Is Rapper Common A Victim Of The New Inquisition?
(ThyBlackMan.com) When John Stewart asked Common about how to deal with racism in America, Common answered by mumbling something about putting the past behind us and extending a hand in love and friendship. His answer was far from realistic or analytical. But that was OK. He is a poet, a songwriter, as such lives in the word of song writing sensibilities. (What the world needs now, is love sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.) Furthermore, Rapper Common did not present himself as an authority. He was merely doing the best he could to answer a question.
I was a bit surprised to learn that Rapper Common had joined the sweltering ranks of those black folks who are pilloried and vilified on social media as coons and Uncle Toms for their comments on race. Facebook has been turned into a courtroom for a new Black Inquisition; a place to denounce anyone who may not have all the answers we want to complex racial issues. There are negroes who are detrimental to the African American community, and there are confused black folks who can become valuable assets. How do we proceed? For the purposes of this blog, I’ve devised some categories that may be useful as tools for achieving some clarity and avoiding some pitfalls that I will delineate a bit later.
: Black people who hate black people
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas,
springs to mind. Thomas has voted against the interests of the African American community since he’s been on the Supreme Court. This beneficiary of affirmative action has not only voted against affirmative action, but also in favor of
gutting the Voting Rights Act of 1965. (The ink wasn’t dry on the Supreme Court ruling before several states made draconian moves to limit the ability of African Americans and other minorities to vote.) Former University of California Regent, Ward Connerly,
who grew up impoverished in segregated Louisiana, has devoted his life
to ending affirmative action. There are certain negro preachers who have at least one, if not both, feet in this category. They are mentioned here because they are supposed to be leaders These are people who cannot be helped through information or education. They are educated and know better. They have dedicated their lives to unraveling affirmative action and/or any remedy that might, in any way, make life a bit more just and fair for African Americans. We recognize these people as enemies of the community.
: Unlike the haters, these people are not malevolent; they simply don’t know enough to know that they don’t know enough to speak intelligently on matters of race and politics. Charles Barkley
began a commentary on race by saying he didn’t know anything about slavery. Steven A. Smith
said he wanted all black people to vote Republican because of what the Republican party used to be before all the racist Democrats switched parties and before Barry Goldwater moved the party to the Right and before Richard Nixon alienated black folks with his Southern strategy, and before Ronald Reagan took the Republicans even further to the right by blaming all the economic ills of America on phantom black folks robbing us blind through welfare cheating. We can also include the negro preachers who urged the Congressional Black Caucus to attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s
speech to congress because they confused the extreme right wing and racist
politics of Netanyahu with the Israel of the Old Testament. These people mean well, but are often used by entities like Fox News.
TURN THE OTHER CHEEK CLUB
: This is Common’s true category. The problem is that once you start with Common, you are only a stone’s throw away from Marvin (War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate)
Gaye. Eventually we will wind up at the Big One, M L King Jr.
If we aren’t careful about who we label, we can end up in a circular firing squad, not to mention being guilty of the same self loathing we are condemning others for practicing.
I’m not against identifying negative elements in the community. (I am particularly fatigued by these so-called community leaders who always flock to defend some racist when the racist has to apologize, not for being racist, but for being busted being racist. The latest such incident surrounds the fraternity kid, Levi Pettit, busted leading the racist rant.) This blog is not intended to shame anyone for what they may have put on social media. The whole point is that we are in this thing together, and must hold each other up when we fall. But there is a disturbing trend to quickly label, and it is that trend that bothers me. There was a time when we had writers like Ralph Ellison
, Zora Neal Hurston
and Richard Wright
who held up mirrors for us to examine ourselves and try to maintain a good course. But artists don’t do that anymore, and I’ve seen there may not be much interest if they did.
Staff Writer; William Griggs