By Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris
6.29.16: Philadelphia – (Politics): Though I hate to generalize, I will: the media… the media historically has been so unbelievable deceptive; so incredibly irresponsible; so utterly out-of-touch with reality that the world they often reflect with words and images is nothing more than their sadistic creation of an alternate universe forced upon its readers and viewers as true. The white-owned media, particularly those outlets which enjoy mainstream positioning, has long portrayed African-Americans, a strong and resilient group which has significantly contributed to America’s culture and prominence, in any way other than accurate.
Why did a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll find that supporters of Mr. Donald Trump, when compared to the backers of Mrs. Hillary Clinton and former 2016 Republican presidential candidates, are more likely to describe African-Americans as unintelligent, lazy, violent and criminal? Because, the four aforementioned character traits have been what the media – in Hollywood and elsewhere – has relied on for centuries to create for television and other mediums unflattering African-American characters.
Take for example Mr. Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry, an American comedian and 20th Century star of film who became the first black actor to achieve the financial status of millionaire. How did Mr. Perry accomplish such a feat? He did so by working extremely hard at being very lazy. In other words, Mr. Perry was at the height of his fame when portraying the persona of Stepin Fetchit, who was billed as “the Laziest Man in the World.”
One short musical sketch featuring the Stepin Fetchit character was called ‘Lazy Richard.’ The scene goes back and forth between Richard’s roommate, who’s calling him repeatedly on the phone in order to wake him up, and Richard himself, who’s in the bed refusing to, well, be anything other than lazy.
There’s a live band playing throughout the scene, and the band-mates double as singers, belting out with glee the chorus: “Richard! Can’t get him up! Richard! Can’t get him up! Richard! Can’t get him up! Lazy Richard… can’t get him up!”
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Not long after the ‘Lazy Richard’ sketch, Warner Bros. introduced a ‘All This and Rabbit Stew,’ which featured Bugs Bunny and a black hunter – the hunter character soon evolved into Elmer Fudd – who mimicked in tone and cadence the Stepin Fetchit persona, but who was noticeably unintelligent and clumsy.
For portrayals of Blacks that are violent and criminal, one needn’t look further than World Wrestling Entertainment, which was formerly known as the World Wrestling Federation. The Brute caricature, which portrays black men as innately savage, animalistic, destructive, and criminal, have been the foundation for popular gimmicks such Junkyard Dog, who came to the wrestling ring with a chain attached to a dog collar, Kamala the Ugandan Giant, a wild savage, Abdullah the Butcher, an evil Arabian sadist, Ahmed Johnson, who was known as “the Pearl River Power House,” Mark Henry, the world’s strongest man who smashed through his opponents and then inducted them into his “Hall of Pain”, Cryme Tyme, a pair of black men who were a parody of street thugs and who sold stolen goods to audience members upon their entrance; and Ezekiel Jackson, whose theme music described him as a real aggressive “monster” who, in addition to being a “lil rough around the edges,” will “conquer” and “dominate” anything he, when in “beast mode,” wants to.
For as a long as this country has been home to African-Americans, it has gone out of its way to be inhospitable, despite America only being inhabitable in large part due to the institutions that Black people have built, and the innovations we’ve shared. The media, post-slavery, worked overtime to mislead the public as to who and what Black people are, and that practice remains in earnest today.
The mis-perception of Blacks held by Mr. Trump’s supporters and others is the result of an indoctrination of the public by the American media and the unnerving cooperation of African-Americans who have been willing to trade their dignity for dollars.
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Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
About Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris
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