HOW BRUCE WILLIS GOT CHECKED
June 14 1998
Extracting punishment.. It's a concept that so many groups do whenever they are dissed... It's a concept we excersise whenever we are personally dissed by one another-But rarely do we take that task to the next level.. What am I talking about?
I read the recent article in The EUR Report where actor Bruce Willis while being interviewed for George Magazine stepped out and said he admired the Nation Of Islam's Minister Farrakhon. He somehow equated his good works with the works of Dr Martin Luther King.. and then he went on to say the Minister was a hero of his because he champions the disenfranchised.. I personally thought that was pretty cool of Mr Willis.. I personally like the Minister and I think he's out there trying to make a difference..He gets his props..
What happened next and to be honest wasn't surprising was the reaction from the ADL [Anti Defamation League].. They supposedly sent Bruce Willis all sorts of documents and information suggesting that the Minister should be 'no one's hero'.. In short they lit up Bruce's ass and told him he better think again.. In short if he continues to publicly sing praises about the Minister there would be some sort of punishment extracted.. A few days later Bruce Willis rescinded his remarks and begain singing a different tune.. From the quotes that read in EUR.. Mr Willis seemd to agree with the ADL's perception of Minister Farrakhon being an anti-semite etc..
This is really not a discussion of whether or not we like the Minister.. and it's not a discussion about Bruce Willis and his heroes.. It's about how one community will do what it takes to make sure people and things they find threatening and offensive are put in deep check..In this case here you had an organization within the Jewish community that was not gonna sit back and watch a popular American hero.. publicly give praise to Minister Farrakhon.. The mindset would go as follows... 'If Bruce starts giving him props then pretty soon all sorts of people are gonna give him props and he'll become an even bigger threat..hence we gotta nip this thing in the bud..and nip it quick..We gotta send a signal out to all those who are watching and giving serious thought to Bruce Willis' praises a clear message.. That message being.. 'We will shut you down- We will make you pay dearly..' I think it'll be a long time before anyone of Bruce Willis' stature goes out and starts singing praises about Minister Farrakhon...
How this applies to us.. is simple.. we first of all need to see how groups outside our community treat our heroes and sheroes... There's a significant portion of our population who like Misnister Farrakhon.. He's a big heroe to a whole lot of folks within the Black Community.. That did not seem to be of concern to the ADL..It didn't matter that the Minsister led a million men to Washington DC or anything like that.. As far as the ADL is concerned he's anti-sematic.. and they will forever dog him out.. They are not sidetracked by his good points..
Secondly, it made me think how complacent we are when 'others' start rolling into our midsts and start resurrecting heroes and sheroes for us.. It made me think of how folks outside our community will come in and give a platforms to individuals who aren't necessarily leading us in right direction. It'll be the local sports figure and entertainer who hasn't done his or her homework who will have a microphone thrusted in his/her face and be asked to comment on some important issue effecting our community.. The next thing you know, that ill-informed brotha or sista is speaking on our behalf..And as a result political and sometimes business decisions get made off their remarks..Ask yourself this question who in the Black community that is under 30 is a relevent leader... Is it rappers like Puff Daddy and Master P or up and coming politicians like Shannon Reeves and Jesse Jackson Jr.. Why is that? How did that happen? Why aren't our day to day activists not heroes in our community.. or even known to the majority of us?
Thirdly, this whole Bruce Willis thing made me realize how we got all sorts of people who have been offensive to the Black community who are continously given praise, prestige and allowed access..to our community with very little resistence from us.. There are all sorts of newspapers and tv shows who come and misalign our character and our community and yet we sit back and do nothing..If anything we continue to watch them.. If I got on the EUR Web and said 'I hate sistas and I think only white women are the bomb'. Folks would be on my case to not only shut me down.. But they would find my radio show and try and shut that down as well..I would get run outta town..People would be diligent..Yet you get a outfit like Fox where they cancel popular shows like 'Living Single' and 'Roc' and our energy level is gone when it comes to fighting..
I remember when commentator Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes went on the air a few years ago and dissed the hell out of us.. He apologized and business went on as usual..Again we didn't extract a punishment.. Damn near 15 years after Jesse Jackson's offensive 'Hymie Town Remark' we still have folks that are not letting it rest and that man has continously apologized.. I remember after former LA Police Chief Darryl Gates left office.. He immediately went on to receive all sorts of praise and accolades..from folks.. He was also given a talk show... Folks in LA's Black community thought he was a monster who help set the tone for all sorts of police brutality.. Again no penalties for those who have claimed him to be a heroe and no sanctions to the radio stations that hired him.. In every city and in every town around this country we will find examples of what I'm talking about.
I guess the overall point I'm making is that all of us who know better have a responsibilty to step to the plate and shut things down when they are threatening to the community.. We can't allow offensive behavior to go unchallenged..More importantly we have to be careful about who we allow to represent us... I always suggest writing letters.. and to cc the letter to 10 community organizations.. Within that letter request a response or a phone call.. It's not enough to ignore offensive behavior.. We have to be diligent and systematic about steppin' to folks.. Especially when they are misrepresentin' us to the public at large. If we don't challenge certain things.. It's almost like not voting.. By default we lose and the offensive behavior is allowed to continue..
The Bruce Willis incident should serve as an example of how diligent we should be...If Bruce continued to show support my bet is he would had his 'Jewish ghetto pass' revoked.. In other words he would've been getting heat from the Jewish community..Who's 'ghetto pass' are we revoking? Who are we heating up on? If we aren't getting the respect we deserve then we gotta step up and make access to our resourceful community very uncomfortable..
Let me know what you think...
[home] [chat] [conferencing] [updates] [what it is]
[politics] [contests] [opinion] [links/photos] [media]