How does it feel like to be a problem?
That question appeared in W.E.B. DuBois’s book Souls of Black Folk. It is an unspoken question asked in such a coded, naive and somewhat insidious way. Black people don’t have problems. No. We ARE the problem. And Fox News’ commentator Geraldo Rivera had no qualms about saying so.
“The families in crisis are in crisis not because of the interface between cops and young black men but because of family dysfunction, fathers being irresponsible.”
The black community has been attacked with the stereotype of neighborhoods drowning in fatherless children, a stereotype that the mainstream dishes out as often as possible, and the people happily ingest not just as entertainment, but also as raw, unquestioned information.
“That is a much more difficult, complex situation than wanting to advocate against police violence toward, you know, toward young black men.”
Yet, Rivera seems to believe the stereotype without asking why. He says that it’s a complex situation, but he made no effort in bring up possible reasons, nor has he bothered to question it. Yet, that is more of an issue than black male lives taken by police in outrageously high numbers. And Rivera has a beef about that.
“We’re the victims. Yet again, we’re the victims. Let’s fix this problem…But what about the much more difficult problem of We’re The Problem.'”
In this country, black people can never be victims in the conservative pathological mindset. Instead, we’re the problem, and only white people, the most privileged race in an unfair and unequal society, are the real victims. Of what, you may ask? Us Negroes, of course. I digress.
“We’re the problem when it comes to the dysfunction,” Rivera continued. “We’re the problem when it comes to fathers not being responsible for their children. … That’s the t-shirt he should wear. That’s fine, “I can’t breathe” this week. Next week, if you’re gonna be a billboard, a walking billboard, next week “Be a better father to your son.”
White paternalism rears it’s ugly head. Rivera felt the need to tell black people to get their shit together, because we’re so fucked up, we don’t know what we should be fighting against. It’s white supremacy wagging its finger at us for being what they want see us as. And Rivera and his Fox News cronies love to think they know more about black people than black people.
Telling black people what they should think, say or feel is one of the most seering insults available. It makes it seem that black people are too stupid to know what’s going on. That, and being told that they are the problem are all the earmarks of racism, the REAL problem, not black people.