MSNBC and the Post-Racial Critter
17 November 2010
Has anyone ever wondered: What is a trick negroe? Who needs a trick negroe? Who would want to be a trick negroe? Why is this trick negroe on my television?
I'm sure those questions hardly ever arise when the average non-black person watches MSNBC and Ron 'Critter' Cristy comes on to defend Dick Cheney, Rush or any other white right-tightened wingnut who has the nerve to say what they really think about the black/white racial divide in this country, (or about the first black President for that matter); except when one such as myself ponders the particulars which lie deeper than just below the surface. Who do you call to justify Rush Limbaugh's obvious hostility toward anyone darker than a paper bag? Who can detect the slightest bit of sensibility in the most outrageously bigoted notions of white superiority and a priori societal privilege while defending the white man who said it? Who would write a book titled 'Acting White' to mask the fact that, (acting as a black man), he spits in the face of countless generations of his own ancestors who died so that he might live here and now? And who does it with a straight face as if his life were somehow severely inconvenienced by the peculiarity of black culture and conventions and not so much enriched by same? Call 'Critter'. He's the man for the job.
Yes, he is not like the rest of us, but neither are most of us like him. I am not 'acting black' when I'm stopped on the street by a cop and asked to demonstrate my right to be there, nor am I feigning blackness when I bob my head to the squishy licks of a serious P-Funk joint, but I would be 'acting white' if I thought for a moment and fixed my lips to say that "Driving Miss Nancy" was not a racist, low-brow, unimaginative denigration of the truly heroic accomplishments of Rep. James Clyburne and of the man himself. Or that the radioactive rodeo clown who made such a 'joke', (given his propensity for and long history of such 'humor'), was not attempting to racialize a pro forma political succession maneuver in order to fan the flames of racial division in this country as he has indeed always done; for it has made him well known, a lot of money and fully a third of the US population at large agrees with him.
Acting white is not the problem with 'Critter' and neither is it that black ingrates, incompetents and insurrectionists have been ruining the nation since the wrong side won the Civil War and Civil Rights legislation diminished the white righteousness and predominance that makes up "American Exceptionalism". Maybe he's serious and this is no act, but anyone who has lived through the lynchings, church bombings, fire-hosed equality-march dispersions, police dog maulings and even the murders of those who sought to achieve non-violent change here, (let alone the progeny of those who endured centuries of brutal chattel servitude), should know that there is no equality of pretext, context or subtext if you are black in this country. If you are black in this country and find yourself awash in stereotypical prejudicial notions held against you, you realize that you are being seen by many of your countrymen as merely an inconvenient anomaly of the world in which we live - either to be ignored and avoided or trodden under foot, locked-up and abased as being less than worth the effort it might take to get to know you.
This is the only negotiable zone of commonality where left and right seem to agree and the argument goes like this: The guy riding by in the car (who could barely speak English) didn't call me a nigger because I was black, it was a class-based insult and I just failed to distinguish the finer point of his animosity toward me. Its a good thing that there are those who are eager to point these subtleties out to me. I might have otherwise concluded that, though he may have been an undocumented immigrant to this country, yelling racist slurs against me within five miles of the hospital in which I was born, he felt that he was better than me not because he was white unlike me, but because I was black and not like him. A lesser being for fault of genetic predetermination, however, that would have been presumptuous of me wouldn't it.
I don't expect too many people - black or white (or otherwise) to agree with what I am saying here or approve of the manner that I have chosen to make my points, but since racism seems to evade scrutiny of the larger, whiter segments of this society, unless cited in the words and deeds of blacks or other people of color, I've chosen here to be brazenly bigoted in my own approach in order to solicit the proper response. Truth be told, everyone better get a clue because the day of denial over racial matters is done; [furthermore, the antipathy that the tea-baggers, Republicans - white supremacists all - exhibit toward the President are not merely over matters of policy or budgetary deficiencies. Those are merely convenient proxies for the basis of their true discontent]. However, there is no lack of apologists, (left and right), who would wrap words around the entire continental US to maintain that it is rather than admit what is really going on and run the risk of setting themselves at odds with those who refuse to acknowledge the verity of it.
Left and right, the discourse is neither honest, healthy or predicate to resolve illuminating the bare-boned racism of these malcontents, but, unless someone pipes up and shouts "I don't care if he did whistle at a white woman, I won't help you lynch him", we have yet to see the inevitable end to their seething hatred - and even then there will be those who resent having to watch a State Funeral on every channel for the assassinated former Chief Executive - (something about the diminished dignity of having him lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda). That is what's really at stake and the sooner we face those dire extant possibilities the better.
What is a Trick Negroe? A trick negroe is a black man (or woman) - indeed any non-white person - who does for the white man that which he cannot do for himself i.e. blow him while he whistles dixie. Who needs a trick negroe? Anyone who is too busy whistling dixie to tend to his own oral self pleasure. Who would want to be a trick negroe? A self-loathing, fish-lipped magpie who would rather live (and die) on his knees with something more than just a lie on his tongue. Why is this trick negroe on my television? Because the network who pays him for his 'contributions' (MSNBC) needs one so that it might appear that there is a legitimate point and counterpoint to any particular issue at dispute; especially issues involving a racial component. A trick negroe does negroe tricks for the fun and enjoyment of his (usually) white handlers.
The issues at dispute here are these: a) the increasing frequency at which the black (indeed any non-white) physiognomy, culture and living model is routinely becoming the object of openly racist hatred, ridicule and caricature in the popular media, b) how the mainstream media, right and left is perpetuating and making excuses for it and c) what the likely outcome of this trend will be if not corrected soon - I'm only describing what I am seeing and I leave it to others to figure out what to do about it. One side is becoming increasingly more strident in their use of it and the other side is becoming more tolerant of its manifestations when confronted with it; only raising objection when someone, (usually black) informs someone else (usually white) that, were it not for the racial differences between the parties, certain people would not be so animated in their opposition to whatever the question at hand is.
Does MSNBC get a gay, lesbian or trans-gendered person to defend homophobic bullies, perverse comedic antagonisms or discriminatory legislative enactments when those matters arise? No. Do they bring on a woman to justify spousal battery, date rape or familial abandonment? No. Do they bring on a Latino to validate Anchor-Baby beatdowns, English only ballot measures, or the border fence militia mania? No. So why is it then acceptable to bring on such a cock-eyed, inbred, coddled revanchist Republican shill who happens to be black to defend every babbling bigot in each day's news cycle? Is the presence of a nominal black man arguing purely facile contrary drivel really that necessary? No. Is there something more to this game that goes far beyond the players involved? At long last I have to say: Yes, there is.
MSNBC has been running this crap so predictably and for so long that it has now become less about the stupidity of the negroes involved than the network's own apparent hidden agenda. After all, when it comes to racial diversity, the absence of a regular black anchor person headlining an opinion program in their prime-time lineup is what really must be questioned here. (Whatever happened to Allyson Stewart anyway?) Sure, they bring on the usual non-confrontational politicians, journalists and academics to spar over Democratic, GOP and Tea-bagger inspired political faux pas, but they are only there to respond to pre-programmed thematic contingencies with no room for divergent analysis (or when needed) hostile refutation of obviously fraudulent claptrap - lest they appear to be overly emotional and threatening to the greater white cultural norm that the network's pro-v-con discussion format is engineered to protect and propagate. Call the lying S.O.S. exactly what he is: a lying S.O.S.!
Certainly there are black people who resist racist verbal abuse (whether openly declared as such or cloaked in coded dog-whistle language) wherever it occurs - but they'll never get a t.v. show of their own on MSNBC. There are also blacks who are less likely to assert their own negritude even when challenged for fear of losing their perceived advantage among their white media counterparts - but they'll never get a t.v. show of their own on MSNBC. Then there are those who cannot detect the slightest hint of bigotry unless it is being thrust upon them by another black person. So traumatic was this to Critter's psyche and significant enough in his life story that he had to write a whole book about it and spend his entire televised post governmental career defending bigots, war crimes and white skin privilege. And this is the guy who gets more t.v. airtime than Halle Berry. The only reason he is there is because he's black, (at least he looks black) and it can't be possible for an honest man to hold a civil discussion with him when he does not, cannot, or refuses to see his own tokenism and what he is being used for in the broader context. He poses in opacity as a guise, and we are not bound to ignore his transparent rouse and lend his specious arguments any more credence than is due just because he's black - or at least as long as it suits him to be black.
As long as the universe of black commentators and their contingent commentary is continually being defined, refined and confined (by others who have their own best interests at heart) to the meager dregs of ill fitting red, white and blue slave-jacketed, buck-dancing, handkerchief-headed, skinning-and-grinning melon seed spitting coons, no real progress is either practical or possible. The true diversity of black opinion, analysis and debate will indeed continue to fade into a pasty, bland, oatmeal-like lukewarm lumpy mass bearing no visual appeal or nutritional value. We starve whether we eat it or not.
Where are we to turn? BET? Certainly not. The available talent pool there has become so shallow that, between segments of pistol slinging pornographic nursery rhymes, cute booty shakedown crotch shots and cell-block-four prison documentary shankfests, its black 'journalism' had long ago died in its infancy due to the Johnson family's own profit motive which precluded consolidation of a black oriented broadcast news outlet free from market controls over content and compliant editorial constraints before they sold it to become the wealthiest negroes in the country. There are real issues to be debated in real time here and both 'conservative' and 'progressive', blacks (and others) have chosen to evade the really sticky areas where true cohesion lies, because, as it is currently devised, they themselves do not have our own best interests at heart. They are paid to maintain the status quo, quid pro quo, reducto ad absurdum, ad nauseum.
MSNBC takes every opportunity to regulate the flow of information and does so in carefully choreographed steps, race-baiting diatribes notwithstanding in this instance. One guest comes on to bring an issue up for debate and another comes on to play either the brigand to throw a tantrum and deflect the matter away from its logical import, or to play the fool and muddle the complexities of the matter in order to diminish regard for those who would hold similar opinions in the minds of the general public. The art of the exercise is to run out the clock so that the host can cut in and say, 'Sorry, but we'll have to leave it there', while one's lips are still flapping. No question is ever truly resolved and the competing sides recede to their respective corners with a wink and a nod only to return to the ring at another time for another bout while the cacophony intensifies drowning out reason and intellectual integrity for the sake of dueling befuddlement and the ritualistic mental abuse of the viewer.
We, as news consumers deserve better, should demand better and should not rest until we have better. One may surmise, by the advertisers sponsoring this network and these shows, that without these comedies of shallow debate interspersed with bottomless buffoonery and blustering bio-sludge to hold our attention, we'd never get to find out about the latest FDA approved erectile dysfunction drug, web-based day trading scams, inordinately expensive new car or ever costlier HMO 'health coverage' plan designed to wrest the last remaining penny from our cold dead clenched fists. There are those who cannot bring themselves to participate in a general boycott of a commercial entity in order to effect a desired change in policy, practice or process, but if that is what it takes, let this be my opening salvo. Unless better is forthcoming, let's allow it (or even force it) to get much worse for the sake of the better that must be yet to come.
Those of us who do not ruefully mourn the mangled Confederate Civil War dead lying in the battlefields who had fought to destroy this Union, would not wish to return to a time when no black man had rights that any white man was bound to respect. Nor do we wish to revisit the day when death was the only liberty for which the slave or indentured servant could reasonably long. We secure unto ourselves the blessings of liberty, dignity and civil rights we as living human beings are due - and guaranteed us by Constitutional decree - only by asserting it when we are denied it, defending it where it is threatened, and defeating those, by any means necessary, who attempt to destroy it. There are no mealy-mouthed platitudes or wimpy evasive circumlocutions which will suffice as a reasonable substitute for this resolute proclamation: We shall overcome! If not by singing, then by swinging! - Beto