About Me

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New York City, New York, United States
41 year old African-American Male. I like to think of myself as a jack of all trades and a master of none...I rely on reasoned common sense, rationality and what my gut tells me is right/wrong (combined with the well reasoned opinions of others!). I don't consider myself an expert on anything in particular, but I have lots of opinions.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What Don't I Know!?!?

I just finished reading Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by the noted historian and scholar Manning Marable (who died 3 days prior to the book's official release).  I found the book very well written and documented.  I hadn't read Alex Haley's The Autobiography of Malcolm X in almost 20 years! So, it was nice to revisit Malcolm's story and ponder what his legacy means to me.  Something that I found disheartening was a post by a blogger (http://gloria-dulan-wilson.blogspot.com/2011/04/malcolm-and-marable.html) who apparently hadn't bother to read the book, but yet felt it necessary to call the "tome" mean spirited (btw-I did send the blogger a comment asking whether she had actually read Marable's book-as of yet, she has yet to post my comment (which clearly she has the right to do since that is her blog).  This incident recalled another situation that I encountered sometime in 2010.  My partner and I had attended a matinee performance of the Broadway musical The Scottsboro Boys---we both thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was well done and emotionally moving.  However, we didn't know that some group in NY had organized a boycott of the production and was picketing the theater (not that it would have mattered).  Their beef had to do with the fact that the pay had been done as a minstrel show (designed to mock racism and the incident that led to the infamy of The Scottsboro Boys).  I ended up having a lengthy email exchange with one of the organizers (?) of the boycott...who hadn't seen the damn play!

I just don't understand how a person can criticize something they haven't seen (or read) based upon snippets (or, their own preconceptions).  That just baffles me!  I think the issue boils down to a lack of critical thinking ability and this need to flatten out what is/is not "authentic".  I am certainly not saying that everyone has to like everything, but I do believe that its difficult to raise opposition to something when you don't know what you are opposing.  Apparently the blogger (that I referenced) is upset with Marable for his allegations that Betty Shabaz and Malcolm may have been unfaithful during their marriage (based upon his research).  So what?  Last time that I checked, both of these individuals were human with respective human shortcomings (that plague all of us), so it is conceivable that infidelity could have played a role in their marriage.  More importantly (from the perspective of Malcolm's legacy), that's a family issue and it does not diminish from the interesting dynamic presented by his life story.

I felt the same way about the "organizer" that I traded emails with about The Scottsboro Boys.  Beyond that fact that the cast is 99.9% black (which isn't necessarily a barometer for anything), the telling of this story and the manner in which it was done (as a minstrel) served as a harsh reminder of how far blacks have come (and, thanks in large part to certain entertainers who shall remain nameless for now), how far we have to go to have our humanity universality recognized.

I can just hope that we (all of us) will continue to evolve in our thinking (naturally, myself included), some of the things that I read and see are just...well, crazy.

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