You know, it amazes me how Black people collectively get accused for everything that is wrong with our nation. We appear at the top of the list when it comes to issues that many people consider to be controversial, heinous or criminal. Whether it’s the issue of welfare, homicide, drugs, violent crime, prison, school dropouts, negative entertainment or single-parent households, you can’t help but see Black people get paraded out front in the mainstream media like they are the only group of folks in the country that are contributing to the problems associated with them.
I was recently watching the VMA Awards on MTV, where I saw Miley Cyrus on stage performing a song with some pretty risqué and culturally questionable lyrics in it, when all of a sudden I see her giving a pretty raunchy performance, while ‘Twerking’ all over the stage. Now, this was a shock to me, only because I couldn’t believe that this was the same young girl that my, now-teenage children and I, used to love watching as Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel.
Now, I get that she is older and isn’t a kid anymore, but does that mean she had to jump off the deep end like that? Probably not. But what bothers me the most are the comments that I have heard coming from media outlets and others, who are stating that Miley Cyrus has become a “bad girl” and her change in behavior has to do with the hip-hop culture and her hanging out with Black people has negatively influenced her. This is ludicrous! Last time I checked, Miley Cyrus had a daddy. So, are we going to blame her behavior on somebody else, let alone an entire cultural group of people? That’s so stupid. She has a mind, and while she may have had folks influence her, you can’t blame Black people for it.
Same thing goes for the three kids accused of killing Christopher Lane, an Australian baseball player who was visiting the town of Duncan, OK, where his girlfriend lives and was out for a jog. Only two of the teenagers were charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Lane, a crime that one teen said they carried out simply because they were bored, according to police. James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, and Chancey Allen Luna, 16, both Black males, were charged with murder. A third teenager, Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, a White male, was only charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact and with firing a weapon.
This was an incredibly stupid and heinous crime, but you have heard many people saying that the White kid was an accessory because he was being influenced by the Black kids to commit this crime. All of them are guilty, so it wasn’t a matter of Black versus White; it was a matter of right versus wrong. Every year, it seems as if Black people get accused for a crime that was either committed by a White person or with a White person. It is so much easier to say, “The Black Guy Did It,” than for people to take ownership over what they did.
Take Ashley Todd for example. In 2008, Todd thought it would be a good idea to carve a backwards B on her face and blame it on a Black Barack Obama supporter in Pennsylvania. However, after investigating her story, the police found out she had lied. Of course, then-candidate John McCain and Sarah Palin called her and offered her their condolences for this “made up Black man” story which had to be believable; because she said a Black man did it.
Or what about Susan Smith, who went on TV and received a ton of media attention after claiming that a Black guy hijacked her car, with her kids inside of it. Little did we know that she would later admit to taking her car and rolling it into a lake, with her children in it so that she could start a new life by marrying a wealthy man without having the burden of her old family. Better yet, what about ole’ Charles Stuart, Massachusetts, who shot himself and killed his pregnant wife for insurance money and blamed it on a Black man. After the police arrested several Black men on suspicion of being involved in the incident, Stuart’s brother admitted that he was actually involved in his brother’s wife’s killing, which prompted Stuart to commit suicide after being found out.
There are more and more stories that I could list, but let me make my primary point. Black people shouldn’t be the only faces that appear on the 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 news. However, this has been the way Black people have been displayed for decades in the media and in society.
Black people have been labeled savages, mongrels, criminals and animals, as if they are the only cultural group in America that can do any wrong. Truth be told, the majority of White Americans have always sought to mimic African American culture, whether it is music, entertainment, physical presence, art and style. So, if you want to blame Black people for being a negative influence on White youth, then the same should be said of White people’s influence on America. Because Black people have no majority control over the mainstream media, in Hollywood, heading up Fortune 500 companies and music labels, manufacturing guns and drugs, overseeing the educational system or dominating the political landscape, how can Black people be truly blamed for what’s wrong with our country? Shouldn’t the people who have control over these areas, be blamed for what’s wrong with them? When I worked in Corporate America, we always pointed out and disciplined those who were incompetent of handling their responsibility.
The only way to change the perception that society has about Black people, is to not only challenge Black people to do better, but to also be fair and equitable with the critique and coverage of activities in every cultural group. I am tired of Black people being singled out and called to the carpet for the very things that White people do and should be called out for as well. Where is the accountability fall in the community that helped create and foster many of the problems Americans face in our country, especially African Americans?
Black people are committed to overcoming the struggles and the problems that we face. Remember Black people endured slavery and fought to overcome all of the racist laws and systems that were put in place to keep us enslaved. Who we gonna blame for that in the media and in our society, huh?