Sunday, April 02, 2006

Is Alan Freeman Blind?


Mr. Freeman is the Washington correspondent of the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Thus, most of his pieces are political milquetoast (ie. behind that bloggodome speedball curve that Russell Smith is apparently so worried about), and as such they rarely warrant comment.

But yesterday Mr. Freeman had a piece in the Focus section, on the same page that used to be reserved for Heather Mallick, in which he essentially said that many of the problems of young black males in America are of their own making.

And here are some of the evidentiary examples Mr. Freeman used to come to this conclusion:*

Actor Bill Cosby's statement: "It's cursing, and calling each other 'nigger' as they're walking up and down the street. They think they're hip. They can't read. They can't write. They're laughing and giggling and they're going nowhere."

Social work professor Ronald Mincy's statement: ....if "you come in to work with your pants down to your knees and your hat on backwards," you are not going to impress your employer.

Twenty year old African American 'Sam's' statement: "The way you talk to me can make and break a relationship and I will walk off a job....You can talk at me or you can talk to me. I guarantee, you talk at me, you're going to have a problem."

Nineteen-year old African American 'Terry's' statement: "Don't kiss nobody's ass. Be yourself. Because you kiss ass, they run over you."

Which, of course, is shocking, just shocking!

But, then again, I have to wonder - when he's not taking taxi and/or limo rides to and from Pearson and Reagan Airports, has Mr. Freeman ever sat on a bus or a subway behind a group of young kids?

Or, has he ever sat behind the same kids at a hockey game at the Air Canada Center in Toronto or a basketball game at the Verizon Center in Washington?

And it doesn't have to be a group of black kids.

And it doesn't have to be in Toronto or Washington. It could be in Edmonton or Pheonix or Saskatoon for that matter, Me, I work with whole swaths of young white, yellow and brown kids in Vancouver every single day and I see and hear all of the stuff that Mr. Freeman trotted out in his article, and more, from all of them.

And because those kids are attending a left coast Canuckistan university I believe it is not unreasonable to assume that most of them are neither poor nor deadenders.

So please stop trumpeting neandercon-friendly strawmen theories that seek to place the blame on "popular ghetto culture" for the soaring incarceration rates among young African American men and instead get back to the root cause.

Which, in case you've missed it right around the corner from many of Washington's finest hotels, is still called racism**.

*Hidden behind the subscription wailing wall where it belongs. And besides, if this stuff ever got out to the wider world of the open web folks like Steve Gilliard just might turn it to jello - and that's before the refrigeration.
**Or, if Mr. Freeman prefers, he could just stay in his Washington hotel and just check out who's doing all the menial labour for minimum wage in that fine establishment.


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