If one reads Tom Wolfe’s best novel, ‘The Bonfire of the Vanities” today for the first time, one would think that Wolfe followed Al Sharpton around and wrote a novel about the Rev. Actually Wolfe’s novel hit the ground before anyone outside of Brooklyn knew the Rev existed.
Wolfe was commenting on another angle of America’s institutional racism: the big black monolith, and how, if one played his/her cards correctly, he/she could become the spokesperson for the non-existent, but useful, artifice.
The American mainstream media filters black culture through two prisms: sports and entertainment. It largely doesn’t know what to do with day-to-day black culture because it supposedly doesn’t pique the interest of the average consumer. So, when an event occurs that begs for a ‘black response’ (such as the stupid Imus statement), instead of discussing the real problem or the true issue(s), the media resorts to shorthand – Al Sharpton.- THE black spokesman.
I no more believe in the black monolith theory than I believe that white bloggers all agree. Al Sharpton certainly understands the myth of the black monolith and has exploited the myth to his advantage. Despite the Tawana Brawley fiasco, Sharpton continues to parlay media laziness to his advantage.
On issues not overtly related to racism, the media generally digs up the expert or experts related to the news item, but when it comes to race, the only true race issue is the race to the throne of Sharpton.
Maybe bloggers can make a difference here, but, justifying the Imus foolishness based on the culture of rap/hip hop is not a good start.
Note: This post is a continuation of a comment I made on Aunt B’s interesting post about the ‘Imus affair’.