A certain Wilson from Boston sent a bitch a request for my thoughts regarding this past Sunday’s Meet the Press. For those of you who missed it (and shame on you, because it was Sunday so hello, it should have been Meet the Press) Bill Cosby and Dr. Alvin Poussaint were on for the full hour to discuss their new book Come on, People.
I spent most of my Sunday cleaning my house and then had a visit with my mentee, so this bitch caught Meet the Press through the magic of TiVo around 8 o’clock last night.
As usual, this bitch hit fast-forward and conducted a Status Check Feminist View-By to see if there were any women featured. I highly recommend this move prior to viewing any political chat show (wink) because some of the shit guests say is a direct result of their knowing who, if anyone at all, they will have to debate.
My feminist view-by swiftly determined that the show not only lacked a black woman’s perspective…not only lacked any woman’s perspective…but lacked any perspective other than that of Cosby-Poussaintism and Russertian theory (say it isn’t so, Meet the Press…say it isn’t so!!!).
Although dismayed, a bitch went back to the beginning and hit play once again...
Full Disclosure - a bitch has not read Come on, People yet so this response is based solely on the Meet the Press interview.
...and this bitch was not pleased.
And the flock asked… “But Shark-Fu, there were two celebrated black people talking about the problems facing black America for a full hour on Meet the Press! How could you be anything but thrilled?”
And a bitch replied… “This bitch is never thrilled when paternalesque pontifications go unchallenged…and my ass isn’t passing out cookies to reward yet another discussion of our community that blindly applauds the middle class while thoroughly chastising the urban poor.”
Oh, I was not surprised…that kind of shit often happens when black feminists aren’t at the table.
Nor was I empowered by the healthy portion of Father Knows Best judgment wrapped in underhanded praise dealt out by both Cosby and Poussaint towards the efforts of black women within the community. Blaming women’s liberation for the growth of single parent households headed by women is fucked up from the floor up, which is exactly what I would have called it had my ass been at the table (not a hint, trust…but you know what I mean).
And I was not encouraged by the dismissal given to Eugene Robinson’s opinion, which touches on the economic divide within modern black America. Saying that a lot of middle class blacks are involved in the “community” does not make it so nor does it address the huge impact the withdrawal of the black middle class from the black community has had and will continue to have.
But I’m not at all surprised…the inconvenient truth is almost always the truth left unstated.
But above all, I am disappointed in Meet the Press for presenting yesterday’s show as a discussion when the very set up made it impossible for it to be anything other than an over glorified infomercial masquerading as news.
Discussing the state of black America requires an acknowledgement that black America is diverse…that my opinion is not automatically that of my sisters of brothers…that our individual experience as black people is tied to our position in or outside or sorta-inside/outside of that too often generalized community…and that part of the problem is that the “problem” continues to be debated by rich black men of a certain age and religious background who speak of those other black people and go on and on about how their music and their lack of values are making us look bad.
I see the damage the rejection of feminism and feminist empowerment has done to my sisters and brothers. I see the lack of diverse role models the gospel of greed has produced…the oft lauded middle class still missing in action or seasonally involved…the hypocrisy of the black clergy and the fallout of religious elitism…the lack of black investment in black communities and businesses…the judgment without context and the expectations without a plan…and the depression that goes untreated while so-called black leaders profit from their participation in the business end of Civil Rights.
I look about my 'hood and see the apathy that is generated and maintained by yet another discussion about us taking place without us.
In the words of bell hooks, "I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else's whim or to someone else's ignorance."
But I will read the book.
Oh my, I hope this post doesn't delay my review copy (wink).
And I fear not the debate for 'tis silence that announces defeat.