A political cartoon is misinterpreted and African American organizations and their talking heads immediately see an opportunity to make noise. Meanwhile, a famous black woman is beat down by her equally famous black boyfriend and commentary in the black community centers around, "What did she do to cause it?" Why are some African Americans so cowardly when it comes to addressing black-on-black violence? There is no end to the activists' displays of outrage when racism is perceived. Yet, the silence is deafening, drowned out only by the hypocrisy and ignorance when the perpetrator is black.
Rupert Murdoch may be public enemy number one for the progressive community, but he and his posse at the New York Post are not sanctioning the abuse and killing of black women. The beating Rihanna experienced at the hands of Chris Brown was tragic, but definitely not uncommon. The leading cause of death for African American women ages 15 to 45 is intimate partner homicide. Yes, black men are killing young black women in such high numbers it beats out accidents and every illness you can imagine. Where is the outrage? Where is the boycott? Where is the speech? I have never received a call to action email on behalf of black women affected by domestic abuse - at a rate 35% higher than our white counterparts.
When the Chris Brown incident became public where was the cry for attention to this issue by the megaphoniacs? The only commentary posted on CNN.com was written by Leslie Steiner, while one of the most prominent black CNN contributors was ranting about Valentine's Day. Michael Basden had an 'enlightening' exchange on his radio show about if they should even be discussing the incident. If? Really, Michael? Would he ask that question if a white cop beat up a black boy? Absolutely not. Some will say it is not fair to compare the monkey cartoon to the "Chrianna" event or police brutality to domestic abuse. It is about priorities, people. It is time to stop hiding our dirty laundry in the closet or making excuses for it. Black-on-black violence is decimating our communities and has been for quite some time. An apology from the New York Post is not going to save the life of any black person. Imagine if the NAACP had publicly pulled support for Chris Brown's nomination for an Image Award similar to what Wrigley's Doublemint Gum and the Got Milk campaign did by removing him as a spokesperson? Maybe, just maybe, one young black male would learn an important lesson - never hit a woman. How can gum and milk peddlers have more integrity about their images than the NAACP Image Awards?
It is time for the black community to adopt a zero tolerance policy against domestic abuse. Bottom-line, what Chris Brown did to Rihanna was a teachable moment - an opportunity for the black community to coalesce and show the world we are taking action to address a pressing issue affecting us all. Cartoon-gate is a misguided media stunt that will further create a chilling effect on free speech and ultimately have little impact on the lives of black people. To my friends at Colorofchange.org, Al Sharpton's National Action Network, and the NAACP please put the protest signs down and refocus the media spotlight on issues that actually matter. If you have to boycott something, boycott Chris Brown.
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