Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Race Relations: It Ain't Soup Yet

Wassup, Y'all!

I know you've been missing me cuz I've been missing myself! I've been tending to some out of state family business but I'm back in mama's COLD AZZ Chicago basement typing away. During my travels I finally got a chance to peep the February 2007 issue of Ebony (for a good overview of the dilly between Ebony/Jet and southsiders check out Skeptical Brotha). Despite Smooth Barack on the cover, my interest was directed toward an article about the history of the N-word ("Enough! Why Blacks - and Whites - should never use the N-word again") and why Johnson Publishing (the publishers of Ebony/Jet) plan to never use the word in their mags again (unless signed off on explicitly by the editor...). Part of the article includes a short side panel article titled 'Just One More Angry Nigger' by Michael Johnson and it is this article on which ol Ty wishes to expound...

Michael Johnson is the founder and president of the Baartman-Biko Environmental Research Institute in the Western Cape of South Africa. MJ's the son of a southside Catholic father and a northside Jewish mother and as you can see from the companion glossy he looks just like a northsider (it all depends on the genetics y'all as Smooth Barack's parents are also southside and northside yet he looks distinctly southside...). History tells us that if you have one drop of southside blood running through your body (let alone 50%) you are a southsider. MJ writes the article from the perspective of a southside man in a northside body. Looking the way he does, he has been allowed the relatively unique experience of mingling with northsiders and being privvy to their innermost racial thoughts because they think he's one of them.

Remember my old 'It Don't Matter If You're Black or White' post? That joint talked about several cases of 'passing' (camouflaging yourself so you can operate freely in an opposite culture) including the still funny bit that Eddie Murphy did on SNL. Well apparently nothing has changed on that front and, not surprisingly, MJ discussed how everywhere he went and in every social setting he hung out in, invariably the folks around him (note: not all but there would always be a few) would refer to southsiders by the word they've grown most comfortable with - niggers (or 'silly negro' if you take Eddie Murphy's PC route).

Just recently Paris Hilton was seen in her 'private' video collection droppin' the N-word like she was all comfortable with it. Similarly, you have the next generation of leaders at Clemson University stuntin' like their daddies by kicking it at a 'gangsta' theme party.

You'll hear many northsiders postulate on how far race relations have come and how southsiders need to stop living in the past since slavery ended back in the 1800's. Seems to me that since Ebony & Jet's primary demographic is southsiders, their stand on the N-word is only meeting half the need. Might be good if northside parents start muting that noise as well since that ugly racial culture is still percolating dangerously close to that 'sweetness and light' surface especially since these days you never really know who is standing right next to you (note to the homeboys in Smitty's barbershop (Chicago) - you might want to mute those northside jokes too when Smooth Barack is in the chair...).

All y'all need to get a clue! Increase the peace people! One planet. One race (human). One love.



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