Sharpton looks sharp...
July 23, 2007

Al Sharpton is looking sharp in the photo you'll find on this page:


You should read the article. It's an important piece on the assault of free speech by Conservatives. Very interesting.

Most recent blog posts from Jason Venter...

Halon Halon - July 23, 2007 (07:36 PM)
Al Sharpton is definitely not a conservative. Regardless I cannot stand anything that he says or does. The only reason he's doing this is so he's consistent with what happened during the Imus incident.
pup pup - July 23, 2007 (08:55 PM)
Ever feel like we keep taking steps backwards?

Still, I can see where they are coming from on this topic. Bear with me for a second. In most places, segregation is still a reality. It may not be legally enforced, but it certainly is supported through the limitations of financial freedom. Stepping across the unmarked racial boundaries of a neighborhood can be like stepping into an entirely different culture because the generations of each side continue on with little to no interaction.

Throughout the majority of the US, black people have to live with the attached stereotype of being violent, uneducated, and disrespectful. For many it really is just an unfortunate stereotype, but for some, it is reality. Even if this section is in the minority, the entertainment industry can easily make it seem otherwise. Only the most ignorant or naive person can doubt the media's ability to shape public perception.

Now, consider a city segregated in such a manner. Actually, I see it every day in my own city - Milwaukee, WI. On one side of the racial divide you have a mainly-white neighborhood with available jobs and constant development. On the other, a mainly-black neighborhood with few jobs and continuing dilapidation. Given the stereotype of black people, supported by the media image, which person do you think a white employer is most likely to hire?

From there, it's a continuing cycle of unemployment, poverty, crime, and degenerating education. It's a complex issue with no easy solutions, but hijacking the entertainment industry to turn this stereotype around could honestly do a lot of people a lot of good.
honestgamer honestgamer - July 23, 2007 (08:58 PM)
I agree with Sharpton on that point, but what he's proposing is still something that would stifle freedom of speech, at least to a degree. And that's where things get trickier. Rap music does tremendous harm to the black community. Its impact in that manner is massive. So he's right that it would be helpful if it weren't around propogating those stereotypes (and I would take that further and say it encourages people of that ethnicity to settle for less than their personal best). However, is that problem big enough that we want to take another step toward removing freedom of speech? That's what has me interested in discussing it.
khris khris - July 23, 2007 (11:01 PM)
Getting rid of bad lyrics won't do a thing (and can certainly never happen). This is just like the video game causing real-life violence argument. It all goes back to the parents and how well they raise their kids. Removing some 'offensive' lyrics will never solve the long-existing cultural problems we have in America, and it certainly won't stop anyone who wishes to side-step around such a ban to continue writing about the offensive things that these guys are so worried about.

The problem in the black community, or any community, really, is that you have tried and true stereotypes that people grow up with. These stereotypes come from reality and there's no doubt that when someone grows up around stereotypes, they will inevitably become such a stereotype as well. Again, this all goes back to the parents, and even the environment an individual grows up in.

"Given the stereotype of black people, supported by the media image, which person do you think a white employer is most likely to hire?"

Sorry, but this sounds like bullshit. If I know the retail business at all, managers just want anyone willing to work. They don't care who you are or where you came from so long as you can do the basic work required. I'm certain that this is true for any other job that's open to any physically-able person.
pup pup - July 24, 2007 (07:00 PM)
Not bullshit.

On the next block over, I can name two businesses alone that refuse to hire any non-white employees. Illegal? Of course it is, but just try to prove that one in court. As the previous store manager of one of these places, I once had to make the decision between hiring an incredibly qualified black employee, or keeping my job. Sorry, but I decided to put food on my own table first. Now that I'm out and have a better job, I make sure that everyone around me knows every detail about my former employer.

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