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-The Five Spot

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

To Transcend, whatever that means

Oprah, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby. . .
What do they have in common?

All are millionaires or even a billionaire – matter of factly, they’re rich. All have been or continue to be media darlings, thereby meaning, they have garnered mainstream attention.
So what is Bellini getting at?

These folks “transcend” race. What does that mean? NOTHING!
It is a poor way to describe mainstream America’s likeness for a black person.

Stay-at-home moms would die if the “O” stopped by for lunch at her home. Damn it! It would be an honor.

The golf aficionado would become weak in the knees if the “Cablinasian” (uuhhh. . . Tiger you’re still black, but whatever toots your horn) performed a few rounds at his golfcourse.

Dr. Huxtable, you are the quintessential dad. Educated, professional wife, plenty of kids, but your rare sense of sensibility had middle America tickled. They could identify with you and your family – the lack of pretentiousness helped.

Thriller! Damn it. From the housing projects to shanty-towns; to McMansions to palaces; there wasn’t a kid who didn’t have memorabilia of the “Man in the Mirror”. Your home either had MJ’s poster and or his Thriller album in heavy rotation. Gotta keep it real, your name was universal language.

“I want to be just like Mike.” – need I say more?

Mainstream enlighten us as to why when a black person hits a certain tax bracket, and you appreciate their extraordinary talent, why is it easier for you to marginalize their blackness? At times you act like they’re blackness is a non-issue, you want to claim you see their person; but damn it – it takes a long time for you to embrace him/her. The “O” has been in the game since the ‘80s (granted you didn’t know her in the exclusive markets of B-more of the Chi, but my point is she’s been around). Plump, small, we’ve seen it all. And now, she’ something like a phenomenon to you all. Even Cosby had been around, but it was The Cosby Show that turned you around.

Let me make this clear, you never forgot about race. Rather you espouse a slight indifference about the amount of melanin in their skin, so that you can take a liking to their being (shallow – indeed). But like Barack told Greta Van Sustern “Once I leave your studio, I’ll have a hard time catching a cab!”




The Breaking Point said...

I don't think these people transcend race as much as they allow some white people to feel good about themselves. 'See! I like some black people,' they can always say if they're called on being a racist. But they know, as do we all, that these people are very much black. And the minute one of them steps too far out of line s/he will be reminded of that reality.

Rum Punch said...

You know I read something the other day that made me go hmmmm...it went like this: White people decide what's popular, Black people decide what's cool. Ain't that the truth? Because the Black folk whites make "popular" are not always the revered ones in the Black community...look at how many Black folk sneered at Bob Johnson for his Obama comment, cause we know that we despise BET and Johnson should go somewhere and sit down...the same for Tiger Woods, and dare I say Oprah...Black folk knew who Terrence Howard was before Hustle & Flow (Sparks, The Best Man anyone) and we knew Will Smith had star quality when he was in Bad Boys...so it's all about when they "discover" that person of color...that's when it matters...oh and if they're "non threatning", that helps...

Amaretto said...

Well I knew about Will since "This is a story all about how..." But I couldn't agree with ya'll more!

White folks have been "discovering" stuff since Columbus.

My college roomie freshmen year had so many questions about my hair it went from a chance to teach to DAMNIT, don't you know anything-real fast! Because I had to know about them. I knew their hair needs to be washed almost daily and I knew a perm for them meant to make their hair curly. But she didn't know nuffin' about me, and she didn't have to.

So yeah when the mainstream decides to look out they feel that things that have been going on for decades start at the moment they see it. And that's a strange and arrogant way to view the world.

Oh, and let's also add Queen Latifah to the list, according to the mainstream her acting career started at Chicago...

Bellini said...

ahhh. . . white privilege!