Sunday, December 21, 2008
Jesse Lee Peterson says thanks for Slavery
Dr. Boyce Watkins
I don't hate Jesse Lee Peterson. I just don't take him seriously. You have to search high and low to find such a walking cartoon character. In this video, Jesse actually does, in an incredibly sincere way, thank America for slavery and the fact that his ancestors were brought over in chains. He compares the Middle Passage to "an uncomfortable trip", that was "like a crowded airplane flight".
I am not quite sure what to say about this. I should only note that this kind of commentary goes to show that Black people should not legitimize Fox News just because they have a little bit of money and an audience. Stupidity is stupidity, even if it is distributed nation-wide.
I have never been on a show with Jesse, although I was invited to be on his radio show. I declined the interview, because I don't think that it would have been a productive dialog. I am actually fascinated by Jesse, as I simply wonder where people like him come from. Where was he raised? What did his parents teach him? How hard did Fox News have to search to find someone willing to say the things he says? I ask these questions with the honest curiosity of a school kid. I truly want to know how Jesse Lee Petersons of the world are created.
I am beyond being outraged about people like Jesse. I just think that we should all be aware that they exist. Jesse and others like him are the manifestation of a serious social disease created by 400 years of American racism and oppression, and this is the kind of thinking created by a school system that puts black boys in special education by the boat load, and black men in prison by the bus load. If we are ever going to truly prosper and come together as a nation, this kind of thing must be confronted and dealt with. I am tired of holding hands and singing "We shall overcome."