Note: This was written the evening of July 28th.
I’ve been busy lately. I am preparing a course on American history from Reconstruction until the present, and I’ve been spending most of most days writing lectures. Yet I had planned to devote today to writing for this blog, and maybe one or two others I am involved in, and I had a whole slew of sparkling, glee-inducing ideas on what to write about. On the top of this list was a post on cursing – why it’s awesome, what is misguided about criticisms of it, and why no, I’ll never stop using “foul language.” I was really looking forward to this. A whole fucking lot.
But then I made the mistake of watching CNN while working out at the gym this afternoon. And then I suffered the extreme misfortune of listening to Don Lemon deliver his talking points (during a segment laughably entitled “No Talking Points”) on what is wrong with the black community, and what solutions should now be pursued in order to stop white people from suspecting that young black people are criminals – and thus stalking and murdering them. His recommendations were as follows:
1) Stop wearing baggy, low-hung pants,
2) Stop using the word nigger,
3) Stop littering,
4) Finish high school, and
5) Stop having babies if you are not ready to have babies.
When presented with something like this, it is very difficult for me to know where to start. Should I open with the strategy of vulnerability, explaining how sad – (not even sad; hopeless) – it makes me feel to hear this kind of thing, once again, being pounded into the heads of Americans? Or should I go straight to the outrage that precedes that hopelessness, that fills my eyes and my chest with the frustrated rage of impotence? Or perhaps, should I try to begin a discussion by finding common ground – by placing a little white flag of maybe-truce on those parcels of discourse which both I, and someone like Don Lemon, can agree fall within the realm of reality?