MICHAEL DAVIS: In The Ghetto
I hate to see stereotypical images of black people, like the thug with the gold teeth who speaks in horrible English:
I was on the way to the crib, you knows wha I’m sayin? When I gots dare tis ho wanted to hang out, you know what I’m saying? You know what I’m saying? You know what I’m saying?
No, I don’t know what you’re saying. Nobody knows what you are saying.
I hate to see large black women with little itty-bitty short skirts and 10 inch nails that hook at the end. I hate to see black men grab their crouches. I hate to see black kids with their pants down to their ankles.
Here’s the thing: these are not stereotypes. I know black people like that. I’m sure you know black people like that, or at least you have seen black people like that.
Hey! Keep your hands away from the “comment” button! I’m about to make a point!
Yes, there are black people who act in the ways I mentioned above. There are also lazy black people, black people who love watermelon, black men who love white women, black men with really large (insert word here) and, yes, there are loud angry black women.
These types of black people do exist. I can’t stand most of that behavior, although I have eaten my share of watermelon and dated my share of white women. I have been lazy; when I was a kid I grabbed my crouch. Lastly, I have said, You know what I’m saying?
You know what I’m saying?
None of the above acts makes up a stereotype. I have seen black people engage in every one of those acts. I myself have engaged in a few.
They become stereotypes when you assume every black person acts in such a manner all the time.
That is just crazy.
To assume that all black people behave like this is simply freakin RIDICULOUS! To think that any race of people behaves in one way as a whole is just madness.
Every race of people has its share of people who are, let’s say “undesirable.” Black people have “niggers,” white people have “white trash,” Latinos have “spics,” Asians have “chinks.” You name the race I’ll tell the stereotypical name.
My favorite stereotype group is the “white trash” I see on The Jerry Springer Show. Those people crack me up!! For me to think that all white people act like those people on that show is just (say it with me) CRAZY!! Can you imagine if that was true? Can you imagine a newscast with two white trash people from the Springer Show as anchors?
Male Anchor: Welcome to the 7 o clock news, y’awl. I’m Joe Bob Bundy, but you can call me Bogger.
Female Anchor: I’m Daisy Lee Oswald. Hey Bogger, how y’awl doin?
Male Anchor: Fine Daisy, just fine. Today’s top story. A father killed his son for sleeping with his wife.
Female Anchor: Bogger, what a family tragedy!
Male Anchor: Yeah, my momma and daddy were brother and sister so they never fought.
I love The Jerry Springer Show!
For me to assume that all white people act like those on the Springer show would make me an idiot. For some people to assume that all-young black males act like the thugs you see in rap videos is just as idiotic.
Black Entertainment Television (BET) has a new show called Hot Ghetto Mess. This show (I’m told) features stereotypical images of black people engaged in some of the things I mentioned at the beginning of this piece. A friend of mine, Reggie Hudlin, runs BET Entertainment. I really like Reggie; I have since we met over a decade ago. Reggie is one of the smartest men I have ever met. My best friend Denys Cowan is a top executive at BET. Friends or not, I have no desire at all to see Hot Ghetto Mess.
I could care less about that show. I’m simply not interested. So I won’t watch it.
There is a lot of noise around that show, yep some people are yelling, suing, writing Congress and staging protests.
There is a major outcry from some black people who object to the depiction of certain black stereotypes on the show. My answer to them: don’t watch it.
I don’t know much but here’s what I do know. I know the world is not flat, I know that there is no Santa Claus, I know that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, I know that 1+1=2 and I know that all black people don’t act like thugs.
There are people who think that all black people act like thugs. They are also people that deny the Holocaust. You are not going to change these peoples minds; to put it diplomatically those people are … assholes.
How’s that’s for diplomacy?
Frankly all this noise is just going to get more people to watch the show.
There are black people who act like thugs, there are white people who act like thugs, heck, there are Hobbits who act like thugs. You cannot regulate morality nor can a race of people be defined by a few. I don’t care if it’s on television or on a street corner.
In fact, who’s to say that a thug or two won’t see the show and say, Damn I be looking wack! Then change his or her ways?
I will never get over how some people just have to impose their will on others. By what right does anyone have to tell me or you what they think is good for us?
To me, Hot Ghetto Mess is Jerry Springer on BET. I see no outcry from white people to pull Jerry Springer off the air because it casts a negative connotation on white people. It’s time to let people think for themselves. Hey, smoking is such a bad habit that it may kill you, yet millions of people choose to smoke. Does that mean that all smokers have a death wish because they choose to smoke? Thinking that people will assume that all black people are defined by what is shown on Hot Ghetto Mess is just as obtuse.
I’ve mentioned before that I hate the show Sweet 16, so I don’t watch it. I hate that show but I don’t think all rich kids are spoiled brats. Hot Ghetto Mess defines Black America like Vanilla Ice defines Hip Hop or Mike Tyson defines Valedictorian.
I have no idea how Hot Ghetto Mess will be received. But thanks to the busybody protestors you can be sure that it will get big numbers. Great way to get people not to watch, eh?
Reggie Hudlin is sticking to his guns and will not pull the show. Good for him, I respect that.
Last Friday I had a debate with a young lady in a karaoke bar about the show. She said Reggie was an idiot. She had not seen the show, but that didn’t matter. She did not want to hear any differing opinion as to why people have a right to watch what they want. She thought every person who watches the show would think that all black people act in the way Hot Ghetto Mess may depict. She also just kept saying that Reggie was an idiot.
I later found out that she is about to get her G.E.D. Reggie went to Harvard.
You know what I’m saying?
Michael Davis is a comics creator and the founder of the Guardian Line series of comics as well as being a television producer and writer. He was a co-founder of Milestone Comics and his artwork has appeared in Wasteland, Green Arrow: Shado, Green Hornet and The Question, among others.