One of the most positive reactions that should emerge from the Don Imus fiasco is for Black people to launch a carefully planned, solutions-oriented campaign designed to teach ourselves and especially our children concrete ways to combat toxic psychological assaults that are an integral part of this society.
The assaults on both mind and souls come from hardcore White supremacists and White racists who are too often, intentionally or unintentionally, aided by delusional, self-hating Negroes, paternalistic White liberals, self-centered Black and White conservatives, Black and White academicians and journalists who romanticize verbal thuggery and greed-driven gangsta rappers (gangstas from the streets) and music company executives (gangstas from the suites).
It is our responsibility to arm ourselves and our children with whatever weapons needed to combat these toxic psychological attacks that are as deadly to the present and future of our people as any other poison. Another, quite deadly attack, reflected on another minority group.
There are two fascinating elements worth noting in the furor around the tragic mass murders at Virginia Tech University. The first is that the almost automatic assumption was that the killer was a White male. Why? Because most mass murderers in this country have been White males, as have been most serial killers and sexual psychopaths. It is ironic and revealing that the most powerful, most pampered and most protected special interest group in this country regularly produces such cold-blooded killers. And yet African-American males are the ones often labeled as pathological. Who is more pathological — Black street thugs who kill each other over drug turfs, or White male Ted Bundys and Jeffery Dahmers who methodically murdered numerous people, most of whom were strangers to them.
A second revealing element of the Virginia Tech killings is that so many Korean-Americans felt the need to apologize for the actions of Cho Seung Hui. Some even pleaded not to be blamed for what he had done. As far as I know, no one required them to do so since European-Americans don't feel the need to apologize for mass murderers and serial killers who come from their ethnic and cultural groups.
The reaction from Korean Americans, usually hailed as an ideal "minority" group, and even from the South Korean ambassador to the United States, provide a revealing commentary on the precarious nature of race relations in this country.
It is a reality check.
One definite goal of this column is to make readers aware of Black folks throughout the country who have built or are building institutions that will house, educate, employ or provide health care for people. It's time that we present such productive people as role models for our children rather than allow them to be dazzled by the machinations of highly visible, often symbolic, sound bite leaders, politicians, professors, journalists, and corporate executives who are often seen pontificating on television and radio or being quoted in newspaper and magazine articles.
There are two questions that a reporter or correspondent should ask any public figure, including radio and TV talk show hosts who support the war in Iraq. Have you ever been in the military; and do you have a close family member on active duty in Iraq? If their answer is no, the next question should be, if you truly believe that the country's national security is at stake in Iraq, why aren't you and your family members over there fighting to protect "freedom?" A sensible person will believe that the country's national security is at stake when chicken hawks such as Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes and their children are in combat in Iraq.
A. Peter Bailey is former editor of the late Malcolm X's "Blacklash", the newsletter of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, founded by Malcolm X after he left the Nation of Islam. Bailey is the current editor of "Vital Issues: The Journal of African-American Speeches."