I’ve been on vacation this week with my family, so I’ve been out of the loop a little bit with some of the goings on in the world. I still get some tidbits here and there though (I obviously have a computer with me), and there’s one quick thing I’d like to mention today.
Yesterday morning, my dad was watching a few clips from Fox News about the Trayvon Martin case and it’s relation to racism. The specific topic was race baiting and according to my father, the discussion got pretty heated. We’ve talked about it ad nauseam: the claims of racism in the Zimmerman/Martin ordeal are pretty much all fabricated. Despite this, racism still seems to be the leading discussion topic.
And for the longest time, we’ve all been blaming the race baiters—the guys whose jobs it is to stir up racial tension. Once racism isn’t an issue, they lose their jobs, so it’s in their best interest to jump on the soapbox and scream and cry whenever they get the chance. We all know who they are, and I don’t even want to say any names to give them more attention.
We all love to hate the race baiters. The annoyance and frustration with them is completely justified. And debating them or tearing apart their arguments is like shooting fish in a barrel.
But I think we just need to stop.
In the world of the media, one only makes money if they’re able to generate attention. There’s a reason why Slappy and I haven’t quit our jobs yet and started working on this site fulltime—we don’t have the audience to support that (yet).
If the race baiters make money by grabbing attention, maybe those who disagree with them shouldn’t give them the mechanism by which to do so. TV and radio personalities like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity will never miss an opportunity to put a racist clown on their show (and someone like Piers Morgan will jump at the chance to do an interview with the Grand Poopah of the KKK).
Why is that? It’s because getting a stupid view on race to bash is easy money for those guys. The media’s in it to sell papers, so they’re not actually interested in showing viewers what’s right. They’re in it to make money. And please, don’t get me wrong, that’s fine. All sides should be free to pursue whatever path they choose to make a living and that includes race baiting. All I’m saying is that if we want to live in this “post race” society that people talk about, we’re never going to get there if we keep supporting those who put fringe views on racism out in the forefront.
We’ve got to start questioning who the actual race baiters are. We know what to expect from certain people, so why ask them? You’re going to get the same drivel each time. Ask the question: if the race baiters need a platform, who is to blame for the race baiting? We all know the saying “Don’t poke the bear.” You won’t get bit by your neighbor’s vicious dog if you don’t try to pet it, so whose fault is it if it bites you when you extend your hand to it?
This is why I don’t even want to mention their names here. Any attention they get, good or bad, only helps fuel the fire. And while our little site isn’t going to make or break the money flow for one of these guys, I’ll stand on principle and not be one of the people who help move their agenda forward. If we want these guys to go away, let’s just start ignoring them. We can talk about race (and I certainly will) without ever bringing these people into the discussion.
I am going to specifically pick on someone though: Bill O’Reilly. He brands himself as the no nonsense, straight talking kind of guy, and his influence through his nightly television show is huge. He’ll talk about the ridiculousness of the race baiting, but then will proceed to bring these people onto his show. O’Reilly isn’t stupid. He knows exactly what he’s doing. It drives ratings. And again, that’s fine, but don’t expect Bill O’Reilly to help pull us out of the silly discussions we have on racism unless he changes his tactics.
O’Reilly’s hypocrisy is painfully obvious at times. I’ve seen him rip on someone as inconsequential as Lady Gaga, complaining about how she cries out for attention with all of her crazy antics. And then he proceeds to spend the first 20 minutes of his show talking about her. Hmmm, what does that tell you?
Some of these claims of racism are as ridiculous as a claim that 2 plus 2 equals 5. We’ll never see the media cover that guy (well, not until it becomes profitable).
Again, in the spirit of liberty and entrepreneurship, I am in no way suggesting that we should prevent these personalities from baiting the race baiters. What I’m suggesting is that we as consumers of the media take a step back and see it for what it actually is. If we truly want a society where bigotry isn’t a problem, we should be simply ignoring those who try to make it one.
Anyone who puts out crazy views on anything is doing it to get attention to spread their message. What do we tell our children to do when confronted with a bully or someone who bugs them? Ignore them and they’ll probably go away. Why not take the advice that we give to our children?