What the Deuce: Gee Whiz Timmy

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Gee Whiz Timmy

I hate watching local news. I can't stand it. I don't care who got shot where. I don't care about who was seen on South Beach. I don't care about health tips that any idiot could figure out. The only good thing about the local news is the sports highlights and the weather.

I do like watching the national news, especially the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. He does a very good job and has a personality (his interview on the Daily Show was hilarious). Basically, I watch this program every chance I get.

Last night, the theme of the news was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I have nothing against this because MLK Jr was very important in this country's history. I am not going to say anything more because I don't know much more about him than what I learned in high school and what I have read in the news. I am no expert and I am not going to pretend that I am.

Well, anyway, one of the stories was about what was going on in New Orleans and how the city was celebrating the legacy of Dr. King. What struck me were the Mayor's comments. The point he was trying to make was valid - that the black community of New Orleans should have a chance to rebuild and it would not be fair if the lower income individuals were forced out of the city.

What bothered me though was how he made this point. In his speech at City Hall, Mayor Nagin said,

"This city will be chocolate at the end of the day...This city will be a majority African-American city. It's the way God wants it to be."

When asked to clarify his comments, Nagin said he was saying the New Orleans should be a integrated city and his comments were not divisive. His exact quote was this jem:

"How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink."

And then

"New Orleans was a chocolate city before Katrina. It is going to be a chocolate city after. How is that divisive? It is white and black working together, coming together and making something special."

Is it just me or was Nagin using racial slurs in a speech about bringing New Orleans back? Dark Chocolate? White milk? Chocolate city? Is this the 1960s? Don't get me wrong, I understand what he is saying. Yes, the people of New Orleans who were forced out of their neighborhoods deserve a chance at rebuilding. But to make that statement using those kinds words is just beyond me. I have a feeling that if something like this would have happened in a predominently white city and the Mayor was to say something like that, the NAACP, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton would be all over him for being racist.

How is this any different? Yes, maybe Nagin was playing to a black crowd on MLK day but that still doesn't make what he said ok. He could have gotten the same point across using different language. Call me racist, say I don't get it, or whatever you want to. My only point is that he shouldn't be using slang terms for races and have it be ok. Dr. King was about having people be treated equally. Well, in that case, Mayor Nagin should be scrutinized for the words he used. He should be questioned. Most of all, he should apologize to those who may have been offended.


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