About this Blog

The title of this blog, "I'm About to do My Thing," was inspired by Jill Scott's introduction to her poem "The Thickness" from her live album Experience: Jill Scott 826+. In this intro, she warns that the content to follow is "real" and proceeds to deliver a beautiful message about self-esteem in young black girls, what can influence and damage that self-esteem, and the entire village's responsibility--"it takes a village"--to elevate its children.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Seriously? We're Still Playing the "Black" Card?

Photo via yFrog
 When I read about the heavily tweeted, racist McDonald's photo that turned out to be a hoax, I didn't have the same gut reaction as most others that I saw posted/blogged--essentially, "Whoever believed this was real is an idiot." Instead, I thought, If the goal is to make McD's look bad, why does it have to involve racist sentiments against African-Americans? Is that the way to stick it to them?

It reminded me of Susan's Smith's 1994 (false) claim that a black man car-jacked her and abducted her children, whom she of course killed. It reminded me of Ashley Todd's pre-2008 election (false) claim that a black male Obama supporter robbed her at knifepoint and carved a B into her face. And then we come to find that she mutilated herself for political purposes. The idea that there's something a bit sinister about black people still plays. Hey, as silly as each of these lies were, people believed them.

These examples aren't identical to the McD's hoax. After all, the prankster's goal was to make the company, not African-Americans, look bad. Yet, that end involved the well established caricatures of black people as untrustworthy, potentially criminal, roguish--exactly the ideas Smith and Todd relied on when hiding their own demons. More than anything, it reminded me that, even in 2011, people out there still believe that they can get over on the next guy simply by vilifying black folks, whether that hope is realistic or not. Yes, these pitiful people are found out, but the attempt apparently hasn't gotten stale. To channel novice criminal Linus Caldwell's refrain from Ocean's 13, "The 'black' card plays." Dang.