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Black Bloggers: Nas on Jesse Jackson- Dr Boyce Watkins

by on July 17, 2008


Dr. Boyce Watkins

Quick thoughts of the day:

1) I was sad to see that the rapper Nas joined the group of attackers on Rev. Jesse Jackson. Personally, I think that Nas may have been rightfully upset at the fact that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton denounced Nas’ album “Nigger” before he changed the title. I think that as we criticize Jackson for his remarks, we should not forget the sacrifices he made for our country. I also think that Nas should remember that his comments about how Jesse needs to step aside are also being made about old-ass rappers like himself. We have to respect our elders, even when they say things that we don’t agree with.

2) My good friend Marc Lamont Hill brought this thought to me during an earlier phone conversation (we were discussing why there are some black scholars afraid to associate with professors like myself….scholars tend to fear those who step out of the ivory tower, that’s why most of your professors don’t do the kinds of things I do) Why is it the case that when Barack Obama told all Americans that their kids need to learn a second language, he was called “elitist”, but when he told black people that they need to be more responsible he was called “heroic”? Actually, most American kids are horribly deficient relative to the rest of the world in their language skills. I recall going to Germany and watching the guy who worked at Subway speak literally 3 different languages to customers from other countries. How many fast food workers do YOU know who speak 3 different languages?

I fear black people spending our lives like Cinderella, hoping that if we just get pretty enough, just well-behaved enough, then the step sisters are going to love us. The truth is that Cinderella was always beautiful and she didn’t know it. Criticism from politicians about broad ethnic groups is dangerous because it justifies continued racial discrimination. It says “the reason this company has not hired a black person in 20 years is because black people don’t know how to act”. The other thing you must realize is that even if you get 30 million people to change their behavior, the media WILL ALWAYS FIND SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU.

Bottom line: Learn to love yourself and stop falling for all this political bullcrap. If a politician only finds something to critique when he visits black people, there is something wrong with that.

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