A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste
by Saab Lofton
"We indeed must criticize and condemn immoral acts of black people, but we must do so cognizant of the circumstances into which people are born and under which they live."
--Professor Cornel West
Riley Freeman: Gangstalicious got shot!
Robert "Granddad" Freeman: Again?
Riley Freeman: We got to do something!
Huey Freeman: I've got an idea: Why don't we go to college so we don't end up like Gangstalicious?
--from an episode of The Boondocks
In the blaxploitation film, The Mack (1973), a pimp visits the ghetto so he can bestow gifts upon its children, but when one child expresses a desire to follow in his footsteps, this is heard from him: "I don't ever want to hear you saying that again. That goes for the rest of you ... You can be a lawyer, you can be a doctor, you can be anything you want to be, but I don't ever want to hear you say you want to be like me."
Unfortunately, that lesson was lost over the decades, because what dominates black culture today is the exact opposite message. Being a lawyer or a doctor is considered by all too many to be too nerdy, and as a result, there's an endless succession of one gangstah-gangstah/bling-bling rap video after another bombarding impressionable young minds.
BET (Black Entertainment Television) is the prime suspect insofar as this goes, and I'm sure its executives would insist they're only trying to make a profit, but there are FAR more important things in life than whether an executive can afford a MTV Cribs mansion. As Rodney Barnes, co-producer of Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks, accurately stated: "[BET] only caters to the most ignorant of what black people are." So by CONtinuing to pander to the lowest common denominator, BET is complicit in the degradation of an already oppressed people.
According to an article written by Sophie Borland of The Telegraph (UK) in August of 2007, "Black teenagers need role models to divert them from a world of gangs and criminality ... Young black men are apparently being increasingly lured into trouble by rap stars, celebrities and sportsmen who glamorize the wrong sort of lifestyle ... This is causing them to have low aspirations resulting in them to drop out of school and be drawn into gang-related trouble. The problem is so widespread that it could cost the UK £24 billion over the next 50 years in terms of lost taxes, criminal justice and healthcare costs. In order to curb this trend black men need to be inspired by successful businessmen, lawyers and doctors to replace the gangster role models that exist today."
Let's be clear: This does NOT let white supremacist capitalism off the hook. In fact, the only way anyone can ever "replace the gangster role models that exist today" is with a LOT of grants for the arts, which laissez-faire libertarian skkkum ain't likely to approve. For instance, what OUGHT to be on BET is a game show where you can win cash and fabulous prizes by correctly answering questions about black history. The problem is finding funding for such a thing since those questions would inevitably indict the elite ...
Q: What did Paul Robeson accuse America of when he petitioned the United Nations on December 17th, 1951?
A: Economic genocide.
Q: What did J. Edgar Hoover consider to be the most dangerous thing about the Black Panther Party?
A: Its Free Children's Breakfast Program.
... et cetera, et cetera, et cetera ... So long as libertarians CONtinue to pull chickenshit excuses out of their nasty asses in order for the rich to evade taxation, I don't want to hear a goddamn thang about how black folks supposedly need to work harder (doN'T CONfuse us with Boxer the Horse from George Orwell's Animal Farm). We're doing the best we can under these budget slashed circumstances!
I'm NOT for Stalinistically censoring gangstah-gangstah/bling-bling (tempting as it is), but for every thug like 50 Cent, there needs to be two radical rappers like KRS One. More speech, not less; drown out bad influences with a deluge of good. That's why I've spent the better part of my life trying to succeed as a storyteller so I can do my part -- that's also why it hurts so much whenever I face corporate censorship, which is more often than not ...
Fictional icons like Mace Windu from Star Wars, Captain Sisko from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the Green Lantern John Stewart from DC Comics need to be given a wider audience (I don't know about penises, but when it comes to audiences, size does matter; bigger is most definitely better) ...
"That's called exposure, and with enough of it, we can change the world."
--Huey Freeman, The Boondocks
... I've been creating similar characters for years, but until I'm allowed to reach the MASSES on a regular basis, I might as well be talking to myself.
Until movies are based on my stories (as opposed to bread and circuses such as Beverly Hills Chihuahua or Dude, Where's My Car?), musicians need to hold benefit concerts for the United Negro College Fund every weekend -- a mind IS a terrible thing to waste ...