There’s a lot of outrage buzzing around the country these days as folks are angry about this or that. And there’s also a level of weariness in it all as people see themselves beating the familiar dead horse constantly with little result, benefit or modification to show for it.
The problem with outrage is that over a period such demonstrations become pointless; the powers that be will simply ignore you unless you have a plan to further get their attention and force change. The latest anger over the Playmobile Pirate Ship is one case in point.
Instead of demanding an apology from Playmobile, simply return the toy. There has to be alternatives out there besides which, consider that the black community-any community-has tremendous power to wield if they get together to do so. It’s called the power of money.
I have to think that if all those plastic suckers starting coming back to the store-or just didn’t leave the shelves in the first place-and Playmobile, Amazon and everyone else who has a stake in the model stopped getting paid, well then that would get the level of attention that’s needed to foster a serious debate and bring change.
But if that’s not enough wasted outrage, there’s more.
Last Thursday, hundreds of UCLA students protested Kanye Western Parties held by certain campus fraternities. White partygoers showed up dressed in low-slung baggy pants, blackface, puffed-up lips and women wearing added padding depicting large buttocks, something people seem to associate solely with black women. With chants of “Black culture is not a theme” and “Love is hard, hate is easier”, students or all races took to the campus streets in angry protest.
And while their anger is understandable, after all the truth of their feeling is in the taste of their perception, I feel it’s misplaced. This genie was summoned years ago with the inception of the Hip-Hop music industry and now folks find that it’s difficult to put that djinn back into the bottle, as they grow older, more mature and the culture evolves and incorporates itself into other races. After all, it was the industry that created the Kanye West’s of the world and not much was said while it was happening. Now that the horse has bolted, we’re stuck trying to close the barn door.
Still more importantly, there are worst conditions to be angry about. We need only look to our own communities as police in major cities report upticks in shooting violence and in many cases, the victims are innocents.
In Cleveland alone recently, three children ages 3, 5 and 10 years old were shot, two fatally in what some call retaliatory gang violence. Across America, we see increases in shooting deaths in the inner cities. By summers end, New York City had recorded 239 homicides and Chicago, who seems to go for a record each weekend, 325.
Between 2010 and 2013, FBI statistics show that 439 children under the age of 12 have died from gun homicides and when you add ages 12-16 the number shoots to 1,437. And yet, despite all the evidence of the need for protest in LA alone with 201 killed, students at UCLA are more concerned with what a few Pretty White Kids with Problems are doing.
I’m weary myself of having something done to me and mine that I feel a certain way about, protest it only to have what could be a self-serving and insincere apology get lobbed my way in efforts to make it all better.
I feel like the proverbial child who gets a boo-boo and has to have its parent kiss it to make it all go away. Nothing’s changed; the child still has the boo-boo. And when we get the apology, nothing changes. It’s just that our boo-boo has been kissed on and we should then feel better about it and ourselves. It’s time we stop getting kissed on in such a fashion and stop crying about boo-boos that don’t really amount to much.
I’m just saying it’s a total waste of good outrage.
“Flag of Edward England” by WarX, edited by Manuel Strehl – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –