Media and the hood…A new beginning?

I just had a very intense discussion with a young man about “the street”
— “the hood” and its importance to African American media. And I feel compelled to share my response just to get it off my chest.
Black folks read by lamplight as slaves with the threat of death hanging over their heads. At the turn of the century there were 100s of Black doctors, lawyers, teachers (over a 1000). I shared the “beef” as it were between Booker T. Washington and WEB Dubois. Washington’s advice to Black folks was to “cast down your buckets where you are:” take whatever White folks give you and make it work. WEB Dubois in contrast advocated the “talented tenth”: the most gifted of our race would lead the others to economic and intellectual prosperity. Rather than contasting these two historic giants as right or wrong, I pointed out that each was speaking from his own worldview. Booker T. Washingston, was no Uncle Tom. He was trying to map out a strategy for our survival: in the South African Americans were being lynched weekly. I finished with a discussion of the Civil Rights movement — emphasizing the waterhoses and dogs used to subdue the activists. And I speculated that these brothers and sisters must be rolling over in their graves. “I gave my life for this s–t?! So Black folks could shoot each other down in the street likes dogs?!”. Is any of this celebrated in mainstream media. Nope. What we get is thugs, bling and b—-es. I concluded my rant with a sumary of all we’re doing today — the countless blue and white collar workers; their sucess and struggle. This never seems to make it to the TV screen either.
Except that President Obama made history. They couldn’t keep that quiet — couldn’t keep it off the news. Now perhaps the media will begin to celebrate the beauty that is Black America instead of “the hood.” And to my brothers and Sisters let’s do the same. As we enter a new year let’s celebrate ourselves: all we’ve been through; all we’ve accomplished; and look with hope to the coming era. And in 2009 let’s ask
— let’s demand that the media celebrate the positive things about the Black community. Or at least give us some variety.


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