Postings – TMZ – Russell Simmons vs Geraldo

Sometimes, I post on the internet and oftentimes those posts are censored for one reason or another, typically because a buzz word or two is caught and filters will put your post in a queue to be “moderated.”

Well, after I take five minutes to respond to someone, it is extremely annoying to have no one ever read that post. I know that posting it here is almost the same thing, but heck, at least I will feel a little better. So, from now on, if I spend more than a couple of minutes composing a reply, I am going to put it here so that I do not feel like it goes to waste!  I will also post other comments I make if I just feel like I want to go back and read what I have said in the past, to see if my opinions evolve much. A little personal project.

So, we are going to start with TMZ for this!

The story is about the wonderful Geraldo Rivera implying that Russell Simmons has hurt the black community for promoting hip-hop culture and that such imagery prevents black people from becoming employable. The comments from the comment section flows as:

(I am Krazilia Love)

I’m black but I agree with Geraldo. A lot of people from other races pre-judge us all and think we are that music. We’re not that music, we just like to get down to it-just as other races do. Hop-Hip and Rap are not a lifestyle for most black people, we just listen to it.

That has more to do with the fact that we do not have a balanced image in the media. Minorities, in general, are shown almost always in the most negative light. That is intentional.

Would you also agree that there’s a lot of negative light to show?

There is a lot of negative light amongst all of humanity to show. There are no shortages of Honey Boo Boos out there, no shortages of white people doing wrong. Hell, we have a whole network dedicated to almost nothing but white people doing other white people wrong (ID). There is no shortage of white men driving our country’s economy off the cliff (repeatedly throughout history, mind you), and that does more harm to you than any black person will. There is no shortage of white sexual predators, and this is just white men. There are bad white women out there too, see: Dr. Phil or any reality show. (hahaha)

Yet, white people get a much more balanced projection of their community. This balance allows people to feel comfortable with giving white people the benefit of the doubt, since it is reasonable to think that they could be a good person until they are proven wrong. People of color do not get that because most white people do not have interaction with black people. They get their information from the media, and since the media mostly shows black people in a negative light, that becomes who black people are. (And this also works against black people, especially poor black people who have only witnessed what it is like to live around other poverty-stricken black people. The media reinforces what they see so they assume that that is all black people have to offer, which fosters self-fulfilling prophecies that help to continue the cycle of poverty.)

So, back to my original comment… Black people do not have a balanced media image. That is not to say that there are no bad black people, it is to say that there is a lot more good that people never/rarely get to see or hear about so they think it does not exist. Just like that tree falling in the forest that does not make a sound…

After I told the individual that I was responding to that my message had been censored and that truncated my message down to “There is negative light amongst humanity in general,” he replied with:

Ok but in today’s day wouldn’t you say there’s less humanity going on in the black race?

Is there less humanity going on in the black race as compared to other races?

What tends to be missing from all of these conversations is context. If you are comparing gang areas to the rest of the country, then you are taking a very superficial look at what black people have to offer.

The fact is that in poverty stricken areas, crime is their jobs program and the vast majority of the men, in those areas, who become part of the system when they are children and do not have the capacity to make decisions that will not have an impact on their lives. What they know is that they are hungry and living in poverty and that guy selling drugs is telling them that if they do it too, they will get to eat and get some toys to play with. Once you are in the system, particular in OUR system in the US, it is very hard to get out because the focus is not actually on rehabilitating anyone. Besides, when they get back out onto the streets, where are the jobs that they are to work?

I ask this question all the time, but I have yet to get a tangible/feasible answer – If every gangbanger left their gang tomorrow, where would they work? Forget their record, and how hard it is to get a job as a black man, even if you are not a criminal, what about the fact that the jobs just do not exist?

It is easy to look at the end result of the drug war, of gangs, and say that the people selling drugs and killing to protect their territory, or their name, are just bad and lack humanity, but ask yourself what led to it. Then ask yourself what kind of foundation is there in ANY poor community to fix it. The schools are poor, too. The schools turn out graduates who cannot even pass college entry exams, so how exactly are they to attain jobs that pay anything approaching a living wage? How do they pay for it unless they are above average in intellect (or athletic ability, of course) and qualify for enough scholarships?

So, no black people are not lacking humanity any more than the (largely) white men who decided to send in thousands of troops to kill hundreds of thousands of people who did not attack us on 9 11. Think of the big picture before you accuse people of lacking humanity based simply on the color of their skin.

Needless to say, if you are looking to have an in depth conversation about race relations, TMZ is not the place to do it. It does not make it any less frustrating to read such gross simplifications of what is happening in poverty-stricken black communities in America. As stated above, it is easy to look at the result of something, the fallout, and work backwards to assume that it has something to do with the inherent make-up of the individuals who perpetrate the actions, but it takes a bit more to actually consider what led to the actions in the first place.


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