white woman of her "caliber" -- with her crappy interviewing style and the like -- would be considered average at best. At the end of the 1960s Oprah ran away from home and ran the streets. After skipping two of her earliest grades (which are very easy, by international standards anyway) she also became the teacher's pet. She was also very promiscuous, sexually speaking; after all, going with quite a few guys in adulthood it's pretty lame when you take into account that she was forced to go with close realtives at an early age or so we are told (that must have helped). Finally, in a field dominated by white males -- that of TV talk show -- she is a black female of ample bulk, a reason that can certainly not be downplayed in the big picture, remember the faggotty Eminem?


That's exactly what they say about Obama -- he would not be where he is were he not black.

m a y a

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Eminem ain't nothin but a b i t c h
« Reply #102 on: August 29, 2008, 02:58:23 PM »

I guess they're saying, hippo, that Orpah succeeded in a genre largely populated by whites, just like Eminem did the-inherently-black-music while being white.


It's true that Oprah and Eminem both glorify the system, but Eminem is peculiar in that he does that in a very "funny" way: he's so on your face when exposing the system for what it is in order to get people all riled up to buy his crap music.

It's funny to read rationalizations of critics that want to portray Eminem as attacking the system for real. Eminem is a creature of his environment. He is the authentic voice of the poor, white working class. White trailer trash. He is what American capitalism has made him. His angst is real, his anger legit -- though misdirected at women and gays because of malign social forces. Like Elvis. Or Bill Clinton. One critic called him "our" Johnny Rotten. But where the Sex Pistols attacked the Queen, Eminem bashes queens. One's political, the other's not. And that's all the difference in the world. But then on top of this a second defense is layered: namely, that Eminem is a master satirist; that his lyrics-which some demented writer in "The London Guardian" declared as being the equal of, and in some ways superior to Robert Browning's -- are really an ironic expose of our own homophobia, mysogyny, class bias. He's our Swift, Twain, Ishmael Reed. Then realizing there might be a potential conflict between defense A and defense B, a third one is proffered: namely, that the genius of Eminem is to be found in the "ambiguity" of his lyrics-which would, we guess, allow for him to be both "authentic" and "satirical". It's like there's an unreliable narrator at work, say the narrative voice in Henry James or Alain Robbe-Grillet.

"My little sister's birthday, she'll remember me
For a gift I had ten of my boys take her virginity ("Mmm-mm-mmm!")
And bitches know me as a horny-ass freak
Their mother wasn't raped, I ate her female private part while she was 'sleep
Pissy-drunk, throwin' up in the urinal
("You @ # ! * i n' homo!")
That's what I said at my dad's funeral"

From the song "Amityville"


All these defenses are undermined by what Eminem himself has to say about what he's doing -- which is that the lyrics are a "gimmick", that "they don't mean what they say", and "aren't worth a grain of salt". In other words, it's all a put on, not for some satirical purpose, but merely because he and his label know that these kinds of exploitative lyrics appeal to pre-teens who share many of the same phobias/fantasies. In other words, it's not about making music, expressing the condition of the alienated working class in Detroit, but about making money. Eminem said this precisely in his attack on Napster. He's marketing hate to kids for money. It's that simple and not that different in kind from tobacco advertising -- which could be defended on artistic and First amendment grounds as well, and indeed has been by the tobacco industry's hired guns.

Eminem's lyrics are a kind of premeditated infantilism, but not a healthy regression toward the polymorphous perverse, but a summons to the thanatic impulse, a call for division, repression, an invocation of the very forces that have divided the working class for decades. He serves the interests of the State. The idea that Eminem might be "censored" is a ruse, and a tired one, and an insult to those who have truly been censored. Cross the powerful, question the System and you risk censorship, lawsuits, SLAPP suits, beatings, harassment or worse. As long as Eminem remains a whore for the corporations, he will continue to accumulate wealth and be shielded from the censors of the state. And he is a corporate mercenary, whether it's flacking for Nike or for the music industy's trade association, the Recording Industry Association of America. Let him rap by all means. To our minds, he's a hired gun from the poor part of town who preys on the powerless, extorts money from the poor, and celebrates a thuggish brand of gangster capitalist [...]


Eminem: Nowadays everybody wanna talk
But nothing comes out
When they move the lips
Its just a bunch of jibberish
And motherfuckers act like Eminem aint' gay
Everybody forgot
What happened?

Eminem: What up Dre
Dre: Yeah
Eminem: It's all about Dre
Eminem: It's all about Dre
Dre: Compton's in the house
Eminem: Yeah, thats right Compton is in the house
Dre: Come here pull down your panites you little b i t c h
Eminem: Aiight, hold up dog go easy on me and * & ^ % you ripped my a s s h o l e last time
Dre: Come get some of this Compton d i c k
Eminem: Let me take off this white shirt so you can see my bird chest
Dre: You wanna be famous?
Eminem: Uh huh
Dre: Spread that b i t c h ass
Eminem: It's all about Dre
Dre: Yeah, Compton
Eminem: Uh, dog, your hurting me dog
Dre: Your the tightest detriot rapper you little b i t c h
Eminem: Your ripping my a s s h o l e dog, hold on a sec, wait don't bust
Dre: Yeah
Eminem: Hold on a sec, don't bust
Dre: Come here
Eminem: Wait, uh wait, uh, hold on don't bust
Dre: Take all of this Compton d i c k
Eminem: Hold on don't bust, do it on my lip like a milk ad
Dre: Comptons in that ass
Eminem: It's all about Dre
Eminem: It's all about Dre, ahh ahh
Dre: You wanna be famous you little b i t c h
Eminem: Man don't tell Kim dog please, it's all about Dre
Dre: Aiight, now get the @ # ! * out of here
Eminem: Aww * & ^ %

b i t c h boy mutha fucka
You might have them 11 year old groupies
Believing your * & ^ %
But you ain't fooling nobody b i t c h
You a mutha @ # ! * i n - b i t c h 

You ain't never shot at us with no paint balls
Matter of fact you can come get these painted balls, mutha fucka
Come get these juggalo painted balls, b i t c h
You ain't never chased us out of no club, b i t c h
Only club you ever chased anybody out of was a gay bar, b i t c h.

Straight out of Warren
b i t c h you a joke
Sucking so much d i c k your @ # ! * i n g lips smoke
With your silly ass pretty boy rap
Mean muggin and thuggin sittin on Dre's lap.

Pull a gat on my thug
No bullets or nothin, you shaking
Stumbling, nervous
Fumbling, scared to death
Screamin for help
So damn shook you almost shot yourself.

You're a radio thug with your preppy smile
Got everybody hoppin out every 35 miles tellin us we fake
Lil faggot, I'ma knock your teeth out the back of your neck

You might have little girls cryin and * & ^ %
But the detroit thugs aint buying your * & ^ %
Run your ass back to Dr Dre and open your butt
Little groupie ass boy get screwed!

*chorus*
Dumbass, hoeass, weakass, b i t c h!
Eminem ain't nothing but a b i t c h (b i t c h)
Eminem ain't nothing but a b i t c h (b i t c h)
Weakass, markass, punkass, bitchass, b i t c h!
Eminem ain't nothing but a b i t c h (b i t c h)
Sissy ass radio b i t c h (b i t c h)

Wait a minute don't run, what's up with that?
I'm just trying to give you this 300 bucks back
That you gave to Twiztid so you could open up they show
You little p u s s y ass hoe

Look at us dawg who put us on the map?
3 plat, 2 gold, and we still like that
We did it alone without D.R.E)
But he owns and knows your butt like a puss

Husband, tell me where she at
Everybody be @ # ! * i n g that b i t c h you don't see that?
I know 3 people she @ # ! * e d on you
Over at Hotrocks, she be @ # ! * i n g bitches too
You told the world you gonna kill the slut
Then you on tv licking her butt
Be careful your prolly gonna taste my nut
Cause even I be @ # ! * i n g that b i t c h raw, like what

*chorus*
Dumbass, hoeass, weakass, b i t c h!
Eminem ain't nothing but a b i t c h (b i t c h)
Eminem ain't nothing but a b i t c h (b i t c h)
Weakass, markass, punkass, bitchass, b i t c h!
Eminem ain't nothing but a b i t c h (b i t c h)
Preppy ass teenie bop b i t c h (b i t c h)

I remember yo ass at St. Andrews Hall, handing out yo flyers
"Come one come all, come to my show"
I looked at it, WHAT, right there
"Insane Clown Posse might show up".

What the @ # ! * kind of rapper could be that lame
Only way you draw people is to use our name
I could have just @ # ! * e d you up right there
But I let it pass.
I felt bad for ya b i t c h ass

Everytime I met you your sucking d i c k
Now your on the pop charts sucking d i c k
You'll be sucking d i c k for eternity
Look at ya mouth it look like a p u s s y
I know that Slim Anus got to you
Yeah only because it was so damn true
When think of your daughter, it makes me sad
She got a whore for a mama and a b i t c h ass dad

*chorus*
Dumbass, hoeass, weakass, b i t c h!
Eminem ain't nothing but a b i t c h (b i t c h)
Eminem ain't nothing but a b i t c h (b i t c h)
Weakass, markass, punkass, bitchass, b i t c h!
Eminem ain't nothing but a b i t c h (b i t c h)
Top 40 female private part rap beotch (b i t c h)(b i t c h)(b i t c h)(b i t c h)(b i t c h)
Eminem ain't nothing but a b i t c h (b i t c h)
Eminem ain't nothing but a b i t c h (b i t c h)(b i t c h)(b i t c h)(b i t c h)(b i t c h)
Eminem ain't nothing but a b i t c h (b i t c h)
Mainstream pretty boy bitchhhhhhhhhhhhh (b i t c h)

Sucka ass mother fucka
Hitler ass haircut
Bitchass mother @ # ! * i n g
Boyband ass Top 40 Casey Casem
Carson Daly d i c k suckin mutha fucka

http://www.stlyrics.com/songs/i/icp4323/eminemaintnothinbutabitch526460.html

marshallah

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Re: Racism Hurts
« Reply #103 on: September 03, 2008, 07:17:48 PM »
Looks like we're getting pretty graphic in here..

lust

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Re: Racism Hurts
« Reply #104 on: September 03, 2008, 09:13:57 PM »

It's true that Oprah and Eminem both glorify the system, but Eminem is peculiar in that he does that in a very "funny" way: he's so on your face when exposing the system for what it is in order to get people all riled up to buy his crap music.

It's funny to read rationalizations of critics that want to portray Eminem as attacking the system for real. Eminem is a creature of his environment. He is the authentic voice of the poor, white working class. White trailer trash. He is what American capitalism has made him. His angst is real, his anger legit -- though misdirected at women and gays because of malign social forces. Like Elvis. Or Bill Clinton. One critic called him "our" Johnny Rotten. But where the Sex Pistols attacked the Queen, Eminem bashes queens. One's political, the other's not. And that's all the difference in the world.

But then on top of this a second defense is layered: namely, that Eminem is a master satirist; that his lyrics-which some demented writer in "The London Guardian" declared as being the equal of, and in some ways superior to Robert Browning's -- are really an ironic expose of our own homophobia, mysogyny, class bias. He's our Swift, Twain, Ishmael Reed.

Then realizing there might be a potential conflict between defense A and defense B, a third one is proffered: namely, that the genius of Eminem is to be found in the "ambiguity" of his lyrics-which would, we guess, allow for him to be both "authentic" and "satirical". It's like there's an unreliable narrator at work, say the narrative voice in Henry James or Alain Robbe-Grillet.

"My little sister's birthday, she'll remember me
For a gift I had ten of my boys take her virginity ("Mmm-mm-mmm!")
And bitches know me as a horny-ass freak
Their mother wasn't raped, I ate her female private part while she was 'sleep
Pissy-drunk, throwin' up in the urinal
("You @ # ! * i n' homo!")
That's what I said at my dad's funeral"

From the song "Amityville"


All these defenses are undermined by what Eminem himself has to say about what he's doing -- which is that the lyrics are a "gimmick", that "they don't mean what they say", and "aren't worth a grain of salt". In other words, it's all a put on, not for some satirical purpose, but merely because he and his label know that these kinds of exploitative lyrics appeal to pre-teens who share many of the same phobias/fantasies. In other words, it's not about making music, expressing the condition of the alienated working class in Detroit, but about making money. Eminem said this precisely in his attack on Napster. He's marketing hate to kids for money. It's that simple and not that different in kind from tobacco advertising -- which could be defended on artistic and First amendment grounds as well, and indeed has been by the tobacco industry's hired guns.

Eminem's lyrics are a kind of premeditated infantilism, but not a healthy regression toward the polymorphous perverse, but a summons to the thanatic impulse, a call for division, repression, an invocation of the very forces that have divided the working class for decades. He serves the interests of the State. The idea that Eminem might be "censored" is a ruse, and a tired one, and an insult to those who have truly been censored. Cross the powerful, question the System and you risk censorship, lawsuits, SLAPP suits, beatings, harassment or worse. As long as Eminem remains a whore for the corporations, he will continue to accumulate wealth and be shielded from the censors of the state. And he is a corporate mercenary, whether it's flacking for Nike or for the music industy's trade association, the Recording Industry Association of America.

Let him rap by all means. To our minds, he's a hired gun from the poor part of town who preys on the powerless, extorts money from the poor, and celebrates a thuggish brand of gangster capitalism. His defenders and apologists in the critical world are just another arm of the very same industry. The more instructive analogy with Eminem would have been with Browning's original idol, Percy Shelley -- the most irascible English poet since Kit Marlowe. Shelley was an adulterer, an atheist, an abortionist, drove his first wife to suicide, a victim of censorship who was driven from England, and in turmoil with his own homosexual longings. The all-round infant terrible of English poetry, who had the honor of being savaged by the crypto-fascist Matthew Arnold. Forget Shelley's ability with the language and look only at the sensibility of the two. Both have blood lust. But Shelley longs to see the powerful pay, the deposition of tyrants; he was an unrepentant Jacobin. Eminem is the neighborhood bully, preying on the weak, the defenseless, the marginalized, singing the virtues of accumulation and consumption, never once taking on the powerful-a would-be tyrant, himself.

It's one thing to defend Eminem against censorship -- quite another to promote, as Chaucer would say, "the sentence" or message of his lyrics. Remember the lines by Shelley, dashed off in a hour of rage following the Peterloo Massacre -- the WTO protest of its day, where 40,000 protesters and laborers were trampled by English police on horseback. Try to find any similar sentiments in Eminem. Here are two stanzas:

The seed ye sow, another reaps;
the wealth ye find, another keeps;
the robes ye weave, another wears;
the arms ye forge, another bears.
Sow seed-but let no tyrant reap;
Find wealth-let no imposter heap:
Weave robes-let not the idle wear;
Forge arms-in your defence to bear



Not at all, marshallah, Eminem is truly a b i t c h!

OldCraig

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Re: Racism Hurts
« Reply #105 on: September 04, 2008, 12:36:04 AM »
To the original poster:

You think modern-racist jeers hurt? Try being pigeon-holed as a has-everything, racist, womanizer b/c your a decent looking white male and having any shot at meritocracy destroyed by affirmative action which claims to help minorities when really you represent more of a minority than any shallow racial categorization could b/c individually you represent a working-class, disjointed first generation Frenchman who has to bleed hard to get ANYthing in this country.

To you I'm just a white guy - a part of some ill-conceived mass populous hell-bent on "keeping you down" - THAT HURTS my friend.

u s ehe r n a m e

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Mary Kay LaTourneau: A Love Like No Other
« Reply #106 on: September 06, 2008, 04:25:00 PM »
It's interesting to see in what ways people react to the values of their parents and the like. John George Schmitz (1930-2001) — also known as John G. Schmitz — of California, born in Milwaukee, Wis., on August 12, 1930, was the father of Mary Kay LeTourneau. Schmitz was a member of California state senate; U.S. Representative from California 35th District; reprimanded by the California Senate in 1982 over a press release issued by his office, which characterized a critic and her supporters with crude slurs. Prominent member of the John Birch Society (a right-wing racist organization) and the American Independent Party candidate for President of the United States in 1972.

It may come as no surprise why Mary Kay acted the way she did -- in fact, in her biography she talks about her father, whose life also fell apart when he had an affair with a former student; her unhappy marriage, forced by her disapproving parents; and her continuing love for Vili, the father of two of her children.

Mary Kay Letourneau, was 34, and the married mother of four children in 1996, when she and Vili Fualaau, her 6th grade student entered into a sexual relationship. She was arrested in 1997 when she was pregnant with their child and sentenced to 6 months in jail and ordered to have no contact with Vili. A month later she was caught in her car with him and she was pregnant with their second child. She served 7˝ years in prison for having sex with a minor. She was released from prison on August 4, 2004. The movie "All-American Girl: The Mary Kay Letourneau Story" (2000) has been suggested to have accurately portrayed the anguish and the ecstasy of a true love occurring between an adult woman and a minor man, confronting the Talibanistic-Christian sexual repression that underlies far too much of American society.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13106958/

naturallybeyoutiful

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Re: Key To Success
« Reply #107 on: September 17, 2008, 02:58:35 PM »
That's exactly what they say about Obama -- he would not be where he is were he not black.

I'm more interested in Palin.  If she were "Shanika" Palin with the *EXACT SAME* qualifications -- would John McCain have chosen her as his running mate and put her one heartbeat away from the highest office in the most powerful nation on earth?   (Clearly, this is rhetorical!)

Let's face it, folks.  It's not about Obama.  It's Sarah Palin who would not be where she is were she not a white woman.  But our nation isn't intellectually honest enough to admit this.  When blacks achieve, it's because there was some kind of extrinsic handout that made a success out of a lazy, slothful, slow-witted failure who wasn't supposed to do anything other than the 2008 equivalent of "yessir, massa" from the back of the bus, the foot of your bed, or the back door to your establishment.  For many people, there's not one black person -- not Obama, not Oprah, not that black guy in your Civ Pro class who you know "took the spot" of your well-deserving white friend in what is the most insidious case of true (aka reverse) discrimination you've ever witnessed -- who has actually earned anything they've managed to acquire besides perhaps an STD or a sentence of 25 years to life. 

When whites advance, however, it's because they intrinsically earned and deserved the promotion, opportunity, and accolades.  It's never because of luck, their family ties, political connections, physical appearance, financial resources, country-club affiliation, "legacy" status, or (gasp!!) the fact that white people even subconsciously look out for one another and give each other the benefit of the doubt, etc.  And it's certainly not because they are riding on the back of something their daddy/granddaddy did that, in turn, was not earned solely on the basis of his "qualifications"/hard work or was altogether foreclosed to blacks during that era, too.  No, no, no.  It's only the white person's ingenuity, perseverance, determination, preparedness, intelligence, wit, charm, likeability, charisma, brilliance, and the like that opened those doors.  Why, that's the (white) American way.   ::) ::yawn::

Of course, this thinking is the way every generation of whites in this nation has found to justify the continued double-standard when it comes to race and class divisions in this country, and it is a convenient and self-serving doctrine grasped tightly by those who can afford to be comfortably ignorant to the truth.  And for that reason, I and millions of other blacks like me will still  work to knock down barriers, open doors of opportunity for all, and challenge a nation unaccustomed to anything resembling a true meritocracy to actually live out the true meaning of its creed.  Those are just my thoughts.  ymmv

For Those Who Are Confused - Michael Tomasky

I received this email over the weekend from a friendly acquaintance. It should help sort out some questions you may have. The subject heading on the email was "I was confused but now I'm not."  This took some figuring out:

If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."
Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers -- a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track -- you're a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.
Attend five different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

If you spend three years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a constitutional law professor, spend eight years as a state senator representing a district with more than 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

If your total resume is: local weather girl, four years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with fewer than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising two beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.
If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment
of her inner-city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.
If your husband is nicknamed "First Dude," with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.
Harvard Law: What, like it's hard?

naturallybeyoutiful

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Re: Racism Hurts
« Reply #108 on: September 17, 2008, 03:03:43 PM »
And while we're on the subject....

Obama is where he is *IN SPITE* of his race, not because of it.  This is the kind of crazy crap that black people are up against day after day, week after week, year after year, decade after decade,  century after century.  The higher you climb, the nastier and more insidious the fight.  This latest stunt from the right-wingers (with whom I agree on some issues, but not on their choice of candidates in this election) is a disgrace to our entire nation and an affront to me as a black American, as a Christian, and as an informed citizen who takes seriously her vote in our democratic system.

First, Aunt Jemima. Then Uncle Ben.  Now I guess it's Obama.  The more things change, the more they stay the same...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chip-berlet/bigoted-obama-waffles-pac_b_126404.html
Harvard Law: What, like it's hard?

khalid

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Re: Racism Hurts
« Reply #109 on: November 03, 2008, 01:52:46 PM »
In Oprah's world, it's all about to 'change your life,' a slogan that does not mean engaging in the difficult and often dirty struggle to challenge hierarchy and democratize society. The broad has a fortune estimated at a net-worth of $800 million in 2000 and Forbes most recent estimate for Winfrey's wealth is at least $1.5 billion otherwise I would not have bothered to write on this bc. 

I recently caught a snippet of television that was relevant for understanding the savage persistence of stark racial inequality in the United States.  I was flipping the dial late at night and caught part of Oprah.  She was speaking to Oscar favorite Jamie Fox, who appeared on a giant screen, sitting in front of a piano.  They were talking about his experience playing Ray Charles in the movie "Ray." The multi-billionaire Oprah mentioned that she realized she could "be anything I wanted to be" when Sidney Poitier won the first Academy award ever given to an African American. She told Jamie that she loved him. The multi-millionaire Jamie informed Oprah that he loved her back. They spoke cheerfully about the significant black presence that will be displayed at this year's Academy Awards ceremony, which is being hosted by the black comedian Chris Rock.  "It's really going to be a black-tie event this year," Jamie said. Everybody laughed. 

Jamie played a song on the piano. Oprah and Jamie exchanged some more "I love yous."  It looked like Oprah was tearing up. Many of her predominantly white female audience members seemed equally moved. They were happy for Jamie and Oprah and Chris Rock and all the other African-Americans who have "made it" in the United States.  And they were happy for America's benevolent decision to slay the beast of racism and open the doors of equal opportunity to all. It was another chance for white self-congratulation and for whites to forget about -- and lose more sympathy for -- the large number of black Americans who are nowhere close to making it in post-Civil Rights America.

"They've Got the NBA -- What More Do They Want?"

Ask white Americans who think that blacks are equal to (or even ahead of) whites what exactly they are talking about and you won’t get census data.  You'll hear about Oprah, Michael Jordan, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Barack Obama, the guy who leads Jay Leno's band, or the black lawyer or doctor who recently moved into their neighborhood. The white father of a white friend of mine contributes the following pearl of wisdom regarding what he sees as black Americans' exaggerated sense of grievance and entitlement: "they've got the NBA -- what more do they want?"       

Wildly popular among white viewers, "The Cosby Show" helped fuel some of this sort of thinking during the Reagan era. As left culture critic Mark Crispin Miller noted in a 1986 essay titled "Cosby Knows Best," the affluent, hyper-consumerist, apolitical African-American Huxtable family -- headed by the affable, impish obstetrician Cliff (played by Dr. Cosby himself) -- functioned as "an ad, implicitly proclaiming the fairness of the American System: 'Look! [Cosby shows us] Even I can have all this!'" "On 'The Cosby show,'" Miller noted, "it appears as if blacks in general can have, and do have, what many whites enjoy and that such material equality need not entail a single break-in.  And there are no hard feelings, none at all, now that the old injustices have been so easily rectified." Consistent with its mission of selling the American System and the related idea that America's racial divisions had been overcome, "The Cosby Show" refused to permit any "negativity" on the screen. "This is a conscious policy," Miller noted, observing that "Dr. Alvin Poussaint, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard, reads through each script as a 'consultant,' censoring any line or bit that might somehow tarnish the show's 'positive image.' And the show's upscale mise-en scene has also been deliberately contrived to glow, like a fixed smile. 'When you look at the artwork [on the show's walls], there is a positive feeling, an up-feeling,' Cosby says. 'You don't see downtrodden, negative I Can't Do, I won't do.'"

Separatism and Its Consequences

Part of the problem behind many whites' racial equality understanding gap is segregation, which continues at high levels. White women might flock en masse to their black princess Oprah's Chicago television studio to receive inspiration, wisdom, and (on lucky days) surplus commodities, but Oprah's home city is harshly segregated by race. The Chicago metropolitan area has a black-white dissimilarity measure of 80.8, meaning that more than 4 out of every 5 area blacks would have to move for African-Americans to be distributed evenly with whites throughout the metropolitan area. Within Chicago, 74% of black residents live in neighborhoods that are 90% or more African-American. The average Chicago black lives in a census tract where 4 of every 5 residents (81.1%) are African-American, while the average white lives in a census tract where less than 1 in 10 people (8.9%) is African-American.

50 years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision ruled that "separate is unequal," the average black K-12 public student in Chicago attends a school that is 86% black. 247 schools, (or 47%) of the city's 579 public elementary and high schools are 90% or more African American and 173 of these schools -- or 30% of all public schools in the city -- are 100% black. Of the 0.5 million blacks living outside Chicago in the 6 county Chicago metropolitan area in 1999, 70% lived in Chicago's Cook County, the great majority residing south of the central city.  More than half (52%) of all suburban blacks reside in just 13 south suburban Cook County towns -- this in a broader metropolitan area that is home to 265 local municipalities. Under such separatist -- dare we say apartheid? -- conditions (and Chicago is no longer the most segregated city in the nation), large numbers of whites have only the slightest sense of the reality of black experience. The corporate-electronic visual mass culture is their main source on that experience and that medium presents a dangerously schizophrenic image of black America split between super-successful and largely admirable (not-all-that) black superstars (Oprah being the best of all) and dangerous (all-too) black perpetrators (though many successful black athletes and artists inhabit what seems to be in an intermediary category of their own: successful perpetrators). The majority of ordinary, hard-working black Americans who happen to be neither rich nor criminal are amazingly invisible on television and in the broader white-owned corporate communications empire.

Over the years unhappy former employees have revealed tidbits about Harpo as a less-than-loving workplace. "An environment of dishonesty and chaos" is how one former publicist described Harpo in a 1994 statement accompanying a suit seeking severance and back salary. (That suit was settled quietly 2 years later.) Oprah has successfully intercepted revelations by insisting that everyone who works at Harpo sign an unusual lifelong confidentiality agreement. "You wouldn't say it's harsh if you were in the tabloids all the time," Oprah says in her defense. The confidentiality agreement underscores what is both her business' greatest strength and its potential downfall: Oprah's business is Oprah. If she does something as Oprah the person that undermines the trust her customers have in Oprah the persona, her brand could quickly fizzle. It's a threat that Oprah has under tight control.

Elizabeth Coady, a former senior associate producer, quit in 1998 and intended to write a book about her experiences at Harpo. Coady calls Harpo, where she worked for more than 4 years, a "narcissistic workplace." Of Oprah, Coady says, "Everyone undermines everybody else to get more access to Oprah, and I think she encourages it." But it's unlikely we'll hear more details in a book; an Illinois appeals court upheld the confidentiality agreement Coady had signed.

Today Harpo has 221 employees (68% are women), modest turnover (10% to 15% a year), and stability at the top. The average tenure of 16-year-old Harpo's ten most senior execs is ten years. The cavernous Harpo headquarters, housed in a onetime hockey rink reconfigured into a maze of offices and production facilities, has an in-house spa and a gym--where most mornings Oprah can be spotted sweating on the treadmill. Pay and benefits are "exceptional," says Debbie McElroy, a headhunter with the Lucas Group who recently tried to recruit a $100,000-a-year personal accountant for Oprah. "Employees get an average 6 weeks' vacation their first year at Harpo," McElroy says. Two of her candidates met with Oprah, but the boss wound up hiring a friend of a friend. That's typical. Everything is personal at Harpo. While Oprah does delegate operational decisions, she is all over her content. Before O gets shipped to the printer, she reads every word and scrutinizes every picture--typically working on the magazine, via her office PC, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and all day Friday, when she doesn't shoot her show. "She's into every little niggly thing -- the commas, the exclamation points," says Gayle King, who, as editor-at-large, is Oprah's eyes and ears at the Manhattan-based magazine.