I can’t really say that I’ve ever liked Martin Bashir all that much. His move 10 years ago to undermine Michael Jackson in a deceptive fashion didn’t sit well with me. I presume that Bashir had an ethical reason to do what he did and wasn’t just trying to promote himself to stardom. Either way, throwing Michael Jackson under the bus was a huge career move for the host.
When I saw Bashir resign from MSNBC this week for comments related to slavery, I felt compelled to support him. Bashir took offense to remarks by Sarah Palin, in which Palin compared the national debt to slavery. Responding in dramatic fashion, Bashir told the story of Thomas Thistlewood, an overseer who said that slaves were sometimes punished by having another slave urinate or defecate in their eyes and mouth.
Bashir then went on to say that by comparing the national debt to slavery, Palin would be a perfect candidate for Thistlewood’s discipline. I say, not a bad idea. If you’re going to compare yourself to a slave, then that means you should be willing to prove that the comparison is accurate. I assume that after understanding what it was really like to be a slave, Palin would probably find a more fitting analogy.
Here are a few reasons why Bashir’s comments were both brave and accurate, and why MSNBC, Sarah Palin and those criticizing Bashir should be ashamed:
1) Because people like Palin think that everything is the same as slavery: We all know that Palin is an idiot, that was confirmed long ago. But in this case, there is nothing wrong with Bashir’s remark, because it is basically saying to Palin, “OK. You think you’re a slave, let’s see if you really are experiencing what slaves had to go through.”
The remark is as sobering as forcing your out-of-control teenage child to pay a few bills to learn what it’s really like to be an adult. Palin can only be offended by the raw nature of Bashir’s remark, but the truth is that the reaction to his comments by the liberal left (those who make Black people think they’re our friends) is a reminder of how most of our country is not interested in hearing what our ancestors had to endure. We are typically shocked to hear honest stories about the brutality of slavery, since we’ve been sleep walking our way into believing that if we just don’t mention it, it’ll be the same as if it never happened in the first place.
But someone needs to speak up for our ancestors from the grave, and that’s what I am seeking to do right now.
2) Because disrespect of African Americans is not taken seriously: Say something about the Jews, you’re in trouble (remember Rick Sanchez?). Say something about gay Americans, you’re surely going down (ask Alec Baldwin). But disrespect hundreds of years of suffering by the African American community, it’s no big deal (ask Don Imus, Don Lemon and every other personality who has spoken negatively about African Americans over the last few years). In the Sanchez and Baldwin cases, the hosts were removed for verbally αttacking a particular group of people. In the Bashir case, he was fired for DEFENDING African Americans. Would he have been fired for engaging in an equally passionate defense of the gay or Jewish communities? I don’t think so. In fact, he’d be a hero.
3) Because MSNBC has built an industry around the manipulation of Black people: When President Barack Obama was elected, MSNBC participated in a very interesting plot to put a couple of dark faces from the Black elite on the air in order to keep Black voters in line. The two most prominent faces were Melissa Harris-Perry and Rev. Al Sharpton, who are similar to the girl who won “The Hunger Games” and was used by the elite to give oppressed people just enough hope to keep them from rebelling against the establishment.
Perry has mentioned Black people on a few occasions, but only within the context of that which the liberal left finds to be acceptable. Primarily, she is a spokesperson for the White feminist agenda, which many believe to have been a culprit in the on-going civil war between Black men and Black women. Even Perry’s harsh and disrespectful language toward prominent Black men is an ugly reminder of the shear disdain with which Black men are viewed by many White liberal females.
I won’t talk much about Rev. Al Sharpton. I can only say that the best way to understand anything Sharpton says is to check the deposits on his bank account. We also can’t forget the compliance of Black media faces in the on-going effort to pain members of the Black church as neanderthals for not supporting gay marriage as quickly as they would like. Black people are often punished for thinking for themselves and not in the way that liberals would prefer.
With that being said, the decision to use media as a weapon to force feed the Black community into a broad push for gay rights and immigration reform has resulted in the biggest waste of the Black vote in American history. Every other group of Americans has recovered from the great recession of 2008 except for Black people and we’re the only group of people expected to blame our chronic recession on ourselves. This is largely because the main Black agenda issues of unemployment, educational inequality, youth violence and mass incarceration have rarely been put on the table. As a result, everyone else prospers, and our community is left in the toilet. Our so-called “friends” don’t have our backs the way some people might think.
4) The decision to fire Bashir for his in-your-face remarks about slavery is reflective of the gentleman’s agreement between the liberal and conservative establishments: Republicans and Democrats can go to war over issues that matter to the core of their being, but they’ll gladly let their colleagues fall on the sword on issues that relate to the African American community. The only exceptions are situations in which they benefit politically from challenging right wingers for remarks they’ve made about African Americans. However, when liberal leaders make racist remarks (as VP Joe Biden has done on several occasions), these battles are deemed to be not worth choosing (watch how Sharpton will frame his remarks about Republican racists very differently from the way he speaks of Democratic racists). So, the truth is that it simply wasn’t worth MSNBC’s time to defend Bashir’s decision to defend Black people.
You can’t say that MSNBC is an enemy of Black people. They are, instead, the disrespectful, paternalistic ally who treats the Black community the way one might treat the maid or the family dog. You may love your maid to d***h, but you would never fool yourself into believing that she is truly an equal member of the family. Similarly, the family dog is never going to be invited to sit at the dinner table. So, the relationship can be a beautiful and loving one, as long as the dog and the maid know their place.
So, if you really want to know what this Black man thinks about what Bashir said, the point is clear: The African American community may want to do an ideological Thistlewood on both the Democratic and Republican establishments. The Black community endured this kind of t*****e for over 400 years, and it should be intolerable that we allow people to take a real discussion of slavery off the table simply because it makes them uncomfortable.
Here’s a newsflash for MSNBC president Phil Griffin: No matter how uncomfortable Bashir’s remarks about slavery may have made you feel, the fact is that you will NEVER know how uncomfortable it made our great great grandmothers feel. Bashir should be honored for giving our ancestors a voice from the grave.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and author of the book, “Black American Money”.