Comparatively Speaking (Part 1)
edited: Friday, September 07, 2007
By Jonathan D Richardson
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
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.
(Author Autographed Copies) www.nowitsdonepublish.com or www.amazon.com
Please find below an excerpt from a book entitled: The Complicated Life Of The African-American Man(What’s on his mind) Available at: www.authorsden.com
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
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
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
other team, and we hear cries for the coach’s firing and
the player’s suspension.
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