brotherpeacemaker

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YellowBook

YellowBook

There is a Yellowbook commercial on the airwaves featuring David Carridine of Kill Bill fame. Three men are sitting at a conference table trying to come up with a way to drum up business for their company. One of these men is black, the other two are white. One of the white men throws out the question of where to spend their advertising dollars. The other white guy suggests that they ask the advertising guru played by Mr. Carridine. One of the white guys peppers the ad guru with questions. The answer to all of their questions is Yellowbook. The black guy never utters a peep. The commercial pans to the following quarter and the same three men are now playing music in the office and dancing it up. They are celebrating because their [sales] have soared. Now the black man is front and center and the white men are in the background. The black man is doing what black people do best, dance, jig, and celebrate. The black man offers nothing in the way of how to do business. The black man is just the entertainment. And I used to like David Carridine.

My eleven month old son was in the room when this commercial came on. His mother covered his eyes so he couldn’t see the commercial. We are not ready to let the corporate culture have unfettered access to his psyche just yet. The baby needs an opportunity to find out who he is before others try to influence who he should be. We don’t have a fear that he’ll become a jigaboo ready to dance at any and all opportunities. Our fear is that he will subtly be programmed to trust white people to take care of business and to rely on black people for the monkey business. This is the clever brainwashing that leads people to accept as true the fallacy that black people are not as intellectually equipped as our white counterparts regardless of education or experience. If we get a job or if we are accepted at a school of higher learning, it is only because of some illegal affirmative action program that unfairly favors minorities at the expense of white people. Poor white people can’t even find jobs any more because of all the partiality.

My partner and I don’t want baby boy to learn anything about the hip hop culture that the corporate music industry wants to hammer down people’s psychological throats. White people like Bill O’Reilly have allowed themselves to be programmed to think black people carry pistols everywhere we go and are quick to anger at the most benign slight or misunderstanding. Some black are. But so are some white people.

There was a scene in the movie Crash where Cameron Thayer, played by Terrence Howard, was directing a movie or a television show or a commercial for all I know. Mr. Thayer and his crew just shot a scene and called it a wrap. Fred, played by Tony Danza, was somewhat dissatisfied with the shoot. One of the black actors spoke too articulately for Fred’s personal taste. Fred pulled Mr. Thayer to the side. Fred told Cameron that the scene needed another take. The black actor needed to be more black with his character portrayal. Being a black man Mr. Thayer is visibly taken aback by what Fred was implying. We never see who or what Fred was, but he was obviously somebody who had the pull to yank the director’s chain. Mr. Thayer reluctantly submits and calls the crew back for another take so that the black actor can be more black and slur his words or use a slang or just sound more black. The character has to jigaboo just a bit so that everybody would accept the notion that the character is the typical African American male.

The idea of coherent speech from black people is an exception is reinforced through fiction like the movie Crash as well as in our reality. It was a well known joke by Chris Rock that Collin Powel is a black man that a lot of white people think “speaks so well”. Senator Joe Biden described Senator Barack Obama as “clean and articulate”. I guess Mr. Biden was pleasantly surprised to find that Mr. Obama wasn’t funky and mush mouthed. And the previously mentioned Bill O’Reilly interrupted his daily television program on the FOX network to tell America how well black people behaved at the famous black Sylvia’s restaurant in Washington, DC. He was surprised to see no black people were yelling for their “mother fucking tea”.

On the flipside of this coin, the black community has allowed the dominant culture to define what it means to be black. Black people do not run the gamut but are narrowly defined by some of the most unbecoming of parameters. Black people are loud, intellectually inferior, incompetent, lazy, unethical, dishonorable, and more, or less depending on your point of view. Black men and women are supposed to be sexually starved and have insatiable libidos. The gangsta rap culture developed by the music industry does much to describe life in the black community in a lot of people’s eyes. However, one has to wonder what type of culture black people would have if we didn’t have the television, radio, magazines, movies, newspapers, and all the other mediums of propaganda doing their part to shape our view of ourselves.

Unfortunately, no matter how successful my partner and I are able to keep the influence of corporate America from our child so that he could learn his own identity, chances are overwhelming that he will still grow up in a world that will continue to see African Americans as stereotypical caricatures of human behavior. People like Joe Biden will see him and expect him to be funky and mush mouthed and yelling for his mother fucking tea.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black People, Hip Hop, Life, Racism, Thoughts

6 Comments »

  1. I absolutely hate that commercial. It just makes me cringe each time I see it. I am glad that someone else sees the blatant propaganda in this stupid commercial.

    Also, you are so correct that these propaganda artists are shaping out society without even trying hard. I believe that we have a small window for looking at what we could be without the bulk of these props such as the rap, commercials and Bill O’Reilley’s. Just look back to the days of MLK and the others and you will see a more dignified culture of people. They still had the propaganda of the Christian community.

    Even with this brainwashing we weren’t the epitome of all the white fantasies that play constantly on the television, movies and radio oh and don’t mention online.

    Thanks

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Wednesday, March 5, 2008 | Reply

  2. Unfortunately this kind of poison is prevelant here in england too. It’s about to get a lot worse because we are about to get our own BET.

    I have been told that i speak white and don’t talk like a black person, by white people and it’s hurtful.

    we need to form REAL communities made from like minded persons and leave people that are happy to play stereotypes behind, otherwise that foolish thought pattern will infect us all.

    Comment by lifeisannoying | Thursday, March 6, 2008 | Reply

  3. I saw this ad but didn’t think much of it, maybe because i’m not black. I didn’t have the notions that the black actor was fullfilling the stereotype of a jigaboo. How do you think asian americans feel that there culture is being protrayed by a white man and not an asian character. Didn’t the white guy play the role of a sensei on his show? How do you think asian americans feel?

    Comment by snakeclocks | Tuesday, March 25, 2008 | Reply

  4. Thanks for the feedback snakeclocks,

    But I don’t know how Asian Americans feel. Am I supposed to know? I don’t have any Asian American friends and I’m not about to assume how the Asian community may feel. Maybe I didn’t notice because I’m not Asian. All I can say is that if I was Asian I would think that I would be offended. I would have been offended with all the depictions of Charlie Chan and the Asian cooks in all the John Wayne Westerns as well. There are a lot of Asian caricatures that I believe would be offensive to me if I was Asian. I have seen a number of World War II cartoons that depict Asians as something less than human. But since I’m black and the fact that people in the black community are regularly depicted in insulting ways, I am more sensitive to the variety of black caricatures.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Tuesday, March 25, 2008 | Reply

  5. “My eleven month old son was in the room when this commercial came on. His mother covered his eyes so he couldn’t see the commercial.”

    My question regarding your above comment is why you go from talking about yourself in the first person as the young boy’s mother to talking about yourself in the third person? Why didn’t you just say, “I coverd his eyes…?”

    Before this you also said the following:

    “They are celebrating because their sells have soared.”

    What is “sells?” Do you mean “sales?”

    Although I appreciate your feedback, maybe you should take a look at how you are communicating this information before you are quick to point out other people’s (or companies) fall backs. Thank you for the insight though, I do agree with many points.

    Comment by KC | Thursday, July 29, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback KC,

      I said his mother covered his eyes when he came into the room because that’s what happened.

      As far as the difference between “sells” and “sales”…Hey! Everybody makes mistakes, even the grammar checker in Microsoft Word.

      Peace

      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, July 29, 2010 | Reply


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