This morning, Ariel "Asho" Fernandez sent me a link to the New York Post cartoon. I saw it and was like, "Oh My God! What the hell....?" I was speechless and hurt...and pissed off! Then I came to my senses and all I could yell was "It's The New York Post! What can we expect?!?!"
Then I wondered if I should send out a Put On BLAST! to let folks know about this dead-wrong cartoon. I wasn't sure so I asked my business partner and he said, "You have more important things to do." I agreed and went back to work.
The cartoon emails kept coming throughout the day. It had spread like wild-fire on the Internet. Somewhere around 3 or 4 pm, the story landed on CNN with Reverend Al Sharpton and Jeff Johnson enlightening viewers to why this cartoon was offensive, wrong, and "inappropriate."
Cut to the written response from one of the top editors at The New York Post. CNN showed this and the written response from the cartoonist. Pure arrogance! Racist and utterly obnoxious. Then I thought to myself, "It's the Post! What can we expect?!?!"
I continued working and ended up on the phone with Lumumba Bandele-Akinwole. I was wondering if he could understand my growing frustration with some of the demands that were starting to surface.
"Have you heard about the New York Post cartoon?" I asked him.
"Yeah. Did you see my Facebook status? I wrote "It's the Post! What do you expect?!?!"
Here's the thing: The New York Post has BEEN wrong...waaaay before this fool (Sean Delonas) put ink to a pad in his racist cartoon. They have a loooong and rich history of being the sloppiest kind of so-called journalism, of demonstrating their hatred of black people, and of being the newspaper that is the platform for idiotic, racist thinking. There is a Queens based organization, CEMOTAP (the Committee to Eliminate Media Offensive To African People), that has been calling out The Post (and many others) for years on top of years. I know. I go to their rallies and support their work and respect their research. They and other activists have done the work that proves what apparently many people are just now finding out: The Post is a racist "news"paper. The boycott on them was called a long time ago. Maybe some people didn't get the notice. Or, maybe some people got it and didn't heed it. Humph....
The Post is exactly why I do what I do via my communications agency. It is why progressive social justice activists and media rights activists (such as Rosa Clemente, Ester Armah, and others) do what we do. We fully understand the function, the power, and the motiviation of corporate media. The late Kwame Ture said it best: "Capitalist media always lies. Even when it looks like they are telling the truth, it's a double-lie."
When that knowledge is embedded in your understanding of how corporate media works and it takes hold of you, then you spend your time creating and building independent media. You spend your time, your talent, and your hard earned money building media platforms that tell the truth. You take matters into your own hands. You build on-line, interactive communities, for example, so that you have a platform to counter the racist, sexist lies that are upheld in society. You struggle to be a voice of sobriety even while many people are intoxicated by the allure and convenience of shiny glossy media.
You don't go around buying The Post or demanding an apology from these fools. That kind of supplication is exactly what an oppressed person would do! There is no power in begging for a apology from those who don't care about offending you. In fact, it is the perfect way to affirm their power over you.
"Powerful people never have to prove anything to anyone. By extension, powerful people never apologize to powerless people for the actions they take in order to stay in power."
- John Henrick Clarke
Here another way of looking at this (in no particular order):
1. Yes, we should express our outrage. My mother has always taught me: "Deal with BS head on! Don't act like it doesn't exist. Call it what it is."
2. Be outraged today, but support independent, progressive media all year round.
3. Stop buying and reading The Post. You have a quarter in this madness if you buy it or if you read in on-line. You just do! This is not to say that other newspapers and media outlets don't lie. Of course, they do. The media is privately owned and it has private interests to protect. But The Post is the worst, my God!
4. If the age of Obama has got you excited and you are looking for some group to join or some service project to attach yourself to, or you need a outlet for your rage, you will surely find hundreds of organizations that could use your time and talent TODAY! But keep this in mind: Often times, these organizations don't have money to pay big advertising dollars in the big newspapers you might read or the commercial radio stations you might listen to. You just might have to look for them in some un-traditional places. There are no short cuts there, but if you seek them, they will appear.
5. Historically, we are a community of people who have been oppressed. To some extent, every action we take is a reaction to some offense, be it current day or in our genetic memory bank. Even with that being true, some things require more strategic reactions. Begging for apologies is just not the way to go. It's not smart or empowering. Some may argue that an apology is the first step toward the healing process. That would be true if the offenders really means it.
If you want to check out the kind of media that is constructive and seeks to empower, vist my website (www.akilaworksongs.com). We stand behind or alongside some rather progressive artists, activists, organizations, and media makers. Google the names in this message. Expand your horizons and start a healthy media diet. Do all of this and more, and most of all retire The Post.