Vexed…”Helloooo! The President is Black now!… We make decisions…”
I know that I’ve talked about this before – especially in my rant about "G-Force" and those "Transformers". At least everyone looks stupid in this movie, not just the Black character. Still, to quote Huey Freeman ("The Trial of R. Kelly") "I admit that I’m often…vexed by the behavior of my own people. Yeah, vexed is a good word." I am completely vexed by the roles that Tracy Morgan accepts in movies. On "30 Rock", he seems to be making fun of this type of character. Then, he accepts movies like this. He seems to be embracing the stereotype. Either that, or he’s a quite intelligent man who’s doing what he needs to do to get by, even if that means playing the fool.
I don’t know.
I suppose that’s why I’m vexed.
Can I find a way to blame White people for this one? Sure. I can say that Morgan’s "entertaining" behavior gets him paid…like a puppy doing so many tricks for scraps from his master’s table…and it is this willingness to watch people debase themselves for their entertainment that helps propagate this sad situation.
But this is problematic for two reasons.
1) That would take the responsibility of acting like someone with sense away from my people. I would like to think that now that the President is Black, I can buy all the watermelon I want, that I don’t have to continue to act dignified for the sake of upholding the reputation of the race (to take a page from Wanda Sykes’s "I’ma Be Me")… but people like Chris Matthews – who occasionally hear the President speaking so well that he forgets that the President is Black makes me think that I’ve still got a lot of work to do…
2) And, what’s worse…blaming this all on The Man…well, it would put me in the same position as the White people I would criticize. When I pop a bag of popcorn and soak in the misdeeds of "The Bad Girls Club", "Flavor of Love", and "Charm School"… let me just go ahead and say it…everyone loves watching other people make a fool of themselves. It makes them feel…well, at least it makes ME feel…like I’ve got it more "together". Everybody likes to watch a train-wreck, right? I mean, if I blame The Man for Morgan’s behavior, I may as well blame myself for the prosti-tot phenomenon that’s made Paris Hilton and the Girls Next Door imitable role models for teenage girls. (Just to clarify, I don’t really like Paris Hilton – but I DO love stupid reality shows, which are just as much part of the celebration of train wrecks as Paris Hilton).
This raises questions for me:
- Do I want to criticize the culture as much as the "Pants on the Ground" guy? (Which, I must admit, I was a little disturbed by just how much older White women seemed to love that song. Made me suspicious, to say the least. Why does this particular cultural phenomenon = ‘looking like a fool’? Does everything in hip-hop culture = ‘looking like a fool’? The jury’s still out on how I feel about this song. Is it one culture picking on another culture that it finds "different"? Or is it a legitimate critique of a ridiculous fashion trend?)
- Is it fair for me to say that Morgan’s ignorant behavior makes us all look foolish?
- And am I a hypocrite for enjoying the ignorant behavior of Miss New York while bemoaning Morgan’s?
Good questions, all.
Maybe I’ll answer them…eventually.