By ISHMAEL REED
CounterPunch, December 21-23, 2012
When I appeared on a panel with Chris Hedges during the Miami International Book Fair, I told him and the audience that I appear in a book called My Ideal Bookshelf by Jane Mount and Thessaly La Force in which a stack of the favorite books of writers were painted by Ms. Mount. White authors wrote about a third of my favorites.
But I mentioned that though I read white male authors avidly, it’s difficult to gather the points of view of others when both left and right opinions in the media industry are dominated by white men. To present those points of view that are left out might add new dimensions to the discussion of important issues in the news, for though the media mocks Gov. Romney’s alienation from changing demographics, they suffer from the same problem.
For example, the Bank of America is in constant trouble with the law. I witnessed the president and CEO of the Bank of America, Brian Moynihan, make his case about foreclosures before an audience assembled by the Brookings Institution. The audience was reverential to Moynihan who carried on like BOA was Mother Teresa. And while the moderator, Karen Dynan, Vice President of Brookings, did everything but wash his feet and kept “completely” agreeing with him, even though millions of her sisters have been harmed by the bank’s policies, it took a Hispanic representative from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals to ask him why black and Hispanic borrowers were steered into subprime loans by BOA when the majority were eligible for conventional loans.
An all white panel followed the presentation by the CEO even though BOA’s policies have disproportionately affected blacks and Hispanics. No matter how brightest and best, and no matter the degrees from Harvard, Yale, etc., when it comes to analyzing events from the perspective of blacks and browns, most members of the segregated media, have a blind spot; but fortunately, many don’t. Thom Hartman, Randy Rhoads and Jay Marvin get it, which is why you rarely see them on the tube. Apparently the corporations that ambush our eyeballs screen them out too. So do sites like Salon and the Daily Beast.
The late Alexander Cockburn was even censored by a neoliberal site, The Nation, which is run by a feminist, who slashed his popular column from two pages down to one and from two a month to once a month; yet, like the New York Times Book Review, the majority of books reviewed in The Nation are written by white men. And the media, according to Rick Sanchez, cater to “Angry White Men.” Therefore you can’t bring up subjects that might alienate them. This is why Howard Kurtz, who did a tribute to confessed rapist Strauss Kahn (who made a settlement of six million dollars with his accuser, with little coverage from the media), and a black female reporter can rake Chris Brown but, as a result of a non-aggression pact between General Electric and Rupert Murdoch, can’t touch Murdoch, who approved of a cartoon showing the president as a murdered chimp and fired Sandra Guzman when she objected. Reuters reported:
“In November 2009, Guzman, who is black and Puerto Rican, sued the Post, its editor Col Allan and its parent News Corp for alleged discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, gender and national origin, saying she had been fired in retaliation for complaints over inappropriate conduct.”
Who has done more damage to women? Chris Brown or Murdoch’s Tea Party that wants to end food stamps, Medicaid and Social Security?
On Melissa Harris-Perry’s MSNBC show, moderated by the very gifted, intellectually, Mrs. Perry, the brothers get roughed up every week, even to the extent of dragging in Isiah Thomas’s sexual harassment suit (the accuser received a eleven million dollar settlement) into a discussion about misogyny in the armed forces, when Thomas is not a soldier, general or admiral. He was a basketball coach. Yet, when having a discussion of violence against Native American women, 34% of whom get raped during their lifetimes, feminists who were panel members on Melissa Harris Perry’s show, and the host herself, sought to shield white men from shame. They got tongue-tied. The perpetrators were described as “non-Indian” males. It took Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post, to identify the “non-Indians” as white men.
These are the kind of feminists who get all worked up about Chris Brown and O.J. and the Central Park Five, but when it comes to white men, their employers’ group, acting crazy, they get a pass. They’re referred to as non-Indians. Euphemisms are invoked.
Also on a MSNBC progressive show last weekend, there appeared another sign of how clueless white progressives are about black feelings, a cluelessness that black progressives have complained about since the 1920s. Liberals and progressives appearing on “Up w/Chris Hayes” praised Mayor Bloomberg for his gun-control policies. Nothing about his stop and frisk Gestapo policy, which led 640,000 black and Hispanic men and women to being stopped in 2011 and often roughed up by the notorious NYPD, a degenerate outfit that even Richard Price’s latest effort to pretty it up, failed. His “Wire” offshoot, “NYC22,” was cancelled. The Times reviewer said that showing Harlem blacks engaging in stupid low level crimes was an “exhausted genre.” When I said the same thing about “ The Wire,” David Simon, who has become the chief money-making translator of black to white America, said that I was against him because he was “a white man” writing about blacks. If I spent my time and energy writing about white men writing about blacks, screen writers, authors of hoodie books, television script writers, bloggers, columnists, sociologists that’s all I’d be doing. One of the salespersons for “Precious “said that it would provide a “gold mine” of opportunity. Opportunity for some whites. Cecil Brown said that a white Berkeley professor asked him about issues in the black community. Brown mentioned asthma. Next thing Brown knew, the professor had received a large grant to study asthma in the black community.
When I was in East Jerusalem in September, Palestinian kids, having gotten all of the information about blacks from Hollywood and CNN, asked me why all black Americans were drug addicts. I told them that it’s because our enemies tell our stories. Is this something new? W.E.B. DuBois criticized DuBose Heyward’s book for “Porgy and Bess” and said that if whites were depicted in the same way there would have been no ticket sales. These ticket buyers are crazy about their Catfish Rows, and their “Precious.” “The Wire” and films by Quentin Taratino.In a Times article it was written that in the new revised “Porgy” the character Crown becomes a rapist instead of a seducer
in order to enhance ticket sales. Who is the bigger molester or harasser of black and Hispanic women, Crown, Isiah Thomas or men under Mayor Bloomberg’s command?
Black women have complained that they have been sexually molested during Bloomberg’s stop and frisks, but hey, maybe one of these clowns will rescue them from fire like in the movie, “Crash” where the star of the movie, a cop, not only manages to cop some free feels at the expense of the black woman, but becomes a sort of CNN hero as well.
I watched in amazement as the feminists on the MSNBC panel including the brilliant Esther Armah, radio host at WBAI, sat in silence as New York Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson tossed kudos to Bloomberg, a pious pompous hypocrite, who criticizes the president, while his police department under the leadership of his Commissioner Raymond Kelly terrorizes black and Hispanic citizens, even children. Their harassment of children even outraged Bob Herbert. Hewing to the feminist line, the enormously talented Ms. Armah believes that only males commit violence. I suppose that she didn’t get my email, which suggested that things might be more complicated. In it I cited Natalie J. Sokoloff, and Christina Pratt’s 2005 book, Family & Relationships –where the authors wrote: “Black women are also more likely than their White counterparts to inflict lethal violence against their husbands.” Amy Goodman should read this book. Ms. Armah should also take a look at the gun collection of Nancy Lanza, whose son Adam murdered 20 children in Newtown. Do you suppose those guns were for hunting deer?
As O.J. Simpson said, they drag him into discussions that don’t have anything to do with him. Last week when discussing that not all murders are done with guns, someone noted that O.J. used a knife. Put aside the fact that the police planted evidence in the O.J. case, and that a serial killer, who used to party with Nicole Simpson, has confessed to the murders and that O.J. was acquitted, during the same time 22 Chinese kids were stabbed by a mentally disturbed person and only one kid died. By equating a knifing with the massacre of the Newtown children, Steve Kornacki, who is presented on MSNBC as a neo-liberal, was providing cover for the NRA.
This holds true of all blacks, apparently. It’s amazing how even when the perp of a massacre of children is white, media were able to include black perps or personalities in the story. On MSNBC , Dec.15, Jesse Jackson Jr.’s bi-polar condition was cited when discussing Lanza’s “mental illness.” Other black cases that were brought up were the mentally disturbed black suspect who pushed a man into an oncoming train, and the black perp of the Long Island Railroad murders. So even when the perpetrator of a enormous crime is white, the profit center’s directive that angry white males be entertained with images of blacks fucking up is not far from the producers’ minds, even on progressive MSNBC where Michael Steele of the Republican Party migrates from show to show all day not to mention Morning Joe’s three hour Republican caucus each morning.
Not only were blacks cited during a discussion of a crime committed by a white man, Africa was also cited. Somalia came up. S.E. Cupp, a conservative member of a panel on “The Cycle,” said on Dec.18 that when she thinks of a violent country she thinks of Somalia. On the same date, Joy Reid of “The Grio,”partially owned by NBC, chose Mogadishu. Aren’t these women who have access to millions of viewers obligated to mention how the weapons got to Africa? The World Policy Institute issued a report that concluded “Finding 1 – Due to the continuing legacies of its Cold War policies toward Africa, the U.S. bears some responsibility for the cycles of violence and economic problems plaguing the continent. Throughout the Cold War (1950-1989), the U.S. delivered over $1.5 billion worth of weaponry to Africa. Many of the top U.S. arms clients – Liberia, Somalia, the Sudan, and Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo or DRC) – have turned out to be the top basket cases of the 1990s in terms of violence, instability, and economic collapse.” In the 1950s, I remember conservatism being represented by heavyweights like Hugh Kenner, but Ms. Cupp? Sarah Palin?
Also, given the chance to vote, I suspect that those citizen of countries where millions of women and children died as a result of invasions by American armed forces might think of the U.S. as a place to think of when thinking about violence, and as much as we might lament the terrible slaughter of the innocents in Newtown, I was wondering as I watched the president whether he weeps when he hears about the deaths of thousands of children in countries occupied by forces under his command or the Palestinian kids who get massacred on a regular basis. At least the Newtown murder has begun a more serious discussion of the National Rifle Association and its ownership of Congress, but omitted from the discussion are the racist and anti-Semitic remarks that have been made by NRA board members. When David Sirota got blasted for suggesting that white men be subjected to racial profiling since the typical mass shooting perpetrator is a white man, you can imagine what would happen were some of the black media faces to suggest such a thing. They’d be accused of reverse racism or playing the race card.For a profile of the NRA’s board members, you have to go to http://www.meetthenra.org/issues?field_issue_value_many_to_one=Race.
Once in awhile, the truth sneaks through despite the efforts of Chuck, Chris, Chris, David, and Dan, Luke and Joe to obfuscate. Michael Moore told Piers Morgan that the nation is armed because whites with guns want to use them on black people. Morgan interrupted him. Morgan must have read the memo from CNN executives, one of whom told Rick Sanchez that “Race sells.” These armed whites have a fantasy that was portrayed in Robert Crumb’s brilliant though offensive cartoon “When The Niggers Take Over America.”
There’s another source that reveals what is on the minds of those who have rushed to the gun stores when President Obama was elected and when he was re-elected. Do you think that these millions armed themselves because volunteers were requested to diminish the over population of deer? Maybe I’m not surprised that the media haven’t paid more attention to The Turner Diaries, the novel manifesto that inspired Timothy McVeigh who blew up the Alfred E.Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19,1995;a shoot-out between the FBI and a Neo-Nazi that took place outside of Pullman, Washington. Buford O. Furrow, who shot kids at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in 1999; Richard Poplawski, who murdered three Pittsburgh policemen in 2009. None of these killers suffered from Asperger’s. In William Pierce’s book, the Jews get “The Cohen Act” passed. They take away the guns and the “Negro police” enforce the act. As a result blacks assault whites. They even commit cannibalism. The big obsession of the book is race-mixing.
Senator Diane Feinstein has promised to introduce legislation that will ban assault weapons and if it passes, black Attorney General Eric Holder will enforce the legislation. It is because of the paranoid fantasy, this collective psychosis, one that the media are scared to mention, that the nation will never get rid of assault weapons and more Newtowns will happen, and even deadlier ones than the Newtown massacre.
Ishmael Reed’s latest book is “Going Too Far.” He is the publisher of Konch at http://ishmaelreed.net/. Konch goes monthly in January.