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.