Ferguson, Missouri: “Our” Contribution to the Survival of the White Racist Frame

Ferguson, Missouri. What can I abundantly say? As the name guilelessly emerges from the mouth, a macabre power elicits resounding physical and emotional responses within individuals. These divisive responses have caused many keen, and the not so intellectually in tuned to disgorge upon our airways and our favorite politically one-sided cable network news television shows to speak simply in terms of faults, blames, and inculpabilities. In response to the somber situation at hand, I cannot think of what I can say that has not already been thrust upon the public regarding the police shooting death of 19 year-old Michael Brown.

But just when I thought it has all been incessantly said, someone has come along and presented a new controversial perspective. The “super producer,” singer, and rap artist, Pharrell Williams, has presented us with an interesting observation. If you do not know who he is, just think of him as the Black guy you have seen on television recently who has a proclivity for inane hats. Regardless, in regard to the Michael Brown shooting, in a recent interview with Ebony Magazine, he stated,

I don’t talk about race since it takes a very open mind to hear my view, because my view is the sky view. But I’m very troubled by what happened in Ferguson, Mo.

With his so-called “sky view” (it takes a millionaire to understand the term), he began to further discussion of the televised store surveillance video that depicts Michael Brown stealing and intimidating the store operator. Mr. Williams went on to say,

It looked very bully-ish; that in itself I had a problem with…. Not with the kid, but with whatever happened in his life for him to arrive at a place where that behavior is OK. Why aren’t we talking about that?

Entertaining. For a man who calls himself apart of the “New Black,” he may actually have a substantially important issue that calls for further discussion. This little nugget cannot be compared to his other recent failure of intellectual accession when he told Oprah Winfrey,

The New Black doesn’t blame other races for our issues…The New Black dreams and realizes that it’s not pigmentation: it’s a mentality and it’s either going to work for you or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re going to be on.”

Can I digress for a moment; I really would like to ask him if Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis, and others were simply blaming other races for their issues?

Nevertheless, his initial observation of what drove Michael Brown’s “bully-ish” behavior got the old noggin clicking. Then within a thought provoking moment, I began to recall an old rap song I use to play over and over again as a teenager. In my youth, it caused me to really question Black America. Within “Us,” written by Ice Cube, stated:

Could you tell me who released our animal instinct?
Got the white man sittin’ there tickled pink… That’s what ya doin’ with the money that ya raisin’ Exploitin’ us like the Caucasians did

I would like to ask, who among my people continues to exploit “us” and feed the animal of systemic oppression and its consequential actions? Unlike the past, current public rationalization is subtler than the past, but still equally damaging to Blacks. With careful critique, one can hear the current depressing messages of Black males in popular songs. Case in point, I bring you Mr. Pharrell Williams. He has made a living from producing others as well as himself on wax.. Such songs as “When the Last Time,” “Feds Watching” “Power,” “Light your Ass on Fire,” and “Mr. Me Too” just to name a few. All of which illustrate an all too familiar contemporary formula of opulence living, drug usage, violence, and misogynistic overtones. This is not to mention the videos that are plagued with issues of colorism and white aesthetic favoritism.

In American Paradox: Young Black Men, Renford Reese discussed research that involved surveying 756 Black males (13-19 years-of-age) in places such as Los Angeles and Atlanta. He determined that the “tough guy” persona distinguished in the music of Mr. Williams and other acts that glamorize violence, sexist behavior, and the glamorous life have negatively effected generations of Black men’s identity. Was Michael Brown’s identity affected by Mr. Pharrell and others? Can his bully-ish behavior be traced back to he and his musical keen?

We are currently living within an era resembling Blaxploitation filming trends. Within the 1970s, Whites movie production companies comprehended the financial benefit associated with the genre and mass-produced movies that propelled negative stereotypes and images. For the most part, the culturally empty music today that gains most of the public attention resembles this past era. The production of this music is filled with the same gratuitous violence, drug usage, luxurious champagne, and misogyny that are simply on display for the sake of exhibitionism. On the other hand, people such as the co-founder of Def Jam Records, Russell Simmons, defends these artists and their work by arguing that

The hip-hop community is a mirror, a reflection of the dirt we overlook—the violence, the misogyny, the sexism. They need to be discussed.

While he and his proponents refuse to look up from the massive “bling” on their wrists and red velvet underneath their feet, a fact looms over their inflated heads that point to their involvement in driving and maintaining the historical white racist oppressive frame.

You are right Pharrell. But you just forgot to include yourself and your musical keen who have contributed the current state of affairs. But I am understand. Especially when everything is so “Happy.”

Paging and Bottom Toolbar Previous Item Next Item

The White Racial Frame and the Old Patriarchal Frame: Are they Interrelated?

The white racial frame and the old patriarchal frame are interrelated and do overlap in the way they operate. The white racial frame operates from a white-dominated society that sees everything from a white point of view that “does not,” “cannot,” and/or “will not” take into consideration the experiences of racial groups of color. It is about what is good for whites only. Everything was designed by whites for white prosperity. If whites do not experience a situation and do not interpret this situation as good or bad for society or an institution, then that experience will not be legitimated by whites. If whites have experienced a situation, then that situation is legitimated by whites because it is not good for society or the institutions in which they operate. The white racial frame is limited. The only worldview it sees is the white world and all the economic trappings that go with it to keep whites safe from the contamination that exists outside that frame, the existence of minority racial groups and the unnecessary problems they suffer created by a racist society because of the color of their skin. Professor Joe Feagin explains that

this white racial frame encompasses not only the stereotyping, bigotry, and racist ideology accented in other theories of ‘race’, but also the visual images, array of emotions, sounds of language, interlinking interpretations, and inclinations to discriminate that are still central to the frame’s everyday operation. Deeply embedded in American minds and institutions, this white racial frame has for centuries functioned as a broad worldview, one essential to the routine of legitimation. (The White Racial Frame: Centuries of Framing and Counter-framing, New York: Routledge, 2010), Kindle Electronic Edition

For this reason, whites cannot have genuine emotional relationships with minority racial groups because they operate out of a frame that sees the negative attributes of these groups, especially African Americans. Consequently, the white racial frame has enslaved most whites and treats “whiteness as property,” which means that if whites do not go along with overt or convert racist behavioral practices in their communities, they will find themselves exiled to social ostracism and probably stripped of any material inheritance, if applicable. Some whites do not approve of the ill-treatment of African Americans, but they will go along in order to get along for fear of social ostracism and loss of their jobs if they spoke against racial discrimination.

In fact, many whites do not want to hear about racial problems because these problems continue to be exacerbated by systemic racism and whites benefit from systemic racism. They cannot understand what it means to experience racism and its negative effects on minority groups’ economic, educational, social, and political experiences because whites are the carriers of this disease called “racism,” whether they are consciously or unconsciously aware of this disease.

The old patriarchal frame accents the white racial frame, but operates from a male-dominated view. This frame operates out of ideological hegemony. It tells women and minorities what is good for them, what is bad for them, what they can have, and how much they can have. The patriarchal frame reluctantly acknowledges race, class, and gender issues. These issues do not seem to be of importance to white males because they are not affected by them. In fact, this frame views these issues as ideological abstractions. Since we live in a white male-dominated, white male-identified, and white male-centered society, white women are the only oppressed group that is closely identified with white males because they are “white.” They are the only group that truly has benefited from Affirmative Action. It would make sense that they would prosper from Affirmative Action because white men typically work more closely with white women, mostly marry white women and what better way for white men to improve their household economics and hypocritically use white women as a springboard to political success.

With reference to my post, I want to make reference to my earlier post. I posed the question do women desire to take the master’s place? White women have been economically empowered in their own right. Before the Civil Rights and Women’s movements, white women were stay-at-home mothers and took care of their husbands and children. Now that white women are just as educated or more educated than many white males, are as financially secure as white males, and have the highest hiring numbers in male-dominated positions (law, politics, etc.), they still have to fight discrimination because there still exists an invisible glass ceiling. By operating in male-dominated politics, few of them want more and will do anything to get it, such as Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann are used as examples because they are the two political females who dominate the airwaves, and they feed on it and President Obama. They are not only encouraged to provide a false reality about President Obama, but they receive the full support from conservative right-wingers. The make absolutely no sense, and do not come across as knowledgeable gurus. It is also clear they want to please their Republican masters in order to rise to higher political positions or to make a lot of money for doing the dirty work for their masters. While the Republican Party is currently going after women’s rights, Palin and Bachmann have remained silent. However, the Republican Party treats them as if they are still little girls needing daddy to hold their hands and protect them from whatever http://news.change.org/stories/ republican-party-women-need-handholding It is clear they operate out of a white racial and old patriarchal frame with a touch of gangster mentality. It is quite obvious they are the Republican appointed designees to level attacks against the President. It is non-stop with these masculine-behaving women. In order for women like Palin and Bachmann to thrive in the white-male dominated political arena, they have to operate out of a vicious, cut-throat, greedy nature, a nature that is usually associated with cut-throat men in corporate America.
This is how I believe these two frames interrelate today that now cuts across race, class, and gender.