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Jonathan D Richardson

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Comparatively Speaking (Part 1)
by Jonathan D Richardson   
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, September 07, 2007
Posted: Friday, September 07, 2007

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How we see and hear Race

Comparatively Speaking (Part I)

"This is not about Race or Color, this is simply about guilt or innocence". "This is not a Black or White issue, it is an issue of Right or Wrong".

As we in America converse about topics involving African-Americans or other people of color, there is a tendency by those of European descent to downplay the role that Race or Color plays in the subjects discussed.

While simple Guilt or Innocence, Right or Wrong may be the logical and appropriate desired result when breaching subject matter that involves alleged wrongdoing by someone of color, simple does not seem to adequately encapsulate all the elements that are present in the Thoughts of African-Americans. We believe that the Who, Why and When of allegations and convictions in not only the court of law but also the court of public opinion is oftentimes decided by those who factor Race and Color into their equation.

We know that historically America has treated Blacks and Whites differently, but since slavery was eradicated, Jim Crow defeated, and Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Baseball, hasn’t racial equality been achieved? Doesn’t everyone get treated alike now?

Well, Comparatively Speaking...

Michael Vick (Dog Fighter)


The Barbie Bandits (Bank Robbers)

Michael Vick is ready to plead guilty to Federal Dog fighting charges. Two Georgia women have admitted or pleaded guilty to robbing a Bank Of America of approximately $10,000.

After it was reported that Michael Vick was being indicted on Federal charges related to dog fighting, the media began to report of the "Ruthless" nature of dog fighting. They (the media) began to show images of "Maimed" dogs and to tell us how some of the dogs had been "Brutally" killed by people on Virginia property owned by Michael Vick. "Hanged", "Drowned" and even "Slammed" to the ground were words used to describe the apparent methods used by these men to kill dogs. Most images of Michael Vick shown on television, the internet or in the print media, seemed to be those of a "Stern" faced man. The fact that this man had played in the N.F.L. for approximately seven years without publicly running afoul of the law, seemed to have little bearing on how he was being portrayed after the revelations of his "Alleged" dog fighting activities. Even before he plead guilty, he lost almost all of his endorsement deals and was protested or picketed by animal rights groups and others. He was lambasted in the media and in the court of public opinion.

The two women in Georgia who presumably robbed a Bank Of America (one woman had already plead guilty at the time of this article) have been portrayed a bit differently. First, they have been dubbed "The Barbie Bandits". "Barbie" seemingly referring to their good looks and blonde hair. The word "Bandit" does not have the same harsh inference as "Robbers". So we have the words "Barbie Bandits" that conjures up images of these pretty people committing an unlawful act. We do not however, have the more "Vile" image of "Bank Robbers" who went into a Bank and "Stole" approximately $10,000 of hardworking American people’s money. The print, internet and televised media often referred to these two as "Girls", giving the impression that these are not fully competent adults, but impressionable youth who may or may not have comprehended the seriousness of their actions. These were two grown women (both were 18 years of age or older at the time of the robbery). Further perpetuating the inference of "Girls" instead of "Women" is the fact that the mother of one of the "Bank Robbers" (oops, "Barbie Bandits", we have to keep it feeling cute and cuddly here) was interviewed by the media and stated that her daughter (and presumably her friend) had gotten involved with the "Wrong" crowd. Seeming to imply that if it were not for the influence of these "Undesirables" in their lives, they would have "Never" done anything like that.

One of the women was given an interview on an evening news program before her trial began. We were shown her baby pictures and told of how great a child she was. She was filmed at Church with her family. Then we were able to hear from her and her parents. The woman let us know that she had made a terrible "Mistake" and how she now wants to go to college.

Both Michael Vick and these two Bank Robbing "Barbie Bandits" have committed acts that deserve punishment. The problem is, that "Comparatively Speaking", America has "Vilified" one and "Excused" or "Made Victims" of the other. It is easy to want to condemn the "Brutal", "Barbaric" and "Heinous" acts of the "Man" who took part in this "Vicious" enterprise. But to subject these "Barbie Bandit Girls", who were "Drawn" into being involved by the "Wrong" crowd to a sentence that could "Ruin" their future is unfathomable.

The Court Of Public Opinion has reached it’s verdict: Michael Vick, you get what you deserve you "Brute". "Barbie Bandits", you "Girls" made a "Mistake", watch who you befriend in the future and don’t let it happen again.


Please find below an excerpt from a book entitled: The Complicated Life Of The African-American Man(What’s on his mind) Available at: (Author Autographed Copies) or

This excerpt (as well as other topics covered in this thought provoking book) will give the reader a better understanding and feel for the African-American perspective.

To Get Insight, Is To Get Information;

To Truly Be Informed, One Must Truly Listen;

If One Is Inclined To Listen, One Is Destined To Learn

The Complicated Life

Liberal Media? (Portrayals, Perceptions, and


pg. 114

Click, the television is turned on. Now, are the television

shows simply reflecting the societal norm or are

they influencing and initiating the activities and trends of

their viewers? Is the clothing style shown on television

simply a reflection of the style already established, or is it

helping influence future fashion trends by showing the

next "must have" clothing item? The truth seems to lie

somewhere in the middle. Yes, some of the images shown

are societal reflections, yet some of the images are influential

on the future trends and activities of its viewers. At

times, both scenarios are present simultaneously.

One puzzling element of the theory of cause and effect

(which includes elements of perceptions and insinuations)

is how white and Black America are often shown

as polar opposites. Negative imagery of African-Americans

is shown to be representative of their actual environment,

culture, and activities. On the other hand, negative

imagery of White America is shown not only as not being

representative of the whole, but there are those who view

the negative imagery and conclude that the negative actions

of whites are simply a result of said imagery.

Oftentimes, the negative imagery is directly connected to

the negative behavior of whites. It is surmised (by some)

that if this negative imagery was not shown, White

America would not be involved in as much negative activity

that plagues society today.

So, it is insinuated that White America would be leading

a wholesome existence if not for the corrupting effects

of negative imagery shown by the media, while negative

imagery of African-Americans is just representative

of who "they" (African-Americans) are.


The Complicated Life

Brutal Reality

pg. 142

Are violent images in America portrayed in black

and white? Violent imagery has been shown in America

for many years. Upon closer examination of these images,

we find that there is a difference in the message

sent. As different as black and white.

We tend to find that the darker the skin hue of the

individual or group perpetrating the violence, oftentimes

the more savage the portrayal.

Historically, we have been shown that the violence

which the Calvary used was justifiable force used in defense

of peaceful settlers or to establish order in an otherwise

untamed area of land. On the other hand, the Indians’

use of violence is shown as disruptive to the otherwise

peaceful existence of the Western settler. The scalping,

burning of wagons and all of the war screams portrayed

by the media leaves one with the impression that

the Indians were some beast like savages, devouring everything

in their path without regard for human life.

As we watch the "mob style" movies shown on television,

though violence is shown to have occurred, there

is a certain romanticizing of the European descended

mobster. The movies portray these mobsters with gentleman-

like qualities and seem to infer that violence was not

the main (or sole) ingredient used by them to rule and

keep order in their domain. In contrast, the black gangsters

are shown as brutal, out of control brutes with no

respect for order and no respect for the sanctity of life.

As I watch a hockey game, it is interesting to see

how the violence that occurs (outside of the checking,

which is acceptable game conduct) is accepted by Americans

as appropriate behavior. I do not believe if I look

into the hockey rule book, that I will find fighting as part

of the game. Scoring goals, defending, checking and passing,


yes, but not fighting. When I look at a game, however,

I will usually see someone on the team whose actual

hockey-playing ability is questionable. This man’s purpose

for being on the team is to simply be an enforcer (or

goon) used by the team to fight when the other team gets

heavy handed or rough with his team’s star player (or players).

So let me get this right, Americans can accept a player

who may not be able to skate as well as a high school

hockey player, may not score a goal all year, and has no

hockey playing reason to be a professional hockey player,

because it is acceptable for someone to be simply a fighter

in a game in which fighting is not a part of the game’s

rules? I have seen entire hockey teams square off on the

ice (gloves removed, helmets taken off, sticks discarded

and fists flying). Americans seem to have this "Let them

settle it on the ice like men" attitude. They cheer and support

this brutish behavior displayed by hockey players.

On the other side of the coin, however, when there is

a sport with a predominantly African-American player

representation, America’s view on acceptable behavior

changes. If a hard foul occurs in a professional basketball

game and the two players involved begin to fight, it is

viewed as outrageous behavior. All of a sudden, the same

person that cheers the fight at the hockey game he went to

with his son, is now appalled that his son had to witness

such behavior from these "overpaid, unprofessional basketball

players." Even in a sport as violent as football,

where aggressiveness is part of the game, it would be hard

to find many accepting of a team fight on the fifty-yard

line to settle an on field dispute. A hockey team can hire

someone specifically to fight and America accepts this

brute with open arms. We witness a black college coach

send a black player into a basketball game to exact revenge

for what he believes are illegal practices by the

Chapter 5 - Think About It

pg. 144

other team, and we hear cries for the coach’s firing and

the player’s suspension.


Jonathan Richardson













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