Oprah Winfrey couldn’t get in front of the public fast enough to chastise the black community for its supposedly questionable fairness in the collective call for the firing of Don Imus after he made his disparaging comments against the mostly black Rutgers University women’s basketball team (see Oprah Winfrey Ask Were Blacks Fair to Don Imus). Ms. Winfrey aired a town meeting episode titled “Now What” in reference to Mr. Imus being fired. The episode was supposed to start some kind of dialog between the black and white communities. Unfortunately the episode looked more like a condemnation of the hip-hop culture. The atmosphere of the episode was one that made black people look like hypocrites for moving so hard to have Mr. Imus fired but failing to speak out against the disrespectful lyrics from gangsta rap artist and hip-hop culture.
A lot of people conveniently forget that the black community is not responsible for the development of the modern gangsta rap artist despite the fact they are mostly depicted as black music artist. The majority of these people are products of music labels and producers that are operating with the blessing and direction of corporations fully controlled by white interest who seek to define black people with less than attractive stereotypes. Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube may look like products of the black community. But the acting offers and roles they get from corporate white society is evidence of their acceptance in American culture. Black youths don’t have the disposable income to go purchase the latest gangsta rap songs from whomever so they market gangsta rap to young, white suburbanites who have the cash. Despite the obvious propaganda gangsta rap is as much a product of the black community as the President of the United States.
But regardless, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are now fighting very hard to make Michael Vick’s world very miserable. Mr. Vick has been fingered as the mastermind of Bad Newz Kennels operated on his rural Virginia property. He has entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment and says that he looks forward to clearing his name. A PETA representative said, “Regardless of [Mr.] Vick’s guilt or innocence in a court of law, the facts in this case clearly support this decision. No company wants a spokesperson with a massive illegal dog fighting ring operating on his property, regardless of his level of involvement.” With that statement, PETA planned protest at a dozen Niketown stores across the country next week in order to pressure Nike to drop Mr. Vick. However, Nike has already announced it was suspending Mr. Vick endorsement deal and halting sales of Vick related apparel at its stores. PETA has since cancelled the protest outside the Nike stores.
Now in all fairness, and if she had any interest in appearing impartial, Ms. Winfrey would be preparing a television show to determine if PETA was fair to Mr. Vick just like she did her benefit show for Mr. Imus. Her guest panel can include people like the NFL commissioner Roger Goodall who wrote Mr. Vick a letter to stay away from training camp. A representative from Nike could be invited to explain why they prematurely canned Mr. Vick before there was any clear determination that there was any criminal activity. A representative of Reebok could be invited to come and explain why, even though they don’t have a contract with Mr. Vick, they decided not to sell in reproductions of Mr. Vick’s jersey this year without any determination of guilt. Jason Whitlock could return so he could demonstrate his disdain for the black community all over again the way he did for Mr. Imus. And some guest from England could come and explain how dog fighting isn’t a hip-hop community phenomenon like many think it is but something that has been rooted in European culture for years. And people from PETA can come and explain what’s next.
Ms. Winfrey could do another town meeting with satellite broadcasts from dog kennels around the country so the people who work there can explain how hurt and shocked they were to learn of Mr. Vick and his dog fighting enterprise. Her best friend Gayle King could conduct the interviews. The title of the show can be PETA Gets Michael Vick Fired, Now What?
But honestly, I seriously doubt Ms. Winfrey has any interest in appearing impartial or doing anything fair on behalf of anybody in the black community. As she said when she did her Mr. Imus benefit show, she has no interest in never doing anything to bring black community issues to the forefront of America’s attention. Ms Winfrey cowardly prefers to safely ride the coattails of other black community leaders. I really couldn’t care any less for Mr. Vick and his dogged insistence on his innocence. Mr. Vick’s persona doesn’t move me one iota in either direction regarding his guilt. But if Oprah wants to perpetrate the fraud that her show is some bastion of fairness for matters regarding the black and white communities then she ought to have the decency to at least make an effort to look fair from the perspective of both communities.