I don’t view every first as a heralded milestone. For example, though I was not vehemently angered by 3-6 Mafia being able to place “Oscar Winning Group” in front of their name, I did not see it as a great moment in black or hip hop history. “Fight the Power” could have just as easily been such a first over twenty years ago. There are some things that really just fall under the category of us being fucked with. (I see you “Precious.”)
The latest example is Milwaukee’s Ieshuh Griffin. She is an independent candidate for the Wisconsin state assembly, and she wants all and sundry to know that she’s not the white man’s bitch. Even after TOTALLY ignoring her Rapunzel weave with the blonde streak in the front, I was still annoyed. I believe that she is trying to make a statement, and she is standing on the platform of free speech. Fine. It will get her some notoriety, I’m sure some votes, and she will no doubt gain national attention. In this day and age of fame whorism, my annoyance with her can go only but so far.
There was a complaint filed pertaining to profanity being used on a ballot. Watching the panelists reviewing her case made me want to throw up. The video linked includes two white guys heartily professing that there is nothing wrong with her using the term “not the white man’s bitch” because it is only portraying that she is standing her own ground politically. I mean, “unbought and unbossed” had already been done, right? There are a million ways a person can express independence and free speech. But I find it absolutely ridiculous for her to claim, and for three panelists to concur, that this was neither racially motivated, nor offensive.
When we talk about upholding free speech, it is a slippery slope in either direction, but this is NOT a landmark victory in the case of equality. Even if she wins on such a platform, as my DC folks would say, she’s a bamma, and she ran on a bamma platform, so guess who’ll vote for her? That’s right. She’s the premier independent bamma. I’m sure she is priding herself on standing her ground, and she had quite obviously done her homework pertaining to her rights to choose her slogan terminology. But this is so misguided. From the perspective of a citizen, grandstanding of this nature shows a selfishness that, though prevalent in public office, rightfully has no place there.
Gays have had to jump through hurdles to attain basic human rights, women’s bodies are still viewed as chattel, and the safety of our children is in ever-increasing peril; but rest easy, Ieshuh’s freedom of speech is in tact. Would we be so cool with this if a former white prostitute ran under the slogan, “Not the black man’s ho?” I’d be the first one in line to punch her in the boob. Because she’s a moron. Politics has become the game of idolizing the wacky, rather than electing the candidate who gets results. It is this EXACT mentality that has made Sarah Palin a “respected” political voice.
I will be the first to say that Palin is a much more dangerous force. Even if Griffin wins, she quite probably will not go farther than her home state, whereas Palin has the political machine and right wing agenda in her arsenal. Yet, I can’t help but think that people have lost sight of what is important: a functioning government. Griffin did not get the required votes needed to allow her to use her slogan (she needed four, she got three), so she is taking it to the federal level, and is requesting that the election be delayed until then. Damn a functioning government, this is the Ieshuh show, the right wing show, the paranoid left tapdance show, the Palin show. They each seemed to forget that point of public office is to be a servant to the people.
Everyone is trying to be shocking so as to incite revolution. The revolution has been reduced to sound bytes without context and hidden agendas. There’s posturing and proselytizing. We’ve got left wingers, right wingers, and independents and they’re armed with laptops, blogs, radio shows and Twitter accounts. The revolution has EVERYTHING.
Except true revolutionaries.