Friday, February 20, 2009


The Diva, your post about our view of animals is an even more pithy commentary in light of that New York Post cartoon implying that President Obama is an ape. I don't want to spend more time and energy on that intellectual monstrosity that is distasteful, hurtful, thoughtless, and several other adjectives. The Kitchen Table authors have, as usual, already provided a salient response. The NPR blog is also a worthy read. I only want to add my deep sadness. Not at the overt racism that keeps exposing itself like a hanging slip under your dress hem. Not at a callous public voice that couldn't be bothered to put sensitivity for other people above greed. Not even at this smear against lingering collective joy for our national historical moment. I'm sad because I just watched Bryant Gumbel's "Real Sports" story about Robbie Tolan's nearly fatal run in with Belaire police and I kept seeing my son's face as I imagined this horrible scenario. He complied with their disrespectful requests, even though they had wrongly profiled and followed him, then entered his tag number incorrectly--until they slammed his mother into the garage door. Then, this loving son and athlete said, "Get your f---ing hands off my mom!" And they shot him. I'm sad because this cartoon illustrates what actually happens to real black boys and men.

Seeing this cartoon is another reminder that the day will come much too soon when I'll send my son into the world and many people (armed, police kind of people) will fail to see the silly, sweet, gorgeous boy who slobbers kisses and thinks his mother hung the moon at night. Instead, they'll see a dark, inhuman threat--a chimp. Tim Wise has chronicled the ways in which black life is simply viewed as less valuable. That's why pumping bullets into the body of an unarmed black man, some mother's son, rarely merits punishment. I'm not shocked or even angry. I'm just sad.

No comments: