In 1711, Alexander Pope penned the following statement, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” in his poem An Essay on Criticism. Four centuries later American racial matters has breathed new life into this timeless sentiment
Just in case you missed it, Pittsburgh news anchor Wendy Bell was fired from her position with ABC affiliate WTAE after a recent Facebook posting that conveyed many negative stereotypical things about “young black men.”
Bell was apparently prodded to post those comments in the wake of a mass shooting in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, in which six people were killed. A shocked Wendy Bell posted the following Facebook post.
“You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts. They are young black men, likely in their teens or early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs. These boys have been in the system before. They’ve grown up there. They know the police. They’ve been arrested. They’ve made the circuit and nothing has scared them enough. Now they are lost. Once you kill a neighbor’s three children, two nieces and her unborn grandson, there’s no coming back. There’s nothing nice to say about that.”
Predictably, hordes of people rushed to not only denounce Bell’s post, but also called for her head to be served on a platter. This raving horde must have celebrated when their thirst for blood was momentarily satisfied. Hearst Television, the owners of WTAE, responded to them with the following press release, “WTAE has ended its relationship with anchor Wendy Bell. Wendy’s recent comments on a WTAE Facebook page were inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.”
Unfortunately, I think that such individuals missed a much larger moment in their rush to criticize and denounce Bell; that being, they have failed to consider not only why such feelings regarding “young Black males” are harbored by so many Americans, regardless of race, but also if there is any validity to their comments and criticisms.
In her defense, Ms. Bell has responded to critics by relating that this matter should have never been reduced to a point of minutiae about her, rather about the long-standing issue of “African-Americans being killed by other African-Americans.” Bell continued by telling The Associated Press that “It makes me sick. What matters is what’s going on in America, and it is the death of black people in this country. … I live next to three war-torn communities in the city of Pittsburgh, that I love dearly. My stories, they struck a nerve. They touched people, but it’s not enough. More needs to be done. The problem needs to be addressed.”
Unfortunately, for Ms. Bell, we now exist in a moment where the actions and activities of many social Black activists resemble those of an ‘ambulance chasing attorney’ who drives around the city or watches news reports for accidents that he may be able to capitalize off of in some monetary way.
It is particularly unfortunate that the energies that we see expended for impromptu movements that call for the removal of seemingly well-meaning individuals such as Wendy Bell are never matched during non-sensationalized moments where real aid can be doled out within the African-American community.
According to Nicholas Malone of the Academic Grind Center, “Although we need to respond to attacks against our people, it is much more important that we are steadily building our community up in meaningful ways on a daily basis. Unfortunately, picking up trash, maintaining our homes, helping our children with their homework are not ‘sexy enough’ for many of our people, particularly our so-called leaders.”
Anthony Quinn, the Vice-President of a small college in Monroe, Michigan, seconded Malone’s contention when he related “Where is this enthusiasm and commitment from the masses of our people when it comes to creating the basic building blocks that will sustain any community? You know the old saying, the only time Black folk come together is for a funeral. Well, today it seems like the only time that Black activists and Black leaders appear is when some white person has issued some offense to our community.”
Now that I think about it, it appears that the African-American community has decided somewhere along the way, that we will keep our ‘business’ out of the streets, meaning we demand that whites do not comment or interfere in our foolishness, and not criticize one another regarding the obvious internal problems that we all know exist. However, in the event that someone from the outside comments upon or ‘dirty laundry’ there will be hell to pay.
According to Dan Freeman of African-American News & Issues, “I was just talking about this recently. It seems that the only way to get our people out to a community forum is to have some ‘racial incident’. Without that white folk did this or that to us component, we are not showing up for anything, not in mass. Try and get these Negroes out for something that is not reactionary and you will see. Hell, Negro leaders aren’t even showing up unless the white media is going to cover the event. I know a brother, a ‘so-called Black leader’ who actually determines if he will show-up based upon if his contact within the white media will be present. If they aren’t coming, neither is he. He fashions himself a national leader.”
I just wish that we would simply address and clean our ‘dirty laundry’ so that there would be nothing for others to comment upon. However, such activities are seemingly much too sensible for many of our people.
So we wait, in the midst of crime, filth, depreciating home values, political disorganization, and economic non-sense for the next offense; and white America should be aware that we are prepared to attack anyone who even looks our way, we always are.
How silly of a people we have become?
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016