On News & Notes today

Later this afternoon I’m heading down to my local NPR studio to take part in News & Notes Black Blogger’s Roundtable. If you’re not familiar with News & Notes, the roundtables are segments where bloggers or reporters, etc., discuss a few news items and give take on them or the media response or something similar.

I’m pretty excited about taking part and quite honored that they asked me. As I have mentioned recently, News & Notes is one of my favorite radio shows. Apparently one of the producers is a fan of this blog!

Check your local station’s schedule to see when the show is broadcast (usually mid-day). If you’ll be at work or your station doesn’t broadcast the show, you can listen online after 4pm est, I think.

ETA: the streaming audio is now online.  I discussed black military enrollment, blackface and tacky Halloween costume, Oprah’s new YouTube channel, and money issues surrounding Jena 6 donations with Farai Chideya, Monroe Anderson, and Anthony Bradley.
The segment went really well and I enjoyed myself.  I even got to go to WNYC’s offices and join the discussion from a studio.  I felt quite fancy!

29 Responses

  1. I heard you – you sounded great!

  2. I heard your conversation last night while on my way to meet with some friends. I’m a frequent listener of News and Notes, and now I’ll consider myself a frequent reader of your blog.

    I agreed with some of what you had to say… but not all.

    Maybe it’s because I’m white and a man… but I think there’s room for a joke in our society. I didn’t think that Kat Williams’ noose was particularly funny… but then again, I don’t consider Kat Williams to be particularly funny either, so I can’t really be surprised. Is it insensitive for a person to wear blackface? Of course it is. Does that make it a message of hate? Absolutely not.

    The idea that someone should lose their job, and have their lives ruined just because a section of the American population take offense to something is just silly to me.

    With all of the examples of real, horrible racism and hate going on in the world… it boggles my mind to see that intelligent people are wasting their time talking about nonsense such as that.

  3. “Maybe it’s because I’m white and a man…”

    Ding, ding, ding.

    And stop leaving creepy comments on Alas.

  4. Cogent, intelligent and insightful.

    I’m sure you’re the darling of everyone’s dinner party.

    Glad to see that glib generalizations aren’t just the domain of white guys.

  5. Oh, what? I don’t get to be called both friend and accused of caterwauling in the same comment? Oh, I’m heart-broken.

  6. Again… the quality of your intellect astounds me.

    You can’t complain that someone treats you as hysterical when you approach a subject in hysterics.

  7. Hw cn y jstf smn lsng thr jb bcs th shwd p n blckfc? Whr s tht fct ln rcl slr? spps shldn’t b srprsd bcs th blck thng ths dys sms t b t btch bt vrythng tht sn’t th rght clr. Nw hr tht th l ∓ Jss shw wll b pttnng fr Cngrss t hv th lttr “N” rmvd frm th lphbt. l s gng t sk Twn Brwl nd slctd mmbrs f th Dk nvrst lcrss tm t spk t rlls. Trl pg frm th bk wrttn b dm Clytn Pwll. Gt lf!

  8. Sggstns fr mr “Rc Crds” – y shw “Lkd t Wht Wmn Wrng”. Tr ths n fr sz: . Dsrt wf (r crrnt sqz), lvng hr t cr fr kds whl y shck p wth nw sqz . Pl ffnsv lyrcs xtrml ld t trffc lghts – bcs t’s cl (rmnnt frm th bm-bx dys. . Spk n tht nntllgbl dlct ctll gvn nm (bncs) b cdm clrs. . dmr J

  9. crnm y r pg. f cld s y y wld b wht s snw fr sr. t s bvs tht y s rcst pg t b tlk bt blck ppl lk tht w. nd ys,j ws frmd b th wht cp wh sd n-wrd bt dd’nt s h dd. t tk grt lwyr lk Jnn Cckrn t gt fr trl fr pr J Stmsn. H hs bn tryng t fnd th rl kllr fr snc h ws ckwttd. Y wll s n d tht y r vr ncrrckt bt th mn. H s gd ctr tw btt h cnnt gt jbs nymr bcs th jws n hllywd hv sd th wrd bt hm.

  10. “because the jews in hollywood have said the word about him.”

    The fuck?

    ABW, what happened to your comments section?

  11. h-h. Mndln sd th “F” wrd. Sht . . . dn’t mttr n hw. nl n tht cnts s th “N”. Whch rmnds m – s thr “K” wrd fr th Jws (sk Ml); “S” wrd fr Prt Rcns,; “C” wrd fr Chns; r s t jts “N” tht’s bd. Th mntl mdgt bv pstng s NMrCrp ws rght bt n thng – Jhnn Cchrn cntrbtd th “N” (lng wth gttng mrdrr ff).

  12. Okay then, this thread has obviously gotten out of control. Richard, congrats, you’re banned in one shot! Not only are you being incredibly stupid and racist, but you’ve already created a sockpuppet! Jesus people.

    First, a., yes, because you’re a white man you have the luxury to see blackface as a “joke”. That doesn’t make your view the “correct” one.

    Let me explain to you why I have no problem with someone losing their job over something like this. It is never acceptable for someone to dress up as a denigrating racial stereotype. period. That’s really the end of the story. In polite society, we usually frown on such things. But in crass society such things abound. Apparently the office for homeland security is a den of crassness, which doesn’t surprise me one bit.

    The guy’s costume was supposed to be “convict”, but instead of just wearing some black and white stripes and some fake cuffs, he chose to make himself into a black person by darkening his skin and donning a wig of dredlocks. You probably don’t have the cultural background to understand why that’s insulting and not funny, so I will direct you to this post, which says, in part:

    That which does not affect you, you often do not see or understand

    Think about that the next time you want to say “can’t you people take a joke?”

    also, an act does not need to necessarily be a “message of hate” in order to be racist.

    The idea that someone should lose their job, and have their lives ruined just because a section of the American population take offense to something is just silly to me.

    Well, that’s lovely. But that doesn’t make your opinion/assessment particularly valid. Mainly because this guy’s life is far from ruined. There are plenty of white people out there who’ll be happy to hire him because of this incident. That’s the world we live in. Beyond that, how else are people supposed to understand that this crap isn’t acceptable? If you do something that is blatantly offensive and racist, you should definitely lose your job. maybe then you won’t do racist stuff anymore, and maybe the people round you won’t, either. just saying “Hey, don’t be racist,” clearly isn’t working. So, just as you do with a 6 year old, you have to escalate the punishment.

    With all of the examples of real, horrible racism and hate going on in the world…

    Here’s something else you need to understand — Racism must be fought on all fronts and at all levels for it to go away. You can’t just concentrate on the KKK because they are only a part of the problem. Pointing out both large scale and small scale examples of racism not only helps people to understand how it works, but it keeps smaller scale racism from growing more malicious.

  13. Okay… a few things:

    Firstly, I’m not condoning his behavior… nor am I being as flippant as you’re painting me to be. I’m not boiling this down to a simple, “can’t you people take a joke?” I never used those words. I don’t find it funny… I agree that it’s insensitive… but at what point do we draw the line for how a person is supposed to conduct himself in society?

    I appreciate that to see, lets say, a noose around someone’s neck can offend you… firstly as a black person… but also (and I would say more importantly) as a human being. I found the nooses hung from the “white tree” to be a horrible act of not just insensitivity, but cruelty. It speaks to a sordid tradition which, in one way or another, still continues today.

    I would also suggest that as a white man (two adjectives which mean very little to me, as I consider myself a person before a white or male person) I am especially upset by things like this… mainly because it only deepens the divide between people who look like me and people who look like you.

    I don’t want there to be a divide between anyone. I’m of the mind that we should all just shut up and drink some wine. I’m Italian… it’s what we do.

    I’m very afraid of political correctness… as I think some of the greatest writers, artists and leaders have enacted tremendous change specifically by being politically incorrect. Now, I’m not comparing Kat Williams (if that’s how you spell his name, there may be another t on Kat… it’s not really very important, as he’s a marginal figure in entertainment… and simply an example for this conversation) to someone like Oscar Wilde… but when I hear people flip out over something like what he did… I wonder if they’re seeing it the way he intended.

    Perhaps he didn’t mean it as a joke… or some kind of publicity stunt… but instead as a silent method of protest. I don’t know what he meant to say… but what I do know is that if our society becomes so uptight about politeness and eggshell-walking, I never will.

    To close, I’d like to add two things:

    a. I have boundless respect for you, and the intellect you bring towards these issues. While I don’t always agree with you, I’m glad to read what you write… and I look forward to a future of mutual communication regarding these concepts.

    b. If I were a more sensitive person than I am… I’d be offended by this statement: (I admit, this is somewhat passive-aggressive of me, but I’m doing it anyway)

    “You probably don’t have the cultural background to understand why that’s insulting and not funny, so I will direct you to this post, which says, in part:”

    Doesn’t this insight speak towards the same impulse that might lead a person to presuppose that you, being a black woman, enjoy R&B music, faint at church and avoid skiing resorts as a vacation destination?

    Wouldn’t it be exhaustive and irritating to have to constantly check yourself to be sure that you don’t offend me by what you aren’t saying… by what you don’t mean?

    I realize that we come from different backgrounds, and so as a result are different people… but I attribute very little worth to any philosophy which works against prejudice by being prejudicial.

    While I would never speak for white men as a whole (as I consider that act to be both worthless and absurd – we’re all different) – I will suggest that it is exhausting to constantly have to self-edit… and it is even more tiresome to have to constantly be told what I am able or unable to understand simply by virtue of the color of my skin.

    That’s all.

    I enjoy your blog, and am looking forward to your next post.

    Take care.

    a.

  14. I think you missed some points that Richard made. Consider a variation of his screen name alone as an indication of his intellectual prowess. However, removing his vowels doesn’t negate the fact that he did raise a question or two that are obviously bothering him – and, perhaps, others. I’ll be lurking to see if I’m in the minority in supporting dickhead’s expectation of answers.

  15. “I’m very afraid of political correctness… as I think some of the greatest writers, artists and leaders have enacted tremendous change specifically by being politically incorrect.”

    I haven’t heard the News & Notes shows, and I’m not familiar with this Kat person or what happened. But as an educator, I am a very firm believer in political correctness, at least of a certain type (the term has become so broad these days it can mean just about anything). ABW has a great post on it:

    http://theangryblackwoman.wordpress.com/2007/04/12/in-defense-of-political-correctness/

  16. I’m also an educator… and while I believe that one should operate with a sense of decorum, I also believe that there’s a tremendous difference between that and the rigid formula of political correctness.

  17. “rigid formula”? Maybe you should outline what exactly you believe that rigid formula is. I don’t believe there is a formula. As I mentioned, I believe the term has become so broad these days that it can mean just about anything. Almost always, when I encounter a pejorative use of the term “political correctness,” it is by someone swatting away the (often legitimate) concerns of minorities, women, etc.

  18. Wow. I clicked on comments so I could say “woo hoo, ABW on the radio, awesome!” So consider that said, please.

    Regarding your comment, a., about tiredness and eggshell-walking and the like –

    I’m afraid the mathematics of this is slipping by me – how is it that the people who are actually not ever walking on eggshells in the first place, are the same ones who are most tuckered out by the very idea of it?

    I have never met any white people who are constantly checking themselves to the point of exhaustion because people of color are hot on their trails, waiting to pounce with offendedness. For real, dude, I have not ever encountered this. I have, though, heard this complaint many many times, about how it WOULD be super fucking horrible to be a white person caught in that energy-sucking trap. At last count, there were an infinite number of things that WOULD be irritating and exhausting if they were going on right now. I didn’t know we were having a tired-off, but as I am an expert at succumbing to tiredness, I would like to receive alerts from now on whenever there’s one afoot.

    Thank you.

  19. “Almost always, when I encounter a pejorative use of the term “political correctness,” it is by someone swatting away the (often legitimate) concerns of minorities, women, etc.Rigid Formula of Political Correctness:”

    According to whom? This is the whole point. I think we can all appreciate the difference between someone being offended by being called “black,” or “colored” (which my 93 year-old grandfather said the other day, when mentioning how much he likes his new neighbors) in place of “african-american,” and someone walking up to a black guy and calling him a nigger. One is an intentional verbal assault, the other requires a catalyst to offend.

    Anyone can be offended by anything… and more often than not it happens. Christ, look at the other conversation regarding the character “The Haitian” on Heroes. Now, you may agree with their assessment… but to me, he’s just a character. To the four black girls I was hanging out with last night, to whom I posed the question… he was just a character. Not a characture. But still.. people are offended by it. Because people can be offended by anything. And the larger problem with political correctness is that it implies that a person’s hurt feelings are really that big a deal.

    You don’t like something that someone said? Fine. I turn on the television and see Italian-americans represented as spoon-wielding, mustached imbeciles… but I don’t really let it bother me. I turn on comedy central and watch black comedian after black comedian tear into white people for being this way or that. I don’t care. Because in the grand scheme of things… the opinion of one guy isn’t really very important. Political correctness seems to suggest otherwise. It paints the picture of a society where everyone’s personal feelings are of the utmost importance… and we should all be sure not to offend one another… when, in reality, not everyone’s feelings are really worth considering. Not because of their skin, or their creed or anything like that… but simply by virtue of the fact that their opinion is just laughable.

    I used to work at a bookstore where a woman would come in every day and complain that she found the music to be offensive. It was a Franz Ferdinand album. How the hell you get offended by Franz Ferdinand, I have no idea… but she hated it. My manager caved, and we took the CD out. The next day she came in and didn’t like what we were playing… and the expectation was that because of this one person’s interpretation of what she heard, everyone else should be required to alter their behavior.

    The same is true (in spirit) with political correctness. It artificially inflates the legitimacy of someone’s personal feelings… and, as a person who regards all of humanity with annoyance and disdain… I’m here to tell you that very often, a person’s feelings are transient, volatile and, when you get right down to it, not really worth troubling yourself over.

    I’m glad to see such a good discussion over this subject.

    Please. Not to sound flippant… but enough already.

  20. removing his vowels doesn’t negate the fact that he did raise a question or two that are obviously bothering him – and, perhaps, others. I’ll be lurking to see if I’m in the minority in supporting dickhead’s expectation of answers.

    Achmed, Richard gave up any right to have his questions answered or points debated in a real way when he became an abusive jerk on my blog. I don’t mind engaging people how disagree with me, as long as they do so without being racist assholes. once they cross the line and break the rules, they are gone, as are any chances of me having to do with anything they said, valid or not.

    It’s my way of making sure that those who wish to have a proper conversation do so without all the other associated crap.

  21. By the way, I left this part out – the four black girls wasn’t meant as a justification for why no black people should be offended by the Haitian… it was just funny to me that when I posed them the question, they all looked and me like I was crazy, then went on to talk about how hot they though he was.

    Secondly, I misspelled caricature.

    My bad.

  22. Please. Not to sound flippant… but enough already.

    here’s the problem, a. You DO sound flippant. And, quite honestly, I’ve had enough of it for today. You’re now on moderation. You can still comment, but I have to approve said comments. therefore, if you come at us with this attitude of the smart white man condescending to teach us misguided black people what we should and shouldn’t find offensive, no one else has to put up with it but me. And if it continues, I’ll get tired enough of it to just ban you completely.

    The way to get out of the moderation queue? how about adjusting your attitude? Instead of treating us all like we’re 5 year olds, attempt to respect the fact that we do know what the hell we’re talking about and have enough of a brain to understand what is truly offensive and what is not. While you’re waiting for me to approve your comments, you might also go tot he Required Reading section and spend a few hours familiarizing yourself with it.

    I could make a flip comment here about the correlation between a.’s comments and the fact that he’s an NPR listener, but I won’t. because that would be insulting to other NPR listeners.

  23. …in reality, not everyone’s feelings are really worth considering. Not because of their skin, or their creed or anything like that… but simply by virtue of the fact that their opinion is just laughable.

    And I know EXACTLY who gets to decide whose opinions matter and whose don’t.

  24. I turn on the television and see Italian-americans represented as spoon-wielding, mustached imbeciles… but I don’t really let it bother me. I turn on comedy central and watch black comedian after black comedian tear into white people for being this way or that. I don’t care.

    Rachel has a great quote which sums it up beautifullly:

    I often make a joke about a stereotype that many blacks have of whites–white people’s hair smells like a dog when it is wet. I ask how many of my students have heard of this. Usually, the only students who have heard it are black. Many students laugh because this stereotype seems absurd. Then, I say, “How many of you have heard the stereotype that blacks are violent and crime prone?” Almost all the students raise their hands, and nobody laughs. I make the case that the first one is humorous to them because it really doesn’t have an impact on the day to day lives of whites, but the crime stereotype isn’t funny because it has a profound impact on blacks.

  25. I meant to put that quote at the beginning of my post in italics. Whoops.

  26. “if you come at us with this attitude of the smart white man condescending to teach us misguided black people what we should and shouldn’t find offensive, no one else has to put up with it but me. And if it continues, I’ll get tired enough of it to just ban you completely.”

    Thank you for illustrating my point.

    Enjoy your baggage. I won’t be posting on your site again. Apparently I’m the wrong kind of person.

  27. It was great to hear you talk, ABW! I enjoyed listening, and thank you for linking it!

  28. Can’t say I’m said to see a. go. I know this has been said a million times over, but I must repeat it… You will never truly know never it feels like to be a minority living and breathing in a white man’s world. It doesn’t mean that you’re evil or a bad person. You may sympathize, but you will never be able to empathize.

  29. Oh, and the discussion on News & Notes was insightful. I enjoyed listening!

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