Let’s be fair

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

In light of all the negative attention given to Paula Deen’s confirmation of using the ‘n word’ resulting in the loss of many of her big name sponsors, several onlookers are asking the question of why other big name artists (namely rappers) aren’t warranted the same treatment. Many are looking at the dire consequences that Paula is being subjected to and wondering why others who are just as guilty in rendering negative and personally demoralizing statements in their songs are not being penalized. Big name companies are continuing to look the other way and sponsor rappers with hefty contracts. Many feel these rappers have done more harm in denigrating people of color than Deen has—especially with their depiction of females as ‘hoes’ and bitches through song.

As an African American, I am appalled and incensed that there are Black artists dehumanizing the Black race by advocating illicit life styles full of violence and promiscuity without moral compass or respect for others. Too many of our youth have become so desensitized to the negative verbal slaughter of young Black girls as wanton sex toys described by every lewd name short of decent. You will find many of these artists still have lucrative contracts with big brand name companies with no intention of dropping their clients.

I know I am not alone in trying to understand the reasoning of these big time corporations continuing to support some of these rappers financially. But they are doing the Black community a grave injustice. The truth of the matter is that these companies are complicit in promoting negative stereotypes of Blacks as immoral lewd, and common. Many rappers claim to have two versions for many of their songs—one that can be played in public and another one that is rated ‘x’ with verbally explicit language. Vulgar abusive language is usually expressed, promoting songs nothing short of verbal pornography toward Black women. All too often, it is our Black women who are the key subjects of this blatant disrespect. The truth of the matter is that young people are more familiar with the ‘x’ rated versions depicting our women as sex driven bimbos or sex toys. The women in these songs are referred to or associated with offensive and derogatory terms. In my opinion, the portrayal of women (especially Black women) in many rappers’ lyrics is demeaning, demoralizing and unacceptable.

Financial support should not be provided to artists or companies endorsing such artists. They contribute to the moral and social degradation of their people. Unfortunately, people have a tendency to judge or stereotype others by what they hear and see. For so many of our young people, life often imitates art; therefore, many individuals are influenced profoundly by the music they hear.

I believe in freedom of speech but feel that we as African Americans should opt to boycott or refuse to buy the filth that is inundating the minds of our children—even if it means not supporting the products of the companies endorsing these rappers. Some would argue that many of these big name companies know just what they are doing and secretly buy into the self-dehumanization of the Black community by   Blacks themselves. You have many rappers who unrelentingly and blatantly use the ‘n’ word. However, they rationalize that it is used as a word of ‘endearment’ when used by and among other Blacks. Evidently, these are people who don’t know their history; therefore, don’t know that that the word ‘nigger’ can never be used in a positive light to denote any kind of decency or pride. In case they have amnesia or just plainly don’t care, they should also be aware that the ‘n’ word was buried and banned by the NAACP seven years ago. The integrity of Black women has been indelibly scarred and soiled by those of our own whom we ironically continue to support financially.

Yes, Paula Deen (like many others) may be guilty of using the ‘n’ word privately in personal   conversations with friends or associates. While others may see that as unacceptable, how can rappers openly defile the character of Black women and not be held accountable? Let’s look at all those who are   blatantly making a mockery of a group of people and let our voice be known through our actions. Paula Deen’s use of the ‘n’ word is the least of our problems in the Black community. We have seen the enemy   and, for the most part, the enemy is us.