Hey Ferguson, Is Anyone Listening?
by Wayne Dupree (bio)
Charles Barkley has come under fire in the liberal mainstream media (MSM) for calling the Ferguson rioters "scumbags." These are the rioters who looted and burned approximately 20 buildings in Ferguson, crippling small businesses and causing yet-unknown financial damages.
I don't want to diminish Mr. Barkley's characterization of the rioters because I've made similar characterizations. But the Berkeley interview, in its entirety, was a thoughtful and reasoned approach on the Ferguson verdict as well as his strong feelings about black culture and issues within the black community.
Anyone who didn't take the time to watch didn't hear Barkley's thoughtful perspectives. His comments fly directly in the face of the narrative of victimization, oppression and racial tension so critical in keeping the racist meme alive.
In Huffington Post's live coverage of the interview, for example, Mr. Barkley was characterized as "siding with law enforcement" in the Ferguson matter. This type of polarizing theme is critically important to the MSM. They have made victims of, glorified and coddled these "scumbags" because it fits the far left storyline. Looters, arsonists and scumbags were easily manipulated into a rage on a stage for the whole world to see. The MSM perpetuated things by minimizing or overlooking facts in their coverage that did not fit into the networks' political narrative.
There was, for example, the abrupt and awkward transition made by Andrea Mitchell on "Meet the Press" to seemingly keep from discussing relevant physical evidence, demonstrating how important this continued narrative of racial strife and division appears to be to the media. Meanwhile, conservative activists on social media are raising funds to help business owners rebuild. I wonder how much MSNBC and Salon have donated to the same?
I truly believe that America's black community wants change. But there is a failure to encourage change in the most-needed areas — from within. As long as the media continues to polarize the black community with issues such as Ferguson, meaningful dialogue isn't possible.
As a community, we need to talk about the number of young black men dying violently at the hands of other young black men. We need to talk about the destruction of the black nuclear family and the problems fatherless families have created in our communities. We need to talk about the black culture in our poorest cities that discourages academic achievement and good choices.
Any number of successful black writers and commentators bring up these topics, but only get play around Ferguson-like media circuses — and then only to provide a sound bite. Nothing gets fixed with a sound bite.
As long as a significant number of black Americans embrace the misguided notion that openly discussing our shortcomings is somehow taboo, we will continue living under the unnecessary status of victimhood. Promotion of this groupthink mentality, coupled with the left's ability to control the media narrative, closes the door on real and productive conversation. This mindset also keeps Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and like-minded folk in positions of prominence while they do nothing for our community as a whole. In fact, all this prevents us from ever truly embracing our potential.
So, is anybody listening?
For those who might call me an "Uncle Tom" and worse, please know this type of criticism fuels my desire to continue on the path I have chosen. I do not hate being black. In fact, I believe blacks are capable of far more than we are currently allowed to embrace.
I am as proud of who I am as anyone who takes pride in their identity and cultural heritage. But, as long as I witness the black community being manipulated by the media and those with political aspirations into excusing their failures and learned dependence, I will provoke a discussion in vocal and provocative ways.
So, are you listening? I agree with the over six minutes of Charles Barkley's interview.
Are you brave enough to hear what he and I have to say?
# # #
Wayne Dupree is a member of the Project 21 black leadership network and founder of the We Are America Radio (WAAR) network. A version of this commentary previously appeared on Townhall.com.
Comments may be sent to [email protected].
Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints
permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.
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