Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tragedy and Stupidity In South Memphis

This morning I logged into my Facebook account to find a news clip posted on my wall by my friend Arthur. The clip was an interview from a Fox affiliate in South Memphis. A mother and and her sister left their home unattended with a two year old and a three year old inside while they went to drop off a friend at home. During their absence the house caught on fire. The two year old died.

You can see in this clip that the mother of the children is understandably distraught. One child is in critical condition and the other one is dead. Then the aunt of the children loses her fucking mind. At the end of the clip, she announces that she has no regret that the children were left home alone, then she laughs and says she needs to get in to see if her "purse burnt up cuz her food stamp card..." was in the purse.

Stupidity knows no fucking color.

Unfortunately, this ignorant black woman's interview is already making its way around the country at the speed of YouTube. I am sure that Fox News could not WAIT to get this clip up on the Internet and into the hands of their faithful across the country. At a time when the black community is enjoying the beginnings of a Renaissance, Fox has helped ensure that this ridiculous excuse for a human being is going to get massive amounts of air time.

And let's be real here. When a crazy white person aka Timothy McVeigh blows up a federal building killing innocent children, he is just one disturbed human being. When a crazy working class black woman exhibits her personal ignorance and callousness on Fox News, she is representing the entire American Black community. She immediately conjures of images of deadbeat welfare queens, uneducated poor, and stereotypes of black women used to galvanize the religious right base during the Reagan and Bush Sr. years.

The woman in that video clip is a poor excuse for a human being that should have her tongue yanked out by her sister. I can't imagine one of my siblings being so heartless and cruel as to make a statement such as the one she made while the house is still smoldering. If any of them did, you can bet the first thing I would do when I came out of the shock of losing my child would be to kick his or her ever loving ass. But I would know that it was just a stupid person saying stupid shit. But when the media, particularly Fox media, gets a hold of something like this it is a culture war gold mine.

If I had the stomach for it, I would Google search this topic. I would not be surprised if Don Imus and Glen Beck mentioned this news story on their shows today. Just as one black person should not represent our entire community nor should that same black person have the power to sabotage the image of an entire community, but this one disturbed individual does. My own internal tapes started running as soon as I heard her speak. False stereotypes of the working class (from which I come), the South (my family is from the South and I went to college in the South), black women (ummm I am black), and a whole host of other negative stereotypes started running through my head. AND I KNOW BETTER. I know that the South is a beautiful and vibrant place. Most of my political mentors come from, live in, and organize in the South. I came out in the South, cut my teeth as an organizer in the South, and I know the power, beauty, and history of that place. Yet this one woman was able to raise all the specters of the South implanted in my mind by history books, television, movies, and other pop culture vehicles. I know so many powerful black women that it should be impossible for me to project the shortcomings of this stupid individual to all black women, yet the tapes in my head started shouting things like "typical." The Aunty in this video IS NOT TYPICAL. Yet pop culture and U.S. acculturation tells me that she is.

I hate Fox News. I despise this woman her personal ignorance, and I hate our cultural system that indoctrinates even people that know better to feel and think AUTOMATICALLY the thoughts and feelings that rushed through my head and heart when I watched this particular interview.

My heart and prayers go out to the Mother of those children. She is not faultless. She knew better than to leave two young children at home alone. She has reaped a punishment that will haunt her for the rest of her life. I wish her only peace as she tries to pick up the pieces of her family. To the Aunt, I hopes that she gets the help she needs from friends and neighbors. I hope she sees her interview and is embarassed to the core of her being. And I fervently hope that Fox News and Ruport Murdoch are sucked into a worm hole, deposited on an oxygen-less planet on the far side of the solar system where they are gang banged by giant poisonous sea slugs.

Lord let the rest of the day be filled with peace, joy, and love.


  1. Bleah. The media are vultures, television news especially, and don't get me started on Faux Spews. They didn't *need* to put anything that crazy ass woman said on the TV.

    Did you see the grief-stricken expression on that firefighter's face? That's a real hero - an African-American firefighter. That's the cut where they should have ended the story.

    Someone needs to hunt down the person who edited that piece and whack them upside the head with a clue by four.

  2. You are dead on right (as usual) Mr. Leavitt. I want to fly to Memphis and kick the editor's ass. My next door neighbor growing up is doing her residency in Memphis. I may have her go down and inject the news team with something nasty.


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