Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Racism or reflection?

Once again the ghetto culture that black entertainers have glorified and so many young blacks have adopted is causing national controversy.
Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is grappling with the aftermath of a Halloween party called "Halloween in the Hood."
Sigma Chi fraternity threw the party on Oct. 28. According to a Baltimore Sun article, the party invitation, posted on Facebook, encouraged attendees to wear “regional clothing from our locale’ such as “bling bling ice ice, grills” and “hoochie hoops.” The party included a skeleton pirate dangling from a rope noose.
Predictably, black students at the school were upset, and administrators quickly launched an investigation. Administrators suspended Sigma Chi. Black students are demanding more faculty of color and an African American studies department, among other things.
I’m glad the black students are demanding change, but suspending the fraternity was too harsh. They were reflecting a culture glamorized in entertainment and adopted by so many blacks.
The outcry over the party reminds me of one three years ago when an Asian American hip-hop fan created Ghettopoly. The objective was to go around the game board (or the ghetto), buying stolen property and making money. In the middle of the game board is a black man with exaggerated features holding a gun and a bottle of malt liquor. Game pieces include a marijuana leaf, a crack rock, a pimp and a ho’.
"Halloween in the Hood," like Ghettopoloy, reflect the ghetto culture that entertainers have romanticized through music, TV and movies for decades. Blacks who buy that music or dress ghetto fab reinforce those negative images.
Halloween in the Hood is no different than the Pimp & Ho’ parties I’ve attended at Charlotte nightclubs. (Yes, there are white pimps, but pimps depicted on television are typically black.)
Heck, the black-owned Faces nightclub off Freedom Drive had a grillz party and people were encouraged to wear their gold teeth. Plenty of black promoters have held Timbs and Stillettos parties. Yet, I don’t hear anyone protesting those events. We support the negative images of ourselves and then get angry when whites make it their own.
(BTW: Listen to the re-mix of “Walk It Out” featuring Andre 3000. He’s got a great line telling men their oversized white tees look like dresses, and they should do their mothers proud and get the shirts two sizes smaller.)
Think I’m tripping?
Let me remind you that one in three African Americans who watched television on Oct. 15 watched the season finale of “Flavor of Love.” That show is insulting, yet I know so many blacks how flocked to their televisions to watch it each week.
If BAR Charlotte had a grillz party or a Timbs and Stillettos party and white people showed up wearing gold teeth and long chains, would the NAACP demand blacks boycott the club? Would the city investigate?

What do you think? Post your replies below.


Anonymous said...

Yo - Tonya!

Screw Baltimore. Just talk about the CLT, 'k?

You're starting to sound like the local 6 o'clock news (here's 20 minutes of what happened everywhere but here).

Anonymous said...

The flood gates have been opened.....Charlotte, show your true racist colors here .....1....2.....3..... GO!

LaniLaKai said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! For bringing something like this to the attention of everyone. I found the idea of the party to be rather clever. Am I offended? No. To me, all of the 'urban wear' comes across as a 'costume' of sorts....there were so many guys I saw on halloween dressed up as Lil' Jon and other rappers with the huge white tees, jerseys, bling, and grills. It's no different that someone having a Prep Party (everyone wears polos, khakis, and boat shoes) or a Hick Party (easy enough). This double standard with everything is getting outrageous. If anything the urban folks should have been pleased to see how much of an impact that their dress and culture has made on society....even though in my opinion, it's very SAD to see how easy it is to pick on this so-called culture yet the urbanites continue doing it. Sad, so sad. But thank you, again for writing an article like this.

Anonymous said...

It is extremely sad that African Americans are making celebrities out of the likes as "Flava Flav". His antics and etc on VH-1 are a total disgrace. I agree with Andre 3000 that black men need to stop wearing those 4 sizes too big white tees and dress more like respectable men.

Anonymous said...

Yes - this double standard is getting old...I don't think there is nearly as much racism left out there as these people (who complain about a party like this) make it out to be. In fact, I believe that all the cries of "RACISM!" are doing nothing but perpetuating it - making it seem a bigger issue than it really is...we ALL need to stop taking ourselves so seriously - laugh at ourselves and not care so much if people laugh at us - that's real empowerment. As long as we can be so easily offended...

And further - anyone who goes around claiming "brotherhood" with Flava Flave just because he's black DESERVES to be made fun of!

Anonymous said...

People, be them white or black watch Flavor of Love because it's trainwreck tv. People LOVE to pass by an accident site and see what there is to see. Same principle applies to Flava Flav's show. People LOVE to watch skanky bitches smack each other in the face while selling their souls for money and fame. It's the new American way. Sad but true.